How shall I spend my Midsommardagen in Sweden
June 17, 2010 6:36 AM   Subscribe

What should I do and read in Gothenburg?

I am leaving Sunday for a month in Gothenburg, Sweden. I have been before, for one week in August of 2009, and I really enjoyed the town. Now that I have a full month there I want to know what off-beaten-path things I must do. I am accompanying my partner, who is going for work, so most of my days will be free. (He has been there before but always in a work capacity so he's had little time to explore.)

I have already done the fish church, the Naturhistoriska Museet (love the Malm whale), the Design Museum, Haga, lots of shopping, and sailed in the archipelago. I have also already read the whopping four (!) questions tagged "Gothenburg." I am not interested in Liseberg really. I am looking more for street markets, youth culture, music venues, the best cafes, etc.

I have heard about the Epidemic of Art, which seems interesting, and last year I was there for the Way Out West Fest but I'll miss it this year.

We'll be there for the Solstice and my partner will have July 2-5 off so we're considering a four-day weekend trip, maybe to another city or country (I adore Berlin and am thinking of going there). I would really like to do something uniquely "Swedish" for Midsommardagen. Any recommendations are appreciated.

As a side question, I am hoping to power through at least a book a week while there. I am looking for books either based in Sweden or written by Scandinavian authors to help me get into the Nordic mood. I have read this question but I am not a *huge* fan of mystery/crime fic. I am thinking of reading "Dragon Tattoo" and "Let The Right One In" but I'm also not a huge fan of vampire fic. The other potential book on my list is "Baba Yaga Laid An Egg." Any recommendations for modern lit that will help me get the feel of Scandinavia (Norway's okay too) would be awesome.
posted by Brittanie to Travel & Transportation around Goteborg, Sweden (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
For cafés try Tintin which is a 24 hour a day place close to Avényn. Göteborgs posten keeps track of affordable places to eat in krubbkollen (The ones under the first heading are the highest placed) They are usually accurate.

Music venues maybe Pustervik and Sticky fingers. Pustervik also have some theater and show movies. Going out it really depend what you are into. For fancier places you go to Avényn. Cosy, try the pubs at andra långgatan.

Every weekend there is a market in Kviberg .

Most of the examples from the previous question are not crime/mystic. E.g. Torgny Lindgren, Mikael Niemi, Kerstin Ekman, Per Olaf Enquist, Selma Lagerlof. I also recommend doppler.

For celebrations it is important to remember that swedes are so eager that we always celebrate the day before (yes, that is christmas eve, easter saturday and midsommarafton). The most swedish way to celebrate it is really with some friend eating pickled herring, singing and drinking "nubbe". If you want to you can find a midsummer pole and dancing but it is not that common among younger people. Me and my SO have not made definite plans so I can't promise anything, but maybe I can arrange so that you can join in a proper midsommarkalas :) Memail me if you are interested.
posted by furisto at 8:14 AM on June 17, 2010

Random stuff:
Gunnebo slott (castle) east of Mölndal is nice; apparently they have some special midsummer activities.
If you like fish and can pay for it, Sjömagasinet is where you have to go.
The best coffee in town can be had at da Matteo in the Viktoriapassagen.
If you want to go further astray and not explore the coast north of Gothenburg (which is worthwhile doing...for instance the nordiska akvarellmuseet in Skärhamn) you could go to Lidköping and Läckö castle over midsummer. The camping site is nice and very close to the castle and the micro-climate is usually great in this area; you'll see the bright night sky right across the lake towards the north, with the castle smartly to your right...and there's a (as I recall, good) restaurant in the castle.
A smaller version of the Läckö experience, good for a short day trip, would be Torpa Stenhus somewhat south-east of Borås. Even they have a small but nice cafe.
Quite close to Gothenburg is Marstrand, which is very picturesque and recommendable in spite of my experience there (self-link alert). Have fun.
posted by Namlit at 11:33 AM on June 17, 2010

I don't have any first hand advice (I wish!) but both Sandra Juto and Elizabeth Dunker (scroll down a bit on the About page for specific tips) live in Gothenburg and talk about it on their blogs.
posted by grapesaresour at 2:21 PM on June 17, 2010

Since you're staying for a month, I hope this isn't coming too late:

Starting with cafés, I like Sucré salé, which is a crêpes place on Vasagatan. There are many cafés on that street, but most of them are student hangouts and nothing notable. Java and Flygarns Haga are the possible exceptions. You really should visit Bengans, on Stigbergstorget, which is a classic record store which also has one of the city's best cafés. Centro, on Kyrkogatan is an italian-style café done well, and the one in Viktoriapassagen is nicely situated, though I haven't been there in a long time. For something authentic with a good view, maybe you want to try Guldhedstornet, the stocky brick tower to the south with a little green hat on it. No promise on that one - I haven't been there in fifteen years but heard things haven't changed a lot.

The café upstairs in Hagabion (the "art cinema" at Prinsgatan) is nice in the afternoon, and the bar just downstairs, Kino, is trendy and crowded and has a small outdoor area. Publik, not far from there on Andra Långgatan, is another café/bar where mostly cool, educated left-wing people hang out, and where someone from Texas may have fun talking politics. Crowds tend to be quite closed though. Check out the other bars on that street to see if anything strikes your fancy - some are seedy, some are studenty and rowdy and some are interesting. Pustervik, at the corner of Järntorget, is pretty good, especially when there's a band playing.

Other bar regions are the one around Magasinsgatan, with Lokal and M2 (Magnus&Magnus), whose summer backyard is highly recommended. Then there is of course Avenyn, with places ranging from Hard Rock Café to the biggest clubs. Most of those I can't comment on, but I quite like Locatelli for drinks.

Two small food-stands have to be mentioned: Strömmingsvagnen ("The herring wagon") near Grönsakstorget serves delicious fried herring in the day, and Crêperiet at Prinsgatan serves spinach crêpes to drunk people stumbling home late at night.

Regarding previous recommendations: In my opinion, Tintin is not worth visiting unless you happen to be around there and hungry at an inconvenient hour. Clubs tend to be quite age-segregated, more so than in central Europe. At Sticky Fingers, the crowd is ~18-25, and you may feel out of place if you're a lot older. Exception if there is a band - Sticky is a good venue - and it also matters how you dress.

Some other random recommendations and ideas:

* The RagTime second hand shops close to Grönsakstorget, one for males and one for females, both of them good. For more common-people thrift store, go to Saronkyrkan on a Thursday afternoon or a Saturday morning. Thursday is probably best for you, as all the new things for the week have arrived by then. The only reason to go on Saturday is the furniture section, which is only open then.
* The Volvo tour! If it's still open in the summer, you can sign up for free to ride on a small train through a modern car factory. It's a bit of a trip out from the city center though.
* Universeum - sort of a big science fair with an indoor rainforest and aquariums.
* Botaniska trädgården, the botanical garden, holds high international class and is beautiful this time of the year.
* Do like the locals and bring some beer and a single-use grill for a barbecue in Slottskogen. This is so popular that they installed special recycling bins for the hot grills.

There's more to say for sure, but I hope this helps you a bit. Feel free to contact me with questions!
posted by springload at 4:14 PM on July 1, 2010

« Older Un-dent my daughter's face?   |   Scalping a ticket to Wrigley Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.