Lola’s Stockholm

Hello city-lovers! Today’s city is Stockholm, Sweden. Photographer and travel writer Lola Akinmade

has been shuttling between Stockholm and the States for the last couple of years, and is still discovering the cool nooks and crannies of this gorgeous cosmopolitan Scandinavian city.

Stockholm is My City

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The first place I take a visitor from out of town is historic Gamla Stan.

When I crave the freshest pastries–especially world-class semlors–I always go to Vete-Katten.

To escape the crowds, I head for a walk around the island of Långholmen.

If I want to “fika” (take a coffee break complete with yummy baked goods), I go to Café 60.

For complete quiet, I sit on rocks along the water’s edge (Lilla Värtan) on the island of Lidingö.

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If you come to my city, get your picture taken with a sexy Swedish guard at the Royal Palace.
If you have to order one thing off the menu inside IKEA Kungens Kurva, it has to be Gravad lax with Hovmästarsås and boiled yellow almond potatoes.

Åhléns is my one-stop shop for everything from affordable clothes to home décor and DVDs.

Locals know to skip the touristy Drottninggatan (Queen’s Street) and head out to the neighborhood of Södermalm (“Söder”) instead.

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When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go to Hötorget (Haymarket) for the freshest fruits and vegetables in town.

For a huge splurge I go to Hötorgshallen for gourmet seafood, meats, and cheeses from around the world.

Photo ops in my city include the views taken from Skinnarviksberget across Riddarfjärden and from the Stockholm City Hall.

Some of the best vantage points around town are from Katarinahissen (Katarina Elevator) in Slussen, Ersta Terrass, and Fåfängan.

If my city were a celebrity it’d be ABBA.

The most random thing about my city are Korvgubben stands that sell tunnbrödsrulle–flat thin bread filled with mashed potatoes, hot dog, and a myriad of concoctions!

My city has the most men with rectangular-shaped glasses/spectacles.

My city has the most women in skinny jeans (or leggings) tucked into low-heeled boots.

In my city, an active day outdoors involves people-watching on Drottninggatan!  Seriously, for outdoorsy activities, pick up a City Bike from any of their pickup stations, and explore the city on two wheels.

My city’s best (classic) museum is the Vasamuseet (Vasa Museum) dedicated to the world’s only standing 17th-century (as in 1628!) naval warship.

My favorite walking route is along Djurgårdsbrunnsviken on the island of Djurgården.

For live music and performances, check out Sodra Teatern.

Helenes Krog is the spot for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read På stan and What’s On: Stockholm.

You can tell a lot about my city from the way people act on the tunnelbana.

You can tell if someone is from my city if you actually have to say “Hej!”

(hello) to them first. Swedes tend to be more reserved.

In the spring you should head over to Rosendals Trädgård to check out the most beautiful rose and flower gardens.

In the summer you should experience Smaka På Stockholm (Taste of Stockholm) to sample the best culinary delights the city has to offer.

In the fall you should cruise to one of the 24,000 islands within the Stockholm archipelago for a panoramic contrast of changing red, yellow, and orange leaves, blue waters, and Falu red and white cottages.

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In the winter you should head up north for skiing or to Swedish Lapland to try dog sledding, moose safaris, and to visit the famous Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Kiruna.

If you can’t head up north to the Ice Hotel, a must-see when visiting my city is the Absolut Icebar located within the Nordic Sea Hotel in Stockholm.

On a sunny summer day, a hidden gem in my city are the rocks of Fredhäll and the nearby cafe, Solstugan (“Sun Cabin”).

For a great traditional brunch, hop aboard the S/S Stockholm for  a three-hour, Scandinavian-style brunch cruise  and fill up on herring (sill) and salmon (lax) to last you weeks.

Don’t miss the Valborg festival in April when bonfires are lit up all over the city to welcome spring.

Just 70 kilometers outside my city, you can visit the university town of Uppsala, home to the Cathedral of Uppsala that dates back to 1287!

The best way to see my city is by boat–hands down!

If my city were an animal it would be a seagull. Swedes thrive around water, though not as squeaky and loud.

When I think about my city, the song that comes to mind is “Dancing Queen” by ABBA, of course.

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss Skansen–the world’s oldest open-air museum complete with an amusement park, aquarium, and zoo boasting Scandinavian wildlife such as elk, reindeer, and wolves.

The Stockholm Stiletto Run could only happen in my city. A bunch of ladies racing in six-inch stiletto heels. Ouch.

My city should be featured on your cover or website because it’s one of the most stunning cities on earth!

For more information about Stockholm, check out Traveler’s Places of a Lifetime guide online.

Photos: Lola Akinmade