24 hours in stockholm
Stockholm is one of the most pleasant places we've been. I don't use the word lightly: water was everywhere, the nicest people, fantastic food (kardemummabullar! caviar!) everything was just so perfectly lovely, especially as we caught 75-degree sunny summer weather. My biggest regret was not having more time, and also not returning to Bar Agrikultur (more below). An unexpected gem.
Sodermalm: A neighborhood often compared to Williamsburg, but it felt a bit gentler to me. Envision chic 30-something couples, lots of little bars, and generally an adorable neighborhood. A few places to swing by: Drop Coffee, Bageri Petrus, and Parlans, a confectionary famed for its caramels (check their hours before visiting - we attempted twice, but sadly never made it.)
Gamla Stan: The old part of town with little medieval houses, all awfully sweet. Worth a wander through as you meander around.
Moderna Musset: A museum I had wanted to visit for years. (We had actually ordered a print from there not long ago and couldn't get over the exhibits they offered.) Their standing collection was one of the best I've seen -- tightly curated, many recognizable names, but lots of less familiar as well, including a great mix of Scandinavian artists. Totally accessible and in a lovely airy space.
Fotografiska: The photography museum is on the water, and perhaps most importantly, is open very late. (Some of their advertisements inside proclaim them the longest open museum or something equally silly, which is an odd claim to fame for a museum of art, but also... practical.). We popped in after dinner with no aim, wandering through a mix of fashion shots and fantasy-esque landscapes and finally to Evelyn Benciova, with futurist, tightly wound scenes (the site describes them as "sterile" which seems most apt.)
Acne Archive: Acne is based in Stockholm and conveniently has a little shop that sells off sample items and slightly "off" pieces. A dangerous place, but so truly fun and felt terribly Swedish. Note that they also have an Outlet, but it's a bit further out -- on our list for next time, as apparently that's where all the denim hangs out.
Public library: Built as a rotunda -- the pictures are stunning, but alas, we got there minutes after they closed! (A peek through the door confirmed general beauty - please visit on our behalves.)
Djurgarden & Rosendals Tradgard: The Central Park of Stockholm, but lovely and homier. The cafe is housed in a greenhouse and quite well known - food looked fresh and families were eating under fruit trees outside.
If we had had more time: I would have loved to go to Artipelag, a venue in the woods on Varmdo Island; people swear by the Vasa Museum; and Skogskyrkogården is a UNESCO-site cematary.
Bar Agrikultur: Bar Agrikultur alone is a reason to purchase a flight and go to Stockholm immediately. I don't know if I've ever had a nicer time at a meal, ever... and that was rolling off a red eye, no less. Sit outside on the little street, while small children play in the park across the street, drink their housemade gin (unlike any I've had before), order charred beans with tarragon sauce or cabbage with lardo or blistered tomatoes. It's the dream neighborhood spot.
Speceriet: The casual sister restaurant to a fancier sibling (or so Eater informed me). We swung by as dinner #1 of the night and while I have no regrets (see Speceriet, dinner #2, right below)... I do wish we could have stayed longer. A quiet twisty street, glasses of wine, brilliant little small plates with lovely updates on classic ingredients.
Sturehof: Our dear friend A is Swedish and handed us an amazing list of recs before our visit. High on her list was Sturehof, described by her to be in the vein of NY's Balthazar. It was totally buzzy, with ridiculous people watching, awful waiters, and really great food. Sit on the sidewalkand don't miss the little potatoes smothered in fish roe, one of the many, many kinds of herring, or the shrimp & avocado salad.
Note: Ostermalms Saluhall, a 19th century food hall is supposed to be fantastic -- rumored to be under renovation when we were there, we did not go explore.
Also, we lunched at Oaxen Slip on the water (hilariously close to the Abba Museum and an easy walk from Rosendals). While great decor and some great food (smoked shrimps!) it was overall a bit uneven and too frou frou. Cut if you're there only a day.
Sweets & Coffee
Fabrique: Fabrique, oh Fabrique. Another recommendation from A, and the moment I threw a picture online I discovered it was also the favorite of about ten friends. If you go to Stockholm, you go to Fabrique, and hopefully several times. A chain of pastry and breads, it's famous for its cinnamon and cardamon buns. We tried many, many buns in our 24 hours, and Fabrique held the top slot with no hesitation. Beautifully spiced, gorgeous exterior, chewy inside without the overly yeasty breadiness common in the US. Heaven all around.
Green Rabbit: Takes the #2 slot for buns, with added points for being the most neighborhoody little spot, on a hilltop corner. (It felt like something out of an adorable 90s movie in the best possible way.) The rest of their pastries looked incredible, and I wish we had had been able to explore more, but alas - we remained laser focused on our cardamom tour.
Vete Katten: An old, old school bakery famed for only employing women in an area that did not employ women. Careful upon entry - there's a side entrance that looks like it might be the real entrance but actually only takes you to a small cramped takeaway counter. If, however, you enter through the grand corner doors you'll be invited into a very pleasant, old world spot. Struck me as best for an afternoon coffee & cake; the buns were not excellent.
Extra: Cafe Pascal is known to be excellent and close to the Library if you end up that way (we arrived on the big Swedish World Cup day, so they were all closed up, as they should be).