in Kungsträdgården park has opened for the season... even if the temperatures still haven't gone under the freezing point in Stockholm yet. It is open 7 days a week with generous opening hours (weekdays from 9am to 9pm, weekends from 10am to 9pm). If you have your own skates then skating is free. If you don't have your own skates, don't worry... they have skates for rent at the rink. Rental prices are also generous with adults paying 60 SEK per hour and children/youth under 20 only needing to pay 30 SEK per hour.
Christmas market (open daily from November 28th to December 22nd) or perhaps a visit to the NK department store or downtown shopping district. The rink is lit up in the winter darkness and they play music, so it is fun just to stop by and watch the skaters while sipping some glögg.To get there from the Rival Hotel, it is just a 30 minute walk through the Old Town (Gamla Stan), 3-4 stops on the subway or a 5 minute taxi ride.
November 27, 2014
November 25, 2014
|Madonna "True Blue"|
|The iconic "Fred with Tires"|
|Series with Jack Nicholson as the Joker.|
|Versace Dress, Back View, El Mirage.|
November 20, 2014
|Gamla Stan's Christmas market.|
|The Bakery boys at Skansen, photo by Marie Andersson.|
- Gamla Stan (old town)- the grand dame of Christmas markets. Traditional with historic atmosphere and centrally located. Recently named one of the top ten markets in Europe by The Telegraph. Open daily (11am to 6pm) between Nov 22nd and Dec 23rd. Only a 15 minute walk from the Rival Hotel!
- Kungsträdgården- another popular market! Their central location near the NK department store, downtown shopping district and outdoor ice skating rink make this a season must. Open daily (11am to 6pm) between Nov 28th and Dec 22nd.
- Skansen- take a journey back in time and visit a Christmas market as they were 100+ years ago. Skansen, located on Djurgården, is an open air museum of Swedish traditions as well as the city's zoo. Open Saturdays and Sundays (10am to 4pm) from Nov 29th to Dec 21st.
- Hornstull Marknad- have a happy, hipster Christmas! Located on Södermalm, in the popular Hornstull neighborhood. Open on Saturdays & Sundays (noon to 6pm) from Nov 29th to Dec 21st.
|Traditional holiday ornaments/decorations for sale...|
- Konstfack- College of Arts, Craft & Design. Creative Christmas market put on by the students. Saturday and Sunday, Nov 29th & 30th (10am to 6pm). Located in the suburb of Telefonplan.
- Royal Stables (Kungliga Hovstallet)- Combine a visit to the Royal Stables with some traditional Christmas shopping. Location. Friday, Nov 28th (noon to 7pm), Saturday, Nov 29th (10am to 6pm) and Sun, Nov 30th (10am to 5pm).
- Farmers' Christmas Market (Bondens Egen Marknad)- in the weeks leading up to Christmas, this popular farmers' market in SoFo turns into a Christmas market. Laid back and local. Four Saturdays before Christmas with start on Nov 29th (10am to 3pm).
- Beckmans- this College of Design has a popular annual Christmas market put on by the students. Location. Saturday & Sunday, Dec 13th & 14th (11am to 5pm).
There are also a few good Christmas markets just outside the city which are well worth a visit!
- Sigtuna- The capital of Sweden before Stockholm was founded. Location. Traditional Christmas market on the four Sundays leading up to Christmas (11am to 4pm) with start Nov 30th.
- Drottningholm Palace- UNESCO World Heritage site that has an annual Christmas market. Location. According to Visit Sweden: Saturday, Dec 6th and Sunday, Dec 7th (11am to 4pm).
- Steninge Slott- Castle located outside the town of Märsta. Daily Christmas market from Nov 15th to Dec 22nd (weekdays 11am to 6pm and weekends 10am to 5pm).
- Vaxholm- called the capital of the Stockholm archipelago (location), this town has a Christmas market every year put on by the Lions' Club. Saturday, Dec 6th and Sunday, Dec 7th (no opening hours mentioned yet).
- Utö- an island located in the southern archipelago. Weekends, Dec 6th, 7th, 13th and 14th. A bit difficult to get to, Strömma offers a package trip by boat including traditional Swedish Christmas meal (julbord) onboard. However, as I write this, the package trips are almost fully booked! They do also have many other julbord lunch/dinner cruises to choose from throughout the holiday season.
Click here for some other important dates during the holiday season. Now we just have to wish for a little snow so that it looks like this...
|Skansen Christmas Market, photo by Marie Andersson.|
November 14, 2014
|Press image from Mathias Dahlgren|
Dining room at Matsalen.
is located in the downtown area, just across the water from the Royal Palace. Currently, Matsalen offers one set tasting menu: "The Natural Cuisine". Officially this is made up of 5 courses. I say "officially" because between the other smaller dishes, tastes and palate cleansers you really come up to around 9. All together they make up an incredible gastronomical experience.
|Fire fried King Crab...|
|The best freshly baked bread! Served with smoked butter and cod roe.|
|MD's take on Moules Mariniere... with seared scallops.|
|A palate cleanser: sorbet of pine shoots and mint, with meringue powder and bluberry.|
|Dessert! Not sure what a "false waffle" is, but it's delicious!|
November 11, 2014
|Pubologi, photo by Nicho Södling, Stockholm Visitors Board.|
Best Chefs (this year's rank, name, restaurant, last year's rank in parentheses)
1. Sayan Isaksson, Esperanto (4).
2. Mathias Dahlgren, Mathias Dahlgren (2).
4. Björn Frantzén, Restaurant Frantzén (1).
5. Magnus Ek, Oaxen Krog & Slip (5).
8. Mikael Einarsson, Djuret & Pubologi (8).
9. Jacob Holmström, Gastrologik (9).
10. Adam Dahlberg, Adam & Albin Matstudio (18).
11. Tom Sjöstedt, Lilla Ego (new).
12. Paul Svensson, freelance (11).
14. Johan Jureskog, AG & Rolfs Kök (12).
15. Stefan Ekengren, Görvälns Slott (new).
16. Claes Grännsjö, freelance (10).
18. Albin Wessman, Adam & Albin Matstudio (20).
20. Gustav Otterberg, Ekstedt (19).
Best Restaurants (this year's rank, restaurant, last year's rank in parentheses)
2. Restaurant Frantzén (1).
3. Esperanto (4).
5. Mathias Dahlgren Matbaren (5).
6. Oaxen Krog (new).
7. Mathias Dahlgren Matsalen (2).
8. Lilla Ego (new).
9. Ekstedt (6).
11. Nook (new).
12. Restaurang AG (9).
14. Chez Betty (16).
15. Speceriet (new).
16. Gastrologik (8).
17. Oaxen Slip (new).
18. Operakällaren (12).
19. Råkultur (11).
20. Spritmuseum (new).
I didn't list the restaurants and chefs from other parts of Sweden... but I should definitely mention that the #1 restaurant in Sweden, according to the chefs, is Fäviken Magasinet in Järpen. I would love to visit it some day! Click here for the full list (including restaurants outside of Stockholm). And click here if you want to see other recent guides and awards.
November 8, 2014
|NK department store.|
|Part of last year's Christmas light display...|
|Christmas market in Gamla Stan.|
|Boat cruise with traditional julbord, offered by Strömma.|
|One of the many Lucia processions in the city...|
Tjugondag Knut. The days between Christmas and New Years are called mellandagarna ("middle days") and are, like in many other countries a huge time for the retail industry with lots of mega sales... called mellandagsrea here in Sweden.
|Fingers crossed for a white Christmas this year..|
November 6, 2014
|The Rival... Hotel & Theatre!|
- Nov. 16th- Sophie Zelmani. Acoustic rock & folk. Popular Swedish singer & songwriter who sings in English. Several of her songs have been used by Hollywood (Independence Day, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson's Creek, etc.).
- Nov. 21st & 22nd- Thomas Andersson Wij. Pop/rock music. Another popular Swedish singer & songwriter... and good friend of the Rival. He has actually released an album called "Live på Rival (Live at the Rival)" in 2005.
- Nov. 24th- Tommy Körberg. Pop/musical/schlager. Perhaps one of Sweden's most beloved and well known performers. Known by non Swedish speakers for his career in musical theatre (Chess) and collaborations with Benny Andersson.
- Nov. 27th- Owe Thörnqvist. Pop/rock/schlager. Sweden's #1 troubadour! Owe is on tour this year celebrating his 85th(!) birthday.
- Nov. 29th- Nashville Country Music Night. Country. Featuring Caroline Larsson and the Music City Band. Concert featuring some of the greatest country songs of all time... Dolly Parton, Rascal Flatts, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Dixie Chicks, Taylor Swift and much more.
- Dec. 1st- World AIDS Day Concert. December 1st is World AIDS Day. This charity concert features some of Sweden's most popular artists like Shirley Clamp, Peter Jöback, Cirkus Cirkör and Diamond Dogs and raises money for the HIV organization Noaks Ark.
- Dec. 9th- Julen Är Här! (Christmas is Here!). Christmas concert with Peter Johansson, Matilda Grün and Jesper Sjöberg. Get into the holiday spirit...
- Dec. 12th & 13th- Sarah Dawn Finer. Soul & pop. One of Sweden's best voices and known for both her work on stage and at the Melodifestival. This is part of her "Vinterland" tour... featuring songs with a winter theme.
- Dec. 18th & 19th- P-Floyd. Rock. This is a popular Swedish Pink Floyd tribute band. Let them take you back in time with some of Pink Floyd's greatest hits.
Some great artists and a wide range of musical genre! More information, calendar and tickets can be found here. Advance tickets can't be purchased at the Rival. Instead they are sold online or you can also purchase them at Stockholm Visitor Center or other ticket outlet. If you are going to stay at the Rival Hotel, contact me directly for any extra assistance.
|A few of the artists performing at the Rival...|
November 3, 2014
Stockholm International Film Festival. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the festival, which runs from the 5th to the 16th of November. There will be 201 current movies from 60 countries shown during the festival at several different venues. Besides the movies, there will be red carpet events, special presentations, parties as well as different award ceremonies.
Several movies being shown have already won awards at other film festivals over the past few months... like Whiplash (Sundance), Black Coal, Thin Ice (Berlin), Winter Sleeps (Cannes) and A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (Venice). Some other movies being shown have already garnered Oscar buzz, like Wild with Reese Witherspoon. It might seem daunting to have to try and choose which films you want to see among 201 choices, but they have made it a bit easier by breaking down the program in different ways... by day, alphabetically, venue or section. On the "section" side, the films are divided up by genre or type and whether they are part of the festival competition or not. Click here for the program.
Certain films are in competition for the Bronze Horse Award (best film) as well as smaller awards (Aluminum Horse- best actor, script, cinematography, etc.). Then there are prestigious awards given annually. These include the Lifetime Achievement Award, Achievement Award and Visionary Award, Director Mike Leigh, actress Uma Thurman and director Roy Andersson have been announced as the winners of each espective award and will be on hand to accept them. The festival has also planned a special dedication to Lauren Bacall, past Lifetime Achievement Award winner who passed away in August.
As you can see... a full schedule! All of the pertinent information and tickets can be found on their website. Otherwise, if you are staying at the Rival Hotel, stop by and talk to me for extra help.
|Skandia, photo by Emmanuel Castro Skött|
|Bronze Horse, photo by Isa Olsson.|
|Lauren Bacall, photo by Leif Erik Nygårds.|
November 1, 2014
|The bakery in Hornstull.|
People adopting a gluten free diet has become quite common these days... whether due to allergies, Coeliac disease or sometimes even as a fad diet. But whatever the reason, there are many more options for people on a gluten free diet these days than before. Restaurants in Stockholm are generally very good at catering to people with dietary restrictions (gluten sensitivity, lactose intolerance, vegetarianism, etc.). However, for best results, I would recommend informing the restaurants ahead of time of any restrictions... like when you book your table.
|A wide variety of bread...|
Of special note for people on a gluten free diet in Stockholm is the bakery Friends of Adam. This wheat & gluten free bakery is located on the island of Södermalm, in the hip neighborhood of Hornstull (not too far from the Rival Hotel). Here you can purchase bread, muffins, crisp bread, buns, cookies, mixes and other goodies... all baked in the same locale. You can even pre order cakes for that special occasion.
|Cookies, crackers and crisp bread.|
But you don't need to visit the bakery to buy Friends of Adam products. Their products can be found in certain grocery stores throughout the city. For example, right around the corner from the Rival Hotel we have 8T8. This specialty grocery store sells what they call "conscious" food. By that they mean food that is often organically produced, made/grown locally and without unnecessary additives. They also have a good choice of products for people with dietary restrictions or special diets and do carry Friends of Adam cookies and crisp bread.
|8T8 food store.|
October 30, 2014
Whether you celebrate the more commercial Halloween or the more spiritual All Saints' Day, this is a special holiday weekend coming up (Oct 31st-Nov 2nd)! Halloween does, of course, have its roots in the traditional All Hallow's Eve celebration... but the Americanized Halloween holiday has become more and more popular here in Sweden over the past 10-15 years. On the days surrounding the 31st, don't be surprised to see children and young adults dressed in costumes on the streets of Stockholm. But if you really want to party like a ghoul then you shouldn't miss the Shockholm festival, especially their parade (which is the largest Halloween parade in Scandinavia). The parade takes place on Saturday, November 1st, starting at 5pm from Kungsträdgården park... directly after a pre-parade party (3pm-5pm) with costume contests and other activities. The parade route will go around the old town (Gamla Stan) before returning back to Kungsträdgården for the after party!
|Skogskyrkogården, photo by|
(c) Susanne Hallmann, Kyrkogårdsförvaltningen Stockholms stad
|All Saints' Day. Photo: Cecilia Larsson/imagebank.sweden.se|