Based on one summer weekend and two weeks in the winter - some true expert can and should improve this, please!
  1. Single best thing: Vasamuseet
    Do not miss. Fucking amazing, the Vasa was a ridiculously expensive 17th century warship that immediately sank. The water in Stockholm is too salty for woodworms or something so it was perfectly preserved, in the '60s they dredged it up and put it, intact, in a climate-controlled museum. A wonder. While you're over there see the exterior of the Nordic Museum, don't think you need to go inside unless you LOVE Swedish interior design and also doll houses?
  2. Fotografiska
    The photography museum - I don't care much about photography but thought this was rad. A great building, cafe has huge windows, great spot to sit to have a coffee or lunch.
  3. Sodermalm - Monteliusvägen
    Hipster Swedes may enjoy telling you why Sodermalm isn't EXACTLY the Williamsburg or Silverlake of Stockholm, but that's what it is. A great short walk is Monteliusvägen along the northern edge of the island, on the bluff overlooking the city.
  4. Sodermalm - shopping/coolness
    Or walk south on Götgatan from the Slussen T-bana, good shopping and stuff. If you are cool maybe you are already staying at the Hotel Rival owned by Benny from ABBA. If not that's a good starting place to walk around. Urban Kitchen is a good food destination, see below. If you are tall and thin you will find simple stylish clothes that fit well.
  5. Gamla Stan
    Old Town, is an island, maze of old streets, real Rick Steves stuff. You can stop by (but don't eat at) Den Gyldene Freden where the Swedish academy picks the literature Nobel. Could eat at Frantzen/Flying Elk, see below.
  6. If it's sunny, drink outside
    Unless you've made a bad mistake, you're there in spring or summer. Swedish people do not waste their slim good seasons and they will be outside at bars drinking, around Kungsträdgården maybe? Or on the stretch of Birger Jarlsgatan south of Stureplan? (Pretty sure you're allowed to just sit in the park and drink if you want but you can only buy bottles of booze at the Systembolaget government liquor stores).
  7. Drink coffee
    Swedish people drink like sixteen coffees a day. Kind of a fun lifestyle to try for a week or so. They also take pride in their coffee being extra strong.
  8. Eat: Frantzen (Gamla Stan)
    Not associated with Jonathan Franzen. Noma-style seriously crafted 12+ courses of food experiments. Might be a months in advance reservations kind of place to but was able to walk in one night and eat at the bar. One of the head dudes took exceptional care and patience to describe the ideas and sourcing of each part of the meal. Same dudes (I think) run the more casual but still fancy Flying Elk bar across the street, also good.
  9. Eat: Urban Kitchen (Sodermalm)
    Name's connotations maybe don't convey to the American ear that this place will be full of blonde people. Maybe for lunch or brunch, kind of like an enormous version of Sqirl in LA?
  10. Eat: Östermalms Saluhall
    If you like IKEA food this is like the Quincy Market of that. Crowded scene, epic 1880s building, get your köttbullar and elk jerky.
  11. Eat: Mathias Dahlgren/Matbarem (Ostermalm-ish)
    Two Michelin stars, if that's your jam. Matbaren, the more casual version, has one. Both in the Grand Hotel.
  12. Skogskyrkogården
    This is a cemetery that's a UNESCO world heritage site because of its stark and dramatic landscape design, I guess? Only go here if you want to feel like you're in one of Ingmar Bergman cold, sorrowful dreams or to perceive the existential silence of the godless sky. Don't go here.
  13. Just ask somebody
    Odds are they'll be 10x cooler than me and speak magnificent and articulate English. They'll be slightly weirded out because this is not a "start a friendly chat with a stranger" culture but they'll also be unfailingly polite.