Stockholm is a delight for foodies, as superb traditional Swedish fare is on offer along with trendy international restaurants. Stockholm's Old Town, Gamla Stan, is a great place to start for visitors intent on eating their way around the city.
However, it is a good idea to explore the little side streets for gastro pubs frequented by locals, as these are both more authentic and less expensive than the touristy eateries on the main drag. Most of Stockholm's main islands have a restaurant scene to investigate. For restaurants with character, the Sodermalm district is a wonderful option. It's a trendy, young neighbourhood with a selection of artistic eateries.
Unsurprisingly for a city comprised of islands, Stockholm is known for its exceptional seafood. Classic Swedish cuisine commonly includes seafood such as herring, salmon, and shellfish, but for lovers of red meat, the Swedish meatballs and venison are also renowned. Desserts often incorporate blueberries and cloudberries, which are great favourites with the locals.
Although eating out in Stockholm is notoriously expensive, those on a budget can save money by filling up on the generous lunch specials offered by many restaurants, especially in Gamla Stan. Of course, there are plenty of fast food options as well, but travellers should opt instead for the reasonably priced markets dotted around the city, where fresh and organic produce can be tasted in both local and international flavours.
Shopping in Stockholm can be an expensive affair, with treasured souvenirs including Swedish glass products, wooden furniture in blond pine or birch, and of course wooden and ceramic Swedish clogs. Most shops in Stockholm are open 10am to 6pm from Monday to Friday, and from 10am till lunch on Saturday.
There are a number of shopping areas in Stockholm, some of the trendiest being Gamla Stan, Sergels Torg, Kungsgatan, and SoFo (South of Folkungagatan). Other good shopping districts in Stockholm include Drottninggatan, Harrngatan, Hotorget and Stureplan.
Vasterlanggatan Street in Gamla Stan has good antique shops, while Kungsgatan is home to the Drottninggatan pedestrian mall. The renowned Gallerian shopping centre in Sergels Torg has a variety of high-street and brand-name outlets to browse through, and nearby department stores include NK and Ahlens. The PUB department store is located in Hotorget.
However, much of Sweden's pop-cultural influence is designed and sold on Sodermalm Island, in a little area known as SoFo. SoFo is home to some of the most impressive boutique and concept stores to be found anywhere in the world, where shoppers can delight in minimalist, edgy Swedish fashion, or find organic, local cosmetics. But visitors shouldn't be fooled by some of the high prices, as SoFo is for the youth and is home to plenty of well-priced vintage stores where some interesting classics can be had on the cheap.
Stockholm has a vibrant nightlife with a multitude of bars, clubs, and jazz venues to enjoy. Admission and drinks prices are quite high in Stockholm but the opening hours are long (many nightclubs stay open until 3am or 4am, and big clubs stay open as late as 5am), ensuring a good night out. Stockholm has a busy theatre calendar that runs from mid-August to mid-June, with a few special summer performances in between.
The most popular nightlife venues in Stockholm are in Stureplan and surrounds, while many of the most popular indoor and outdoor events are held in Djurgarden. Adventurous (and warmly dressed) visitors will want to have a drink at Stockholm's permanent Ice Bar, located near the Central Station.
There is also a thriving gay nightlife in Stockholm, with many nightclubs and bars concentrated on the island of Sodermalm. Stockholm Pride attracts tens of thousands of people to Stockholm in August every year for the massive party and parade centred on Pride Park.
There is a busy jazz scene in Stockholm, and there is plenty of live music of all types to enjoy, with a number of popular festivals. There is something happening seven days a week, so visitors should make sure to check out online listings to plan their trip.