Last updated on January 04th, 2023
Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is a great place to visit with children in tow. It is an interesting city with hundreds of attractions and lots of hotels. However, you may need to look for a hotel out of the city centre if you need to watch the pennies. Stockholm isn’t cheap, but with careful planning, your stay needn’t cost the earth. There are hostels and cheap hotels dotted around the city. Generator Hostel is the site to try out if you’re looking for cheaper accommodation. It’s affordable and comfortable. Alternatively, you may want to stay on one of the many boat-hotels.
Stockholm is made up of 30% waterways. To get around you can hop onto a ferry or a sightseeing shuttle boat between the islands. This child-friendly city lets parents with buggies travel free on buses. There are lots of free activities for families, with children’s libraries and workshops throughout the city.
The central part of the city encompasses fourteen islands in Riddarfjärden Bay, on the freshwater Lake Mälaren, which flows into the Baltic Sea. The city boasts over 50 bridges.
There is something for everyone, Abba lovers can satisfy their musical interest in the Abba museum, kids will be happy to spend a day in the Gröna Lund’s Amusement Park or learn all about in the Skansen Open-Air Museum, which is the oldest in the world and also contains the city’s zoo.
Stockholm is home to three of Sweden’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Birka, Drottningholm’s Woodland Cemetery and Drottningholm Palace. For a great family excursion, you can visit an old Viking outpost Birka, located on the island of Björkö in Lake Mälaren. It has an archeological site where you can learn all about the legendary Nordic seafarers. It is accessible by boat and it takes two hours to get there. During summer, boats depart from the dock at City Hall.
The 17th century Drottningholm Palace is one of the most popular places to visit. It was designed by Nicodemus Tessin and has a lovely Baroque garden. The palace and garden are open to visitors for most of the year. The present Swedish Royal Family has lived there since 1981. It has a 300-year old theatre and a Chinese Pavillion, set in its beautiful park.
For a quiet walk, visit the serene Woodland Cemetery and enjoy some of the beautiful architecture by the famous modernist architects Gunnar Asplund and Sigurd Lewerentz. It has lots of pretty chapels and a visitor centre. Lovers of photography will want to visit Fotografiska, which has four large exhibitions a year and 20 smaller ones. If you want a good view of the city, go to the top floor café. The award-winning restaurant is run by well-known chef Paul Svensson.
Djurgården is the most popular tourist destination for families and easy to get to by bus or tram. You can visit the Vasa museum to see a beautifully preserved 17th century ship.
There are five districts in Stockholm: Gamla Stan (Old City), Södermalm, Norrmalm, Kungsholmen and Östermalm.
What’s the best area to experience the city as a local or when visiting the first time, what’s the best district for shopping, families or for nightlife, or where to stay on a budget? Read on below to find out more best neighbourhoods to stay in Stockholm Sweden.
Quick Overview – Contents
What is the Best Area to Stay in Stockholm?
Best for First Time (Sightseeing): Old Town (Gamla Stan)
If you are a first-time visitor the best place to stay is in the Gamla Stan area, because it’s a great introduction to the city. There are lots of hotels to suit every budget. Places to visit in this district are the Royal Palace, the Nobel Museum and the Storkyrkan Cathedral.
The Swedish royal palace, the official residence of the King of Sweden, is one of the largest palaces in Europe and boasts over 600 rooms. It was built in the Baroque style in the 18th century and stands on the spot where the Tre Kronor Castle was burnt down in 1697. It contains five museum rooms and you can witness the changing of the guard every day.
Be sure to visit the Armory, where royal costumes and armour are kept, as well as coronation carriages and beautiful coaches from the Royal Stable.
Where to Stay in Stockholm City Centre
- Best Luxury Hotels
Lydmar Hotel • Grand Hôtel Stockholm
- Best Great Value – Top Rated Hotels
Central Hotel • Långholmen Hotell
- Best Cheap Hotels in Stockholm
Hotel Hornsgatan • Hotel Tre Små Rum
- Best Bed & Breakfast in Stockholm
Lilla Hoparegränd 6 • Farsta Bed and Breakfast
- Best Budget Hostels in Stockholm
Castanea Old Town Hostel • City Backpackers Hostel
Best Areas to Stay in Stockholm
Where to stay in Stockholm for best nightlife? Östermalm (Stureplan Nightclub District) – Norrmalm (Kungsgatan area) – Södermalm district
Get your groove on in some of the town’s best nightclubs, like the Spy Club, situated in the Stureplan Nightclub District in Östermalm. It has some of the best restaurants and luxurious bars. It’s pretty pricey, but a great place to spot celebrities and younger Royals. Try the Riche, Laroy, Hell’s Kitchen, East and Sturecompagniet.
Another place of interest is the Sturehof, a seafood and shellfish restaurant, where the car company Volvo was “born” in 1924, when Assar Gabrielsson and Gustaf Larson made an agreement to start a new automotive company in Sweden.
The Kungsgaten area (King’s Gate) boasts some of the exclusive fashion houses in Stockholm. You can visit shops like Versace, Gucci, Hugo Boss, and LV. Meet under the Svampen, the Mushroom. It’s also a great place for people watching.
What’s the best neighbourhood to stay in Stockholm for families? Djurgården – Gamla Stan (near Attractions) – Långholmen Island (Södermalm)
Djurgården is the most popular tourist destination for families and easy to get to by bus or tram. You can go to the Vasa museum and see the almost intact 17th century ship, which sank on its maiden voyage and was salvaged and restored 333 years later. It is one of the most popular museums in Sweden and children under 18 get free entry.
Gröna Lund’s Amusement Park is the place to visit for family fun. It’s got 30 exciting theme rides and roller coasters, a pentathlon and you can eat in one of the restaurants. Live concerts are also held there. It’s open from March till September.
The Skansen Open-Air Museum, the Abba Museum and the Vasa Museum are other options for family entertainment. In the wake of the very successful Mamma Mia movies, perhaps you and your family would like to visit the Abba Museum to find out some more about the incredible success this Swedish band have enjoyed. Not just a museum. It offers an interactive experience for the whole family. If you fancy it, you can dress up in some stage costumes and play and record your favourite tracks. Other recommended places to stay when with a family include Gamla Stan and Langholmen Island.
Best district in Stockholm for local vibe? Södermalm (Mariatorget area) – Vasastan
Fjällgatan is located high up on the edge of a cliff with a fantastic view of the city. Visit the Kaffestuga café for its cool vibe.
Visit Tantolunden park in Årstaviken and there are plenty of cafés in Mariatorget square. Hornstull and SoFo are great meeting places for people of all ages. In the summer it’s perfect for swimming and picnics or bring your sleds in the winter.
There’s a playground, beach volleyball court, minigolf, a frisbee golf course, and an open-air theater. If you go up the hill gardening enthusiasts will be pleased to see the town’s huge allotment gardens, which have been on this site since 1915.
What’s the best area for shopping in Stockholm? Norrmalm (Drottninggatan) – Södermalm (Götgatan) – Östermalm
The main part of Drottninggatan is traffic-free and lined with numerous stores and shops, one of the largest being the Åhléns City department store. It’s quite crowded during the summer.
Götgatan is one of the longest streets in central Stockholm on the Southern Isle (Södermalm) of the city. One of the area’s oldest restaurants, Den gröne Jägaren, has been there since 1866.
Östermalm is the most expensive district of the city, so shopping malls and department stores tend to reflect this.
Where to stay in Stockholm on a budget? Östermalm – Vasastan – Kungsholmen
Kungsholmen is a little residential island, which houses the City Hall. You can climb the tower to see the amazing view from the top. There are a few excellent places to go for a swim in Rålambshovsparken. Take a walk along Norrmälarstrand to see the lovely views of Södermalm and boats sailing on the lake.
The Vasastan neighbourhood offers something different if you’re interested in architecture. Translated, it means ‘Stone City’. With its wide streets it offers unique architectural styles. Most of the buildings are Neo-Renaissance. Take a walk around the Rörstrandsgatan to see and appreciate the buildings. There are nice parks in the area, too. So pack a picnic and enjoy the views.
Östermalm is home to the Swedish History Museum, which houses Viking weapons. The Humlegården park is also located there. If you want to buy some of the traditional Swedish foods like gravlax and smoked shrimp, they can be found at the Östermalms Saluhall. Enjoy your stay.
The 5 Best Neighbourhoods in Stockholm for Tourists (First Time Visit)
Gamla Stan is one of the best-preserved medieval heritages in Europe, with its iconic ochre-coloured buildings and narrow cobble-stone streets dating to the 13th century. It is easy to get around this neighbourhood on the metro (tunnelbana) and has lots of restaurants and bars.
It is home to the 13th-century Storkyrkan Cathedral and the Royal Palace. If you are interested in the Nobel Prize, be sure to visit the Nobel Museum.
The Södermalm district, meaning ‘South’ was developed in the 18th century. It is densely populated and has a creative artistic vibe, reflected in the many bohemian and vintage shops, art galleries and café.
Accommodation here is a bit more pocket-friendly.
Norrmalm is a busy shopping area, with lots of fashion shops in Drottninggatan and the streets surrounding it. You can enjoy a night at the opera or ballet at the Royal Swedish Opera or a concert at the Stockholm Concert Hall, which was built in the neoclassical style.
There are also lots of art exhibitions. Take a walk around Kungsträdgården park and have a break in one of the cafes.
- Best Accommodation: Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel, Stockholm
- Best Cheap Hotels / Great Value: Comfort Hotel Xpress Stockholm Central • Generator Stockholm (Hostel)
Kungsholmen island has a laid-back vibe, where in the summertime the boats moored along the Norr Mälarstrand waterfront promenade have bars with live music. You can also go to the Rålambshov Park which has a small beach and wooded trails through the park.
Fun for the family. You can also enjoy outdoor theatre performances. The Stockholm City Hall, where the famous annual Nobel Prize ceremony takes place, is also situated in this area.
- Best Accommodation: Courtyard by Marriott Stockholm Kungsholmen
- Best Cheap Hotels / Great Value: Hotell M/S Monika (Boat) • Connect Hotel City
Östermalm is the priciest district of the city to stay in and it is reflected in the more expensive shopping malls and department stores, restaurants and bars.
It’s a lively area, with great nightclubs and bars, which open till late.