Normally when you wake up early due to jet lag, you can get a jump start on your day exploring the city. Again, I have to remind you there is not a lot of daylight in the winter. So even as we were walking around at 7am, there was no sunrise to see for another hour! Not to mention, coffee shops don’t even open until 7:30 or 8am. They really live slow in Stockholm compared to California, and it’s a nice, if not a bit frustrating, change of pace.
Nevertheless, we walked to City Hall and got some incredible views of the buildings across the water. The City Hall tower is open from May to September where you can buy a ticket to go up the tower to see some views. We stayed outside and still got to take some beautiful panos.
In search of breakfast, we landed at Restaurant Riche. A place that was on our list but also open early. Riche is located in Ostermalm, which is the wealthiest part of the city. You can tell right away because once you get off the train you are surrounded by old friends LV, Balenciaga, etc.
It was here that it became clear Swedish cuisine does not have much in the breakfast category. We ended up ordering traditional American dishes like omelette and french toast. Because of that, I would recommend coming here for a lunch or dinner menu because the food is certainly high quality (with a price tag to match). The smoked salmon in the omelette was very fresh and they put their own spin on the french toast.
It was still early so the famous food hall, Ostermalm Saluhall, was not yet open (9:30am), we decided to get a head start on navigating to Skansen for right when it opens.
Skansen // Taking the light rail
We identified the light rail that would take us to Skansen, but we failed to find the ticket machine that was at the very end of the stop. We jumped on board where there is a single ticket conductor that walks up and down the train scanning tickets. We asked to buy tickets in cash but he had run out of tickets to even sell us. He also explained that tickets purchased on board are double the price of tickets purchased at the machine. He let us off this time but told us to buy a ticket next time, thank you Swedish kindness!
Skansen is an open air museum that is basically a zoo, my favorite! I also have never been to a zoo in the winter so I was unsure what I would even be able to see. We purchased the combo ticket that includes entry to their aquarium (4/10 would not do the aquarium part again).
It’s basically a huge park that you follow a path through to see regular farm animals like ducks, chickens and horses but also Nordic animals like meese and reindeer! The bears are hiding for the winter but we got to see some fun animals in a snowy setting.
Conveniently located across the street from Skansen is my favorite restaurant we experienced in Stockholm. If you weren’t coming to visit Skansen, it’s a bit of a trek to get over here (about 10 minute walk from Vasa Museum) but otherwise I would highly recommend.
The inside setting is gorgeous with huge canoes and boats as ceiling decor. Oaxen Slip serves an a la carte menu but also a pre-fixe “slow lunch” that lasts 120 minutes. We’re pretty fast eaters and didn’t think we could eat that slowly. We ordered a fish stew (tomato based) and venison steak, one of their well-known dishes.
We also ordered their grogg which was a home-made minty lemonade that came with our choice of spirit – we got bourbon. It was light and quite delicious for a lunch time drink.
After lunch, we headed to Vasa Museum to see the huge restored ship from the 1600s. it’s on the same island as Skansen so good to do as a pair. We were dead tired at this point though and kind of blew through it. The museum is set up very nicely with the actual ship plus several exhibits that dig into the physical interior space, stories of women on the ship, deep dives into the excavation process, etc.
If you have a student ID, bring it! It comes in handy for museums like Vasa, Skansen and also train tickets.
Apparently a 3 hour nap was what we needed to feel alive again. We did not hit up particularly good or trendy bars, but we did accidentally get drunk waltzing around our hotel area (Normalm). Here’s what we had:
- Local beer at Generator Hostel’s downstairs bar
- Mulled wine at Duvel Cafe (pricier drinks but super cozy ambiance)
- Not very good drinks at Bar City Central
- Very strong Dugges Big Idjit at Kitchen & Table (inside a hotel)