Frequently hailed as the most child friendly city in Europe, Stockholm is the complete package when it comes to a family getaway. It is small enough to get around on foot, has stacks of green areas and crystal clear water, and is jam-packed with all the culture, food and design cred you’d expect from any famously trend-setting capital.
Kids are simply accepted as part of city’s daily life, so they’re welcome pretty much everywhere (for free!) In fact, your little ones will have the freedom to make noise and generally be ‘kid-like’ without guilt.
There is an abundance of children’s attractions and museums with plenty of activities/exhibitions especially made for young developing minds and others that run kid-friendly workshops.
However, going on trips with kids in tow can be challenging; you can’t just plow through the sights and run yourself ragged. Typically, the best you can do is 2 or 3 big things a day with a lunch break in between and a dinner break at the end to finally get back to home base to wind down.
But have no fear! Like Gothenburg- read my Gothenburg guide- Stockholm makes things fairly easy for parents. For example, buses are free if you're bringing a stroller, while older kids (+7) can travel at no cost on the metro.
Moreover, shopping centers have nursing rooms and the majority restaurants offer child friendly seats and baby changing areas.
In addition to being child friendly, Stockholm is also a fabulous city with over 750 years of ancient history. Every neighborhood is different, the attractions are world-class, it’s very easy to get around and almost everyone speaks perfect English.
Are you planning a trip to Stockholm but don’t know which activities to schedule for your family itinerary? Look no further!
Below you will find a comprehensive travel guide including what to see in Stockholm, how to get around town, a few budget considerations and other essential information that will streamline your trip.
But first, here’s some useful information you might want to know about…
Where is Stockholm and Why Is it So Special?
Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm is one of the world’s most spectacular cities and makes for a perfect weekend getaway in Europe. It lies on the south-central east coast of Sweden where the freshwater Lake Mälaren flows out into the Baltic Sea.
The city is spread across fourteen islands, which are connected by 57 bridges making it a joy to walk or bike around in summer when the weather is good. Stockholm’s beautiful architecture is even more photogenic as it rises from these islands surrounded by a striking water setting.
And if that wasn’t enough, parks and green spaces constitute one-third of the city’s geographical area (!) and Stockholm’s 400 parks are the best place to enjoy glorious Swedish summer like the locals.
At this time of the year Swedes like to spend their entire day outdoors - sunbathing, reading, playing games, working out, running, and enjoying picnics and beers in leafy parks.
How Many Days to Spend in Stockholm?
It sounds like there is a crazy amount of things to do in Stockholm Sweden, and this is especially true when travelling with young children. You could spend an entire month visiting the city and still not see all of what it has to offer.
Unfortunately, most of us lack the time (and budget) to run an in-depth exploration mission through the wonky medieval lanes of this Nordic paradise.
That being said, I’ve chosen the best attractions and rounded up the must-do's with kids based on our trip to Stockholm, which was 4 nights/ 3 days long.
You can also follow this plan if you have two days or just one day in Stockholm. This will be a life-saver especially if you don't have a general sense of the things you want to do.
Where to Stay in Stockholm
Stockholm is a stunning city that seamlessly mixes old, new, nature and water.
It is the capital and largest city in Sweden and is the largest urban center of all Nordic countries, with 14 islands connected by more than 50 bridges.
The city is best-known for its surrounding waters, massive green spaces, modern style and charming medieval city center. Yet, there’s so much more to Stockholm, from lively nightlife and shopping to world-class food and culture...even architecture!
So where should you stay? Where can you get some good sleep but be close to your Stockholm points of interest? And if you have a baby, are these areas worth considering (while at it, these tips will show you how to put your little one to sleep quickly)
While Stockholm is a great city to explore with a bike, Gamla Stan is the place where you're better off on foot as it can get crowded, some alleys are narrow and the cobble stones and inclines just make riding it hard. There are some hotels here but not too many.
In this section, we’ll break down the best places in Stockholm to stay based on your interests, needs and budget: Gamla Stan, Sodermalm, Norrmalm, Ostermalm and Hornstull.
Gamla Stan is the neighborhood in the heart of the city. It is Stockholm’s Old Town and one of the best-preserved medieval areas in Europe. It is definitely touristy, and you’ll find a myriad of historic and cultural attractions as well as restaurants, shops and bars which will often be more expensive than in other parts of town.
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in Gamla Stan
This is Stockholm's Old Town, with narrow cobble stone streets, restaurants and great views if your hotel window faces the canals.
South of Gamla Stan is Sodermalm. A hip and trendy district, Sodermalm is the best neighborhood to stay in Stockholm for nightlife thanks to its great selection of bars, restaurants, cafes and clubs. It’s also where you’ll find excellent independent shopping and plenty of ultra-cool Scandi-style.
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There's great nightlife in Sodermalm, as well as restaurants, shopping and bars.
If you head back up to the north across Gamas Stan is Norrmalm, Stockholm’s business and commercial center. You’ll find everything from great shopping to world-class culture, and is our top pick for where to stay in Stockholm for one night or if you’re on a budget.
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This is the business area of town and a great location if you're here for just a night or on business.
To the East is Ostermalm. One of the most elegant and exclusive areas of the city, Ostermalm is our number one pick for where to stay in Stockholm with kids because there’s so much to see and do, and it is here where we stayed.
From massive parks to outstanding museums, plenty or restaurant and great shopping, you and your family won’t be bored in Ostermalm. Most of the Stockholm boat tours also depart from here, so reaching the dock will be simple.
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This is in my opinion the best place where to stay in Stockholm as most of the city's attractions are within walking distance. We stayed here.
Where Did We Stay?
We stayed at the Downtown Camper by Scandic in Ostermalm, and have to say it was a fantastic choice. We travel with a 3 year old and the room had plenty of space including separate sleeping and living quarters.
The breakfast was nothing short of spectacular and the hotel has many features I haven't seen anywhere else. Check rates .
Finally, to the west of Sodermalm is Hornstull. This is a very laid back are where to stay in Stockholm because it has everything from beaches and bars to shops and restaurants. However most of the tourist attractions aren't very close, so you might want to consider Hornstull as your base camp if you're going to be in Stockholm for a long time.
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Lots of green and quiet areas, this is a very nice residential part of town. There aren't many hotels here, but you'll find great apartments.
What to Eat in Stockholm
You can’t go to Sweden and not try the quintessential Swedish dish: Swedish Meatballs. Whether or not this dish was intended to become the icon of all things Swedish, it is probably the first dish that comes to mind for many of us.
They are often made with a mixture of beef and pork, but can be made up of different meats. The sauce is a deep, flavorful gravy. And the dish is always served with potatoes (usually mashed), a bowl of lingonberries and pickled cucumbers.
Swedish Fish Soup (Svenska fisksoppa), smoked Salmon (Varmrökt lax), flatbread and rosehip soup are some of the most popular dishes, but so are burgers!
Most restaurants will have several options for you to choose from, but we opted to have it in the Swedish equivalent of McDonald's: Maxburgers!
Sure, it might not be the healthiest option but your kids will have fun and it keeps the budget under control for at least one meal 🙂
3 Days in Stockholm Itinerary
Three days in Stockholm with kids is not a lot (I know) but is certainly enough to get a good grasp of the city's culture and modern lifestyle while having pure family fun. This was exactly the time I spent in Stockholm, so hopefully my own experience can serve as reference for your trip too.
If you’re going at a faster pace and are planning to stay only 3 days in Sweden, this suggested Stockholm itinerary would be perfect for you. Check it out!
Day #1: Getting to the City Center
Strolling Around Gamla Stan (The Old Town)
All Stockholm day trips and family itineraries should include some time spent wandering Gamla Stan, the old town in the heart of Stockholm. This beautiful area must be one of the best (if not the best) places for Stockholm sightseeing.
Dating back to the 13th century, it consists of charming medieval alleys, cobblestone streets, and impeccably preserved architecture. The main points of interest in Gamla Stan include the Stortoget square, the Royal Palace, and the Nobel Museum.
The whole island (one of 30,000 in the region of Stockholm) is relatively small and easily walkable in a morning or an afternoon.
The cobbled streets are probably the only part of Stockholm that isn't as stroller-friendly (these are our favorite lightweight strollers) as we'd like, but a good toddler carrier will save the day (check our top carriers including the baby carrier we use ).
And whilst it is true this isn't the kind of outing children would fall in love with, most kids will enjoy running free along the passageways and lanes, pausing to admire some of the fun window displays, and definitely indulging in a pastry or two.
Kungliga Slottet (Royal Palace)
This Royal Palace is one of the largest and most dynamic in Europe. With over 600 rooms divided between eleven floors, it is the official residency to His Majesty the King of Sweden and is also the setting for most of the monarchy's official receptions, open to the public year round.
Kungliga Slottet contains many interesting things to see for kids and parents alike. In addition to the Royal Apartments there are three museums steeped in regal history: the Treasury with the crowns, the Tre Kronor Museum that portrays the palaces medieval history and Gustav III's Museum of Antiquities. During summer the Royal Chapel is also open, as well as the Riddarholmen Church.
There's always something happening at the palace for children - younger visitors particularly enjoy activity trails. They can be crowned on Sweden's National Day or go on an animal hunt through the grand rooms of the palace whenever it is open.
The best part is that these can be carried independently and are suitable for kids of all ages. There are also family tours, school activities and themed evenings to discover.
The visit is 160 SEK but you’ll get in free of charge if you have your Visit Stockholm Card (more information below)
PRO TIP: if possible attend the daily changing of the guard’s ceremony – kids love it! It happens every day at 12:15 pm from Monday to Saturday (one hour later on Sundays) and is led by the Swedish Military.
The Nobel Museum
This museum is one of the must-visit attractions in Stockholm, but I do have to say it was not as exciting as I expected it to be. The main area has themed exhibitions that change during the year taking up most of the museum, and there was one about Martin Luther King when we were visiting. It was all right, but not what we expected to find.
Perhaps the best part was the small theater with brief films about the Nobel Prize winners and their achievements and a small exhibit of what some of them used to make it happen.
There's also a small kid area where little ones can play for a short while (it's not very big).
Become a Knight at the Royal Armoury Museum (Livrustkammaren)
Established in 1628 by King Gustav II Adolph, the Royal Armoury is the oldest museum in Sweden and definitely one of the best things to do in Stockholm with kids. It gives children the opportunity to dress up with fascinating costumes in the Play & Learn area and get an interactive lesson of Swedish Royal History.
Part of the Royal Palace, the Armoury houses an impressive collection of knight’s suits of armor, swords, period clothes once belonging to the royal children and a beautiful room of glittering carriages.
Temporary exhibitions designed for youngsters are also held regularly. For long-term visitors there’s the Chivalry Club - a club open to kids aged between four and 12-years-old with regular monthly events.
If you’re looking for free things to do in Stockholm, this attraction should be on the very top of your must-do’s list. Your kiddos will have the chance of try on dresses and knight costumes, play, read and draw, at no cost!
Day #2: Time to Have Fun at Djurgården (Museum Island)
Walk Around Aimlessly
One of the best things you can do when visiting Stockholm is simply to walk around. Take in the city's unique architecture and parks, eat some Fika and have fun taking pictures of your family.
Skansen Open-Air Museum
Founded in 1891, Skansen is the world’s first open-air museum and one of the most popular places to visit in Stockholm for families. It is like a miniature Sweden throughout the last 500 hundred years with 150 farms and houses to explore, each representing different periods in Sweden’s history.
Skansen features a zoo, aquarium, vintage amusement park and plenty of trails to walk and play. It’s a huge site and it takes quite a while to get around it all. The main zoo houses wild Nordic animals including bears, wolves and lynx. There is also a separate children’s petting zoo (Lill-Skansen) with domestic animals such as goats and chicks, as well as pony, horse and carriage rides.
While exploring the area you’ll see people working in period dress which can explain the various exhibits. Some of the buildings are shops or display trades and you can watch crafts in action.
The museum’s exhibits of traditional Swedish houses may not be too thrilling for young kids but the animals and the rides rarely fail to entertain.
National Holidays are celebrated great vigor at Skansen with fun events and festive activities, so make sure to look out for these things if you are to visit. This way you’d get the most of your experience.
INTERESTING FACT: Did you know all the ancient buildings were disassembled and transported there from across the country? What a great way to preserve their historical heritage.
PRO TIP: ask for the English booklet to help you get around as it is pretty easy to feel lost at Skansen – it’s enormous!
Junibaken – The Fairytale House
If you’re wondering what to do in Stockholm with kids I'd highly recommend Junibaken - an indoor adventure theme park (based on the works of Pippi Longstocking’s creator Astrid Lindgren) that aims to inspire a love of reading in children. Whether you’re familiar with Pippi or not (yet), your kids will adore this place.
You can ride Pippi’s horse, on-board the magical Story Train for a whirlwind introduction to Swedish and Scandinavian children’s literature (with English narration if requested), have a delicious meal at the café, and discover the inter-connected playrooms, which are transformed into fantasy towns and houses.
It doesn't matter if your little munchkins do not know any of these stories before getting there - all the exhibits are very well done and can grab kid's attention for hours. Astrid Lindgren definitely achieved her goal of making a museum where children could touch and play instead of just looking.
Gröna Lund Tivoli Amusement Park
This is Sweden’s oldest amusement park and a highlight popular with locals and tourist alike. It blends old world charm and tame favorites (carousels, bumper cars) with modern white-knuckle rides including Europe’s tallest free-fall tower and rollercoasters.
Conveniently located on the water’s edge in Djurgården it has great views back across Stockholm. As you’d expect, there are height restrictions on many of the +30 rides so it'll be more suitable for older kids and teenagers.
Day #3: More Art & History to Indulge… While having fun!
The Vasa Museum (Vasamuseet)
Millions of people visit Vasamuseet each year – for good reason. This famous museum is home to the Vasa, the world’s only preserved 17th century ship. In 1628, it sunk on its maiden voyage in Stockholm’s harbor where it remained for 333 years until being raised in 1961.
The massive 69m long and 44.8m tall warship is remarkably preserved (98% is original) and is amazing how much kids are able to learn about it. Get such an insight into people's life back then it is just unreal and the reconstructions of the crew members inside are mind-blowing.
There are numerous special exhibits and activities aimed at children. One of the most popular is the showing of a 17 minute film about a little piglet called Lindblom who heads out on an adventure aboard the Vasa. I'd recommend your kids watch it as it help kids appreciate what they're about to see in the museum.
There’s also a family trail (suitable for children 3 to 8 years) to follow after you’ve seen the film that guides you through the museum, asking questions based on little Lindblom’s adventures. A second family trail takes visitors through the Vasa´s history and is suitable for kids from 6 years.
Final verdict: The Vasa Museum should be definitely included into your travel itinerary if you’re planning to stay 2 or 3 days in Stockholm.
PRO TIP: buy your ticket in advance, particularly in summer months when queues can be long. Bear in mind that Vasamuseet is Stockholm‘s most popular attraction.
MegaMind Exhibit at the National Museum of Science and Technology (Tekniska Museet)
Designed to encourage and inspire children to experiment their way to new, smart ideas, it’s an original and innovative museum for kids. It is full of fun activities that not only appeal to children and can keep the entire family occupied for endless hours.
The MegaMind exhibit incorporates physical challenges, technology, and written explanations to teach visitors about the human brain. The museum design alone is amazing and is based on the human brain. Visitors enter the museum through a gigantic ear and onwards into a large room where the brain’s hemispheres are represented.
There are some 50 interactive displays that challenge children to think differently and to dare their perceptions. There’s also a family room in for changing babies’ diapers and for feeding – as well as to giving everyone a rest! Afterwards, you can head straight to the café for lunch or an afternoon coffee stop.
Hop on the Boat Tours
When in Stockholm joining one or several boat tours is almost a must. You get to see parts of the city that you'd miss otherwise, and also from a different perspective. If traveling with little ones there's the added bonus of their excitement, plus if kids under six get to have all the fun at no cost for you!
Boat tours are themed as well, as some head our to the outer islands while others focus, for example, on the city's bridges. In any case they are exciting, educational and tons of fun.
Most of the boat tours start at the docks on Ostermalm, another reason why you should really consider staying in this part of town when you visit Stockholm (check my "where to stay" section in this article).
T-Bana Tour: Go Underground
It might be odd to you to visit the Metro as opposed to use it to go from point A to point B, but this is one of those situations in Stockholm where paying for the ticket will get you more than just the usual. Stockholm metro stations are truly a piece of contemporary art, which gives the city and edgy touch that you wouldn’t find in any other place.
With an extension of more than 100km and 90 stations (!) the Tunnelbana or T-Bana is believed to be the world’s longest art exhibition. You can find here all kind of paintings, sculptures and mosaics that turn an ordinary commute into a memorable and unique art journey.
The public transportation agency often organizes free guided art tours during summertime. Alternatively, you can buy a ticket and do some DIY station-hopping if you’re running out of time and need to make this tour a quickie. I’d recommend going in the evening after a great day visiting all the museums and attractions.
Some More Useful Information – Stockholm Guide
Getting from Arlanda Airport to Stockholm
The quickest way to get into Stockholm is by high-speed train. The Arlanda Express will whisk you to the city center in just about 18 minutes. You can buy tickets online (where you’ll get a great 40% discount) or at the electronic ticket machines in the airport. But if you’re going on a budget consider the Flybussarna bus which cost just 99 SEK (approx. 10 EUR) and takes 40 minutes.
Moving Around Town
Public transport in Stockholm works seamlessly and can get you anywhere in the city very efficiently. The only problem? Isn’t particularly cheap, it is actually pretty expensive. It’d be a better value to get passes for longer periods than for individual rides.
Metro covers most of the touristy areas, but if not you can easily substitute a bus. Don’t overlook the boats, with over 30 routes they’re part of the public transport and can be useful in getting from point A to point B when you run out of options. The tickets are sold on board and cost a few hundred kronor at the most.
If you’re travelling on a tight budget the best way to move around Stockholm is by biking or walking around. Fortunately, Stockholm is a relatively small city so you can easily walk or bike around the old center and even to nearby areas/islands.
Tips for Travelling in Stockholm with Kids
- The underground Tunnelbana system is easy to use and kids under seven don’t need a ticket. You can buy tickets for a set period of time or get a card to top up.
- Ferries are a great way to get a look at Stockholm from the water without paying for a tour. The ferry from Slussen to Djurgården can be useful for getting to Junibacken and Vasamuseet.
- There are korv (hot dog) vendors on almost every street – these are an affordable, kid-friendly option for a lunch that doesn’t break the bank.
- Many restaurants offer a lunch buffet – these are usually great value and on top of food. Ask if there’s a discount for children as they often pay half-price.
- In the summer months, a picnic would also be a good way to avoid expensive restaurant costs.
- Airbnb is a great way to book accommodation in Stockholm when travelling with kids. If you’re watching your budget it’s great to have a kitchen so you can eat breakfast at home and prepare some dinners if your kiddos go to bed early.
When to Go?
Stockholm is best for family travel between May and September when you can spend long days outdoors (we were here in September). June is a perfect time to visit but avoid the midsummer weekend as many restaurants and attractions close for this important local holiday. And if you don’t mind the cold weather (and I mean cold), December is great for an atmospheric pre-Christmas visit.
It’s an all-in-one discount card that guarantees you free entry to dozens of attractions across the Swedish capital, and has a few organized Stockholm boat tours thrown in for good measure. This gives you a good opportunity to cram in lots of sightseeing without worrying about what it costs to get into each attraction.
Here are some of the places you can access for free with the Stockholm Pass card:
- Vasa Museum
- The Royal Palace
- Nobel Museum
- Drottningholm Palace
- Skansen open-air museum
- Nordic Museum
- Storkyrkan Cathedral
- Gröna Lund
- And many more
Best Day Trips from Stockholm
These Stockholm day trips are all easily achievable with public transport – leave early in the morning and you’ll be back downtown in time for dinner.
- Boda Borg Oxelösund
- Tom Tits Experiment (perfect to keep inquisitive kids occupied for a few hours)
- Drottningholm Palace
- Stockholm Archipelago
Stockholm’s kid focused attractions make it for a great family-travel destination. It’s just so easy to explore and appreciate this city in big part because it caters to children so well. I’ve tried to sum up my recommendations and wrap it up in a three day itinerary. But as I said, you can easily stay longer and discover more reasons to linger. So visit Stockholm – you won’t regret it!
Accommodation in Stockholm
Flights to Stockholm
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Rental Cars in Stockholm
RV Rentals Stockholm:
Outdoorsy is the largest RV rental marketplace on the planet. They offer ease, flexibility and some unique and cool campervans for your Stockholm road trip. Find your RV rentals for Stockholm here.
Tours in Stockholm
Get Your Guide offers small group tours and activities in Stockholm including tickets to the popular Stockholm attractions.