Friday, July 3, 2009
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome!
Sweet reader Sophie has asked, on behalf of her soon visiting Danish friends, what to do in Stockholm when touristing with children. Here we go:
Stockholm is a great place, with or without kids. Don't let the fact that we recently left the city discourage you, there are lots of families with young children living in the city and you should be in good company. The sidewalks are huge, pram ramps abundant and most people friendly and positive in regards to the young'ns. Now, Swedes are BAD at understanding Danish. This is probably no news to you, but if you could find it in your heart to keep an open mind about this (though some people, of course, ARE idiots, just as you will assume), you would make me very happy.
So. First things first. You're not staying downtown, which can have it's perks when traveling with children. Smedsuddsbadet and Fredhäll are good public natural (not naturist, thank God) bath places not far from where you're staying, so take a dip. And at Kungsholmen you can get great coffee at Il Caffé. Moving on (downtown).
Junibacken you've probably heard of, but I'll recommend it anyway. Lines are loooong, though, so be there early or late. If your kids like Astrid Lindgren this should be a treat.
Rum för Barn at Kulturhuset is excellent for a rainy day or when you need a break from the city hassle. A library of sorts, but with no need to be quiet. Different things to do for different ages, exhibitions where you can touch and climb and examine everything and nice sofas for mom and dad. Toys, books, painting, crafts and more. And it's free. Go nuts.
The Vasa museum is good for young and old both and has the best smell. Sniff! Old boat never looked or smelled so good. Not liking the restaurant very much, though. Eat outside on the grass instead.
Skansen is great! At least some parts. Animals, folklore and old houses galore. But it's crucial that you bring your own picknick. You can buy waffles which are half decent, but everything else is terrible, expensive and served on paper plates. BYO. Cannot stress this enough.
Rosendal is a very pretty place on earth, and if you're into drinking expensive coffee and eating gorgeous lunches under the apple trees, while the children roam free, this is the place for you. Also there's a very good playground close by.
In case of rain: Most museums have good places for children to play and mess about. Try the special "playstations" at Stadsmuseet, Nordiska museet, Historiska museet, Sjöhistoriska or Naturhistoriska (the latter especially if your guy has reached the dino age). Lots of dress up and back in the days stuff.
Good coffee to be found at the Sosta bars downtown, Nero in Vasastan and Skåningen at Söder. Coffee is crucial.
Good parks for kids: Vasaparken in Vasastan, Kronobergsparken at Kungsholmen, Nytorgsparken at Södermalm. Stay away from Kungsträdgården, it could very well be the saddest place on earth.
Do go somewhere by boat! Anywhere really. Fjäderholmarna, Sandhamn, Stockholm under the bridges (though there's no beer on board the last one, as in Copenhagen).
Avoid Gröna Lund if you can. If you come from the Royal Capital of Copenhagen, this is a sorry excuse for a tivoli. And you can't drink the coffee or eat the food.
Good food and friendly waiters: Nero (pasta), Tranan (classic Swedish and pricey) and Bamboo Garden (average Chinese but loves kids).
Have to work now, or boss will kill. E-mail me if you have any specific questions. Enjoy your stay! But don't go skinnydipping in the city, you'll be regarded as freaks. We really aren't as liberated as people might think.