Sodermalm, which was once Stockholm’s humble working-class quarter, has become the hipster capital of Sweden. Designer boutiques, biodynamic menus, organic stores, and vintage shops are the trademarks of Sodermalm. It is where art, kitsch and trends mix into each other. Many firms in the creative industries such as media and advertising have offices here. Artist studios, design houses, and galleries are not uncommon either.
Sodermalm is the name of the big island south of Gamla Stan, the old town of Stockholm. While the hipster takeover of the island is expanding in all directions, the area called SoFo, “South of Folkungagatan” is the heart of it. It is a pun driven from SoHo in NY, as the area is transforming into a hub of Swedish fashion designers.
A brief look at the map will quickly hint that you will be spending most of your time in SoFo. With that said, there are a few noteworthy stops on the outskirts of the island, mostly bars and Fotografiska, a must-see photo gallery.
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[column size=one_half position=first ]1. Fotografiska 2. NOFO Hotel 3. Stockholms södra 4. Nook 5. Café Pom & Flora 6. Meatballs for the People 7. Lisa Larsson Second Hand 8. Nytorget 9. Acne Studios Nytorgsgatan 10. Hipp! 11. Pärlans Konfektyr 12. Swedish Hasbeens 13. 6/5/4 14. OMAYMA Nytorget 15. Urban Deli Nytorget 16. Nytorget 17. Shanti Gossip 18. Il Caffè 19. Grandpa Sodermannagatan 20. 125 Kvadrat 21. Sneakersnstuff Stockholm[/column][column size=one_half position=last]22. Konst-ig Konstbokhandel 23. Himlen 24. Medborgarplatsen 25. Stutterheim 26. Koh Phangan 27. Pet Sounds Bar 28. Café & Bageri Pascal 29. ThaiBoat 30. Trädgården 31. Outstanding Soho Studio 32. Hotel Frantz 33. Hotel Rival 34. Hellstens Glashus 35. The Red Boat Mälaren 36. Monteliusvägen 37. Loginn Hotel 38. Beyond Retro Zinken 39. Zinkensdamm Hotel 40. Boulebar Tanto 41. Tanto strandbad 42. Hornstulls Marknad[/column]
– You can walk from Gamla Stan though Slussen. It takes about 20-30 minutes. – Alternatively, you can get in by taking a subway to Medborgarplatsen (3 stops from Gamla Stan, 4 from T-Centralen which is the Central Station). Skanstull, the next stop after Medborgarplatsen is also fine.
Things to Know
Working Hours: If you want to come early, there are a few nice places for breakfast not much goes on in the neighborhood until noon. Most shops don’t open until 11 or 12 and close around 6-7. On Sundays, some shops open for shorter hours while others do not open at all.
SoFo Nights: The last Thursday of each month is the SoFo night. Shops stay open until 8 or 9, host events such as workshops or DJ performances. On some days they even hand out little treats like coffee and snacks. Sometimes they will make special discounts too. You can follow the related announcements here.
Itinerary: If you are new to Stockholm, it is a good idea to plan Gamla Stan for the first half of the day, and Sodermalm for the second. You can check out our recommended Stockholm itinerary here.
Where to Stay
When we are talking about low budget accommodation, it means that we can’t have it all. Loginn Hotel and Den Röda Båte are both boats converted budget hotels. They are both parked in very convenient locations and they have excellent views on Gamla Stan. The downside is that the cabins and windows can be small. On the upside, they have huge decks where you can enjoy your drinks and breakfast. If you prefer to trade a great location of the boats with comfier rooms, STF Zinkensdamm Hostel is an affordable option in Hornstull (southwest of Sodermalm). It is about a 30 min walk to SoFo and 35 mins to Gamla Stan.
Only 1.5 km from Fotografiska, Outstanding Soho Studio offers an apartment includes 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom with a shower, a seating area, and a kitchen with a dishwasher. Ideal for 3 person. Biz Apartment Hammarby Sjöstad is a bit far away from Sodermalm district ( aprx. 2 km) but it is a great choice for big families. If you prefer a place to stay which is close to the vibrant Sodermalm streets so you can pick Hellstens Glashus.
With its menu comprised of healthy juices to Instagrammable breakfast bowls & beetroot lattes, Pom & Flora is like Bali with a Swedish accent. Yes please! The design is simple, clean, typical Swedish style. Click for location.
Café Pascal ♡
My personal favorite brunch spot in SoFo is Pascal Cafe. It is also recommended by the Michelin Guide. The sandwiches and salads are heavenly. It is also a very popular fika spot thanks to its yummy baked good and renowned coffee. Unfortunately, that may translate into congestion but it is worth the wait. Click for location.
Gildas is one of the classics of SoFo. It is not your polished cafe, rather a kitsch neighborhood hang out. Its decor has a nostalgic feeling to it. You will find tartines and grilled sandwiches, light salads and home-baked pastries on the menu. On sunny days its outdoor seating is very popular. Click for location.
Louie Louis is another modest neighborhood classic. Yes, it is named after the Louie Louie song and it feels pretty much an Amerikan Dinner. They serve breakfast until 11:00, so don’t be late. If you arrive later, you will find mostly quick fixes like sandwiches and salads and if lucky some DJ action. Mostly popular among the younger crowd for its reasonable prices. Click for location.
Things to Do
Walk & Shop
If you like nordic design, you will find some very tempting stores here. But make sure to come with a stacked wallet, as an Acne basic knit sweater costs around 350 Euros or a Stutterheim rain jacket around 300. If your eyes popped out at the price tags, you can check out the vintage stores. For a nice stroll, I would recommend sticking to Sofo, which the area between Folkungagatan Street in the north, Ringvägen in the south, Erstagatan in the east and Götgatan in the west.
In the heart of SoFo is Nytorget Square with a playground and a small park. As most popular hangouts are in this area, in the summer months the park offers a vibrant social scene. If you get hungry, go to Urban Deli at the corner of the park. It is a great place for everything from oysters to ice-cream.
You can also consider extending your visit to Bergsprängargränd. It is some stairs up the hill from the corner of the park. There you will find a cluster of iconic red Swedish houses. They used to be houses of the working-class man, now they are mostly summer retreats but I got to admit that’s all there is to it. Click for location.
Rent a Bike
If you want to explore beyond SoFo, it is better to hop on a bike. The city has a shared biking system with plenty of docking stations. For SoFo, the most convenient stations are at Katarina Bangata and Gotgatan. Now that you are ready to venture out of SoFo, we can dig into larger Sodermalm area recommendations:
A top recommendation not just from Sodermalm but from Stockholm is to see Fotografiska. It is a contemporary photo exhibit where they host world-class photographers’ works. While it is off of SoFo, it is still an easy walking distance. It has a cafe/restaurant with great city views so make sure to stop by the top floor. Click for location.
Vita Bergen Park
Vita Bergen a bigger and steeper thanks to which it offers nice city views. In the summer you can catch a concert or a performance at the open-air theatre of the park. Click for location.
Monteliusvägen View Point ♡
For views of Gamla Stan, the old town, head to Monteliusvägen. It is said to be one of the best viewpoints in the city. Click for location.
Personally I think that Swedish Aprils are too cold to play outside but for most Stockholmers Easter marks the return of warm days. So the city wakes up from its long sleep. One of the things that come back to life is Hornstull Marknad, a waterfront weekend market/bazaar.
Here you can find some great street food from vegan curries and salmon tartines to hotdogs. The lines can be a bit long at the food trucks but it is worth the wait. You will be rewarded with a cheap meal overlooking the water. Once you curb your appetite, you can move on to treasure hunting in the vintage and handicraft stalls. Click for location.
Beach-bumming in Tanto Strandbad ♡
Another part of Stockholm that blossoms with the return of the warmer days is a small beach at Hornstull, which is southwest of Sodermalm. At the slightest hint of the sun, the residents flock here for sunbathing. If you are wondering if people actually dare to swim, yes, some brave ones do! It is a very interesting experience given how urban his area is. If it wasn’t for the shiny new developments of Liljeholmen, it would be hard to tell that you are in central Stockholm. Kids playing in the sand, parents buying icecream, friends drinking beer or playing minigolf, lovers cuddling under a tree are some of the common sights. It is definitely one of the biggest summer hits of Sodermalm. Click for location.