Wednesday, June 18, 2014

20+ Artsy & Cool Things To Do in Stockholm, Sweden

By Jacquelin Carnegie 
The lovely city of Stockholm is actually spread out over a series of islands. You can get from island to island--each with its unique neighborhoods--by ferry or the more prosaic metro and bus system. Everywhere you go in this city--that's a mixture of medieval and modern--you'll find trendy restaurants and cafés, lively bars, great art and interesting shops. Norrmalm is basically the downtown area. Gamla Stan is the Old Town district. Södermalm, which used to be working class, is now the hip, artsy section. The summer months are the perfect time to visit.
Mary Nelson, a Swedish-American jazz singer, advises visitors how to get the most out of Stockholm's cultural offerings. Here are some of her tips along with my artsy highlights:
Metro Art Tour - Art Walks 
(Tour starts: T-Centralen Metro Station, SL Center at Sergels torg; Tours in English: June-Aug; Tues, Thurs & Sat, 3pm)
Metro Art
Stockholm's transit system (SL) offers a free guided-tour of all the incredible artwork in the Stockholm metro. Each line and station has a unique theme. All you need is a metro ticket (or Stockholm Card). This is a really cool way to see interesting art while familiarizing yourself with the metro system! Or, do your own self-guided tour.
The Millennium Tour
(Stadsmuseum, Ryssgarden)
Get a Millennium Tour Map in English & several other languages in the gift shop of the Stockholm City Museum. This is a self-guided tour of places in Stockholm that appear in the book series The Millennium Trilogy that began with the now-famous “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson. The tour starts on the island of Södermalm at the "home" of the main character Mikael Blomkvist, then passes key locations in the books: bars, cafés, and of course, Lisbeth Salander’s "apartment." Whether you're a fan of the books or not, it's a great way to see and learn more about Stockholm's interesting neighborhoods. 

Old Town Ghost Walk
This is a really fun way to learn about Gamla Stan, the Old Town district of Stockholm. Explore the fascinating history as you stroll along the cobblestone streets, down dark alleyways, and into hidden courtyards. The terrific Stockholm Ghost Walk guides bring the past to life with gusto!

Stockholm has a great selection of exceptional museums from the Moderna Museet (Modern Museum of Art & Architecture) with its terrific collection and sculpture garden to the Nobel Museum with info on Nobel laureates from 1901 to the present, and for die-hard music fans there's ABBA The Museum in the Swedish Music Hall of Fame. (Some museums are open daily, others close on Mondays, so check before you head out). These are not-to-be-missed:
Fotografiska Museet - Photography Museum 
(Stadsgårdshamnen 22)
Not only does this photography museum have great exhibits, it's a hot-spot, open late with music and entertainment. In a beautifully-restored, Art Nouveau-style industrial building with a marvelous cafe overlooking the water.

Hallwylska Museet
(Hamngatan 4)
The former home of Count and Countess von Hallwyl looks exactly as it did when the family lived here in the late 1890s. It's a fascinating example of the lifestyle and décor of Sweden's late Victorian period. The museum also has changing exhibitions and occasional music and theater in the courtyard in summertime.
(Herserudsvägen 32, Lidingö)
Millesgarden is the lovely sculpture garden, former home, and artist studio of the famous Swedish sculptor Carl Milles and his artist wife, Olga. It's a spectacular spot with great views and a cafe, about 20 minutes from Stockholm's city center.

Day Trip: Artipelag

Artipelag (photo: Winter Cherry Photography)
(Artipelagstigen 1, Värmdö)
Just a half-hour from Stockholm in the archipelago, this wonderful museum is in the most beautiful setting, overlooking the water. Artipelag--a showcase for international, modern art--is the vision of Björn Jakobson the creator of the ever-popular BabyBjörn products. Enjoy the art then walk along the lovely boardwalk around Baggen’s Bay leading up to the museum and meander on nature trails throughout the extensive grounds. There's also a cafe and restaurant both with marvelous views. Plan to spend plenty of time; you won't want to leave! (Get here by bus or boat from Stockholm.)
Spa Day: Centralbadet (Drottninggatan 88)
While in Stockholm, treat yourself to a Swedish massage and sauna in this beautiful Art Nouveau spa with hot and cold-water pools, sun deck, gym, and restaurant in the courtyard. Swedes have been coming here since 1904.

Gamla Stan, Old Town (photo: JCarnegie)

Kulturhuset (Sergels torg)
Even if you don't speak Swedish, you'll find something to do in this "House of Culture" presenting theatre, dance, music, interesting art exhibits, and events for kids. There are also a couple of nice, casual restaurants and a rooftop café with a panoramic view (and dancing in the summer). Parkteatern: From June through August, there's a range of free cultural events in different outdoor venues.
Jazz Clubs: You might not think of Stockholm as a hotbed for jazz, but there are some great clubs: Stampen Jazz Café, Stora Nygatan 5, Gamla Stan; Glenn Miller Café, Brunnsgatan 21; Fasching, Kungsgatan 63. The Stockholm Jazz Festival (Oct).
Dramaten - The Royal Dramatic Theatre (Nybroplan 1)
You might not want to sit through a bleak Nordic drama, but The Royal Dramatic Theatre gives guided tours in English of this beautiful Art Nouveau building built in 1908. (Eugene O'Neill's "Long Day's Journey into Night” premiered here in 1956.)

Fjäderholmen Krog
The restaurant scene in Stockholm is hopping! Here are a few suggestions for great meals in extraordinary settings:
Riche (Birger Jarlsgatan 4) - A hip scene with beautiful people eating tasty food.
The Flying Elk (Malartorget 15) - Pub grub & Swedish ales in Old Town. The flying elk is a Swedish myth about a huge moose with a crown of thorns living in the Jämtland forests.
Fjäderholmarnas Krog (Stora Fjäderholmen) - A stunning locale; the restaurant looks like a modernist hunting lodge, on the closest island in the Stockholm archipelago; arrive by ferry boat.
Where to Stay:
There are many wonderful accommodations; here are a few in different neighborhoods:

Radisson Blu Royal Viking (Vasagatan 1) - This is a great location in the downtown area, but Radisson Blu also has six other really nice hotels in Stockholm.
Marriott Courtyard Stockholm Kungsholmen (Rålambshovsleden 50) - On Kungsholmen island, great if you want to be close to nature and a jogging path; also a good spot if you're traveling with kids.
Hotel Skeppsholmen (Gröna gången 1) - This splendid boutique hotel, in the Design Hotels group, has a country-in-the-city feel and a nice restaurant.
Making Your Trip Easier:
Stockholm Pass - The GoCity pass gives you  entrance to tons of museums & attractions and a selection of free sightseeing tours. SL: Stockholm's public transportation system (subway, bus, train, tram & ferries) is clean, safe & easy to use. 
Apps: There are several useful Apps to help you get the most out of your visit to this terrific city.

No comments:

Post a Comment