A Weekend in NYC with Expedia

a weekend in NYC

 

Whether you refer to it as The City That Never Sleeps, The Big Apple, Empire City or another famous name, there’s no question that New York City has something for every kind of traveler. This destination easily has more restaurants, galleries, rooftop bars, museums and culture all in once condensed place than most destinations around the globe. This is especially true now that the surrounding boroughs seem to be in the spotlight as often as Manhattan! So let’s all take a deep breath and accept the reality that one simply cannot see and do it all in one (perhaps even several) visit(s).  <sigh> 

If that was a hard pill to swallow, rest assured: no matter what you choose to fill your itinerary with in New York, chances are it will be a great trip. I recently partnered with Expedia.ca to create my own itinerary and put together a “Weekend in New York” recommendation list. As I was planning, I made a conscious effort to strategically do as much as I could in our four short days. And again, while I knew I couldn't cover everything there is to do in this city, I aimed to sample a little taste of the things I love the most: global influence, epicurean highlights, culture, unique experiences and embracing the local, iconic landmarks. 

  Greenwich Village

Greenwich Village

boucherie greenwich village nyc

 

But before I jump to those recommendations, here are a few things you should know first about visiting NYC:  

 

Downtown is Quite Literally, Downtown:

Often while visiting a city, we refer to downtown as a commercial center where all the action is. In New York, however, it means in a southern direction (as opposed to uptown in the north or midtown in-between the two.) This is important to note while following directions (especially on the Subway, while most trains are marked “uptown” or “downtown.”  

 

Sidewalk Etiquette: 

Given the condensed nature of New York, it’s an extremely walkable city. With that said, the plethora of pedestrians means it’s imperative to make an effort to have some decent sidewalk etiquette. Always aim to keep to the right. Don’t be a sudden stopper (you wouldn’t put your car in park suddenly on the interstate without pulling over first, would you?) If you’re with friends, don’t take up the entire sidewalk (no more than two people next to each other at a time is a safe rule of thumb). Simply put: make an effort to be mindful that while you may be enjoying a holiday away, there are loads of New Yorkers trying to get on with their daily life in an orchestrated  manner (ideally, without dodging tourists who are being inconsiderate or oblivious).   

 

new york subway

Subway, Yellow Cabs + Ubers: 

While walking will take you far (we averaged 11 miles a day!) to see all that you should, you’ll inevitably need to give your legs a break to get around. NYC has tons of transportation options... so how do you choose? I always recommend the Citymapper app, which shows you all options to get from point A to B (then you can decide if you’re more concerned with time, convenience or money). Chances are, you’ll be taking the Subway, an Uber or a Yellow Cab. The Subway is fairly easy to navigate (although I personally found it to be a bit more confusing than metro systems in cities like London, Chicago or Paris— I think because the lines are simply a letter or number which is less memorable to me than a word/name). It’s only $2.75 per ride and to avoid buying a ticket every time, I’d suggest putting $10 or $20 on a card at a time if you plan on riding multiple times throughout your stay. Should you ever call an Uber or other ride share, always be sure you’re requesting the correct pick up location (and that you get in the right car— check the license plates!)  And if you decide to go for a ride in a famous yellow cab, look for ones that have the numbers on their roof illuminated (if they’re turned off, someone is in it). Oh! And be conscious not to upstream someone while hailing your own (essentially, this is “cutting" or standing a bit farther in front of someone who was already trying to hail a cab.) 

 

Right, I think that covers enough of the basics, so let’s dive into some of the details from our itinerary.  

Wythe Hotel Williamsburg

WHERE WE STAYED: 

As I previously mentioned, Manhattan is no longer the favorite child of the NYC boroughs the way it once was. While I’ve still only been to New York 4 times now, 3 out of those 4 trips, I’ve stayed in Williamsburg- an easy train stop or two away from the Lower East Side. When I first visited, this trendy Brooklyn neighborhood seemed to be predominately occupied by hipsters with man-buns and artisanal food shops peppered amongst gritty bodegas. As any gentrification process seems to play out, today this area is home to world-class restaurants, swanky hotels and even a Whole Foods. While it’s not exactly a “hidden” gem anymore, this borough is brimming with fantastic food, drink, shopping and culture— all with an extra bit of breathing room you don’t quite get in Manhattan.  

I’ve stayed with friends every time I’ve visited, however there are plenty of Airbnb options to choose from. And if you fancy a proper hotel? The Wythe is a 117 year old factory building turned boutique hotel and offers panoramic views of the city.  Regardless of where you choose to rest your head, I love the convenience of Williamsburg to both Manhattan, as well as neighboring areas of Brooklyn. 

 

WHERE WE ATE:

We squeezed a lot of great food into a few short days. Here are some of those highlights: 

mr purple nyc
mr purple rooftop nyc les

MR. PURPLE

While asking some friends who are NYC locals what their favorite rooftop bar was, I kept hearing “Mr. Purple.” Located on the 15th floor of Hotel Indigo LES, this hotspot " captures the vibrant and artistic spirit of the Lower East Side.” With incredible views of both the Empire State Building and One World Trade, this is exactly where you want to be on a beautiful day in the city. 

The menu has iconic culinary staples and features locally sourced ingredients (we loved their burrata, tuna tartar and salt & pepper fries). To drink, they offer an extensive list of beer, wine and both classic and specialty cocktails (I recommend their signature “Mr. Purple” with Casamigos respasado tequila, cranberry liqueur, allspice dram, apple and lemon).  

 

 

claudette nyc

CLAUDETTE

I’m always looking for globally-inspired cuisine, so when a reader recommended Claudette: a Provençal eatery in the heart of Greenwich Village, I was sold immediately. Claudette offers Mediterranean-accented French dishes that are inspired by the cooking and teachings of the Chef’s Tunisian grandmother. The space is bright, airy, inviting and is the quintessential environment you’d envision sipping rosé for an afternoon lunch with girlfriends. We shared the lamb hefty with za’atar yogurt, and the chicken & kohlrabi salad with mint, chili, scallion and a walnut-truffle emulsion. 

 

 

aldea portuguese restaurant

ALDEA

To further my quest for global cuisine, I opted for dinner at Aldea: a Portuguese eatery emphasizing Iberian Coast flavors in a chic space in the Flatiron District (and newly boasting a Michelin star). Chef George Mendes made us feel right at home sitting at the chef’s table, which is the bar nestled against the kitchen where you can watch all the magic happen. We sampled a variety of items off the dinner menu to enjoy tasting highlights like the Bacalhau À Brás (farm egg and salt cod custard with crispy potato and black olive) and the Morel Mushrooms. My favorite main was the Arroz de Pato with duck confit, chouriço, orange and duck cracklins. Yet my favorite part of the meal was when Chef Mendes wowed us with his decadent Pasteis de Nata: a traditional Portuguese egg custard tart that was just as good as the ones I had in Lisbon (possibly even better). Every wine pairing was spot on and they did a beautiful job of bringing Portuguese culture to life in the heart of New York City.  

 

 

kingside brunch nyc
kingside diner

KINGSIDE

Located on the street level of Viceroy Central Park, Kingside offers a swanky diner vibe with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and hand-crafted cocktails. We came here for brunch one afternoon and ate like absolute Queens! Start with a small plate like the cauliflower croquettes or  an NY classic: smoked salmon & a bagel. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, you can’t miss their bubble waffles with caramelized bananas, vanilla gelato, walnuts and butterscotch. Craving something a bit more savory? The lobster scramble and avocado toast are both incredible. But my favorite item on the menu? Oddly enough, the kale salad (it comes with brussels sprouts, pistachio and pear— but the ingredient that really stood out was the fresh mint. It was one of the best things I ate all weekend! This was the perfect spot to pop in for brunch before we went around the corner to Central Park to walk it all off.  

 

 

Vandal New York LES
vandal nyc brunch

VANDAL

Tao venues are typically known for their nightclubs, yet VANDAL is broadening that stereotype a bit with their art-filled space on the Bowery in the Lower East Side. Exploding with pop art, murals and interesting creations at every turn, there is no lack of excitement for your eyes (or your tastebuds) at this spot. We loved coming for brunch and sampling a variety of their globally-inspired menu items (my favorites were the chilaquiles and the vegan donuts). They also offer a range of fresh pressed juices if you’re feeling healthy (but don’t worry, you have the option to add the Ketel One Botanical vodka of your choice). 

 

 

 Image c/o Eater

Image c/o Eater

salvador dali the woodstock nyc

THE WOODSTOCK

It would be a sin to go to New York without having pizza, but I wanted to find a spot that puts a fresh spin on the city staple. Enter The Woodstock: a low-key yet vibrant 1960s-inspired cocktail and pizza bar in the Meatpacking District. Art lovers will swoon over the original Salvador Dali paintings adorning the restaurant’s walls and adding a bit of surrealism to their trendy buzzing space. There aren’t enough adequate words in the English-language to properly pay homage to the Gloria pizza (a Primo Tartufo with mozzarella, smoked scamorza, wild mushrooms, rosemary, pine nuts and porcini truffle crema). But while the 60s decor, Dali paintings and mouth-watering pizzas are all incredible, possibly the most memorable aspect of this hotspot is the cocktail menu. Each concoction is served in a unique glass, ranging from your standard Collins or High Ball, all the way to a lightbulb (which the “Light My Fire” is served in). And while one may think the luxe art collection would skyrocket food/drink prices, however all premium cocktails are merely $10 and pizzas are $15 (which is practically robbery for NYC prices). 

 

 

 

 

TRAIF

“Remind me how much of a vegetarian you are these days?” my cousin texted me as we were trying to decide where to meet for dinner my final evening in the city. I’m thankful my answer was 0% so I could experience Traif: a Williamsburg restaurant flaunting all things unkosher. Traif celebrates pork, shellfish and globally-inspired food (my favorites were the strawberry-cinnamon glazed Berkshire baby back ribs and the seared foie gras). While the neighborhood’s nearby community of Hasidic Jews likely won’t be flocking to Traif anytime soon, meanwhile, the orthodox are busy ordering another "Rude Little Pig”: a signature cocktail with lapsing-infused tequila, orange liqueur, pomegranate and, of course, a bacon rim.  

 

 

WHERE WE DRANK:

Stomach too full for a meal, but looking for a spot to grab a drink? Here are some of my favorite watering-holes where we gave our legs a break from walking.  

 

the django nyc jazz club
the django nyc jazz club

THE DJANGO

This was hands down one of my favorite places we found in New York. Located in the basement of the Roxy Hotel, The Django is a cavelike, Paris-inspired jazz venue and cocktail bar. We walked in last minute, but I would recommend calling in advance if you go on a Saturday night to reserve a table (it was jam-packed, but still so fun!) With big-band jazz music filling the room and people of all ages and background swing dancing with no regard for what time it was, it felt like we transformed back in time (or perhaps were on set for the Woody Allen film “Midnight in Paris.”) Whatever you do, give this place a spot on your itinerary - you won’t regret it.  

 

 

 Image c/o Bon Appétit

Image c/o Bon Appétit

SANTINA

This award winning coastal Italian restaurant is located directly under the High Line, yet it boasts vibrant blue and orange umbrellas that leave you feeling like you’re in Positano. Pop in for an Aperol spritz on the patio after you finish strolling the High Line.  

 

 

le bain at the standard rooftop

LE BAIN- ROOFTOP AT THE STANDARD

On a sunny Saturday in the summer, be sure to arrive to The Standard right at 4pm to beat the lines and grab a spot at Le Bain. This rooftop bar boasts incredible views of the Hudson and Manhattan skyline and offers an energetic atmosphere, complete with delicious cocktails.  

 

P.J. CLARKE’S

Pop into their lower-Manhattan location a sunny Friday afternoon in the summer and you’re sure to rub elbows with Financial District employees who are loosening their ties for the weekend. P.J. Clarke’s has been serving up frosty drinks (their frosé is truly special) since 1884 and you can’t beat the buzzing energy and waterfront views this place has to offer (a perfect place to grab a drink before the Willy Wall).  

 

LLAMA INN

This Williamsburg Peruvian eatery offers a stunning atmosphere, but more importantly, delicious pisco sours (a traditional cocktail of Peruvian origin). I came here after dinner at Traif to meet friends and in addition to our cocktails, we tried one of the most memorable desserts I’ve had in a long time: Palo Santo flavored ice cream.  

 

 

WHAT WE DID: 

 

honorable william wall nyc
will wall cocktails

WILLY WALL

I couldn’t believe how many locals I spoke with who had never visited the Willy Wall (or more formally known as “The Honorable William Wall”). It was easily one of the coolest things we did in the city! Whether you fancy watching a sailing regatta or simply taking in gorgeous views of NYC on a nice day, this floating clubhouse/bar in the Hudson belonging to Manhattan Yacht Club is somewhere you absolutely shouldn’t miss. Tickets should be reserved in advance and includes a free one-way transfer on the Liberty Landing ferry from the World Financial Center Ferry Terminal to the Warren Street Pier where you meet the Admiral’s Launch water taxi.  

 

  

dumbo nyc

DUMBO

An iconic photo spot just around the corner from the Brooklyn Bridge. Be sure to go for coffee + almond croissant at Almondine while you’re over there!  

 

 

brooklyn bridge

BROOKLYN BRIDGE

After snapping photos at DUMBO and grabbing your coffee at Almondine Bakery, it’s time to stroll across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge! You always want to walk from the Brooklyn side to the Manhattan side for the best views of the city, and if you prefer to avoid crowds I definitely recommend going early (we arrived at 9am and it still was pretty full).  

 

 

THE HIGH LINE

Formerly an above-ground railroad, the High Line is a ~1.5 mile elevate park that runs along the west side of Manhattan. Starting a few blocks from Penn Station and running down to Meatpacking, this is the perfect spot to stroll when the weather is nice (it reminds me a lot of London’s Southbank with all of the street vendors, places to sit and various view points).  

 

 

 

central park nyc

CENTRAL PARK

An obvious “must” while visiting New York. We didn’t have much time to spend here on this particular trip, but some of my favorite highlights over the years include the pond, Gapstow Bridge (with the Plaza Hotel and skyline as a backdrop), The Lake Strawberry Fields and Sheep Meadow.  

 

 

radio city music hall

ROCKAFELLER PLAZA 

With today’s plethora of tourists, this likely won’t be a spot you want to stay long. Even still, I liked starting an (early) morning here to sneak a peek of the TODAY show cast (we heard Shawn Mendez performing “In My Blood” from a distance while we were shooting some photos in the area!) and strolling along some of the famous sights like Radio City Music Hall. Get in, see what you came to see, and then move on.  

 

 

top of the rock nyc

TOP OF THE ROCK 

It’s been said that this is the best spot for views of the city and I can’t really disagree now that I’ve been (although be warned, it gets crowded). It opens at 8am and tickets should be purchased in advance to avoid a long line. I recommend going bright and early to avoid peak tourist times so you can enjoy the views with limited crowds.  

 

 

 Image c/o  prêt-à-photo

Image c/o prêt-à-photo

FLATIRON BUILDING  

While this building is certainly an iconic NYC landmark you shouldn’t miss, the area in general has plenty to offer. Go for an afternoon pick-me-up with a cappuccino at Eataly or some matcha at Cha-Cha-Matcha before strolling through Madison Square Park or doing some shopping.  

 

There’s a lot more I could say about our time in New York (and about other things I’ve done during other visits!) Since I can’t expand upon everything, here are a few more favorites worth mentioning:  

 

MUSEUMS + MONUMENTS

The MET

Whitney Museum of Art

World Trade Center Memorial

MoMA

 

COFFEE/TEA/SNACKS

Variety Coffee in Williamsburg

Cha Cha Matcha

Grass Roots Juicery in Williamsburg

Everyman Espresso

Devoción

Momofuku Milk Bar for Ice Cream

 

momofuku milk bar nyc

 

GLOBAL CUISINE

Dhaba Indian Cuisine 

Uncle Boon’s (Thai) 

Le Coucou (French) 

Taverna Kyclades (Greek) 

Lupa Osteria Romana (Italian) 

Manousheh (Lebanese) 

 

 

I’m always looking for great recommendations to try for the next time I visit, so if you have a spot I can’t miss tell me in the comments below! 

 

Thank you to Expedia.ca for partnering on this trip and post and to Mr. Purple, Kingside, Aldea, Woodstock and Vandal for accommodating us. All opinions are my own.  

 

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weekend in new york
WEEKEND IN NYC.jpg
blonde atlas

Why I'm living out of a suitcase the rest of this year.

Hello fellow travel-lovers. It's been a minute! If you've been a reader for a while now, you may have noticed that posts around here have been somewhat few and far between compared to what they once were. It seems appropriate to finally share an explanation as to what I've been up to lately (since it clearly hasn't been writing blog posts on the reg). But before I get into all of that, let's quickly rewind and start with a little context. If you’re new to this story, this could easily turn into a novel to type everything out again. So for the sake of brevity, let me sum it up this way: 

 

  • A few years ago I started traveling more frequently and creating guides for every destination that I'd visit. I realized I could actually do this full time (read my post on how I've managed to here) and eventually,  I decided to book a one-way ticket to travel around Europe to do just that.

 

  • Spending 5 months abroad was easily the most transformational experience of my entire life. During that time, I fell completely in love with London, my “home base” where I spent a couple of those months. Ever since, I’ve been trying to find a way to relocate (which has been an almost 2 year journey now). After running into many dead ends trying to find a long term visa solution (I work for myself which significantly complicates matters, not to mention the U.K. is in the midst of uncertain Brexit negotiations) I started to wonder if it was actually London that I really had to have, or if perhaps it was simply a desire to do life in big city that offered more global variety. So I moved to Chicago last summer to try out life there (more about that story here). 

 

  • Even after falling more in love with Chicago and building a life I genuinely loved during my time there, I realized I still couldn’t shake my desire to get to London… and I knew if I didn’t give that dream everything I had now, I may never get there. So in January, I moved back to Nashville where I’ve been getting my ducks in a row to figure out “what comes next” (more about that here at the end of the post). 

I suppose you could say the reason I've been a bit quite is because I’ve been rather preoccupied re-strategizing my entire life based on what I’ve learned from these past few seasons. Realizing you want to move to another country has enough emotions of its own, but then not being able to get there? And falling in love with another city along the way (but not enough to shake the desire for the first one) complicates matters of the heart even more. In short, these last couple of years have been chalk full of uncertainty and emotions and sometimes feeling like I'm a hamster on a wheel, working tirelessly but not actually going anywhere. 

But in the process, I've also learned a lot about what it means to have a long obedience in the same direction and to keep working hard at dreams- even when it feels like it's all for nothing. These last several months have involved creating an entirely new strategy for how my immigration lawyer and I are approaching a visa (a strategy I originally didn't want to attempt in the first place because it seemed too complicated and difficult). I won't bore you with the specifics of our said plan, but part of that strategy involves me spending an extended period of time in London to iron out some of the deliverables that are required for me to even apply. In order to make that happen, I've spent countless hours planning, budgeting and researching... but I've finally sorted enough about my my "next step" out in this long, complicated journey to announce:

Come August, I'll be moving back to London! (for a few months anyway... as of now I technically can't stay longer than six until a visa is sorted). While I obviously am overwhelmed with excitement, it's simultaneously a bit nerve-wracking because I honestly have no idea how long I'll be there or if I'll get any closer to achieving a long-term solution. But at the end of the day, I knew it was finally time to take a risk, go all in and just go for it- even if I don't have all the answers (because will we ever?) 

london

I may not be leaving for London until August (I strategically wanted to wait until some of the summer chaos had settled) but I found someone who could sublet my house in Nashville starting today. So where will I go until then? First, I'll be doing some quick trips to New York and Florida for a couple weeks, then come mid-June I'm heading back to Chicago for the summer. It may not have been my final choice the city I choose to call home, but man- I sure did love my time there (and I can't think of a better time of year to be back than now). I'm actually really excited it all worked out this way and that I have an excuse to spend some more time with my family and the friends I made there before I hop across the pond. 

There's a lot about the year ahead that's incredibly uncertain, and that can spark anxiety in any person (my restless mind wakes me up in the middle of the night to add something to the to do list pretty regularly). I suppose that worrying voice is afraid that come 2019 I'll be right back at square one: having done all this work and still having no visa or clue where to go next. But I've come to accept that even if that's the case, I know with absolute confidence + peace in my spirit that this is the right next step for right now. Call it "certainty in the uncertainty" I guess.

There's a lot more to this story than the highlights I've listed out here, but given the fact that my life is currently pouring out of a bunch of boxes labeled either "London", "Chicago" or "see ya next year", it's a miracle I even got around to typing all of this out. But the only reason I made an effort to do so was to encourage anyone else who may be feeling far from their own dream. Pursuing London has been way more complicated than I ever anticipated, and it's been tempting to throw in the towel at times. But I once read that we often over-estimate what we can accomplish in a year and under-estimate what we can do in 10. It has become my sincere belief that the time it takes to get where you want to go is going to pass anyway... so you might as well work toward what you really want. For me, that's London. I'm excited about the season ahead and will be sure to share lots of updates along the way (both here and on Instagram stories). Until then, sincere thanks to everyone who has been championing me in this pursuit in a variety of ways. It means more than you know.  Here goes nothing.

 

xx,

Whitney

 

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Stockholm Travel Guide

stockholm travel guide blonde atlas

 

Comprised of 14 islands on an extensive Baltic Sea archipelago, Stockholm has often been called "beauty on water" and serves as the capital (and most populous city) of Sweden. While it's well-preserved old town, Gamla Stan, remains one of Europe’s most historic hubs, this city is also dynamic, modern and ever-evolving. 

I had the pleasure of visiting with my friend (and photographer) Sarah last summer on behalf of Visit Stockholm. Neither of us had ever been to Scandinavia (with the exception of the few days we spent in Copenhagen prior to this trip) so we both were a little unsure as to what we could expect. Within moments of setting foot in Sweden, we immediately noticed how beautiful everything was--from the design to the natural landscape (and don't even get me started on the people!) 

Before planning a trip of your own (which I can't recommend enough) here are a few considerations to keep in mind:

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO

  • LANGUAGE: Swedish, although pretty much everyone I came into contact with spoke English. As always, I recommend at least saying "thank you" in the local language- in this case: "tack" (pronounced tah-k). 
  • CURRENCY: Swedish Kroner. Currently, 1 USD equals roughly 8.58 SEK. While a lot of places do accept bank cards, we did run into some issues with other places only accepting cash, so I'd advise getting some from an ATM at the airport once you arrive.
  • GRATUITY: Tipping is rare and usually reserved for great service. With that said, I always leave a little something, even if it's just rounding up to round out the SEK to an even number. 
  • GETTING AROUND: Getting from Arlanda Airport to the Stockholm city center is incredibly easy thanks to the Arlanda Express. For ~ 280 SEK, this train runs non-stop from the airport to Stockholm Central Station and takes only 20 minutes (it's the most affordable and efficient option). Once you're in the city, you can quickly travel between different locations thanks to Stockholm’s safe, punctual and efficient public transport system. We honestly walked a lot (and took a few taxi's) but the options are endless. To learn more, read this page from Visit Stockholm.
 Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan

 Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan

 Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan

 Gamla Stan

Gamla Stan

 

Archipelago Tour

archipelago tour stockholm sweden

We were advised by Visit Stockholm to get familiarized with the stunning scenery of the area with a guided archipelago boat tour. As previously mentioned, Stockholm encompasses 14 islands and more than 50 bridges on an extensive Baltic Sea archipelago (which is simply a group of islands). This tour allowed us to experience the city from the water, learn about the history and be inspired by the beauty of Stockholm’s natural landscape. It was such a relaxing way to spend our afternoon (they had beverages on board and the entire trip was comprised of stunning views). 

NOTE: During the summer it is a good idea to visit the ticket booth early the same day to collect your sightseeing tour ticket. Sometimes there are a lot of visitors and some tours may be full during the high season. And be sure to pack lots of layers even if it's warm-- the wind will get you!

archipelago tour stockholm sweden
archipelago tour stockholm sweden
archipelago tour stockholm sweden
archipelago tour stockholm sweden
vasa museum stockholm

One of my favorite things we did in Stockholm was visiting the Vasa musuem. The Vasa is the only preserved seventeenth-century ship in the world and makes for a truly incredible story. 

The 69 meter-long warship Vasa sank after about 20 minutes into its maiden voyage in the middle of Stockholm in 1628 and was salvaged 333 years later in 1961. Because of the brackish water, so much of it was preserved (more than 95 percent of the ship is original). For nearly half a century the ship has been slowly, deliberately and painstakingly restored to a state approaching its original glory. The three masts on the roof outside the specially built museum show the height of the ship's original masts. Today the Vasa Museum is the most visited museum in Scandinavia, with over one million visitors a year.

There are several different exhibitions around the ship to tell the incredible story (it was truly so impressive-- it sucked us in!) There is also a film about the Vasa (shown in 13 different languages so make a note when you first get there about what time it will play in your language of choice). Tours of the museum take place every day and admission is free for children up to 18 years (it's also included in with your Stockholm pass). 

 

 

ROSENDALS TRÄDGÅRD

Rosendals Trädgård stockholm

Rosendals Trädgård is a garden open to the public situated on Djurgården, west of Rosendal Palace, in the central part of StockholmSweden.  It’s s open to public visitors and exists so that visitors can experience nature and learn about different cultural effects on gardening throughout history.  Sarah and I biked there from our first hotel, Oaxen (more to come about that in a minute) and fell in love with how charming and picturesque everything on the property was.

Rosendals Trädgård stockholm

For more than thirty years Rosendals’ Garden Foundation has cultivated and spread biodynamic farming practices (a form of alternative agriculture very similar to organic farming, but it includes various esoteric concepts).

Rosendals Garden is a driver of the farm to fork concept, as they harvest vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruits directly from the gardens to use for ingredients in their café and woodfired bakery.

As a visitor you can enjoy strolling in the garden, as well having a meal, sandwich or something sweet from the artisanal bakery in their greenhouse café. They also have a farm shop and plant shop on site with loads of fun kitchen items you can bring home with you. Throughout the year they also organize events, private functions and exhibitions.

Rosendals Trädgård Stockholm
Rosendals Trädgård stockholm sweden
Rosendals Trädgård Stockholm Sweden
Rosendals Trädgård stockholm
Rosendals Trädgård lunch stockholm
Rosendals Trädgård lunch

Biking here and having lunch (then Fika!) was honestly one of my favorite things we did in Stockholm. I highly recommend paying them a visit so you can experience it for yourself. 

 

GO FOR A FIKA

Rosendals Trädgård fika stockholm

You may be wondering what I've meant by my aforementioned "Fika" reference. The Swedes are known for their afternoon "Fika", which basically means having coffee and a piece of cake or a pastry (which, in my humble opinion, is one of the greatest cultural traditions of all time).  Sweden has a highly developed culture when it comes to baked goods, so you’ll find loads of cafés and cake shops all over the city. Again, Rosendals Trädgård (pictured above) is probably my favorite that we had. Wherever you go, you can't visit Sweden without a proper Fika experience!

 

OAXEN

oaxen stockholm sweden

Oaxen Prince van Orangiën was easily one of the most memorable hotels where I've ever stayed.  This vessel was originally a home and office for a shipowner who sailed around Europe with his dredge-fleet. Today, it's luxuriously furnished with decor consisting of oak, ebony, rosewood and Belgian slate (as well as five different kinds of marble). It has been meticulously managed and maintained by its former owners (serving as a private home until 2007 when it became this small boutique hotel). 

We stayed in the Chief Mate's Cabin #6: A magnificent cabin with panoramic view. The room is 18 sqm with a Queen-size bed, private bathroom and a shower. The cabin is located at the bow on the upper deck with an exit to a private outdoor deck (with great views of Gröna Lund amusement park and Kastellholmen). Breakfast was also included and was served in another beautifully decorated cabin. 

I can't think of a more quintessentially Swedish experience than staying directly on the water. I highly recommend this unique and luxurious hotel to anyone looking for a memorable accomodation.   

 Chief Mate’s Cabin No 6 | Balcony

Chief Mate’s Cabin No 6 | Balcony

 Chief Mate’s Cabin No 6

Chief Mate’s Cabin No 6

oaxen stockholm sweden
oaxen stockholm sweden
 Breakfast Room

Breakfast Room

 Chief Mate’s Cabin No 6

Chief Mate’s Cabin No 6

 Chief Mate’s Cabin No 6

Chief Mate’s Cabin No 6

oaxen stockholm

Under the same ownership and directly across from our hotel, we were fortunate enough to dine at Oaxen Slip: where they serve a unique interpretation of Swedish bistro fare with hearty and uncomplicated dishes. The ambiance is airy and inviting with prominent nautical features. The dishes were all delicious and the staff did a great job of educating us on the traditional Swedish fare as we tried each course. Even still, I very much got the impression that we were mostly surrounded by locals rather than tourists. If you're looking for a contemporary spin on traditional Swedish food in an enjoyable atmosphere, definitley pay Oaxen Slip a visit. 

oaxen stockholm
oaxen stockholm
oaxen stockholm
oaxen stockholm
stockholm sweden

One of the best meals we had in Stockholm was at Den Glyden Freden (translation: The Golden Peace). They've served classic Swedish cuisine since 1722. Whether you're a well-known cultural figures, along-distance visitor or a local regular, chances are you're heading to Den Glyden Freden to enjoy the good food and the authentic atmosphere. It was here that I had the best Swedish meatballs of my entire life (served as they are traditionally: with mashed potatoes, creamy gravy, and tart lingonberry preserves. While you're enjoying the delicious food, you're also sure to appreciate the cozy candlelit ambiance and beautiful antique decor. 

Den Gyldene Freden stockholm sweden
Den Gyldene Freden stockholm sweden
swedish meatballs Den Gyldene Freden
Den Gyldene Freden stockholm sweden


 

 

SÖDERMALM

stockholm sweden

We loved walking to Södermalm, a prominent island directly south of Gamla Stan. This part of town has a relaxed, creative ambiance with artistic shops, eclectic cafes, and most famously, Fotografiska (a contemporary photo gallery in a former industrial building by the water). For sweeping views over the city, head to the Katarina Elevator (or even better, try dinner at Erik's). 

 

HOTEL BIRGERJARL

For the second half of our time in Stockholm, we stayed at Hotel Birger Jarl. Built in 1974, the hotel has been revamped to become a lovely showcase for Swedish design. Their lobby doubles as an exhibition space for local artists, while 12 local designers have been roped in to create suites and bedrooms.

While I loved the unique experience we had at Oaxen, I will say that Birger Jarl is more centrally and conveniently located if that is a concern for you (and it was still a very lovely accomodation!). Their rates include breakfast, discounts at several local shops and restaurants, and free entrance to Kulturhuset and the National Museum of Fine Arts. 

hotel birgerjarl stockholm
hotel birger jarl stockholm sweden
hotel birger jarl stockholm

 

There is much more to do in Stockholm than I could fit into a single blog post, but hopefully this provides you with some insight as to what you can't miss while visiting! For more information about planning a trip, be sure to review Visit Stockholm's site

 

 photo c/o Thrillist

photo c/o Thrillist

 photo c/o TheShrine

photo c/o TheShrine

As always, I appreciate you stopping by and reading about my travels! You may have noticed I haven't been posting quite as often as I once did... and there is a reason for that. I'm still very deep in all the planning so I can't disclose too much quite yet, but come June I'm planning to leave Nashville for about six months (fingers crossed all goes according to plan and I'll be able to share more about why!) In the meantime, know that I'm not getting lazy or halting my travel plans- just a lot of moving pieces I'm getting sorted at the moment! Stay tuned for more...

 

Until then, have a lovely week! 

xx

Whitney

blonde atlas