Stockholm: Vikings, Bears, and Dancing Queens Live it Up

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PHOTOS: Stockholm, uniquely known for ABBA, Absolut Vodka, IKEA, Greta Garbo, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is one of those cities that needs to be on everyone’s radar.  It’s a city filled with rich history, glamorous people, and a bustling nightlife scene that’s wild and unpretentious.

Sweden legalized gay marriage in 2009 and most recently, Swedish Crown Princess Victoria stopped the presses when she handed out the country’s “Gay of the Year” award with a fabulous entrance to ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” at the QX magazine award ceremony.

When the sun sets over the Scandinavian capital, the vibrant colors of the evening lure the most incredibly vivacious creatures of the night out to spectacular and fascinating clubs across town.  Regardless of where you go, the slick Swedish design dominates the scene: nobody does day to night better than the locals in Stockholm.

Torget is always a smart spot to begin your night: have a quick bite, pick up a QX Gay Map to see where the boys will be later that night, meet a few friends, and start to plan your night.  On summery nights, the party starts early, before the sun sets, and revelers flock to outdoor hotspots like Malar Paviljongen or the infamous Patricia ship early and stay late.

Malar Paviljongen is a local favorite, and often has great live music and bands.  Patricia transitions from a trendy restaurant into a wild club (watch the sunrise from the top deck, if possible, you won’t regret it!). With so many attractive and wonderful people there’s reason to celebrate every night in Stockholm.

Kolingsborg is a solid go-to for rock star DJs, attractive crowds, and dance- your-pants-off mayhem.  If you need a break from things upstairs, scout out the smoking section where there’s never a shortage of fun conversation.  The vibe is slightly more mixed and posh across town at Berns Stockholm and you never know who you’ll catch a glimpse of in the crowd.  Rihanna recently performed below the stunning chandeliers in the decadent main room and the last time I was on the Berns Terrace I ran into nightlife legend Scotty the Blue Bunny.

While you’re living it up in Stockholm, be sure to check out the ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL Stockholm, the world’s first permanent ice bar where the temperature is below zero all year round.  Your 40 minute experience includes gloves, a cocktail of your choice, and the ultimate icy ambiance.  If you’re looking for some Viking Bear fun, Stockholm Bear Weekend (May 17-19) is coming up, including a parade, bear walk, bear party at K2, and a frisky Friday night bear bath and sauna.

There’s never a bad time to visit Stockholm, but summer is ideal.  SAS Airlines, the innovative force behind the social media campaign that led to the first gay wedding in the air between Stockholm and New York, is running all kinds of fun summer specials to bring you and your friends to live it up in the Capital of Scandinavia.

Below are a few snaps from our recent night out in Stockholm.

Photography by Jeffrey James Keyes


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