Stockholm Pride: things to do and places to stay
When Christina Guggenberger from Stockholm LGBT and Uwern Jong, who is also the Experientialist®-in-Chief at Outthere Magazine, invited us to Stockholm Pride, we jumped at the chance. Here’s how we made the most of our three days in Sweden’s capital…
Spanning 14 islands and with more than 50 bridges, Stockholm is a city built around water, so I knew we’d be making use of boats, as well as bikes and e-scooters to explore. What struck me most was the incredible architecture and beautiful people!
Nobis Hotel Stockholm
We stayed in a standard double at Nobis Hotel Stockholm, a 19th-century former bank that birthed the term ‘Stockholm syndrome’ following a robbery and hostage situation (neither of which featured on our trip, thankfully)! The building is gorgeous and the rooms are designed by Claesson Koivisto, with their signature DUX beds topped with Egyptian cotton sheets. The hotel has a magnificent lounge that has a ceiling height of 28 metres and it’s a light and airy space for people-watching and a coffee. On the other end of the scale, the deep colours and sultry, cosy vibe of The Gold Bar is perfect for a cocktail. The mixologists are top-class here and the illuminated gold-coloured bar is a real stand-out piece.
Blique by Nobis
After a quick freshen-up, I stepped out into the evening sunshine to be taken by taxi to Blique by Nobis, where I was greeted by Uwern and Christina and introduced to the rest of the group. With a glass of Champagne in hand, we were taken on a tour of the hotel, including the magnificent hotel roof terrace which is a great place to enjoy a cocktail with a view over Stockholm. Blique by Nobis has an industrial vibe, mixed with soft grey colours, simple furniture and some cool artwork.
We were also lucky enough to see Hotel Skeppsholmen, which is part of the same group as Nobis. Here we took a look at the bedrooms before settling down to a gorgeous three-course meal hosted by Visit Stockholm. I spent the evening chatting to my fellow travellers, including my new best friend, Anita Delce Vita, who is the Editor-in-Chief at the NYC-based DapperQ magazine. Anita doesn’t drink and it was great to see such extensive alcohol-free options in every venue.
After dinner and a long day, my head needed to hit that pillow. Hugh had got a later flight than me and arrived at the hotel about 10 minutes after I got back (it’s a miracle he made it, as I’m normally in charge of passports and documents, while he just follows). We had been warned to wear comfy shoes the next day, so it was time for bed.
After a beautiful breakfast in our room, we set out on a whirlwind tour of the old town with our knowledgeable guide, Lars. The architecture was incredible. If somebody had told me that Disney had come here to take inspiration for Fantasyland, I would have believed them.
The next stop was the Royal Palace. Although we only had a short time here, we got to see some of the magnificent, ornate rooms. Then on to Skansen, which is the oldest (open since 1891) open-air museum and zoo in Sweden. The area is made up of a collection of old buildings from around Sweden, giving visitors a glimpse of bygone days. It also doubles as a music venue and hosts a large Christmas market. With loads of great food options, it’s well worth a visit.
After a busy morning, we headed to the gorgeous Hotel Hasselbacken for lunch. The hotel is owned by the same group that owns the Abba Museum, The Pop House Hotel and Cirkus. We were led to the idyllic (and, thankfully, shaded) terrace for lunch — and what a feast it was!
It’s no secret that us northerners love a carb — and they don’t come much better than a Hassleback potato at Hasselbacken! They were small, crisp and delicious and, quite honestly, I could have had them for every meal since. I don’t even remember what I had for the main course as the potatoes blew me away and I’m still thinking about them on a daily basis.
ABBA The Museum
A must while in the city is the ABBA The Museum, which boasts an excellent collection of ABBA memorabilia and really tells the story of this fab four. While at the same site, we took a look at the soon-to-open Backstage Hotel — a nod to the backstage areas of some of the greatest theatres and performances. We viewed the extensive loft suite that felt like a mini apartment, with a lounge, bathroom and bedroom.
Our final stop on the tour was the Vasa Museum. This epic of a building houses the 17th-century Swedish warship, Vasa. It sank on her maiden voyage but has been preserved thanks to the unique qualities of the Baltic Sea. I loved this exhibition so much that we went back here during our free time.
It was then time to kick off the Pride celebrations with drinks hosted at Villa Dagmar by LGBTQ+ owner, Sune. We mingled with other LGBTQ+ Stockholmers, sipping on a cocktail made especially for us, which was strong but delicious. Everyone was super welcoming and really wanted to get to know our story, as much as we wanted to get to know theirs.
For dinner, we headed to Cirkus, a creative and quirky restaurant inspired by the strange and unexpected that Cirkus once was. Here we enjoyed a seven-course vegetarian tasting menu. This meal was a real highlight of the trip. Every dish was a work of art and I’ve shared a selection of photos for you to appreciate the beauty. By the end of this very long day of exploring, we were ready to head back to Norbis for bed.
Katieca boat trip
We woke up on Friday and met the rest of our group at the dock to be greeted by the beautiful Katieca, the boat operated by Vision of Stockholm. We were offered a glass of sparkling wine and took our spot on the sun deck for a trip out to the remote islands of the beautiful archipelago.
Island Lodge glamping
After an hour or so of cruising past beautiful scenery, we landed at Island Lodge where we had a tour of an amazing glamping site. Guests can enjoy remote dome tents that are dotted around this island, luxury bathrooms with outdoor showers and even a cinema dome. We enjoyed a vegan risotto cooked in a traditional Skottle before boarding Katieca to head to the island of Vaxholm, home to Waxholms Hotel. It’s a boutique-style hotel and here we enjoyed a crisp glass of rose and some stunning views.
Next was Happy Hour at Hellstens Glashus, which is situated in a hip area of Stockholm. The floor of this restaurant and bar is exposed bedrock, which dates back thousands of years. We enjoyed some great cocktails here before heading to Bruno, a boutique shopping centre, and then to dinner.
The Hills is an LGBTQ+ owned brasserie and it was great to chat to the owner and hear that, although the pandemic had really affected business, he was able to retain all of his staff. The food and service were amazing and, if you have dinner here, remember to spot the creepy lady looking out at you from the kitchen and clock the toilet with two toilet bowls, so you can sit with a friend on the loo!
Stockholm Pride parade
Finally, it was time for the day that we were all most looking forward to! The culmination of the Pride celebration with the parade and evening party at Pride Park. We started the day late, with a brunch at Hotel Diplomat. Here we had coffee and Champagne to get the party started, as well as a delicious burger to line our stomachs.
We went to the start of the parade where the ‘dykes on bikes’ were revving their engines ready for the off. The thing that stood out to us the most was that there were so many different walks of life, both in the parade and watching. We ended up joining the parade for a short while, holding a giant Pride flag before jumping back out to see some of the more powerful groups. This included a group marching for ‘those that can’t’ in support of people that live in countries where it is illegal to live life as their true selves, and a group of parents of LGBTQ+ children; further proof in my mind that Stockholm is an open and accepting city.
At Pride Park, there were a number of stalls selling all kinds of merchandise, some great food and drink options, and a family area which was well away from the 18+ kinky corner (which we of course had to visit). The spectacular evening culminated in the headline performance from ‘Kool and Gang’, with everyone dancing and singing along. It was a great end to a very special day.
Mälarpaviljongen floating bar
Our final planned activity took place on Sunday, where we had a drinks reception and lunch at Mälarpaviljongen and had the chance to say goodbye to our new friends. This LGBTQ+-owned floating bar and restaurant donates a proportion of its profits to global LGBTQ+ first response causes, as well as providing work for LGBTQ+ refugees and helping them integrate into Swedish society. The food here was delicious. Our night ended in a taxi with @glammmmy and @christian_blumag where we put Lady Gaga on as loud as we could and sang and danced the whole way home.
With great sadness, we flew home the next day. Normally, we’re ready to get back after a trip, but we really did fall in love with Stockholm and its people. Visit Stockholm and Stockholm LGBT really showed us how inclusive and magical this city is.
Stockholm Pride 2023
This trip was amazing and we plan to host our own trip next year so that you can experience Stockholm Pride, too. Our friends at Visit Stockholm and Stockholm LGBT will be able to help us plan, giving us access to all of those special little treats that we enjoyed on our trip. If this is something you are interested in, then please contact us. An inclusive, beautiful and welcoming city awaits.