Stockholm shines at any time of the year, and it’s been dazzling both its own residents and travelers for centuries. The city has been welcoming lesbian brides into its churches since 2009, and there’s a reason why gay couples around the world declare their love for one another in Stockholm.
Stop by for a visit and find out why.
STOP BY FOR A CUPPA
In Sweden, friends often meet for fika, which means a coffee and a chat. Schedule in your fika to catch up on the gossip from the night before or meet new friends, and don’t forget to include a Swedish pastry.
Cafes worthy of a fika date include Drop Coffee, Snickarbacken 7, or get your Lisbeth Salander on and visit Mellqvist café, which is featured in Steig Lasson’s famous novels. Café Chokladkoppen in the Old Town is an institution within the gay community in Stockholm and also has a delicious food menu.
Also good for fika or a meal is lesbian-owned café Copacabana, which offers vegan and vegetarian snacks, a strong lesbian clientele and an adjacent movie theater, making this spot perfect for lazy afternoon of lunch and a matinee.
THE QUEER CITY´S PRIDE
The lesbian calendar isn’t relegated to just pride season, but timing a visit along with pride festivities is sure to amp up the gay quotient of any trip. Stockholm Pride festival brings parties, performers and activities, with warm days filled with thousands of rainbow flag-wielding revelers. The festivities culminate in the pride parade, which sees 50,000 participants and over 500,000 spectators join together in celebration.
OUT ON THE TOWN
Lesbians are welcome to join any party in Sweden, but if you’re looking for a girls night out, head over to one of the weekly lesbian parties like Club KG, where girls dance and mingle every Saturday night.
Moxy offers special parties throughout the year, which often pull in thousands of women of all ages and types. Moxy believes that behind every successful party is a collection of good DJs, so make sure to wear your dancing shoes.
Tjejfesten means “girl party” in Swedish, and happens once per month, on Fridays. With parties that often draw hundreds of girls and occasionally raise money for breast cancer and other causes, it’s the perfect place to mingle with friendly Swedish locals.
Stockholm is surrounded by water, and one of the best places to enjoy it is at Mälarpaviljongen, a restaurant and bar, which is a must during its open season of April to September.
CULTURE ON THE INSIDE
After all those parties, it’s time to soak up some culture. A dazzling array of attractions fills Stockholm’s metropolis, and there’s enough open space and water views that even a walk from one museum to the next feels like its own holiday stroll.
On the water with views of the city, an outdoor bar makes the Fotografiska museum the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon enjoying a perfect mix of art and libations. The carefully curated exhibits have included work by Robert Mapplethorpe, friend of Patti Smith, and Dave LaChapelle.
Just minutes from downtown Stockholm, the island oasis of Millesgarden features a museum and sculpture garden with plenty of places to rest tired feet and enjoy both the sunshine and the art of famous Swedish sculptor Carl Milles. He’s known for his erotic works, and don’t worry, lesbians haven’t been left out.
Sweden has had a king for more than 1,000 years, and the Royal Palace has 600 rooms, including the royal residence. But it’s not only the stomping ground of the crown – the palace is open for visitors year-round, and offers a museum, events and tours. Make sure to pop into the gift shop to get your own silver and gold to take home.
Nothing like a 17th century ship salvaged from the depths of the sea to really give you an excuse to speak like a pirate for a day. Head over to the Vasa museum and see the ship that took more than half a century to restore. Back then it was unlucky to bring women out to sea, but several women during the 17th century dressed as men and worked as seamen.
It’s almost a lesbian rite of passage to head to Ikea on the weekend with your girlfriend, but when in Sweden, take her instead to the Museum of Architecture for another look at Swedish design. Ladies with kids in tow should stop in on a Sunday, when the museum offers creative activities for kids.
It isn’t a trip to Sweden without a little ABBA boogie. The long-awaited ABBA museum is located in the Music Hall of Fame home, and the museum promises that those who walk in will dance their way out.
Get a crash course on life in Stockholm from centuries ago until today, all housed in a building from the 1600s at the Stockholm City Museum. A range of exhibits also includes a Millennium tour that follows in the footsteps of Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander (too bad a date with her isn’t included).
Sweden has its bevy of lesbian icons, and Greta Garbo is perhaps one of its most notable. Pay homage to the Golden Age of Hollywood and offer your respects at Garbo’s final resting place at Unesco World Heritage Skogskyrkogården.
JUMP RIGHT IN
Stockholm is surrounded by water and there are 30,000 islands to explore in the surrounding archipelago. Travelers can spend a day or more cruising in ships that come with their own chefs on board, or grab a ferry and island hop for a few days like a member of the glitterati. And once your feet touch land, activities on the islands include hiking, kayaking and camping.
If cruising far from the city center isn’t on the itinerary, jump right into the water in the center of town. Locals converge on swimming spots along the beaches of Långholmsbadet, Reimersholme and Rålambshovsbadet.
HANG YOUR HAT LOVE
Don’t hang your hat just anywhere. Stockholm is full of all types of hotels for all types of budgets. Hotels in Stockholm are as welcoming as the city they’re in, and staff won’t bat an eye at two women requesting one bed, or snuggling up together in the lounge for cocktails.
Look to Berns to bring a bit of glam to your night, with deep red furniture, crystal chandeliers and vaulted ceilings. The venue offers a cocktail bar at the top of a spiral staircase, a restaurant on the ground floor and a dance club in the basement that often hosts gay-friendly parties. Want to keep it going all night? No problem; Berns is also a designer hotel.
Nordic Light Hotel
Haven’t had a chance to make it up to the Arctic Circle to see the Northern Lights? No problem. Chic designer hotel Nordic Light has brought the aurora borealis down from the sky and inside its walls, creating an atmosphere with hundreds of sources of light that change as guests move through the hotel.
Hotel Skeppsholmen is housed in historic buildings going back to the 1700s, and every room has a story. The hotel often sits at the top of best-of lists, and is located on an island in the middle of Stockholm, making this designer hotel the perfect blend of minimalist design and unrivaled sanctuary.
Head to any dance floor in Sweden and there’s sure to be at least a few ABBA hits in rotation. Keep the party going and make it like a super fan by staying in a hotel owned by former ABBA band member Benny Andersson. Completely renovated while sticking to the building’s art deco past, Stockholm locals often gather in the hotel’s bar to sip cocktails and mingle. Rival offers swanky hotel rooms upstairs, which include fun touches like surround sound in the bathrooms and access to the hotel’s DVD library.
The most desirable square in the Swedish version of Monopoly is Norrmalmstorg Square, and it’s in that valuable spot the Nobis Hotel calls home. The hotel offers impressive, well-appointed rooms and a lounge in a large inner courtyard with 80-foot ceilings. With a central location and a high level of service, this hotel defines modern luxury.
Dark woods, deep jewel tones and a quiet neighborhood makes this hotel the place for travelers looking for a sanctuary in the heart of Stockholm. In a building dating from the late 1800s, the hotel offers a glass-enclosed breakfast room and there’s evening with live jazz or other intimate concerts in the bar during the week.
A beekeeping enterprise on the roof of this hotel translates to fresh honey for guests at the breakfast bar. It’s these small details, along with an enviable hilltop location, that makes the Hilton just what we’d expect from this eponymous hotel chain.
Large, family-friendly rooms that don’t scrimp on sweeping city views makes this hotel perfect for groups or families. Located in the heart of the city, it’s just across from the bridge from the Old Town, making it a quick walk from a spacious room to cobblestoned alleyways and walks along the water.
Clarion Sign Hotel
For a mix of convenience, space and luxury the Clarion Sign Hotel offers impeccable accommodations near Central Station and the airport’s Arlanda Express, making sure those travellers on the move don’t have to scrimp on style. The hotel also houses American Table, a brasserie and bar created by famous Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson.
Relaxed and elegant, this boutique hotel offers Italian bed linen and a personal touch. Each room has been designed with a unique personality in mind and no two rooms are the same. Some rooms face the Royal Palace and the harbor, and the hotel is even animal friendly (according to the hotel, dogs and cats are welcome, as are snakes, so don’t leave yours at home).
GETTING INTO TOWN
Thinking about that carbon footprint? Mix convenience, comfort and good karma by taking the Arlanda Express, an ecofriendly train to and from the airport. And if you have your lesbian softball team in tow, rent out a group train car.
SO WHEN ARE YOU FLYING IN?
Few cities in the world offer such abundant culture in such idyllic surroundings than Stockholm, a city surrounded by famous blue waters and packed with more than any traveler could do in one trip.
Slick, stylish and ready for anything, Stockholm is the perfect place for the lesbian traveler with its mix of cultural attractions, pumping nightlife and outdoor activities. As the capital of Scandanavia, Stockholm holds that title well, counting itself as one of the most welcoming cities in the world. Feel free to hold your girlfriend’s hand while you explore the city – it’s not just accepted, but celebrated.
Jump right in!