Sunday, February 24, 2013

Kid's Stockholm: What to do with kids

Hello again! I know it's been a few days. We've been traveling and the kids are on vacation for two weeks! It's Winter Break in Stockholm and I'm thinking back one year ago to when our nephews visited us (click here) -- what fun we had!  
I'm often asked "what to do with bigger kids in Stockholm" and today, I'd like to share my "short list" of "what to do with big kids in Stockholm (approximately ages: 6-13 but many of these things are great with little ones, too.) I'm also teaming up with fellow Stockholm based blogger, Mina, from minipiccolini, today, who will share her favorite things to do in Stockholm with babies and toddlers (click here.) I wanted to share a broad list and think that there's something for everyone here. Happy Travels! 


With  a VAT tax of about 25 %, Stockholm isn't a bargain but, there is a lot you can do and enjoy without going over board -- it's really a city to walk and discover.  Since Stockholm's built on 14 islands -- if you follow the water, it's hard to go wrong. The city buses are easy and ferries also help you easily move around.  (If you are traveling with a baby buggy, you'll ride for free on the bus with your baby in a buggy.) Each area of the city has a spirit of it's own. Many of the museums have great cafes for easy breaks and views to enjoy.



Old Town: find the narrowest street in the city and see the changing of the guard.

ACTIVITIES:
Walk, take the bus or subway -- these are all easy ways to get around Stockholm. English is spoken everywhere and people, generally, like to practice.  There are also ferries available to shuttle between Djurgården, Slussen (Old Town) and Nybrokajen (center) and you can purchase tickets on-site. These are three areas with a lot to see and this is a great way to get around town, while offering another perspective to the town.

Wasa Museum: (Vasamuseet) The Wasa sank on her maiden voyage in Stockholm 1628 and was salvaged 1961. This museum encases the full ship and is a must see. (Note: closed March 18 - April 30 for reconstruction). This is on the island of Djurgården with offers endless strolling (see more below under parks.)


Skansen:  This is also a top visit --- a museum with something for all ages ---  this is the world's oldest open air museum with the Stockholm zoo with Nordic animals and replicas of Swedish houses through the country and through out the ages. National Holidays are celebrated here (Midsummer with the Midsummer Pole, Easter, Christmas and with Christmas Markets) and there are many restaurant, cafe and picnic choices here, too. This is also on Djurgården.

Old Town (Gamla Stan). This part of the city dates back to the 13th Century and is a great for strolling with both very tourists and also artisan shopping; with plenty a restaurant and cafes.  See if you can find "Mårten Trotzigs Gränd." This little street is less than a metre wide, the narrowest alley in the city. There are several tours available at the Royal Palace (click here) and don't miss the changing of the guard. 

Gröna Lund (Summer): Stockholm's Amusement Park. Areas for all ages. Kid approved! Open April 26 - September 22, 2013. 

Ice Skating:  This time of the year, go ice skating at Kungstragården.  Ice skates are available to rent and fires are lit to warm your hands by.  This park is located in the center of the city (with plenty of shopping and eating near by including the department store NK and the great children's clothes at POP and Zara.) and has functions throughout the year from Restaurant Day to trampolines or just a lively central place to stroll. (In the city, Vasaparken, see below, has ice skating, too.)

Stadshuset Tour:   The visit to the beautiful City Hall and climb up the town is well worth the visit. Do you kids know about the Nobel? Here is where the Nobel Banquet (click here) is served. Kid tours are given and recommended for children between 5-12. The tour is only 50 minutes with lots of fun facts/trivia about Stockholm. The view from the top of the tower is fantastic. 

Castle Excursion: Tour Boats depart from nearby, Stadshuset,  to Drottningholm (This is the residence of the King and Queen), in the summer day trips to: the town of Mariafred with Grippsholm Castle and stream train ride for kids

Vikings: The island of Birka (The former Viking Capital with a viking village, experience the Sveakampen viking games where children and adults are invited to join the action or try working as an archaeologist under expert supervision - even wooden sword making at times.)

- short excursion: Globen Skyview Elevator. Book tickets ahead of time and take this sky view elevator to the top of this area for a spectacular view of the city.

Kulturhuset: Rum for Barn This cultural city center has a exhibits for children and an area just for little ones called Rum for Barn. I was here all of the time, when the kids were toddlers -- they had a great atelier where the kids can paint and paint without worrying about being messy and the library is great, too with titles in many languages! It's worth mentioning for older children too because of the weekly craft in this same atelier. In the "Rum for Barn" there are special weekly craft projects designed for older children and it's located in the center of the city -- very convenient to just pop in. I will mention the Lava Studio, on the ground floor of Kulturhuset is for children between 13 - 23. We haven't graduated to Lava so have no first hand experience, but, I do love looking in the windows. Stop by Designtorget, too. It's a market with Nordic designers. You might find something interesting to take home here. (click here.)

Music and Dance:
Konserthuset: Music series for kids, Musical Treasure hunts and regular concerts.

The Royal Ballet/Opera. It's more than the show, it's the costumes, the atmosphere, the orchestra, the stage...  (See the Nutcracker, if visiting over Christmas and New Years Holidays)

Islands
short excursion: Waxholm boat to the island: Fjäderholmarna. This little island is the first one out of the city. The short boat ride is way to get a first feel for the archipelago and the island has everything from restaurants to artisans.  (It opens for the season on April 28, 2013)

excursion: Waxholm boat to island; Sandhamn. This island is one of the outer most islands of the Stockholm Archipelago with a fantastic white sandy beach, restaurants, lodging, bakery and sailing regattas; as well the the soft, quiet backdrop of the Baltic Sea.

SPORTS:

Bikes
City Bikes are available (click here for locations) in the center of the city from April through September. Stockholm has extensive bike paths and it's a great way to get around. Djurgården will be the most quiet area for biking.

Swimming is always such a hit that we have been known to repeat it during visits.
1. Erikdalsbadet is in the city with adventure pool, warm swimming pool, slides, outdoor heated swim area and lap pools.

2. excursion: Gustavsbergbadet is a great destination, if you have a car.  The pool has similar features but will give you a chance to leave the city. It will also give you the chance to browse the Gustavsberg Porcelain Factory, iittala, Kosta Boda and Orrefors outlets in the little town of Gustavsberg or make a run to the new Artipelag museum (click here).

excursion: Hellasgården: This is a nature reserve just 15 minutes by bus from Slussen. Winter highlights are the sauna and "polar bear" swimming, ice skating and cross country trails. In the Summer, this is one of the first warm beaches due to it's shallow waters. Cafe on the grounds.

Swim: Långholmen is a little island in the city that can be reached on the city bus with a beach that makes you feel so far away from everything and island stroll.  There is a former prison here that is now a Conference center and Hotel. Kayaks can be rented and at nearby Reimersholme, too.)

SKI: 
short excursion: Ski at Hammarbybacken: Ski at the city limits. Rentals are available on site and the view of the city from this little hill is fantastic. All of the kids used it almost as our "winter park" and while small if is unique, convenient and fun.

excursion: Romme is a 2 1/2 hour car ride from Stockholm (buses are available, too)

Climb short excursion:  Klatterverket at Sickla






















Above left: Leaving coins in the paws of the lions, between the Opera and the Palace, is a tradition to give to someone in need. Stockholm has a high standard of living but, it's something we still always do. Above Right: The city tourist ferry will take you right up to the Fotographiska Museet; or walk or pick up a city bike to get there -- it's a great path to use up some kid energy with a beautiful view back into the city and a busy waterway where cruise ships and ferries move. 

MUSEUMS:
Many of Stockholm's museums have great art rooms and special weekend programs for kids that are designed around current exhibits. I've included links with all of the museums listed below so that you can check these out before choosing.  Many, too, have fantastic settings for their cafes which make wonderful breaks and nice shops where I've found unique things for the kids rooms and where I often buy presents. (The Modern and Fotographiska are two on my favorite views in town and both have very nice menus.)
1. Modern Museum * I love their art room and they have a fantastic cafe with a sumptuous view.
2. Architecture Museum * The art classes we've participated in here have been very, very good for big kids -- I still moon of the one that we missed where kids built their own mini Eames Chair! This is in the same building as the Modern.  We were there in December. See their Gingerbread House exhibit, here.
3. National * This is currently closed for renovations but will open in a temporary location on June 13, 2013. 
4. Junibacken * This is the Pipplångstocking Museum. It's primarily for 6 and under but, is still special if your children are familiar with Pippi -- the National Treasure --- complete with temporary exhibits, a train ride through Astrid Lindgren's tales and a beautiful setting. 
5. Wasa Museum: A must see.
6. Nordiska Museum *
7. Aquaria Aquarium: Fish, frogs and a great stop on the tram, coming from the city center.
8. Tekniska Museet * This is a good technology museum with lots of hands-on for active kids.
9.  Etnografiskamuseet  (great break art activities and cafe) and near by: Sea Museum
10. Police Museum
11. Skansen. See above where it is also listed above as an activity.
12. Stadshuset See above where it is also listed above as an activity.
13. Royal Palace (Museums)
14. Fotographiska Museum. Cafe with such a fantastic view
15. Tom Titts Experiment * This is a fantastic science and discover museum for older kids. It's out of the city but car, bus or train will get you there.
16. Millesgarden. I love this peaceful sculpture park over looking the water and back into the city. You can find one of Carl Mille's sculptures in front of the Concert House (Konserthuset , find below)
* Art rooms or Art activities and/or tours for children.

PARKS:


Humlegården is in the heart of the city and has a nice fenced playground area for the littlest kids with an old fashioned sled ring and sleds that can be borrowed to whiz down the adjacent  hill  in the winter and plenty of running room for older kids.
Vasaparken:  Park and playground with ice skating rink in the winter. Mini golf, (click here) April - September
Kungstragården: Ice skating in the winter; strolling area with shopping and restaurants near by but, does not have a play ground.
Djurgården is an beloved by both tourists and those who live here. The whole island is a park and is it also home to the amusement park, Grona Lund, and many museums (Wasa, Junibacken, Nordiska, Skansen and the Aquarium, all mentioned below), points of interest with other museums and  restaurants --- of the perfect place to take a picnic. Don't miss one of my favorite cafes, Rosendals  trädgården --- a green house and cafe with many interesting nooks and crannies for the kids to explore -- including a labyrinth and play park.

I'll share some of my favorite Stockholm restaurants with kids very soon! What else do you want to know about Stockholm? Do you want to know about favorite shopping? I'd love to hear from you and know what you're thinking about and looking for! Stockholm deserves some summer photos, too. The sun is "almost" midnight sun and the colors absolutely dance! I hope your week has been great!

More: Things to do in Sweden (Alll Posts) Click here

Something you might like:
Kid Tested Stockholm (Interview highlights with my 10, 12 and 13 year old nephews) 
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15 comments:

  1. Amazing! What a comprehensive guide to keeping your children busy and entertained in our beautiful city!

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  2. Great post, thank you!

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    1. Thank you! I hope you have the chance to enjoy some of these favorites, too.

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  3. I guess I was reading your mind once again:). I also did a post about Stockholm back in January! How funny? Have a nice weekend!

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    1. So nice that you've found me here! I will look forward to finding that!

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  4. did you write the second post about restaurants? we are headed to stockholm on thursday with our three year old and were looking for tips! I just can't seem to find it...

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    1. Dear Jill, you motivate me! I wrote a restaurant list, but never posted it. You make me want to get this out and posted before we leave, too. (We're almost crossing paths in the air -- we're heading to the US this week too) Our weather has been so beautiful. I wish you wonderful Swedish travels.

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    2. I'm chasing the clock, as I'm sure you are, too! If you email me and have access to emails once here, I can have an unedited list to you waiting. (willowtweet (at) gmail (dot) com. Wishing you very happy travels

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  5. Wow, I am so grateful for this post! I will be travelling to Stockholm from Toronto in the winter months this year with my 3 year old daughter and I was worried about finding things to do.
    Now I know! Thank you so much for all this information.

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    1. Your comment makes me day! Hearing from you is a great reminder to keep the information updated. Have a wonderful visit. Stockholm is a very child-friendly city - I hope it shows itself at it's best for you and your daughter.

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    2. Hello again! Would you be able to recommend one good castle to visit that is family friendly? We are really looking forward to our trip. We leave this Friday, hooray! Thank you again.

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    3. Magdalene, what fun and thank you so much for asking!
      1) In the city: If you're short on time and in the city, go to Gamla Stan (which is a must) to the Royal Palace. I have a link above so that you can check out their times for the changing of the guards, as well. This is really fun to see!
      2) Drottningholm: This is the castle, just outside of the city, where the King and Queen live. You can take a boat from the center of the city. I've added a link to this, above, just for you! (and others to come, I hope, too!)
      Have a wonderful, wonderful time!

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  6. Thank you for taking the time to write up this incredibly comprehensive review of kids activities. I really appreciate it.

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    1. Thank you, too, for taking the time to comment, too! I'll update it for this coming summer!

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Thank you!