Stockholm for uncool people Austrian Adaptation Carly Hulls

How to play it cool in Stockholm if you’re a bit uncool

In Slow Travel, Sweden by Carly18 Comments

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The uncool person’s guide to the insanely cool city of Stockholm, Sweden.


Let me start, dear reader, by being blatantly honest – I am inherently uncool. A book nerd, frizzy haired weirdo since primary school, don’t let the pictures of my one-good-hair-day a month that you see on this blog fool you – I am 100% a dorkus malorkus.

Stockholm as a city is the exact opposite of that. As much as a city can be the opposite of a human (stay with me guys…)

Attractive nordic men abound, women seem to effortlessly throw together perfect outfits and glide around on elegant bikes, while the city itself just looks cool, in a casual, thrown together ‘oh, this old thing?’ way.

Stockholm for uncool people Austrian Adaptation Carly Hulls


Its an accessible cool though – not like those way-too-cool-kids in High School who wouldn’t talk to anyone less than them on the social ladder.

Stockholm invites you to explore its cool side, it keeps its hipster stores easy to find so you can, as a mere wannabe tourist, get your hands on authentic Swedish style. (Even if all you can afford is a jacket from H&M!)

Stckholm for uncool people Austrian Adaptation

We could be this cool, right? Guys?

While we’re in confession mode, let me also state loudly and proudly – I’m a total sucker for hipster shit. Give me arty design stores, cool coffee shops with abstract indie playlists, cute bikes, street art, bearded boys – I’ll *squee* for all of it. My Melbourne hipster-heart cannot resist.

Stockholm for uncool people

Hipster honeytrap in SoFo district. Yes, of course I was lured in!

Stockholm knows this.

Stockholm keeps that good shit readily accessible for all of us suckers, who long to be as effortlessly pulled together as native Swedes.

Stockholm for uncool people Austrian Adaptation Carly Hulls

Could you resist? No. No you could not.

What makes Stockholm so cool?

The City

The city felt to me like a larger version of Amsterdam – all beautiful waterways, cute cafe’s, historic palaces and inviting parks. Luckily for us uncool kids, the old town area is very easy to navigate, dotted with views of the palace, cobbled alleys, wine bars and adorable bakeries that will offer you delicious sweet treats.

Stockholm for uncool people Austrian Adaptation Carly Hulls
Fika How to be uncool in Stockholm Austrian Adaptation Carly Hulls

Irresistible Fika – Sweden’s best baked treat!

Stop by Corvina Enoteca when you’re in the old town of Gamla Stan –  a fantastic wine bar, great for whiling away a sunny afternoon watching the world go by.

The Shopping

The hipster areas such as SoFo (short for ‘South of Folkungagatan’) are relatively easy to find. Here is where the ‘big name’ Swedish brands like Cheap Monday jeans, Stutterheim rain coats (do NOT check that website, you will be inexplicably drawn to spending ridiculous amounts of money on a raincoat), Acme Studios and even a cute traditional clogs and sandals store, ‘Hasbeens’ can get you looking authentically Swedish in under ten minutes.

Uncool guide to Stockholm Austrian Adaptation Carly Hulls

Household name Acme Studios – filled with beautiful things I can’t afford!

How to uncool in Stockholm Austrian Adaptation Carly Hulls

Strangely alluring raincoats (lighting was weird in here)

How to be uncool in Stockholm Austrian Adaptation Carly Hulls

Weirdly alluring Swedish clog sandals

Basically, if you want to burn through money but look damn fine at the end of it, SoFo is where to head. The interior design stores alone had me suckered into thinking I needed to buy every. damn. thing.

Stop by: The quirky Cafe String – nestled among all the stores in SoFo is a retro furniture and comic book inspired coffee stop to refuel.

How to be uncool in Stockholm Austrian Adaptation Carly Hulls

Adorably quirky Cafe String

There is also a major shopping centre in the middle of town. It’s 4 levels and has been around since the 1920’s – this is where you actually get a good overview of all the brands that you can (or can’t) afford. Well worth a wander during one of the inevitable summer showers that will hit when you visit.

The Food

I was worried Swedish food would be all meatballs and not much else. And look, I couldn’t go this far to Sweden and not have meatballs right?

How to be uncool in Stockholm Austrian Adaptation Carly Hulls

But beyond the staple dish, the seafood and bakery treats were a delightful surprise. Whether it was a quick dinner in a hostel or a lush lunch break in SoFo the oysters, fish and prawns we damn delicious.

Stop by: Cafe Jäarntoget in Gamla Stan for some wacky and sweet ice cream with insane flavour combinations!

Ice cream How to be cool in Stockholm Austrian Adaptation Carly Hulls

Ok, I chose chocolate which isn’t wacky at all, but you COULD go wacky

The History

History can be cool in Stockholm, and they are swimming in it (pun on waterside city fully intended #sorrynotsorry).

There are the royal palaces and churches that have been on the islands since the 1200’s, there’s an old old wooden ship (I’m not kidding) that sunk before it left the harbour but is now a major museum display of 1700’s naval history.

How to be uncool in Stockholm Austrian Adaptation

How to be uncool in Stockholm Austrian Adaptation Carly Hulls

There’s glorious architecture on every street corner and some regular restaurants that have been around for centuries. Stockholm makes dusty history cool again – just by being Stockholm.

Stop by: Vasaa Museum to see the gigantic ship that sunk in 1628 and was salvaged 300 years later to be turned into a museum.

 What Else is there?

Everything was all very Nordic cool…until we made it to the Abba museum, where kitsch and cheese are celebrated with gay abandon (and I do mean that in every beautiful sense of the word).

Stockholm if you're uncool Austrian Adaptation Carly Hulls

Super chill about getting to the Abba museum

Here is everything you ever dreamed about if you’re into Eurovision, Abba and singing along with hologram versions of the band. (Yes, I 100% was down for alllll of this!)
Situated in the peaceful waterside Djurgården district, you could easily combine an Abba museum visit with some sightseeing at the nearby nature parks and waterside fairgrounds. Just allow yourself plenty of time to indulge your retro dance style and marvel at all the sequin onesies the Abba museum has to offer!
Stockholm if you're uncool

In short, the coolest thing about Stockholm? How happy and inviting the entire city was. Even if you are an uncool tourist looking to nab just a taste of that Swedish ice-cool look, Stockholm helps you to do so and will welcome you with open arms.

 Have you thought about visiting Stockholm? Tell me in the comments what you are most excited to visit!



  1. Definitely, I have to visiting this ‘cool’ city. Thanks for the advice as I’m also an uncool person

    1. Author

      We all gotta stick together, right? Although I hear uncool is the new cool…. 😉

  2. Stockholm really is insanely cool! And brilliant. And gorgeous. And just one of the best cities Europe has to offer!! 😀 I love your pictures – they totally make me want to hop on a plane and go shopping in SoFo again! 🙂

    1. Author

      Um, yes, you 100% should – it’s way to gorgeous to resist!

    1. Author

      Naw thanks Mikkel! I do try hahah but am embracing the dork within these days 🙂 Thanks for such a lovely comment!

  3. What a cool post! I’ve been wanderlusting over Stockholm, and this just shows me that I really need to go there. I’ve also been eyeing those clogs online for awhile, so I think I should go there to see them in person…right?

  4. I’ve walked past the ABBA Museum on 2 occasions and both times I was very reluctant to walk in.
    I mean I love Eurovision and I kinda like ABBA, but what do you think makes the museum worth visiting?

    1. Author

      It’s actually really comprehensive and looks at the history of Abba in the context of the 1970’s and they literally recreate the stunning recording studio/apartment that they wrote their most popular albums in. I’m not even a mega Abba fan, but you have to admit their tunes were unavoidable, so it’s pretty interesting to see them all in context – and it’s a marvellously well done museum, super interactive and more ‘fun’ than I would normally attribute to a museum! Try it and see 🙂

  5. As a fellow Melburnian dorkus malorkus, I totally dig how excited you are for the Abba museum. Also EUROVISION is this weekend!!

    1. Author

      YES Kat!! YES! Don’t even get me started on my Eurovision geekery hahaha

  6. I’ve used to live in Stockholm, stayed there for three years. Sorry to say but Stockholm is a very boring city and not so hip or big as the stockholmare think they are. It’s nothing wrong being a small big city but the people in Stockholm got it all wrong. They think like It’s Berlin, Paris, New York, Stockholm. When It’s really Oslo, Helsingfors,Köbenhavn, Göteborg, Stockholm. And hipsters and gentrifying is just middle class people killing all creativity in working class areas.

  7. Another absolutely cool “uncool thing” is to hop on a ferry, get out to the Skärgården and visit some of these really, really beautiful and totally Swedish islands. Sandhamn is my favourite… Missing it sooo much!

    Best wishes and thanks for the great article!

  8. Loved this post and your hipster Melbourne tendencies! We adore Stockholm for the same reasons, although I would venture that Copenhagen even ups Stockholm on hipster quotient! We also loved Cafe String – great Swedish pancake buffet on weekends. And I was lucky enough to take home some of those ADORABLE red Swedish Hasbeen clogs – LOVE them!!! Coveting some gold ones to be honest! Cheers from Copenhagen, Erin

    1. Author

      Oh man I would LOVE to make it to Copenhagen, it is definitely on my list!

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