You arrive in Stockholm, Sweden, and you’re ready to do take in some of the sights. But, wait a minute. Before making the trip, did you know that Stockholm is one of Europe’s most expensive cities? You are on a budget and notice that everything is so costly. What to do?
Well, we’ve got you covered with this article. We will present you with 5 Free Things To Do in Stockholm With the Family. They are all interesting options to add to your itinerary and easy to do. Best of all, your kids will probably enjoy them all!
Nicknamed The Old Town, it is an amazingly well preserved medieval town. It’s a place where the history of Stockholm comes alive and it is easy to imagine how things were in the past. If you, like myself, come from a typical modern day city, you will marvel at the old buildings, narrow alleyways, and the enduring churches (all several hundred years old) which all combine to give that medieval feeling. If not for the other tourists walking around, you would swear you have been transported back in time to the late Middle Ages. There are also many cafes, restaurants and quirky stores to explore. Expect to spend a few hours exploring Gamla Stan.
For more details, have a look at my Gamla Stan article as well as the Gamla Stan Photo Series.
Changing of the Guard
Watching the Royal Changing of the Guard is a great treat for the whole family. If you have kids, they will have a kick out of watching the horses and uniformed soldiers march in unison. It takes place daily at the Royal Palace’s outer courtyard and lasts about 40 minutes.
For more details and an analysis of where to stand to get yourself in a good spot, read my Royal Changing of the Guard article and Photo Series.
City Hall Gardens
The City Hall of Stockholm is one of the busiest tourist sites in the city. But the problem is there are no general opening hours as it is open only when a tour is available. Also, the halls can only be visited with a guided tour costing 100 SEK. Instead, do the free alternative and visit the City Hall’s Gardens. You can have a relaxing time at this beautiful lakeside attraction. Best of all, looking across the lake will provide you with some great vista photo opportunities of Gamla Stan! No doubt about it, the City Hall Gardens is a great attraction, and best of all, it’s free! Expect to spend about an hour here.
For more details, read my City Hall gardens article.
The Strandvagen Promenade is a beautiful one kilometer stretch that has great ambiance and is full of hustle and bustle. The promenade is flanked by boats docked on one side and gorgeous old buildings at the other. It makes for a pleasant way to view an attractive part of Stockholm and is chalk full of photo opps. It’s also a great way to walk from the city to the island of Djurgården for your other sights (Vasa museum, Skansen, Grona Lund, ABBA Museum, etc). Expect to spend about 60-90 minutes.
As an added bonus, during the summer, the Palace Guard goes through part of the Strandvagen on it’s way to the Royal Palace for the Changing of the Guard ceremony.
For more details, check out my Strandvagen Promenade article
This recommendation comes with a caveat. You need to be in possession of a ticket for the Stockholm transportation system (single fare, zone tickets, etc), which you most likely are anyways – so let’s make good use of it! On a short visit, the Stockholm subway is an attraction which is often overlooked and overshadowed by the more famous offerings elsewhere in the city. But you will regret not allocating some time to visiting the subway as the stations here are part of what is considered the longest art installation in the world.
With paintings, murals, reliefs, etc adorning the stations, they are fun to discover. Once the family is hooked, hopping from station to station in anticipation of what you will see next, it makes for a great family adventure. Best of all, if you are comfortable in doing the subway visit yourself, the Stockholm transportation authority offers free guided tours during the summer months. Expect to spend anywhere from 75 – 150 minutes.
For more details, head over to my post detailing 8 Practical Tips for Visiting Stockholm’s Subway Art.
More Articles on Stockholm
As you can see, despite Stockholm’s reputation for being an expensive city to visit, there are some wonderfully attractive free options. Hopefully, this has allowed you to see Stockholm in a slightly different light in considering it for a future visit. If you found this helpful, then please share it and read the rest of this Stockholm Mini Guide for more tips and research on Stockholm!