Stockholm has always had a decidedly global outlook, with both residents and leaders happily embracing new concepts and ideas. As the city solidifies its position as one of the world’s great tech hubs it is experiencing enormous growth, which requires a commitment to making smart choices that ensure Stockholm remains in tune with the world at large, whilst maintaining its reputation as one of the world’s most liveable cities.
Often called the Venice of the North, Stockholm is comprised of fourteen islands that sit in Lake Mälaren, connected by fifty-seven bridges. Its people are among the most welcoming in the world: open and accessible, perfectly reflecting their beloved city.
Whether you plan on spending a weekend or a week exploring all that this beautiful city has to offer, we’ve curated a list of five things that we believe will contribute to you having an engaging and authentic Stockholm experience.
No matter what your feelings about the ultimate 70s pop band, Stockholm’s Abba Museum enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a must-see destination. Housed in the same building as the Swedish Music Hall of Fame, you’ll be treated to a decade-by-decade walk through nearly 100 years of Swedish music before living out your dreams of musical stardom through interactive audio and video stations. One of the most unique elements is Benny Anderson’s piano, which is connected to his nearby recording studio. Any time Benny plays the piano at his recording studio, the piano in the museum springs to life. The Abba World exhibit, featuring stage costumes, awards, and more versions of Dancing Queen than you ever thought possible, joins the iconic helicopter featured on the original Dancing Queen sleeve. And yes, clambering inside the cockpit for a photo is perfectly acceptable.
Imagine sitting on a sun-dappled terrace enjoying a meal from one of the city’s finest kitchens and perhaps sipping a specially designed cocktail. Now imagine doing this while taking in eye watering views across the water to the Royal Palace. The 2nd floor terrace at the Lydmar Hotel is discrete luxury personified – and it’s one of Stockholm’s best-kept secrets. While it´s open for both a midday meal and a late supper, lunch is the optimal time to while away a few pampered hours of your day while having your every need catered to.
Stampen is one of Stockholm’s oldest and most legendary live music venues and its Saturday afternoon blues jam is a staple for both the city’s music lovers and visitors who’ve heard the rumours. From teenaged saxophone prodigies to grizzled axe men to singers with voices that evoke all that the blues are about, one never can predict who will join the house band for some rough, raw blues. The room is small, the ancient décor is that of an old roadhouse, and the setting is perfect for sitting back with a whiskey in hand while the music of love, longing, and pain washes over you.
With the recent tech boom entrepreneurial hubs have sprung up across the city. The latest, biggest, and most inclusive is Urban Escape, home to not just some of the fastest-growing start ups in the country, but also a place where you can visit for the day – or the week – and meet with the brains behind the boom. Here you’ll also find “The Third Space”: a place where you can exchange ideas and find a moment to catch your breath. A visit to the rooftop bar and restaurant will have you rubbing shoulders with the people who are fuelling Stockholm’s rise as Europe’s number one tech hub.
Seeing a city from up above always gives an unusual perspective. Seeing a city from up above whilst scrambling across slippery, deeply sloping rooftops gives you one of the most interesting adventures of your life. Stockholm is a city that is as much in love with its rooftops as it is with its myriad waterways – and its legendary rooftop tours allow you the chance to truly understand why Stockholm is often referred to as the Venice of the North. As you scoot along the catwalks and narrow ledges of the Old Parliament building the city’s 14 islands and the water that surrounds them are fully revealed – and you suddenly understand why Stockholm inspires such deep passion in both its residents and visitors.
Written by Judi Lembke
Photo: Toril Natvig