Let your inner Bohemian run wild in Stockholm’s SOFO district where unconventional attitudes and traditional Swedish charm clash to create fascinating venues. The last Thursday of each month is SOFO Night when merchants stay open late and treat shoppers to free music, shows and refreshments.
Thanks to Stockholm City Bikes, you can “borrow a bike” from 110 stands scattered throughout town to peddle about for up to three hours at a time. A low-cost 3-day card gives you unlimited rides and unlocks any bicycle from the rack. This eco-friendly touring option is available April 1 – October 31 from 6am to 10pm. Download free Android apps to point out trendy SOFO hotspots you might miss otherwise.
Hunt for Treasures
Launch an expedition into one of Stockholm’s wildest and most renowned retro stores, Lisa Larsson Second Hand Boutique (Bondegatan 48). Join the celebrities and fashion experts who stalk these aisles searching for chic vintage clothes from the 30s through the 70s for both men and women. Another favorite, especially for Halloween and costume balls, is the Stockholm branch of Beyond Retro (Åsögatan 144) where fashion consultants will help you design knock-out ensembles.
Dance the Night Away
With mixologists formulating drinks like the SOFO Bull Cocktail (yes, it contains a shot of Red Bull), there’s plenty of incentive to kick up your heels and dance all night. Once the home of the Swedish “oompah” bands, the Göta Källare (Folkungagatan 45) has transformed into Stockholm’s hottest nightclub with three dance floors on two levels serviced by three bars. Often the scene of special events, concerts and top name acts, this cavernous establishment provides five VIP booths and a huge basement that can be reserved for private parties. For a more intimate dance scene, check out the Pet Sounds Bar (Skånegatan 80) where DJs spin on weekdays and live bands perform on weekends.
Bend an Elbow
Hang out with all kinds of different crowds in SOFO’s many bars and cocktail lounges. The Bar Nada (Åsögatan 140) promotes a cozy Swedish family atmosphere while the Big Ben Pub (Folkungagatan 97) assumes a decidedly English attitude. The elegant Aarts Food & Drink (Åsögatan 176) specializes in fine wines and beers from local microbreweries.
Grab a Bite
The SOFO district has no lack of charming coffee shops, cafes and fine dining establishments offering an international cornucopia of cuisines. The Restaurant Sardin (Skånegatan 79) serves up delicious tapas and a chicken liver mousse that has become legendary. The Restaurang Sonjas Grek (Bondegatan 54) offers Greek-themed lunch and dinners at a fair price. The popular Café Blue Lotus brings the taste of Turkey, India and Thailand to Sweden.
Catch a Flick
Chill out at the historical Victoria Cinema (Klippvägen 3), an architectural marvel with sloped walls in the theater so the floor is actually larger than the ceiling! Top-quality films in many languages range from modern blockbusters to cult classics. For those who like the passion of a live performance, the historical Göta Lejon Theater (Götgatan 55) presents everything from family shows to flashy musicals to cutting-edge concerts and stand-up comedy. Come early for dinner and party late at the bar.
Since the unbridled success of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” novels set in Stockholm, the demand for tattoos has exploded — seems everyone wants one for a souvenir! On SOFO night, Infamous Studio Tattoos (Kocksgatan 19) offers mini-tattoo specials that are quick and relatively painless.
Find Your Balance
Drop-ins and amateurs are welcome at Ashtanga Yoga (Gotlandsgatan 88) studio where qualified yoga instructors help students master their bodies and relax their minds. They offer introductory sessions to show beginners the basics and invite Yoga students from other disciplines to experience their approach to this ancient practice.
Smell the Flowers
Just outside the city center is the nature sanctuary of Rosendals Trädgård where the wonders of biodynamic gardening are shared with the public. Wander the beautifully manicured grounds planted with groves, vegetable gardens and flower beds. For a modest contribution, you can even pick your own bouquet! Dine at their café and bakery on delicious organic goodies with homemade wines and beers or pack up a picnic to enjoy under the sweet-smelling orange trees.
Lela is a foodie and world traveller, she has spent 6 months travelling in Stockholm.