Sweden is more than the home of ABBA, Swedish meatballs, and Ikea.
Like its sister Scandinavian countries, Norway and Denmark, it ranks highly in global rankings of quality of life, economic opportunity, education, and even happiness.
Stockholm, Sweden's capital, is widely acknowledged to be one of the best European capitals to live in, work in, and visit.
Numerous surveys place this metropolitan city among the highest-rated locations in Europe due to its diverse range of cultural attractions, many within walking distance of a metro station.
There is always plenty to see and do.
The city also boasts remarkable natural beauty and centuries-old architecture.
It's made up of 14 islands connected by more than 50 bridges and there is no shortage of parks and gardens to choose from.
The city is also home to a vast array of festivals and events such as the renowned Stockholm Jazz Festival, the famed Stockholm Pride Festival, and an internationally-acclaimed film festival.
If you're looking for an unforgettable experience that combines both fun and cultural enrichment – look no further than Stockholm!
This post lists more than 25 things to do in Stockholm, including free things to do, nighttime activities, as well as family-friendly events that one can visit any time of year.
Disclosure: We think you should consider our free tours, but we have also provided other options. While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.
1. Go to a Concert
Throughout the year, notable musical artists are attracted to Stockholm and there are a number of music festivals as well.
If you're interested in seeing a great concert, check the calendar at the following venues:
To see which musical performances will be available when you're in town, check out this list of concerts in Stockholm.
And here are just some of the music festivals you'll find in Stockholm each year:
Melodifestivalen: the annual music competition, often held in the spring, which determines who will represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest. (ABBA was launched from here).
Summerburst: a 2-day June electronic dance music festival held at Stockholm Olympic Stadium
Stockholm Early Music Festival: a June festival showcasing medieval, renaissance, and baroque music
Lallapalooza Stockholm: a 2-day festival taking place in late June or early July at Gärdet featuring a diverse variety of music genres
Popaganda: a 2-day August festival held at Eriksdalsbadet has big-name pop music artists
Baltic Sea Festival: a week-long August festival promoting environmental awareness featuring music from countries surrounding the Baltic Sea
Stockholm Music and Arts Festival: this 3-day August festival on Skeppsholmen features local and international musicians, performers, and artists
Stockholm Jazz Festival: a 10-day October festival featuring 160 jazz concerts in and around Stockholm
2. Stand Next to a 300-Year-Old Sunken War Ship at the Vasa Museum
After a year in construction, the warship Vasa made it just 1,400 yards on its maiden voyage.
A gust of wind tipped it over, killing 30 crew and sinking it to the bottom of Stockholm harbor.
There it lay in the dark, oxygen-poor, salty water for 333 years until it was discovered again in 1956 and raised slowly over a number of years.
It sits now in Sweden's most visited museum which was built in the 1980s to house the Vasa.
The Vasa Museum offers guided tours in English or Swedish, a movie about its salvage, exhibitions featuring the faces of her crew, and of course a closeup view of the world’s best-preserved 17th-century warship.
Tickets are 190 SEK ($18.70) per adult. Learn more about the Vasa Museum.
Entry is free with the Stockholm Pass.
3. Visit the Sweden of the Past at Skansen Open Air Museum
The world’s largest open-air museum, Skansen is popular with locals and tourists alike.
Five centuries of Swedish history live in one place, as hundreds of dwellings and buildings have been moved here from various parts of the country over the last 140 years.
Staff is dressed in character as local craftsmen, demonstrating how people would have worked at various times in history.
Skansen also has a zoo housing indigenous animals as well as more “exotic” species from around the world – and there's a petting zoo for the kids!
Guests will find reindeer, wolves, seals, moose, and other Nordic animals, as well as monkeys, reptiles, birds, and insects.
Tickets cost 220 SEK ($21.65) per adult. Get more information about Skansen.
Entry is free with the Stockholm Pass.
4. View Photographs at Fotografiska
The world’s largest (and one of its most important) contemporary photography museums, Fotografiska provides a home for this art in the middle of Stockholm.
Found in a waterfront warehouse, the museum also houses an award-winning restaurant and a bookshop.
Works from the likes of Annie Leibovitz, David LaChapelle, Robert Mapplethorpe, and others are displayed amongst the works of lesser-known but rising photographers.
Special exhibits, poetry readings, photography classes, and much more are available 364 days a year until at least 11 pm, and often later.
Tickets cost 187 SEK ($18.40) per adult. Learn more about Fotografiska.
Entry is free with the Stockholm Pass.
Check our post covering things to do at night in Stockholm for more fun after dark.
5. Experience Everything ABBA
Devoted ABBA fans will find everything they could hope for in this modern interactive museum.
The exhibits include replicas of their living and working spaces, a movie detailing their history, hundreds of their disco-tastic costumes, and much more.
It’s a popular museum, so it’s best to reserve tickets ahead of time.
Tickets cost 280 SEK ($27.55) per adult. Find more information about ABBA: The Museum.
6. Stroll through Stockholm’s Old Town, Gamla Stan
Gamla stan is pedestrian-friendly and packed with charming buildings edging cobblestone streets.
Cafes and restaurants, including Den Gyldene Freden restaurant, the second oldest restaurant in the world to have the same surroundings, line the sidewalks.
In addition, there are 11 museums, the Royal Palace, three medieval churches, the stock exchange building where the Nobel Prize is announced, and many tourist shops.
Learn about the Old Town on a free walking tour. Tours run multiple times each day.
If you're looking for more affordable activities, check out our post about free things to do in Stockholm.
7. Save Money With a Tourist Pass
If you're planning to visit several popular or historic attractions in Stockholm, it's worth noting that you can save quite a bit off general admission prices by using a tourist attraction discount pass.
Where you plan to visit for 2 days, 3 days, 4 days, or more, you'll find plenty to see and do. This discount pass will save you money.
Depending on which pass you choose and how you use it, you should be able to save at least 20% - 50% off regular ticket prices.
Here are a few of the most popular services included in Stockholm tourist passes:
- Hop on Hop off Bus Tour | SEK 330
- Hop on Hop off Boat Tour | SEK 230
- Haga Ocean/Butterfly House | SEK 175
- The Nordic Museum | SEK 120
- The Viking Museum | SEK 159
- The Royal Palace | SEK 180
- Royal Canal Tour | SEK 220
- Skyview | SEK 160
- And more!
For more information about how to use them and how they work, please read our post covering Stockholm tourist attraction discount passes.
8. Discover Medieval Stockholm at the Medeltidsmueseum
While digging down in preparation to build a car park next door to the Parliament building, this site was discovered.
Everyone understood just what a find it was and eventually an underground museum was built around it.
Here you will find a medieval graveyard loaded with skeletons, a warship, a city wall, life-sized replicas of medieval buildings, and a display of where and how Stockholm began.
There is something of interest to both adults and children, and entrance is free. Find more information here.
For additional affordable activities, check our post covering free things to do in Stockholm.
9. Glide Along the Shores of Stockholm
For a view of Stockholm from the water, the Royal Canal sightseeing tour takes you through some of Stockholm’s most well-known places along the Djurgarden canal.
The tour is 50 minutes long and audio tours are available in 11 languages
Tickets are 260 SEK ($25.55) per adult. Learn More.
Entry is free with the Stockholm Pass.
To combine boat and bus trips, check out these other options.
10. Catch a Performance at the Royal Swedish Opera
Stockholm’s Royal Swedish opera house, also called Kungliga Operan, sits on the edge of Lilla Vartan.
Its construction was commissioned nearly 250 years ago by King Gustav III (who was later shot and killed during a ball in the foyer).
That structure was later demolished and rebuilt, giving Stockholm the neoclassical building that’s still in use today.
Both opera and ballet performances take place regularly.
Hour-long guided tours can be booked on most Saturdays and performances take place regularly all year long.
11. Freeze a little at ICEBAR
It’s 23 degrees F. It’s made of ice.
It’s ICEBAR, Stockholm’s permanent, though annually redesigned, ice bar in Hotel C Stockholm.
This tiny bar fits just 60 guests for no more than 45 minutes at a time.
No need to bring a jacket as one is provided, along with mittens and a drink (a non-alcoholic one for kids under 18).
Prebook with the bar ahead of time to save money.
For more fun after dark, check out our post about things to do at night in Stockholm.
12. Tour the Royal Palace
The 18th-century Royal Palace sits in the Gamla Stan area of the city.
The current palace replaces Tre Kronor Castle which burned down in 1697.
It is the official residence of the Swedish Royal Family for representative purposes only; in 1981 their personal residence was moved to Drottningholm Palace, around 20 minutes outside Stockholm.
The palace consists of over 1,430 rooms, some of them used for official royal occasions and medal ceremonies.
Parts of the palace are open to the public such as Gustav III's Museum of Antiquities, the Tre Kronor Museum, the Royal Treasury, The Royal Armory, and the Royal Chapel.
The Royal Apartments are also open to the public.
Visitors can marvel at bed chambers and private rooms full of exquisite frescoes, tapestries, and furniture, all installed and used by members of the royal family past.
There is also a Royal Gift Shop (Slottsboden) in the outer courtyard, the perfect place to find unique gifts.
A visit to the palace is an opportunity for people to learn about Swedish monarchy history and traditions; not only are visitors viewing breathtaking art and architecture but getting insight into what makes this iconic landmark so special.
Tickets cost 180 SEK ($17.70) per adult. Get more information here.
13. View the Changing of the Royal Guard
This popular 40-minute ceremony takes place daily in front of the royal palace.
Swedish Armed Forces guard march in time with a military band as they hand over protection of the royal family to the next squad.
There is no cost, and ceremony times can be found here.
You can find even more activities that won't cost anything in our post about free things to do in Stockholm.
14. Visit Drottningholm Palace
As mentioned above, Drottningholm Palace, often called the Versailles of the North, is where the King and Queen of Sweden lived and where they raised their children.
The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site, originally built in the late 16th century. It sits on the island of Lovön in Lake Mälaren, not far from Stockholm.
The palace is renowned for its remarkable French Architectural designs, decorative ceilings, marble sculptures, Baroque gardens, and more.
The public is welcome to visit, with guided tours of staterooms, private apartments, and the Palace Theatre going out every 45 minutes. You can also schedule a VIP tour.
The Palace Theater is one of the few remaining 18th-century court theaters in Europe still standing today.
Guided tours show all the intricate stage machinery and costume up close.
During the summer "a number of operas, plays, and dance performances are staged, together with concerts, tours, and events, all with an 18th-century character".
Visitors can buy tickets to attend a show.
The grounds of Drottingholm are truly lovely and made up of beautiful gardens and parks that are open to the public.
There is formal and informal landscaping, well-manicured lawns, fountains, and water features, as well as walking paths and picnic areas.
On the grounds is the Chinese Pavilion, a unique example of the chinoiserie style which was popular in Europe during the 18th century.
The building is adorned with Chinese-inspired decorations, including pagoda-shaped roofs, dragon-shaped rain spouts, and other decorative elements.
This is truly a wonderful destination for anyone interested in the history, architecture, and natural beauty of Drottningholm.
15. Take a Ghostly Tour of Stockholm
If you like discovering the hidden secrets of a city, the Original Stockholm Ghost Walk and Historical Tour might be for you.
This 1.5-hour night walk takes you through the alleys and courtyards of Gamla stan, old town Stockholm, the very place you’d expect to find ghosts and other night visitors.
Your English-speaking guide will share with you “true accounts of murders, unsolved mysteries, myths, and legends” as well as the general history of the area.
Tickets cost 288 SEK ($28.30). Find more information here.
Check our post about things to do at night in Stockholm for even more fun after the sun goes down.
16. Visit Nordiska Museet (Nordic Museum)
This often-confused-for-a-palace building sits on the island of Djurgården in the center of Stockholm.
Much like Skansen, Noridska Museet explores aspects of everyday Nordic living.
Displayed are over 1.5 million objects such as clothing, books, photographs, art, toys, jewelry, and furniture, all items used by average Swedes across the centuries.
In addition, there is an exhibit covering the traditions of the indigenous Sami people, as well as some temporary exhibits.
Entry is free with the Stockholm Pass.
17. Step out into Royal Djurgården
The Royal National City Park or Royal Djurgården is 6.5 square kilometers of green space and one of the world's first public parks.
Within the park, there are loads of attractions and activities as well as historic buildings.
Some of the museums in the park include The Nordic Museum, the ABBA museum, Skansen Open-Air Museum, and the Vasa Museum.
You'll also find Haga Palace, the Haga Park Copper Tents, Rosendal Palace, Villa Fescati, and the Theilska Gallery.
If you want a great view of Stockholm and its surroundings, you might climb the Kaknäs Tower in the park. It stands 155 meters tall on a hill in the park.
Note that if you take a Hop-On, Hop-Off tour, there are stops at some of the museums in the park.
18. View Stockholm From the Top of One of Stockholm's Most Well Known Buildings
The 16,000-seat stadium, Ericcson Dome, the world's largest spherical building and one known to Swedes as "the Globe" (pronounced gloo-ben), serves sports and music fans alike.
It’s mainly used for hockey but pulls in everything from Disney on Ice, to international music acts such as Bryan Adams and Pet Shop Boys, to comedians such as Ricky Gervais.
Skyview, The Globe’s exterior round glass elevator, can take you to the very top of the golf ball-shaped building, looking out over Stockholm at 400 feet above sea level.
To see who is performing at the Globe, check the area's schedule.
Entry to Skyview is free with the Stockholm Pass.
19. Tour Stockholm City Hall
Built on the island of Kungsholmen, the red-bricked City Hall stands tall over Lake Mälaren.
Inside is a working administrative staff and halls where the Nobel Banquet and Nobel ceremonies are held.
The latter takes place in the Golden Hall, where over 18 million pieces of gold mosaic tiles and glass line the walls.
There is also a Prince’s Gallery with frescos painted by Swedish Prince Eigen, and a tapestry-lined Oval Room which is popular for weddings.
Tickets cost 130 SEK for adults, with discounts for students, seniors, and children, but cannot be booked ahead of time. Find information here.
20. Visit Stockholm's Parliament Building
On its own little island between Gamla stan and Stockholm’s city center, is Sweden’s Parliament, one of the city’s most recognizable buildings.
Made up of two parts, the older Neoclassical style section dates from the early 1900s. Construction on the newer hall was completed in the 1980s, merging the old with the modern.
As Swedes say, “Openness and transparency are central to Swedish democracy” – therefore guests are welcome at hearings, debates, and votes.
Tours go out five times a day though they are limited to only 28 people in each.
Information can be found on the Swedish Parliament's website.
21. Stop in at the Nobel Prize Museum
The Nobel Prize Museum is housed in the heart of Stockholm.
The Nobel Prize itself honors people who have exceptional accomplishments in a particular discipline.
Prizes are awarded in literature, peace, physiology or medicine, physics, and chemistry.
The museum is located in a building on the water in Gamla Stan that dates back to the 18th century. Inside are contemporary exhibitions and interactive displays.
The exhibits provide visitors with an immersive experience that explores Alfred Nobel, the heritage of the Nobel Prize, the Nobel Laureates themselves, and information on how the prizes influence on the world.
Also in the building are the Swedish Academy, made up of those that choose the Nobel Prize in Literature, and Nobel Library.
Note that the Nobel Banquet takes place in the Blue Hall of Stockholm's City Hall.
22. Have A Blast in Gröna Lund Tivoli
Grona Lund is a small amusement park on the water in the Djurgården part of Stockholm.
Good for kids and adults alike, the park has everything you’d expect: rollercoasters, games, popcorn & cotton candy, and at times a live musical act.
It sits within walking distance of both the ABBA Museum and Skansen Open-Air Museums.
23. Attend Taste of Stockholm
If you're in Stockholm in June, you might enjoy Taste of Stockholm.
The event offers attendees the chance to try a wide range of delectable meals and beverages by bringing together some of the top chefs, restaurants, and food exhibitors from all over the city.
A Taste of Stockholm includes cooking demos, wine, and beer tastings, and workshops focused on cuisine, in addition, to live music.
The chance to sample some of the characteristic dishes from some of the best restaurants in the city is one of the highlights of this food festival.
Visitors can select from a wide range of culinary options, including everything from traditional Swedish meals to global specialties.
The festival takes place in Kungsträdgården. It is free to enter but there is a cost for the food and drink.
24. Hit Some Stockholm Bars
The Stockholm Pub Crawl website says it all: 7 hours, 3 bars, free shots, cheap drinks, games & competitions, and the chance to meet folks from all over the world.
3 bars, free shots, cheap drinks, games & competitions, and the chance to meet folks from all over the world.
It couldn’t be easier or more fun.
NOTE: This pub crawl isn't currently available as of January 2023, but it will likely return soon. Check their website for more details.
For even more fun activities you can enjoy after the sun goes down, please read our post about things to do at night in Stockholm.
25. View the World’s Longest Art Gallery While Riding the T-bana
It might be calm and cool above, but underground you see the real spirit of Stockholm.
90 of her 100 t-bana (subway stations) are decorated with themes reflecting an important time in Swedish history or a subject relating to Stockholm.