Stockholm Gay Travel
wolfyy’s Stockholm gay guide to LGBT friendly hotels, things to do, gay bars, clubs & more.
The Gay Travel Experience: Stockholm, Sweden
Stockholm is a wonderfully LGBT-friendly city, with gay-friendly hotels, bars, and restaurants all around. People here express themselves freely, and it’s not uncommon to see overt displays of pride throughout the city, like rainbow backpacks and rainbow flags on building fronts.
The Stockholm gay scene is relatively subdued in comparison to other European cities. While it’s easy to find local gay life in the few vibrant gay bars and gay-friendly cafes, the overall size of the gay scene is smaller.
Sweden is known for having happy people, and it’s easy to see everywhere you go. Even during rainy and cold workdays, you’ll still see people smiling while grabbing coffee or just walking with each other.
The city doesn’t have a true gay district, but a decent bit of the LGBT venues are located in the south part of Gamla Stan and the north part of Södermalm, which I’ll describe more about below.
Gay Stockholm: Hotels & Where to Stay
This tiny island is quaint, quiet, and easily walkable. You can walk from one end to the other in less than 15 minutes. It’s also super easy to get to other parts of the city since all roads lead to Gamla Stan!
There are tons of lofty spaces available in this part of the city, many with windows that open up directly onto the streets below. They’re often much cheaper than standard hotels, too.
Hotel Diplomat is one of the most picturesque and centrally located gay friendly Stockholm hotels. I walked past this hotel several times while exploring the riverfront. Hotel Diplomat is just to the north of the city center in the trendy Ostermalm neighborhood.
Radisson Blu Hotels
They both have unbeatable, truly jaw-dropping modern designs as well as fitness centers, multiple bars and lounges on the property.
Hotel Rival is a highly rated hotel that offers more of a boutique feel with a lot of character. Many of the hotel’s rooms have balconies with fantastic views of the city.
This LGBT-friendly hotel is closer to Stockholm’s gay bars down in the Södermalm area. It’s perfect for quick access to the city’s most popular gay cruising bar, which I’ll mention later in this guide.
Stockholm Gay Travel Experiences
Gay travelers will find that Stockholm has a huge variety of things to do, no matter the season. Here are some of my favorites local spots.
Monteliusvägen is a stunning viewpoint trail and lookout point where you can get the absolute best views of Stockholm. It’s particularly beautiful at night when the lights of the city reflect on the water.
I loved Monteliusvägen so much that I came back a second time to take some more photos before I left Stockholm. To get there, you’ll need to travel up some relatively steep roads. It’s easy to do with a scooter or even on foot.
Visiting Fotografiska, Stockholm’s contemporary art exhibition venue was one of my favorite experiences in the city. You’ll find work from all sorts of world-renowned photographers at Fotografiska. And while specific exhibits change, they’re all extraordinary.
The Fotografiska building also has a gorgeous rooftop bistro with great views of the city. It’s a great place to grab something to eat afterward.
Walk Around Gamla Stan
If you’re not staying in this area of Stockholm, then you should definitely make a point to spend some time walking around Gamla Stan. There are tons of small boutique shops and cozy restaurants to peruse in this area.
Stunning Nature Walks
Embrace nature at Kungliga Djurgården, Stockholm’s most beautiful park. You can get here in only 15 minutes by scooter or car.
Park Rålambshovsparken is another beautiful, memorable park I recommend visiting. It’s on the opposite side of the city. There’s plenty of open space where locals hang out, play games, and enjoy views of the water.
The adjacent French Restaurant Boulebar is fantastic. They’re popular for brunch, but also a fantastic place for a snack or a couple of beers.
Walk along the gorgeous promenade nearby, which is just to the north of Park Rålambshovsparken. I loved the small seating areas perched on docks over the water.
Shop Designer Clothing Stores
Norrmalmstorg is the best place in Stockholm to get some chic new clothes. A ton of major retailers as well as high-end and luxury clothing stores are in this neighborhood. Even if you’re not looking for anything specific, this area of the city is beautiful to explore.
Visit Stockholm’s Royal Palace
A visit to Sweden’s capital isn’t complete without a quick tour of The Royal Palace. Here you can see the Royal Apartments as well as multiple floors of museum space showcasing impressive Medieval relics.
The ABBA Museum
Every gay traveler I know that has visited Stockholm loved going to the ABBA Museum. If you’re not already familiar, ABBA is an internationally famous pop group from Sweden who produced famous songs like “Dancing Queen” and “Mamma Mia”!
Stockholm Gay Bars & Clubs
While the city is incredibly gay-friendly, Stockholm only has a few gay bars. But, even though they’re sparse, gay bars here fill up with a friendly crowd. Here are the must-see venues.
The Secret Garden
The Secret Garden is Stockholm’s traditional and most popular gay bar, especially on weekends. There are multiple large rooms with tables along the walls, surrounding open spaces for dancing.
There’s more of a tavern vibe earlier in the evening and a livelier feel as the night progresses and the live DJ starts playing. Different rooms sometimes play different music, ranging from Eurovision hits to pop and Latin favorites.
Everyone at The Secret Garden enjoys the plentiful outdoor seating too, even into the cooler months. They’re conveniently located right in the center of Stockholm too.
Side Track is another popular gay bar in Stockholm’s Södermalm neighborhood, just south of the city center. Bartenders here are so friendly and welcoming.
The bar is physically underground and has several rooms. The front area has plenty of tables where you can order food, and the bar is in the rear where you can mingle and make some new friends.
SLM: Stockholm’s Gay Cruising Bar
SLM is one of the best gay bars in Stockholm to visit on the weekend, especially if you’re looking for some cruising action!
Make sure to look at their dress code beforehand. Each event here is themed and everyone must conform to the dress code rules. Their naked parties are the most popular.
Since SLM doesn’t stay open too late and the line to get in can take a while, it’s best to get there earlier rather than later. You don’t want to be stuck in line and only have a short time to enjoy Stockholm’s famous gay cruising bar.
Club Backdoor is the premier Stockholm gay club. Here you can really let loose and party on Friday or Saturday nights!
There are two separate dance floors at Club Backdoor and while it is primarily a gay club, you’ll often find a bit of a mixed crowd here.
Cover charge to enter is about 180 KR before midnight and usually goes up to 220 KR after midnight. Parties here will go as late as 5 AM.
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Stockholm Travel Tips
Taxis Are Expensive
Sweden is quite an expensive country, so you can expect most things in Stockholm to be quite expensive. Taxis in particular are costly. I personally avoided using them except for traveling to the city’s train station.
Alcohol in Sweden
Buying alcohol in Sweden is not as easy as in other European countries. Sweden’s government strictly controls the sale of beverages with an alcohol content of greater than 3.5% by volume.
In bars, this doesn’t apply and you can get anything you like. But if you’re a traveler who loves to pick up beer or liquor at the local supermarket or convenience store, you’ll have to remember to go to a Systembolaget location instead.
Systembolaget is the only store that is permitted to sell high alcohol content beverages. There are roughly a dozen locations in Stockholm though, so you shouldn’t ever be too far from one.
The Arlanda Express train is the fastest and cheapest way to go from Stockholm International Airport to the city center.
The train travels at super-fast speeds and it’s easy to carry a lot of luggage onto the spacious train cars. You also can’t beat the price in comparison to a taxi.
Need A Haircut While Visiting Stockholm?
If you’re in the market for an awesome haircut, stop by Adam’s BarBerare. The barbers here are a group of friendly Middle Eastern guys who speak various languages, including English. Everyone’s super talented and the shop is gay-friendly.
Visiting Stockholm during the winter season? Make sure you bring these winter packing list items to keep warm and comfortable.