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Warning: Be warned that if you read this article that you will probably have to book the next flight to Stockholm!
Stockholm blew us out of the water. We always expected to like it, but we never expected to like it so much. This is going to sound like a big call, but I think Stockholm may be the most family friendly place I have visited.
Young kids are free basically everywhere. Children menus are the norm. The city is pram friendly with prams allowed most places and they are everywhere. My favourite part, however, has to be how children are catered for at so many museums. Every one we went to had some type of child area and activities for kids. And they were free!
This made things so easy for us. The kids were always happy and it was much easier to convince them to look at some things that only interested us when they knew they had the kid bit at the end. We could also take turns playing with the kids in the kid part while the other looked at the museum. It worked very well.
Of course in addition to being a family friendly city, Stockholm is also a fabulous city. It’s beautiful. The many waterways and islands mean there are stunning views everywhere. It has an interesting history and many varied attractions. The people are friendly, speak good english and as beautiful as their city. There is just so much to like about Stockholm. So don’t worry, if you don’t have kids, you will still love this city!
Below you will find our Stockholm guide including what to see in Stockholm, where to stay, where to eat, how to get around, our budget and other essential information.
There is a crazy amount of things to see in Stockholm. Below, you will find what we thank are the best attractions in Stockholm, especially if you are travelling with kids.
This is the old town area which is the best place for Stockholm sightseeing. In addition to the beautiful streets, there are many Stockholm tourist attractions including museums and the Royal Palace.
The first thing we did on our Stockholm adventure was to walk around Gamla Stan, the old town in the heart of Stockholm. This must be one of the best free things to do in Stockholm. It is filled with cobblestone streets, squares and beautiful old palaces, churches and other buildings.
We centred our stroll on Vasterlanggatan which is lined with shops and eateries. When we started our journey we had it to ourselves. By the time we visited a couple of attractions, this area was buzzing and alive. It’s a beautiful place to just hang and walking around this compact area is a great way to start.
This beautiful medieval Cathedral was built in 1279 and is in a beautiful location near the Royal Palace in Gamla Stan. It has a peaceful and lovely interior, although it is more low key than similar cathedrals I have visited in Europe. The kids have become very used to Mosques, Buddhist and Hindu temples in Asia, so they were full of questions and enjoyed visiting this church.
The Royal Palace is the official home of the King of Sweden and it makes for quite an impressive site – with over 600 rooms, its the world’s largest inhabited royal palace.
It was built in the 18th century on the ruins of the original and it has an imposing baroque exterior. You can visit various sections of the palace. We visited some of the Royal Apartments (some were closed due to being in use) and the Royal Chapel. There are also other museums – Gustav’s III’s Museum of Antiquities, The Treasury and Museum Tre Kronor.
We arrived for opening at 10am which also gave us an opportunity to see the changing of the guard. I found it exciting to walk through a palace which is actually occupied but, unfortunately, we did not run into anyone important 🙂 S particularly enjoyed this attraction because of her Frozen fascination with royalty.
Also located in Gamla Stan, we were surprised how much we enjoyed this place to visit in Stockholm.
The museum details the history behind the Nobel Prize including information about Alfred Nobel and his actual will where he details his instructions for the Nobel Prize. There is also lots of information about the prize and previous winners. I found it very inspiring reading and hearing their various stories.
The museum is very well set up – there is a great use of text, screens and sound. There are also some screens in the floor which the kids particularly liked. There is enough going on that they enjoyed it for awhile and, when they got bored of the adult section, there was a whole kids area which was just amazing.
It is called the Bubble Chamber and there were lots of learning activities as well as fun things such as colouring in, puppets and a theatre for putting on our own puppet shows and lots of books. The kids could have spent a long time there.
They were also given question sheets and pencils on arrival. S and J completed the sheets by reading a lot of information and the kids then got a prize at the gift shop – a chocolate Nobel prize (see it below). It was a great way to engage S and get her interested. It’s a shame more museums don’t do similar things. This was one of our favourite places in Stockholm for kids (and for ourselves!).
Unfortunately, this museum in Gamla Stan was shut when we went by, but we think it would be a great one to visit in Stockholm with kids.
It features four centuries of postal history in Sweden with old mail carriages and kitsch postcards. Even better is that it is home to a children’s post office where the kids can pretend to be postal workers. They can also make their own postcards and send them. More information here.
With our Stockholm Card (more information below), we were able to do one canal tour from a choice of two. We chose this one basically because it was located at the City Hall which we also wanted to visit. This was a good way to see many of the places to visit in Stockholm from the water.
Something I didn’t realise about Stockholm until I arrived was how much water is a part of Stockholm. It is made up of many islands with canals and rivers everywhere. This means that there are great views from the water and we looked forward to our canal tour. We basically did a 50 minute circuit from which we got to see many different sides of Stockholm.
There are beautiful old buildings and views, but what stood out to me most was how much greenery there is. We were not far from the centre at all before we saw areas that looked like they were in the countryside rather than in a big city.
There was audio in both Swedish and English so we were also able to learn a fair bit as we went. I always find these types of tours great since having kids as it is easy to listen to them while looking after the kids and they are loud enough that the kids talking doesn’t disturb anyone.
It was a great way to take some downtime in the middle of the day in between a crazy amount of sight seeing. My only complaint is that the roof is very low in the boat and there is a roof over the whole area which made it harder to see things than I would like. Otherwise, it was an enjoyable activity with kids.
I have seen the City Hall Tower listed on many must do lists for Stockholm so we were not missing out. It is a big building in central Stockholm and we had been seeing it on and off throughout our exploration of the city. We were looking forward to some great views from the Tower.
However, what we did not realise is that you need to book in a tour to see it. When we arrived after our canal tour, the next tour was booked and we did not want to wait an hour for the next one – there were just too many other things we wanted to do. I recommend that if you are in the area (for example to do the canal tour, like us) that you go in and book the tower tour ahead of time. We are so annoyed we didn’t!
Even if you don’t want to go up the tower, there is a big courtyard and great views from around the City Hall so it is worth a walk.
Djurgarden is an island full of things to do in Stockholm with family a short tram trip or longer walk from central Stockholm.
Junibacken is a “fairytale house” which is loads of fun for kids. It was created by the famous Swedish author, Astrid Lindgren, who wanted a museum for children where they could touch and play instead of just looking. She was also passionate about children’s literature and the importance of books for children.
Astrid Lindgren is a well renowned author. I used to read her Pippi Longstocking books as a child and she wrote many other classics as well. This attraction does not just showcase parts of her books but also other Swedish authors.
There are several parts to Junibacken. First up was Story Square which is full of places from children’s books with plenty of amazing places for the kids to play.
Next was the Story Train. This consists of a bench seat in a train carriage setting. The four of us sat in here and were taken through many of Astrid Lindgren’s stories. We heard the stories while seeing scenes.
We then played in Pippi Longstocking’s house before watching a live show and playing in another, very well done area.
This place is just fantastic. All the exhibits are very well done and so much fun! Astrid Lindgren definitely achieved her goal of making a museum that is hands on. The attention to detail was fabulous and I loved exploring everything too.
My kids do not know any of these stories although we had talked about Pippi Longstocking before getting there – there are Pippi Longstocking dolls across the city which actually look a bit like S! Anyway, my point is that you don’t need to know the stories to enjoy this attraction. It was just perfect for young kids and they could have spent days here. This was probably the best kids’ attraction we visited in Stockholm.
More information here.
Next door to Junibacken is the amazing, world famous Vasa Museum. It is just unreal and was our favourite attraction in Stockholm.
The Vasa Museum is home to the Vasa, a massive 69 metre long and 44.8 metre tall ship from the 17th century. In 1628, it sunk on its maiden voyage (it was too top heavy) in Stockholm’s harbour where it remained for over 300 years. The great part about this is that when it was recovered in 1961, much of it remained and was well preserved – it was like a box of history just waiting to be opened.
This means today that you can view this massive ship – 98% of which is original. Viewing the ship itself, including many sculptures is definitely a highlight of my time in Stockholm. It is unlike anything I have ever seen and it amazing.
What is also amazing is everything they have been able to learn about the Vasa – and what you can learn in this museum. Because everything remained in this ship, they could tell so much about life back then – even what people ate as many of the bodies were well preserved enough to see their stomach contents! It is interesting to see what people took on board and to get such an insight into their daily life.
There are tours as well as a 17 minute film. I definitely recommend watching the film. It put everything into context for us and helped us appreciate everything we saw in the museums. The kids also were memorised by the film so this was a great chance for us to learn a fair bit.
There is a family trail that you can get from the staff. We were happy enough just looking around. Miss 5 in particular found this museum fascinating. She loved seeing all the belongings, clothes, canons etc.
Ok, so this doesn’t sound like a great kids’ attraction, but actually we all enjoyed this museum. We went here as it is in between the Vasa Museum and the aquarium and I actually thought spirits referred to the mythical type of spirits rather than alcohol!
Here you will find an art collection, a crazy amount of beer and spirit trivia and many fun attractions about alcohol. We particularly liked lying on some super comfy couches while screens above us showed us scenes from a guys’ night out from being sober to drunk to passed out to hangover. It was quite bizarre.
There were other things to read and interact with and it is a fun museum. It is not kid focused, but there is lots of bright colours and things like a caravan that the kids could go in so they were happy. I’d probably be reluctant to take older kids here as it does glamorous alcohol a bit, but otherwise we found this enjoyable.
On the other side of the Museum of Spirits is this small aquarium. There is a humid rainforest, coral reefs and different trout pools to illustrate the life cycle of a trout. It is small and low key but our kids enjoyed it. Our favourite bit was a glassed in part where the kids could crawl through part of the aquarium.
This theme park is in a convenient location. With older kids, we definitely would have visited here.
Founded in 1891, Skansen Open-Air Museum is the oldest in the world. It is like a miniature Sweden throughout the last 500 hundred years with dwellings and farms from across Sweden and at different times. It also has a zoo area with a petting zoo and other animals with a Swedish focus. It’s a huge site and it takes quite awhile to get around it all.
There are people working across the museum in traditional dress which can explain the various exhibits. Some of the buildings are shops or display trades and you can watch crafts in action.
The zoo parts were a highlight for us although it is not big and many times we could not find the animals. The bears were amazing though and nearly worth the admission in themselves.
I must admit that we felt a bit lost at Skansen. We didn’t really understand how it worked or the context of anything and this meant that we did not get much out of our visit. I have since read that there is meant to be a great english booklet to help and that there are workshops and shows. We did not know anything about these things so look out for them if you are to visit and hopefully you can get more out of it.
This aquarium is located inside of the open-air museum but requires a separate ticket. There is a small aquarium part as well as monkeys, turtles, snakes and some absolutely gorgeous lemurs. This attraction is small and if you are interested in an aquarium, I would recommend Aquaria Water Museum over this one. However, if you want to be up close with some lemurs and see some other animals then this is a better choice.
The rest of the places to see in Stockholm in this list are located out of the centre in this park area. It is an easy 20 minute bus ride away on route 69. It’s a nice spot, so it would also make a nice place for a picnic lunch.
Ladugardsgardet is actually part of Ekoparken, the world’s first national park to be found within a city.
As you might suspect, this museum is all about the Swedish Police Force. There is some history, old uniforms, a crime scene, information about how Swedes view the police and some information about recent events, such as the Instagram riots.
The best part, however, are the police cars you can sit in, motorbike you can sit on and the play area for children. Our kids were in absolute heaven.
There was a massive car track with lots of police car toys, police jackets, a jail, working pedestrian lights and many more things. I honestly think our kids could have spent a whole day there and not got bored. Z still talks about it.
Outside, there is also a great play area and the kids can hire bikes to “drive” around on little roads with a set up of a little town. It is great.
The only downside of this museum is that not all the information is in English. However, if you are coming here for the kids, that won’t matter at all.
Our kids love science museums so we knew this was one place we had to go on our Stockholm visit.
This museum is right next door to the police museum. It is spread over 4 floors and there is a lot to do. There is a ton of information (not all translated into English) and some fun things to play with.
The bottom level is the best with young kids. It is mostly interactive and there is also a play room like area. Z spent a lot of time in here with the trucks and trains.
The other levels work better with older kids. There is a lot of great stuff in this museum and it obviously did not just appeal to children with many exhibits being better suited to older teens or adults. However, there are things to do that appeal to younger kids in all the different areas.
Z and S particularly liked an exhibit where we would stand flapping our arms like a bird – our shadow would be broadcast to a big screen and then freaky things would start happening to our shadow – like birds flying down, pecking off our flesh and flying away with it to our shadow was all gone!
My favourite part was definitely the “Digital Revolution” exhibit. This basically showed the digital revolution and in a very fun way! I played some Pacman on an arcade machine, the oldest version of Super Mario Brothers and S and I found many ways to project freaky images of ourselves. There was obviously lots of educational opportunities to learn from all the different parts as well and everything was well sign posted.
Something else I liked about this museum is that it also had a picnic room, so if you come here when the weather is bad, you can also bring a picnic lunch. Outside there were lots of tables and a plane for the kids to play in.
The Museum of Ethnography is another museum located opposite the science museum. It focuses on objects and artifacts from outside of Europe and has a 6000 item collection brought to Sweden by explorers, scientists, merchants and other people.
It is a really varied collection. J loved the Japanese section, which had some cool Samurai armour and arms, and some of the other Far East displays.
Adults and older kids may find this place interesting – and if you have the Stockholm card its worth coming even for a short visit – but young kids may not be as entertained. Given its close proximity to the other museums in the museum park, one parent could visit while another parents takes any younger kids to a museum more suited to kids (and that’s what we did).
These two museums are located very close to the museums mentioned above and also seem to have great activities in Stockholm for kids.
The National Maritime Museum has free entry and has a great looking maritime themed playroom and creative workshops on weekends (extra cost).
You can also read about the Drottningholm Palace and crusing the Stockholm Archipelago here.
We visited everything above, apart from Junibacken, by using our Stockholm Cards.
These cards are amazing. They give free admission to over 75 attractions as well as some extras such as the canal tour we mentioned above. There is also the possibility of a walking or bicycle tours and many discounted attractions. It also gave us free public transportation.
This card saved us a lot of money compared to what the original attractions would have cost and it also saved us a lot of effort. It was also great to just hop on trains, trams and buses without having to worry what the etiquette was with buying tickets.
Our recommendation would be to spend at least 3 full days in Stockholm, preferably more. This is what to do in Stockholm with kids with three days:
Day 1: Walk around Gamla Stan soaking up the old town and visiting the attractions here. Have lunch at one of the restaurants in Gamla Stan. Once you are finished here, walk over to the City Hall and do a canal tour and climb up the tower.
Day 2: Go crazy at Djurgarden. Do whatever interests you but do not miss the Vasa Museum and I particularly recommend Junibacken if you have young kids.
Day 3: Visit the museums at Ladugardsgardet and have a picnic.
We stayed at the Scandic Sergel Plaza which is right in the heart and the perfect family hotel in Stockholm. It is located right by bus, train and tram lines which will take you to all of the attractions above directly and an easy walk to Gamla Stan.
This Stockholm family hotel caters well to families by having family rooms, a playroom, giving colouring books to kids on check in and (my personal favourite) having free stroller hire. They also have a great breakfast.
You can read my full review here or click here for the latest prices.
If you’re wondering where to stay in Stockholm, we recommend any of the following hotels.
As the best place to stay in Stockholm is different for every family, we’ve listed multiple picks of both cheap places to stay in Stockholm as well as the best hotels to stay in Stockholm to suit all families.
If I have one regret in Stockholm it’s that we didn’t get to eat a typical Swedish meal. We were in such a rush between attractions that we tended to eat whatever was cheap and easy to take away. On the upside, we had some great cheap eats in Stockholm.
Finding places to eat in Stockholm is not hard – they are everywhere. We had been worried about the price, but it’s easy to find cheap places to eat in Stockholm. Hot dog stands seem to be on every corner and there were lots of other options. We had kebabs and some great hot and cold meals from the local supermarket which were paid for by the weight. I did not find being a vegetarian at all difficult.
Many places seem to have lunch specials. We saw many places with set meals of a main, bread, salad and dessert for about 80SEK in fabulous locations. We look forward to more eating in Stockholm next time.
The local transportation in Stockholm makes everything ultra easy. We caught buses, trams and trains with no problems at all. It was very easy, especially with our Stockholm Cards, and they run often. Preschoolers are free.
There are a few options for getting to and from Stockholm airport: taxi, train and bus. We caught the cheapest which was a bus. The kids were free and it was only SEK199 return for each of us which was about 43 euro in total.
There was only one thing we were scared about in regards to travel in Stockholm and that was the price tag. After hearing for years how expensive Scandinavia is, we were very scared! However, we found prices to be quite reasonable. The plus point of coming from one of the most expensive countries in the world (Australia) is that not many countries seem expensive.
Central accommodation is not cheap, but with prices starting at 142 euros for a family room, our stay at the Scandic Sergel Plaza was very reasonable given the facilities and the location. If you want to visit lots of attractions then these are going to add up. A 48 hour Stockholm card is about 83 euros per adult.
On the plus side, kids under 18 are free to many attractions and under 6 is just about always free.
Food was nowhere near as expensive as we feared. We spent about 35 euros per day on budget options. It helps having a good breakfast included at your hotel.
This means all up, a 3 night stopover just like ours costs about 739 euro in total for a family of 4.
The kids had a fantastic time. How could they not? With so many attractions and activities in Stockholm for kids, it would be impossible for them not to enjoy this city. They had so many memorable moments from hopping in a police car at the police museum to getting eaten by birds at the science museum to getting a Nobel prize to exploring the old town. They loved it all.
Their favourite stop, however, was definitely Junibacken. The themed rooms in this attraction and the story train are just done so well. Despite not knowing the stories involved, they had a fabulous time there.
We love Stockholm! We hope our Stockholm travel guide has you ready to go there too 🙂
From the beautiful old streets to the fascinating museums to the kid focused attractions, we had a great time exploring all the different fun things to do in Stockholm. It was just so easy to explore and appreciate this city in big part because it catered to kids so well.
Being able to borrow a stroller and take it everywhere meant that we could explore far more on foot than we are usually able to do. This is my favourite way to explore a destination, so I was very happy to get more of an opportunity to soak it all in.
The Vasa Museum was our favourite attraction. Seeing this centuries old boat was truly amazing. Next up was just walking around Gamla Stan and then parts of the science museum were very cool even for us adults.
My only regret is that we were only there for three days – this was crazy with hindsight! My worries about the cost meant that we kept our time short, but now that I know it is not as bad as I feared, I would have budgeted longer. Travelling with kids in Stockholm is easy.
So get to Stockholm – you won’t regret it!
While you are in Sweden, why not visit the rest of Scandinavia? Check out our guide to Helsinki and to Oslo!
We partnered with Visit Stockholm during our time in Stockholm to ensure that we experienced the best family friendly experiences to share with you.
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