Skanstull, located on the far end of Södermalm, isn’t the prettiest part of town but what it lacks in looks it more than makes up in shopping and eating – and it’s one of the biggest neighbourhoods in Stockholm.
Ringen is found just as you come out of Skanstull tube station (on the green line) and is full of fashion shops such as H&M and MQ, toy stores, grocery stores, gyms, and even an emergency medical practice. Teatern, in the centre of Ringen, is a theatre-like food hall, with seating that goes up as in a theatre, and eating options that run from organic vegetarian at The Plant to fish stew at The Fishery.
Just across the street from Ringen is the Clarion Hotel, which is not only one of the best hotels in the city, but which also boasts a plethora of bars and restaurants, each with a unique vibe. The views are stunning and the vibe is very Söder cool.
Moving away north along Götgatan you’ll find Skrapan, the towering industrial former office block that used to be Sweden’s main tax office. Today, the upper floors are home to startup hubs, apartments, and various small businesses, while the lower three floors are given over to shopping and entertainment, with the wonderful restaurant The Terrace serving up fantastic food in what the owners call a ‘lunch oasis’. For sportier types, check out Bonne Mécanique, Stockholm’s first and only bike depot. Here you can service or repair your bike, buy spare parts and gadgets, grab a snack and a cup of coffee, and even visit the ‘flat tire course’.
There are also plenty of unique shops around Skanstull, including Sivletto, which is not only home to a barbershop and skincare salon, but also stocks own brand clothing, funky labels from around the world, and even vintage. Basically, you could spend an entire day here and never run out of things that would intrigue or delight you.
If you head south, you’ll find Eriksdalsbadet, Sweden’s National Swimming Hall. There are indoor and outdoor pools, Olympic-size pools for training, diving pools, pools with slides and floats for fun, kiddie pools, jacuzzis, saunas, even outdoor pools you can swim to from the inside – which is great fun in the winter. In summer this place is mobbed with the beautiful people of Södermalm, as well as plenty of families – and you are quite likely to run into one of Sweden’s Olympic swimmers, because this is where they train.
The area around Hornstull is one of the most up-and-coming areas in all of Stockholm. Long a bit of a backwater, it’s now undergoing something of a renaissance and is home to some of the best eateries, clubs, and cafés you’ll find.
Hornhuset begins at subway level, with clothing shops and an outlet of Sweden’s alcohol monopoly Systembolaget. Once you get to street level, it’s restaurants, bars, and cafés, including Stockholm’s best Peruvian restaurant Cebiceria Barranco, which is particularly fun on summer nights, when the terrace is beyond lively with happy revellers.
Close by, down by the waters of Hornstull Strand, you’ll find Hornstull Marknad, a massive outdoor market selling new and used goods that range from old 8mm projectors to handmade bags and dresses. This is also a great place to sample Stockholm’s thriving food truck scene.
For accommodation try Hotel Hellstens Malmgård, which is a former private manor from the late 1700s. Gorgeous wood floors, cosy rooms, and a great breakfast make this an excellent choice.
Mariatorget is the square that gives this charming neighbourhood its name. This is both old-school and modern, with pubs like the Halfway Inn and The Black & Brown Inn still going strong after decades on the scene, as well as ultra-cool Hotel Rival, which is backed by Abba’s Benny Andersson and is not only a great place to stay, but also a great place to eat, drink, and enjoy live entertainment.
If you head north from Mariatorget and cross Hornsgatan take any street that goes up – you’ll end up at the top of the cliffs of Södermalm, with outstanding views of the city and a chance to poke around one of the oldest (and now very wealthy) quarters of the city. There are wooden paths laid out along much of the cliffs and this is where you’ll find Monteliusvägen, which might just be the most charming little streets in Stockholm. Old wooden houses line the small street, and there’s a tiny park that overlooks the water to Kungsholmen and City Hall. Bring your camera!
Just around the corner from Mariatorget, on Hornsgatan, you’ll find the best cheese shop and bar in the city, Gamla Amsterdam (where dozens of free samples are put out every day), as well as Café & Co, an ‘office café’, where you’re welcome to work, eat, sip your coffee, take a meeting in a conference room, or conduct pretty much any business you’d like, as long as it’s legal. This is where entrepreneurs and startup types hang out, and don’t be surprised if a film or photo shoot is taking place during your visit. Another café to check out is Fabrique Stenugnsbageri, famed for its bread and pastries, including cinnamon buns that defy description.
Just across the bridge from Gamla Stan, Slussen is one of Stockholm’s major transportation hubs, and also one of the most eclectic areas of the city. One top tip is that a lot of interesting events that are geared towards the international community are held here at the Hilton Slussen, including the monthly Stockholm Tech event, and the American Club‘s monthly mingle, which is held on the third Thursday of the month and attracts a very international crowd.
For culture, head to Fotografiska, Sweden’s world-renowned photography museum. Exhibitions change regularly and there is normally at least three on at any given time. While there, take time to enjoy the café on the top floor. If McDonald’s Slussen has great views ,the café at Fotografiska has eye-watering ones – and the food’s not bad either.
Götgatan snakes south from Slussen and is home to plenty of shops, cafés and bars. Café Muggen serves giant cups of coffee and a great selection of both hot and cold food. Nearby you’ll find Restaurang Akkurat, which doesn’t look like much from the outside but once you pass through the doors you’ll find great food and fantastic live music in the evenings – and one of the best beer selections in town. And oddly enough, the McDonald’s at Slussen has one of the best views in the city. It overlooks the water where ferries come in and out all day long, as well as over to Djurgården and Skarholmen.