Destination: SoFo, Stockholm
An insider’s guide to Stockholm's inspiring design district
Scandinavians are pioneers in several fields: design, lifestyle (you're probably familiar with the term 'Hygge'), their educational system – and as it turns out, unbelievably cool neighbourhoods bursting with creativity. Take SoFo, Sweden’s hottest district right now. It's a small neighbourhood packed full of independent stores, alternative cafés, restaurants, bars and clubs. Short for South of Folkungagatan, SoFo used to be a small district on the island of Södermalm, which then – as is the case with many quirky and untouched neighbourhoods – started to attract many aspiring designers and artists who were drawn to its cool, vintage atmosphere. Fast forward a couple years and SoFo made it on Vogue’s list of the “15 Coolest Neighbourhoods in the World”! Find out the best spots that make SoFo so special that it even inspired us to name our new range of Backpacks and Weekenders after it. Enjoy!
What better way to start the day right than by combining a great brunch with a DJ session? At Louie Louie, you can munch on fresh local food (sweet and savoury) in a retro-style interior while you listen to tunes at the adjoining record store. Every now and then, DJs also start playing their sets spontaneously from the early AM, making sure you start your day on the right beat. Or there's Urban Deli. More than another delicious breakfast place to add to your list, it's easy to see why there's a Swedish sourdough craze: the typical SoFo hipster can bring their own sourdough mix to be looked after while they're away, so they don't have to start all over again when they return. First-world baking problems, solved!
Shopping and culture
Vintage clothing, design and art – that’s what encapsulates SoFo and makes it a shopper's paradise. One of our favourites is Grandpa, for all things vintage: from clothing to furniture and decoration from all over the world, there are no limits for Scandi vintage finds. You can also find Scandinavia’s largest independent book shop in SoFo, called Konst-ig. Other than that, 125 Kvadrat will give you a taste of how creative this neighbourhood really is, as every product is crafted by local artists. The focus is on pottery, but they also offer many other special design pieces. Finally, don’t miss out on SoFo Night every last Thursday of the month where most shops are open until 9pm on those nights, offering their customers drinks and authentic Swedish snacks.
Relax in Södermalm
Forget 'Hygge' (which is Danish, by the way), we would like to introduce you to Fika. Bringing together coffee, cake and good company, the Swedish tradition of taking a conscious break is definitely worth giving a try. A great spot for Fika is Fabrique Stenugnsbageri with its mouthwatering Kardemummabullar. This fluffy pastry topped with cardamom made us feel like we’ve been waiting for this moment our entire life – a must-try! And if it's fully booked, Gildas Rum is right around the corner and a great alternative.
If, however, there is the unlikely event that you are not in the mood for cake, Greta Garbos Torg is a beautiful place for some relaxation. Offering many benches and trees, this park is perfect for a long walk or just sitting down in quiet peace for a while. The legendary Hollywood star Greta Garbo actually grew up in SoFo, at the time when it was still hidden away and inconspicuous, hence the name.
Enjoy the evening
Whether you’re more of a traditional food lover or you enjoy experimenting around, SoFo isn't short of variety. At Pelikan, you get Swedish home cooking at its best. What's more, the grand hall surrounded by beautiful tiles and arched windows provides an enviable atmosphere. If you're looking for traditional Swedish dishes with a modern twist, then Meatballs for the People will be your thing: from classic Köttbullar to more unusual versions, this place definitely won’t disappoint you (we can also recommend their veggie meatballs which are also delicious). Another option for contemporary fusion kitchen open late is Nytorget 6. They describe themselves as being "all about friends, conversations, laughter, adventure and love.” Sounds good, right? Afterwards, you should get nightcap at Akkurat which is famous for their huge selection of craft beers and whiskey – an insider’s tip you shouldn’t miss.
Decorated with bare lightbulbs and colourful Moroccan tiles, SoFo Hotel combines minimalist design and great taste in a way that makes you feel comfortable from the very moment you step inside. Its location is in the heart of SoFo, making sure you're within walking distance to anywhere in the neighbourhood. It's a hotel with a unique style, developed by a talented team of architects and interior designers who found the perfect balance between Scandinavian minimalism and Middle Eastern design. And, fitting in perfectly with the cosiness of the neighbourhood, the SoFo hotel only has 22 rooms, making it a sought-after place to stay. God natt!