48 Stockholm

PopulationMetro: 1,565,000
An ambitious tech scene with daring cuisine to fuel the Scandinavian fire.

Very few Scandinavian cities are as dynamic as Stockholm, with its mix of rustic, traditional and New Nordic cuisine, its idyllic parks and outdoor swimming areas, quaint cobblestone streets lined with buildings erected in the 1700s, cutting-edge design and mid-century modern aesthetics.

Throw in a varied, multicultural population that speaks near flawless English (Stockholm ranks #31 in our People category) and epic summer season with near-constant daylight and you’ve got yourself one very attractive destination with plenty of experiences for any mood. This truly international city underwent an IT boom in the late 1990s, which was followed a decade later by a second wave with the launch of start-ups like Skype and Spotify. As Wired magazine put it, Stockholm may have a population of less than a million, but it sure has produced more billion-dollar unicorn start-ups per capita than any other city in Europe. To put it into a global context, only Silicon Valley outperforms the Swedish capital. Stockholm ranks #14 for GDP per capita.

Place 29
Product 29
Programming 4
People 69
Prosperity 55
Promotion 10

As the city’s confidence rises, so too does the glittering optimism of its denizens. On any day of the week, the streets are flowing with young people living in the here and now. You’ll find them at Bar Agrikultur, a tiny eatery where each dish celebrates seasonal Swedish ingredients. The Scandinavian craft beer scene is hopping and Onmipollos Hatt is a must-visit beer hall where the interior design and even the bottle labels are inspired by retro intergalactic aesthetics. The IPAs in particular are far out. Östermalms Saluhall, a 128-year-old food hall that’s been recently renovated. Right across the street, sample some gravlax with mustard sauce or local cheeses from the vendors and restaurants that have set up shop at a temporary new market.