Not for nothing is this Nordic beauty the unofficial capital of Scandinavia: Stockholm is a growing center of great food, cutting-edge design and postcard scenes of storybook bridges, canals and architecture.
Author Chaney Kwak Photography Nicholas Pitt
DAY THREE | At breakfast, you sip your black coffee at Mellqvist Kaffebar, a spartan wood-and-tile neighborhood joint made famous by Stieg Larsson’s Nordic noir novels. You are on Hornsgaten, a busy thoroughfare that scratches Södermalm’s trendy veneer to reveal its working-class roots. Dive bars and budget eateries abound, but so do chic secondhand stores. Designer Filippa K runs a used clothing shop here, ETC, that sells only her designs; Herr Judit is a carefully curated men’s vintage boutique; and Stadsmission is like a Salvation Army styled by a Vogue editor.
Next, venture to the most bustling part of Södermalm. SoFo, or South of Folkungagatan, has become a mecca for international trendsetters. The best way to experience SoFo is to simply amble and explore the intersections where sophisticated Swed ish style and bohemian sensibilities cross. After all, the home of H&M taught us that chic doesn’t always mean extravagant. The shops on Asögatan satisfy your appetite for Swedish furniture, while vintage stores clustered around Bondegatan and Södermannagatan are good bets for quirky souvenirs like a Pippi Longstocking lunch box.
Stop off at Nytorget Urban Deli, a grocery/restaurant with an open kitchen that sends out bistro favorites with a Nordic twist, like asparagus served with herring. You utter “dagens lunch,” referring to the reasonably priced daily special that pops up on every chalkboard menu. Soon you find a chèvre gratin topped with arugula in front of you.
After shopping and eating, you’re longing for some fine art. You take a brisk walk to the waterfront and enter a converted brick warehouse to explore Fotografiska, which opened in 2010 and quickly became a heavyweight in the European cultural landscape. Inside, you explore three floors of exhibition space showcasing photography exhibits, like a retrospective of Robert Mapplethorpe featuring over 200 prints.
When you leave the darkroom-like museum, the refresh ing sea wind adds an extra spring to your step. Stroll along the waterfront to Slussen, the transportation hub where Lake Mälaren greets the Baltic Sea. There, hop on the Katarinahissen, a 125-foot antique elevator, and find yourself at Erik’s Gondolen, a renowned restaurant.
Settle at the bar, a glass jetty jutting into the air, where young professionals rub shoulders with middle-aged couples rekindling romance. You order a Per’s, champagne mixed with triple sec and fresh strawberries. Down below, a spectacular vista of the city unfolds like a sequence of postcards from your past three days: the lush dollop of Skeppsholmen, fairy tale Old Town and rustic Djurgården afloat on pristine waters. The setting sun tints the Nordic skies pink like your drink. “Skål,” you say, and toast the golden archipelago.
(1) Mellqvist Kaffebar Hornsgatan 78; Tel: 8-30-23-80
(2) ETC Hornsgatan 64; Tel: 8-84-20-00
(3) Herr Judit Hornsgatan 65; Tel: 8-658-30-37
(4) Stadsmission Hornsgatan 58; Tel: 8-642-93-35
(5) SoFo South of Folkungagatan, Södermalm
(6) Nytorget Urban Deli Nytorget 4; Tel: 8-599-091-80
(7) Fotografiska Stadsgårdshamnen 22; Tel: 8-509-005-00
(8) Katarinahissen Katarinavägen 1; Tel: 8-743-13-95
(9) Erik’s Gondolen Stadsgården 6; Tel: 8-641-70-90