Guide to Stockholm


Guide to Stockholm


Hej! Welcome to the coziest city in Scandinavia. We both look back on our time in Stockholm with such fondness for the people, the incredible nature, and, of course the fika (the Swedish burritos, not so much…). Please enjoy (or as Swedes might say “you are warmly welcome to enjoy”) this semi-insider’s guide to the city of 30,000 islands.

Food and Drink

Though “New Nordic” cuisine is starting to gain popularity world-wide, Swedish culture has traditionally valued cozy dinner parties at home more so than eating out. While this is starting to change, you may find fewer outstanding restaurants than you might otherwise expect. A great tip: even more expensive restaurants will have a daily “dagens” lunch deal, which is usually around 100 kr. and typically includes a main dish along with salad, bread, and (of course) coffee.  

  • Lilla Ego: A charming neighborhood restaurant. Be sure to book in advance as they fill up quickly. You could be like Alex and order the “Pickle Shot” or be like Bex and just have champagne.  

  • Urban Deli: A hip spot for lunch or dinner -- it's part upscale grocery store and part restaurant.

  • Hermans: Decent vegetarian buffet, but one of the most stunning views of Stockholm. Go in summer and you might see hot air balloons flying overhead.  

  • JuiceVerket: Hipster juice bar.

  • Judit and Bertil: One of our favorite chill, neighborhood bars in Stockholm.

  • K25: If you can't decide where to eat, this is a place where a bunch of Stockholm restaurants all set up shop in an upscale, hip food court. Great for a quick lunch or dinner.

  • Corner Club: If we had to choose just one bar, this would be it. They change the (small) menu of drinks 3-4x a week depending on weather, mood, etc. Open Thursday-Saturday.

  • Pharmarium: A charming little bar right in Gamla Stan. Be sure to book a table in advance.

  • Cafe Pascal: A cozy cafe right by the amazing Stockholm City Library.

  • Reggev Hummus: Hummus in Scandinavia? Yep, it’s really good!

  • Gondolen: A super pricey restaurant. But they have great drinks. And more importantly: an amazing view. If you don't want to go inside, you can take their elevator up, pretend you are going to the restaurant, but then head up one more flight of stairs to get to the outside outlook.

  • Rosendals Trädgård: In the heart of Djurgarden is this greenhouse meets Swedish cafe. It’s a bit of a walk, but the scenery to get there is amazing.  

  • Story Hotel: One of our favorite bars in Stockholm -- great cocktails. Riddargatan.


  • Mellqvist: Favorite coffee shop.  

  • Drop Coffee: Best coffee in Stockholm, hands down.  Mellqvist is the better hang out place, but the coffee at Drop Coffee is the winner.

  • Vurma: A couple of these on Södermalm. A good place to try some Swedish baked goods: cardemonbulle (cinnamon roll but with cardamon), kanelbulle (cinnamon roll), Semlar (a special Easter thing that Swedes are crazy for but we don't especially like -- though you should definitely try one), and Chokoladballs (you can figure this one out). They also have great lunch food (salads, sandwiches), so you could easily spend a couple of hours here with food and a fika. They have a few locations; our favorite is in Hornstull. Very kid friendly (many parents even leave their babies outside in their strollers to nap...yes, it’s a thing, especially in winter).

  • Johan & Nyström: Super cozy spot. Great coffee and tea.



  • Söder Mälarstrand: One of our favorite views in Stockholm. A great intro to the city on your first morning.

  • Monteliusvägen: A short, steep, and potentially muddy walk rewards you with an incredible panoramic of Stockholm’s waterfront. Worth it!  

  • Djurgården: If the weather is good, rent bikes and ride around. So much for kids to do here.   

  • Kungsträgården: Worth walking through. You can ice skate here during winter.

  • Hellasgården: About a 20-minute bus away from Stockholm, accessible via public bus from Slussen. This is the perfect place to do a proper Swedish sauna and then go jump in a frozen lake during winter. During summer, it’s a beautiful lake with miles of dirt trails. They also have a playground for kids.

  • Tyresta National Park: A national park with a bus that drops you off right at the trailhead.  A perfect place to explore in all seasons.

  • Långholmen: Fun beach (in summer) with cafe and lovely trails. Close to the city center and literally minutes walking distance from Bex and Alex’s old apartment on Reimersholme. You can rent kayaks in the summer. It’s amazing.



For Kids

  • A day on Djurgarden

    • Skansen: An open-air museum and park which kids absolutely love.  You can even see reindeer!

    • Gronalund: Kids’ favorite amusement park.

    • Other museums too, including the Abba Museum, where kids can sing along and get a video of them performing this Swedish music sensation’s hits.  

  • Outdoors for kids

    • Vasaparken: Fruit-themed playground in a nice residential area.

    • Drakenbergsparken: Walk along the south-side of Södermalm. Start at Hornstull metro and walk towards Skanstull. Drakenbergsparken playground, which has a snake-like dragon to climb, is along the way. Other playgrounds and beautiful sites along the way.

    • Byrggartäppan: A playground that is a small-scale version of a 19th century Swedish village.  

    • Hagaparken: A huge park, just north of the city center. Great for kids, with a butterfly and bird house and a big lake. Accessible via public bus.  

    • More playground ideas here.



  • Gamla Stan: Definitely go explore 'old town' and see the cobblestone streets and make your way to the square by the Nobel Prize Museum. Stockholm is not very touristy overall, but this is definitely where you’ll find the most tourists!

  • Södermalm: The island Bex and Alex called home for three years. Hip, creative, funky and fun. You could spend a couple of days exploring its cafes, boutique stores, and enjoying its waterfront views.  

  • Ostermalm: Stockholm-chic. If the city had a Saks Fifth Avenue, it would definitely be in Ostermalm. The NK department store is here for classic Scandinavian fashion.  

  • Stockholm Archipelago: One of the greatest perks of living in a city made up of thousands of islands is the opportunity to explore them on a clean, modern ferry. You’ll catch most ferries right outside of the Grand Hotel.  Check out timetables and routes on the main ferry provider: Waxholmsbolaget.  Some islands from which to choose:

    • Vaxholm: The easiest day-trip from Stockholm. Very kid-friendly.  We nicknamed this “dessert island” because of the most incredible bakery/restaurant, Vaxholms Hembygdsgards Cafe, which features a huge table overflowing with dozens of different desserts. Some of our guests nearly refused to go back to Stockholm with us and just wanted to live here. The whole island is easily walkable and you will never forget the desserts. Ever.

    • Grinda: Also possible to do in a day-trip, although it’s a couple of hours each way. Gorgeous, untouched nature. There is one restaurant, but be sure to bring snacks in case it’s closed in the summer.  One of our favorite picnic spots in Sweden.

    • Möja: It's about a 3-hour ferry away, so plan to stay the night, which is a special experience in and of itself. We recommend the Möja Vardshus. It's nothing special, but simple is the key in the archipelago and it has a nice restaurant. The island is a perfect place to ride a bike and explore. Though you don't need to book the ferry ahead of time, you do want to book the hotel since it is small and fills up.



Korean League Baseball


Korean League Baseball


While in Seoul last week I checked out a Korean Baseball League game between the LG Twins and the Kia Tigers.

It was, hands down, one of the coolest sports fan experiences of my life. A few highlights:
-Every player gets his own at bat song, which is sung by the entire stadium;
-Each team has its own cheerleaders (dancers and yell leaders), and drummers;
-The scoreboard is almost completely in Korean, except for assorted things like the position abbreviations (e.g. LF);
-The main concessions are beer and fried chicken. Check! 
-Most teams share a name with an MLB team, but the city is replaced by a leading Korean company, e.g. the Kia Tigers
-The kiss cam is even more awkward than in the US.
-I scalped a ticket for $12. Only afterwards did I realize I have no idea if that's illegal in Korea or not. But I made it out!

Go LG Twins!



European Young Leaders Summit in Tallinn, Estonia

2017-09-16 - EYL40 in Estonia - 193.jpg

I've just returned from an incredible week in Tallinn, Estonia attending the European Young Leaders summit put on by Friends of Europe.  Friends of Europe selects, curates and supports outstanding young European leaders for conversations and sessions on "making Europe a global champion for a better world."  For the first time ever, they extended an invitation to some of us in North America and the Middle East to broaden the conversations and I was so honored to participate.  



As America retreats inwards; as nationalism rises once again in Europe; and as narratives of fear overtake those of hope, the opportunity to learn from and to connect with diverse, globally-minded changemakers is imperative.  And it was an absolute pleasure to surround myself with some truly incredible and inspiring futuremakers: members of parliament, social entrepreneurs, innovators, writers, artists and more.

2017-09-14 - EYL40 in Estonia - 093.jpg
With Ilhan Omar, fellow North American Young Leader and the first Somali-American Muslim legislator elected to office in the United States.

With Ilhan Omar, fellow North American Young Leader and the first Somali-American Muslim legislator elected to office in the United States.

The first day of our seminar, held in the old Tallinn airport, kicked off with a debate of neoliberalism between an Economist from the Reagan administration and an Anthropologist from LSE.  

2017-09-14 - EYL40 in Estonia - 097.jpg

This was followed by a visit to the e-Estonia showroom to learn more about Estonia's incredible digital initiatives.  They are absolutely at the forefront for incorporating digital into the life force of the country.  Highlights include:

  • Considering internet access a human right;
  • eVoting as the norm;
  • Tax filing which takes under 30 seconds because of integrated data collection and APIs so that the tax agency can automatically calculate returns for you;
  • eResidency inviting entrepreneurs around the world to become business creators in Estonia, availing themselves of all kinds of government services, for less than 400 Euro.
  • 99% of government services -- everything but marriage and buying real estate -- online.
2017-09-14 - EYL40 in Estonia - 101.jpg
2017-09-14 - EYL40 in Estonia - 103.jpg

I then took part in a conversation on my very favorite topic: leadership.  We discussed what makes a good leader, which is a fascinating conversation to have among so many diverse leaders representing different cultures and different fields.  I taught about "microleadership" and how we must separate titles of leadership from acts of leadership.  And the imperative we have as leaders to create a culture where we empower those around us to step up as leaders themselves.  All of which requires incredible self awareness, the key, in my opinion, to being a great leader.

2017-09-14 - EYL40 in Estonia - 106.jpg


Our first day concluded with a bucket list item I never knew was a bucket-list item: a zero-waste dinner with the Estonian Prime Minister!  Story below:

Day 2 was hosted at the Tallinn University of Technology at their innovation/co-working space Mektory.

Conversations centered around the future of work, the future of education, climate/environment and building entrepreneurial societies.  Fascinating!

2017-09-14 - EYL40 in Estonia - 108 (1).jpg
 Processed with VSCO with a6 preset


I also took the opportunity to explore the magical, fairy-tale city of Tallinn.  Here's a gallery of some favorite photos:

Day 3 closed the program with a discussion about the potential risks of artificial intelligence with Jaan Tallinn (aptly named!) the co-founder of Skype.  I also learned that the name Skype comes from the combination of "Sky" and "Peer," e.g. your peers in the sky.  

2017-09-16 - EYL40 in Estonia - 182.jpg

Although my travel back to San Francisco required a 5.30AM alarm the next day, I spent my last evening wandering the beautiful old town of Tallinn and enjoying the final sunset of my EYL experience.  

I am fond of saying that the role of a changemaker is not just to feel hope when others feel fear, but to transform our own hope into actions which help the fearful find reasons to hope again.  Europe -- and the world -- needs more changemakers and more hope right now.  And it's the incredible changemakers I met in Tallinn which give me hope that a more collaborative, equitable, purpose-driven and sustainable world is not just possible, but is ours to create.  Thank you, Friends of Europe, for introducing me to so many new changemaker friends.