Last month I took a trip to Stockholm, Sweden to write about art and design in the Scandinavian country's vibrant capital city. I arrived in the early morning, just in time to take the same train as local Swedes going to work and enjoying the sunshine they'd been waiting all winter for. The summer months in Sweden bring with them "white nights," which means that it's basically bright and near daylight at all hours (perfect for anyone experiencing jetlag and the desire to be awake constantly). The warmth also brings with it lots of cruise ships, increased water travel throughout the archipelago, and fun outdoor dining and partying.

As someone whose idea of Sweden before this trip was based on realizing that their well-known companies (H&M, Volvo, IKEA, and Spotify, among them) strive to make simple, effective design and culture widely available, I was excited to discover the arts within the city. It didn't hurt that I got to see an Icona Pop concert on the first night, affirming to me that Scandinavian pop music is a powerful, incomparable cultural export on its own. It also didn't hurt that I got to sample the fine fare of restaurants like The Flying Elk and Fjäderholmarnas, the relaxed, design-conscious atmosphere of the Hotel Skeppsholmen, the fresh dessert of Chokladfabriken, the awesome raincoats of Stutterheim (a local brand already sported by Kanye West and Jay-Z), or the architectural history of Stockholm's City Hall and Tower. Basically, there's no shortage of culture or fun in Stockholm, even if you're just wandering and approach your time there spontaneously.

From the museums to the restaurants, specialty stores, and architecture, Stockholm is an art and design fanatic's dream. It seems that to Swedish people, an understanding of design's power to enhance one's quality of life is second nature. Whether or not you plan to be in Sweden soon or in the distant future, check out these Must-See Art and Design Destinations in Stockholm gleaned from my four-day trip, and go to VisitSweden.com in case you want more.

Tags: stockholm, art
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