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One City, Five Hours: Stockholm

Author Lola Akinmade Illustration Oliver Jeffers

01 One block from Central Station, you’ll find the Nordic Sea Hotel (Vasaplan 4, www.nordicseahotel.se), where you can slip on a cozy thermal cape and descend into the frigid Absolut Ice Bar to sip vodka from glasses made of ice and sit on chairs made of…ice. Pretty cool. ( 0:20 )

02 Warm up with a brisk march over to Konditori Vete-Katten (Kungsgatan 55, www.vetekatten.se) for a midday fika—the Swedish custom of drinking coffee, socializing and eating sweets. Try the semla, a gooey almond paste and whipped cream–filled bun. Then try one more—you have time. ( 0:50 )

03 Head down to the pedestrian-friendly Drottninggatan on the way to Gamla stan, Stockholm’s historic old town. Pop into the H&M clothing store (you’re in its homeland, after all) on your way to the Royal Palace (Slottsbacken 1, www.royalcourt.se), where the only things more beautiful than the architecture are the guards. ( 1:45 )

04 Hungry again? Wow, you’re insatiable. Hop into Melanders Fisk Skeppsbron (Tullhus 2, www.melanders.se) for a Swedish classic like the rimmad lax med dillstuvad potatis (salmon with dill potatoes). ( 2:10 )

05 Stockholm is best enjoyed by boat, so walk to Räntmästartrappan and board a ferry to Djurgården (Djurgardsfarjan, www.waxholmsbolaget.se). Take in the panoramic view as you cross the Riddarfjärden and think of all the tasty lax swimming below. ( 2:40 )

06 Once on the island of Djurgården, skip the garish amusement park and head straight to Skansen (Djurgårdsslätten 49-51, www.skansen.se), the world’s oldest open-air museum. Make a beeline for the zoo for a glimpse of Scandinavian wildlife and learn an important lesson: Reindeer can’t fly. ( 3:25 )

07 Stroll over to the Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet, Galärvarvsvägen 14, www.vasamuseet.se) and marvel at the impressive 17th century Viking ship. Sure, it’s a little beat up, but if you spent more than 300 years on the ocean floor, you would be too. ( 4:05 )

08 Leaving Stockholm without appreciating its art history is heresy. Take a cab to the Nationalmuseum (Södra Blasieholmshamnen, www.nationalmuseum.se) and check out some 17th century furniture; unlike some of Sweden’s more modern stuff, this was built to last. ( 5:00 )

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