June 30, 2011

Stockholm Green Festival

 The next summer festival is coming up this weekend (July 1st-3rd)... Stockholm Green Festival. This is the second year they've run this festival and, as the name suggests, it celebrates "green" products and promotes a more sustainable lifestyle. Sweden is very proud of its green movement and enviromental consciousness, so why not celebrate it? After all, Stockholm was the awarded the title European Green Capital in 2010. The first city to be designated so! The festival takes place in Kungsträdgården, located in the downtown area. Entrance to the festival is free and it's open between 11am and 11pm on Friday and Saturday and 11am and 8pm on Sunday. There will be live music, seminars, fashion shows and plenty of fun activities for children. There will also be a food court where visitors can enjoy organic food and drink. It's just a 25 minute walk through the Old town to get to the park/festival from the Rival Hotel... otherwise you can take the subway to T-Centralen (exit Sergelstorg).

June 29, 2011

Travel Advisory- Subways This Summer

Stockholm is in the process of building a new commuter train line, running north-south, called Citybanan. It will run under Stockholm City through a 6 kilometer long tunnel that is being built right now. Because of this ongoing construction, the subway's blue line between Kungsträdgården and Rådhuset will be closed between June 20th and October 19th.
As a guest of the Rival Hotel, this shouldn't disturb your travel plans too much as the hotel is on the red line. However, as I have blogged before, there is some great art in the Stockholm Metro system... and two of the "prettiest" subway stations will be closed during this time.

June 26, 2011

Restaurants Closed This Summer (2011)

(Edit: this is the list for 2011, click here for current information) It is a Stockholm phenomenon... just when hordes of tourists descend on the city, many of the top gourmet restaurants close for a few weeks for summer vacation. I've really never understood the concept, but there you go. There are, of course, plenty of restaurants still open... but it is good to have a list of restaurants that are closing (and for which dates) to help plan your stay a bit better.
  • Lux Stockholm- closed July 17th through August 15th.
  • Fredsgatan 12 (F12)- closed July 10th through August 7th.
  • Grill- closed July 10th through August 1st.
  • Brasserie Le Rouge- closed July 3rd through August 10th. Their bar, Le Bar, is open all summer.
  • Smak på Restaurangen- closed June 24th through August 4th.
  • Operakällaren- closed July 11th through August 15th. They will be serving their smörgåsbord next door in the Café Opera dining area until August 28th (thurs-sat).
  • Teatergrillen- closed July3rd through August 3rd.
  • Esperanto- closed June 23rd through August 11th.
  • Frantzén/Lindeberg- closed July 10th through August 11th.
  • Sjögräs- closed July 17th through August 8th.
  • Pontus!- closed July 4th through August 8th. Their Bar and Seafood Bar will be open during this time.
  • Djuret- closed June 24th through August 29th. During this time they will have a restaurant, called Svinet, open in their garden.
  • Mattias Dahlgren Matbaren & Matsalen- closed July 15th through August 8th.
  • AG- closed July 3rd through August 7th.
  • Rolf's Kök- closed through August 7th.

I will add more restaurants to the list as I find them. You may have noticed that all of Stockholm's Michelin Star restaurants close... so, if you are a foodie, don't come to Sweden at the end of July! If you are going to be staying at the Rival Hotel, contact me for help with recommendations for restaurants as well as eventual reservations.

June 22, 2011

What is Open This Midsummer Weekend?

Photo by Yanan Li - Stockholm Visitors Board
(Edit: this is information for 2011. For updated info... click here!) This coming weekend (June 24th to 26th) is the Midsummer holidays here in Sweden. Most visitors to Stockholm don't realize what a large holiday this is in Sweden (it rivals Christmas). Every year the city is filled with tourists wondering why the city resembles a ghost town. It is a very friends & family orientated holiday with Swedes escaping to their country homes to celebrate in true pagan style. Many stores, restaurants and museums are closed for part or all of the weekend. But all is not lost... here is a handy list of what is open each day during the weekend.

Friday, June 24th- Midsummer's Eve
Skansen is open! This is where you want to be to experience the Swedish traditions surrounding the holiday. Song, dance and the traditional maypole as well as a handicraft market.
The Vasa Museum is also open!
The Royal Palace (museums are closed though) in the Old Town as well as Drottningholm Palace are open.
All other major museums are closed.
The amusement parks Gröna Lund and Junibacken are open for business.
Shopping- Major department stores, like NK and Åhlens, close early (2pm). Most shopping centers are closed. Smaller stores will close early or are closed. Liquor stores (Systembolaget) will be closed.
Sightseeing bus & boat tours will be running as normal.

Saturday, June 25th- Midsummer's Day
Skansen, the palaces and the Vasa Mueum are open today just as they were on Friday (see above). Other museums opening today are Fotografiska, Moderna (modern art), Nordic and Nobel museums.
The amusement parks Gröna Lund and Junibacken are open for business (see links above).
Shopping- Major department stores, shopping centers and most smaller stores are closed. Liquor stores (Systembolaget) will be closed.
Sightseeing bus & boat tours will be running as normal.

Sunday, June 26th
All museums, stores and sightseeing are open again as usual!

As for restaurants... the majority are closed during the weekend. A safe bet are hotel restaurants which will be open as normal. A few restaurants in the Old Town and downtown will be open. The worst day will be Friday. The Rival Hotel's Bistro is open all days for both hotel guests as well as for guests not staying at the hotel.

Here are some more valuable Midsummer tips from the Stockholm Visitor's Board!

June 21, 2011

Robert Mapplethorpe Exhibition

Ken Moody and Robert Sherman, 1984 © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation. Used by permission.
One of this summer's most anticipated art exhibitions has just opened. Fotografiska, Stockholm's popular photography museum, is following up their successful Annie Leibovitz, Fashion and Albert Watson exhibitions during the past year with a retrospective of Robert Mapplethorpe. The exhibition contains nearly 200 prints of Mapplethorpe's work, many never shown in Sweden before. His work has been called beautiful, shocking, significant and controversial... but never boring. The exhibition will be running all summer into the fall (June 17th to October 2nd) and is one of several great exhibitions at Fotografiska this summer- including Eleanor Coppola and Edward Burtynsky.
Fotografiska is located on the waterfront on the island of Södermalm, just a 15-20 minute walk from the Rival Hotel. The museum is open daily from 10am to 9pm (closed on Midsummer's Eve and Christmas Eve). Entrance costs 110 SEK, 80 SEK for seniors & students and free for children under 13 as well as holders of the Stockholm Card.

June 17, 2011

Stockholm Jazz Festival

I'm back from my vacation... just in time for the Stockholm Jazz Festival, which starts today (Friday June 17th) and runs through the whole weekend. The big news this year is the change of venue... it will be at the Solliden and Galejan stages in the Skansen park. The festival has changed a bit through the years from a pure jazz festival to a mix of jazz, R&B, soul and blues with both Swedish and international artists. The main headliners this year are LaGaylia Frasier, David Sanborn Trio, Bobby Womack and Angie Stone. Click here for a complete list of artists and scheduled times. You can either buy a one day pass (595 SEK) or a three day pass (840 SEK). Tickets can be purchased at the door or on the Tickster website. Now let's just hope for some good weather!
Skansen is located on the island of Djurgården and is easy to get to from the Rival Hotel. Just take the Djurgård Ferry from Slussen... the trip just takes 8 minutes and then it is a short 5 minute walk to Skansen.
Click here for more festivals and events this summer!