Stay — A slick, serene renovation of two 17th-century naval barracks turns gay-managed boutique Hotel Skeppsholmen from a sleepy museum destination (the Moderna Museet and Arkitektur Museet are next door) into an island of calm, literally, a short bus or ferry ride from the city center. Furnishings by modern Scandinavian powerhouse Asplund, luscious amenities by Byredo Parfums (the local Swedish equivalent to Diptyque), rain showers and custom Boffi sinks make this a welcome addition to the Design Hotels portfolio. Traditional swedish meatballs in their airy restaurant are not to be missed.
See — With construction progressing rapidly for a May 2010 grand opening, Fotografiska is poised to refocus the world’s artistic lenses on Stockholm. Part commercial gallery and social center, part museum (Annie Leibovitz’ “A Photographer’s Life” will kick off the slate), it’s the largest center in Scandinavia devoted to high-quality photography whatever the mode: fine art, fashion, commercial, scientific, or photo-journalism. In the meantime, see what happens when pre-A&E hoarders are both super-rich and extra-focused at the Hallwylska Museet, a tribute to Countemss Wilhelmina von Hallwy’s eccentric monomania about cataloging absolutely everything from toothbrushes to tableware in her turn-of-the-20th-century aristocratic home. A rumored lesbian (see: always-present lady companion and heavy butch mustache), keep an eye out for the jarring modernist portraits made by the male lover of her favored live-in nephew Rolf de Maré, a man whose success as founder of the Dansmuseet was matched only by his cruisy exploits in the Berzelli Park out front, a notorious haunt for sailors on leave at the time.
Eat — Comprised of 14 islands right on the cooly clear Baltic, you shouldn’t go a day without eating seafood in Stockholm. And you shouldn’t go a visit without trying it at B.A.R., the latest addition to the fine-dining scene minus the notoriously hefty prices. Tucked behind the Grand Hôtel, brasserie meets fish market with a Scandinavian twist: you pick the fish, sauce and sides in personal consultation with the chef, super-fresh simplicity being your muse. The garickly fennel, salty langoustines, and haddock with caviar sour cream sauce were nothing short of perfection.
Shop — Busy retro textiles in bright ’60s pop patterns and svelte silver design objects (ones Ikea has generously knocked off) dominate Stockholm institution Svenskt Tenn, but the powerhouse players are the exquisite deco cabinets by Josef Frank. Bring your credit card; quality doesn’t come cheap. (Luckily a 12.5% VAT refund can apply.) For clothes, fashion-focused P.U.B. is a one-stop-shop for Swedish labels Gant, Whyred, Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair and WeSC, amongst many others.
Do — There’s no shortage of nordic lookers in Stockholm, the trouble is nailing them to the right place on the right night. For now, 2.35:1+Gay in the clubby basement of pop-art-opulent Berns Salonger Hotel is the Saturday haunt for cosmopolitan power gays and lesbians. Only thing, it’s guestlist only. Email party co-organizer Payman Dehdezi (email@example.com) with your name, age, occupation, and reasons why you should make the cut. No confirmation? No dice. Save your energy instead for SoFo’s scruffy basement lair Högkvartert (a.k.a. Head Quarter), equally arty minus the attitude but skewing more young, or Sunday night’s always-packed paean to gay goofiness on the moored party boat Patricia. Get ready to down some lager with your schlager, Sweden’s own particular brand of cheese-tastic highly danceable and singable europop.