You may have heard that Stockholm is one of the most beautiful, fashionable and expensive cities in the world. All of those things are true! But don’t let the third one dissuade you from visiting this true northern gem.
Swedes enjoy a ridiculously amazing amount of free or heavily discounted culture. Add to this the physical beauty of the city and you have an endless supply of fun at low to no cost. Here is a small sample of my absolute faves:
Free theatre in the park!
Imagine you are sitting in a beautiful city park bathed in sunshine, sipping wine and enjoying a picnic while watching a world class rendition of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Sound idyllic? Expensive? Actually it’s completely free (except you need to BYO picnic and wine). Parkteatern puts on a wide range of classic and modern theatre performances, as well as dance, spoken word and other artistic shindigs each year.
Free world class museums!
“Moderna” the Modern Museum is by far my favourite. Featuring an eclectic selection of the rock stars of modern art- Warhol, Magritte, Picasso, Dali, Mondrian, Pollock, Bacon, a garden of weird and wonderful Niki de Saint Phalle sculptures – the collection is always free to enjoy, and most exhibits are free as well. Located on a quaint islet in the middle of the city, this is an art space not to be missed.
Family ties– My grandma worked here when the famed museum director Pontus Hulten was boss and would tell me stories of transporting rare Picasso’s and a pair of shoes on a silver platter evoking Thanksgiving turkey that never ceased to bewilder and perplex customs officials. She also witnessed the Andy Warhol exhibit that covered the Western wing of the museum in neon yellow and pink cow head wallpaper, pieces of which are still at the museum today.
Other free museums include the Swedish history museum, Army Museum, National Museum, Museum of Ethnography and more!
Parks, parks and more parks!
Stockholm is a green city with tons of beautiful parks in which to enjoy picnics, people watching and playtime. It is legal to drink in most public places in the city as well, so grab some Prosecco and make your picnic a classy affair.
My go-to park with a view is Skinnaviksberget, a hill overlooking Old Town. A favourite after work spot for locals, in the evening the hill quickly fills with an eclectic mix of city dwellers catching up with friends, barbecuing, playing their favourite tunes and getting dangerously close to toppling down from their perches as they revel in the Swedish summer sun.
The cutest little amusement park you ever did see is also home to a wide range musical acts throughout the summer. I caught a local hip hop group there last week and going to see Lionel Richie tonight! For the price of 240 SEK (35 CAD) you get a seasons pass that guarantees you entrance to all of the musical acts and the entire fairgrounds all summer long. If you prefer to see your favourite artist while hanging upside down from a roller coaster you can grab a discounted ride pass (only on concert nights).
Stockholm is a city situated on and surrounded by islands. One can spend a ton getting to those islands, or do it for free with a transit pass. The SL card gets you on boats, trams and busses to that serene, windswept, warm feeling that the Swedes longingly call skärgårdsidyll.
Have you visited Stockholm? Share your fave budget or baller travel tips below…