Stockholm: A City So Chill It Has Mandatory Coffee Breaks

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After Copenhagen, we hopped on a super short (1 hr 15 min or so) flight over to Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, another country and city known for being almost scarily pleasant, and already living in the Bernie-esq superworld we wish we had. On the plane, I actually found an article in Wired about a guy from ABBA in the process of turning Sweden into a cashless society. As someone who hates an ATM fee or credit card charge, I’m onboard. When I find out Stockholm has a population of 900k and the entire country 10million, it makes a little more sense how they have it so good, but I’m still jealous and insanely curious.

Where we stayed: This was my first experience staying at an AirBnB shared apartment, and I’d definitely do it again. Typically I rent the entire apartment, but this cute spacious bedroom within an apartment on the island of Sodermalm (Stockholm is made up of a bunch of little islands that are both neighborhoods with subneighborhoods within them) worked out great for us, and was a prety good deal.

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Where we ate: Stockholm had some amazing food, and we decided to go for a more casual vibe a little less less 10 course meal approach this time, coming from Copenhagen.

Nytorget 6 this adorable French inspired bistro was walking (or city biking!) distance from our apartment and delicious. The interior was insanely beautiful with an open kitchen framed with red curtains to look like a stage, a mirrored bar, and chandeliers everywhere.

Shanti Gossip after a day of shopping we ended up at this Bengali street food cafe. While it isn’t Swedish food, this take on meatballs was DELICIOUS, so affordable, and so different from everything else we ate that week. Like Copenhagen, Stockholm is pretty expensive, 30% or more than something in a major US City. This lunch special was around $10 USD, an amazing lunch special even in LA.

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Brewdog this casual eatery was a place we stopped by out of desperation and hunger our first night, but was surprisingly delicious and has an awesome selection of craft beers and custom brews and a cozy vibe. As cute for working on your laptop during the day as it would be to go out with friends at night. Warning though, this was one of the times where I was like, how on earth was 1 beer, 1 soda, and two sandwiches $60.

Haktet this bar and restaurant is hidden in what was formerly a prison! A beautiful cocktail and wine menu and modern Swedish dinner menu totally won us over, and the waiter was so adorable and heard us talking and put this little California flag he had from a Napa Valley Wine tasting event on our table (and poured me a few glasses for free!).

Meatballs for the People as a huge fan of The Meatball Shop mini chain in NY, I was dying to try this place out. Their traditional meatball plate was delicious as was a more modern take on the meatball in a sandwich with goat cheese. We sat outside and enjoyed the first week of Swedish Spring which we AMAZINGLY arrived just in time for.

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& daily fikka. Okay so this is what I was talking about in the title of this blog. Fikka is the name of a coffee break that is super popular in Stockholm and among Sweden. Taking place at around 9am and 3pm, though I’m sure you can do it whenever you’d like, the streets get slightly busier and people leave work to grab a coffee and often a pastry like a cinnamon bun or cardamom lavender pastry. I’m really not even a sweets person, but the general chillness / appreciation for work/life balance and happiness that is symbolized by the normalcy of a mid day break really stood out to me. Goals tbh.

A few of the things we did between lounging in a thousand parks:

ABBA Museum: You can read a lot more about this on a blog Drew ended up writing here but as I guess what you’d consider an ABBA fan, this was WILD. For a semi-hefty price tag of about $30 USD, the museum takes at least 1.5 hours and is super interactive and worth it even for those who have only seem Mamma Mia once. You really don’t realize how big of a deal ABBA is to Sweden until you see this. You can also swing by the Swedish Music Hall of Fame while you’re there on the same ticket and see things like the platform Timbs Robyn wore in her music video.

Shopping in Sodermalm: I was a huge fan of a store called Grandpa, but the entire area surrounding it was filled with boutiques, vintage, and thrift stores (and a lot of beautiful people).

Photography Museum: Okay so what kind of museum is open until midnight and has no security guards in the exhibits? This one. So Swedish. I really felt like I was in someone’s private collection. Apparently in Summer this museum hosts parties and DJ events too.

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Sodra Teatern Park: Stockholm is a park city. And I thought you could say that about SF, or at least NY, they really have nothing on this. Every single block we walked, or biked, we came across a little square with a park, fountain, benches, and little coffee shop or cart for everyone looking to get their fikka on. And the parks were each FILLED with people. I of course assumed they all worked at Spotify because that’s the only company I know based in Stockholm, but then I remembered the maternity and paternity leave laws in Sweden and realized that may have something to do with it. And even for the non-parents relaxing in the park, it was the first week of Spring (20 hours of daylight!) after months of freezing, pitch black winter, a lot of them may have just been playing hooky.

OOOO (still no idea how to pronounce this) My friend from college in San Francisco, Sameet, invited me to a party called OOOO, or is the venue called OOOO, I really couldn’t tell you. I couldn’t even tell you how to say it. Now picture me and Drew insanely lost asking people on the street where OOOOOOOO is. Yep. When we finally found it, we went through an unsuspecting sports bar and bowling alley, through a staff kitchen, and into a club space. The event went from 11-5am, which on our last night was not realistic, but had a minimal house / techno vibe and actually had a bar selling full bottles of Cava for $30 USD (nothing I had seen ANYWHERE on this entire trip). I could see myself having an Output Brooklyn vibe here. Super casual vibe, as with most of what I saw of Stockholm. A lot of jeans, Adidas, black bomber jackets, no heels or dresses anywhere to be seen.

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A few bars I didn’t get to check out but researched and def want to check out next time:

Boqueria

Kaken Niklas

Grannan Bar

Fylkingen

Tradgarden & Under the Bridge

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