I generally spend the first week in a place feeling vaguely disoriented before beginning to find the places and rhythms that make up our daily life. Stockholm, on the other hand, felt immediately and almost completely like home.
As always, our recommendations below lean towards toddler and vegetarian friendly. Most of our recommendations are in Södermalm, since that is where we lived.
We didn’t actually eat much traditionally Swedish food (though we did get some tasty fake meatballs from the grocery store), but the food available in Stockholm was some of our favorite since starting the trip in terms of overall quality and variety.
Most restaurants have a lunch special, where you can get a hot lunch (often including drink, bread, and coffee) for just $10-$12. We took advantage of this.
- Martins Gröna: amazing vegetarian lunch place
- Two Indians: I highly recommend the palak paneer
- Gojo: lovely Ethiopian food! (Oh, how we missed you!)
- Pom & Flora: great espresso drinks and pastries
- Brod & Salt: our favorite pastries and bread
- Gilda’s Rum: lovely coffee and snacks with atmospheric candles everywhere
- Urban Deli: we didn’t try the deli portion, but we regularly grabbed bread, produce, eggs, milk, and coffee beans here
- Goodstore: grocery for specialty vegetarian items
Playgrounds in Stockholm are amazing little eco-systems of child-friendly fun and are filled with kids pretty much regardless of the weather.
- Nytorget: playground close to our apartment. I didn’t understand why our hosts had described this spacious playground as “small” until we visited some of the others
- Blecktornsparken: playground with rabbits, a pig, a zip line, trampolines, a fire pit, and tricycles, as well as all of the usual playground stuff.
- Bryggartäppan: playground based on the novel City of My Dreams, set during Stockholm’s industrial revolution
- Parklek Humlegården: our playground when we were “in the city” instead of back home in Södermalm
Musems and Stuff
- Skansen: great mostly outdoor museum that with buildings, farms, and animals from around Sweden. We came back four times. (More about our visits to Skansen here.)
- Junibacken: great small theme park type area based on Scandinavian stories. Clearly more aimed at Theo than us, but we all enjoyed the story train.
- The Vasa Museum: a huge ship! (And some other interesting exhibits to go along with it. More about our visit to the Vasa Museum here.)
- Free Tour Stockholm: I took the Södermalm and Old Town tours and learned a bunch about the history and popular stops in those neighborhoods. (Even though they are called free tours, you’re supposed to tip, which I happily did.)
- Buses: clean, reliable, and frequent. If you’re an adult riding with a child in a stroller, both you (one adult) and the child are completely free. Just hop in the back doors and you’re set. (Apparently, dogs can ride in the back too, though we didn’t test this with a dog of our own.)
- Subway: because we weren’t near a subway stop (and because we had Theo in his stroller as our free “bus ticket”) we didn’t use the subway as much as the bus. However, the subway stations are pretty awesomely decorated.
- Ferry: we used this to travel between Södermalm (where we lived) and Djurgarden (where many of the museums live) a couple of times. It’s a quick, easy ride.
I was frequently told (by books, other tourists, and Stockholmer’s themselves) that Swedish people are quiet and reserved. I’m not quite sure why they thought this, unless they are comparing Swedish people to say, the stereotype of Italians. I had so many interesting conversations with Swedish people on playgrounds, restaurants, and even in buses. Maybe it was just a good personality fit.