June 20, 2012

What to do on Midsummer Weekend 2012

Photo by Yanan Li, Stockholm Visitors Board
(ATTENTION: This is information for 2012, for updated info... click here!) It's fast approaching... arguably the biggest holiday in the Swedish calendar: Midsummer (June 22nd to 24th)! It rivals Christmas as a holiday to spend with friends and family, filled with age-old traditions. On this weekend, Swedes flee the cities and head to their country homes to celebrate in the outdoors. Unfortunately, every year Stockholm is filled with tourists who are unaware of this holiday and are confused why the city resembles a ghost town. Many restaurants and shops are closed and even a few museums. But not to worrry, there is still plenty of things to do & see and ways to experience traditional Swedish midsummer. Here is a little guide to the weekend:

Friday, June 22nd- Midsummer's Eve
The museums open on this day are Skansen (this is the place to experience Swedish midsummer traditions) and the Vasa Museum. Both the Royal Palace in Gamla Stan and Drottningholm Palace are open for visitors. The museums in the Royal Palace are open, though not the Royal Armoury. All other major museums are closed!
All sightseeing tours with Strömma run as usual with a few exceptions like the day trip to Birka.
This is the evening that most restaurants are closed. The exception being hotel restaurants and a few others that cater mainly to visitors. The Rival Hotel's Bar & Bistro is open all weekend!
This is not a bank holiday, so banks, pharmacies and liquor stores should be open though with shorter hours. Shopping is possible earlier in the day. Many small stores will be closed, but large department stores and shopping centers are open... closing early. For example, the NK department store is open from 10am to 2pm.
The amusement parks Junibacken and Gröna Lund are open!

Saturday, June 23rd- Midsummer's Day
Besides the above museums and palaces, other museums open for business on Saturday are... Fotografiska (photography), Moderna (modern art) and Nordiska (nordic culture). All sightseeing tours with Strömma run as usual with a few exceptions like the day trip to Birka. 
While many restaurants are closed on Saturday, there is more of a choice than on Friday!
Shopping, on the other hand, is close to impossible on this day. Shopping centers and department stores are closed as well as most small shops... you might get lucky in Gamla Stan.
The amusement parks Junibacken and Gröna Lund are open!

Sunday, June 24th
All museums and most shops and restaurants should be open as usual (with Sunday hours).

Experiencing Midsummer- the best place to see how Swedes traditionally celebrate this holiday is at Skansen. They have a full program all weekend long! While most Swedes do leave the city, the few that are left will celebrate with picnics and games in the different parks throughout the city.
Photo by Marie Andersson, Skansen
Click here for more information from Stockholm Visitors Board of what to do this weekend,.

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