Skansen Open-Air Museum, Stockholm
What to see at Skansen
Skansen is divided into a number of sections, which I've chosen to group into six main categories:
Just to the left of the main entrance is the Town Quarter, where about two dozen artisans' workshops and other small businesses are clustered along a cobblestoned lane. Most of the buildings are from the 18th and 19th Centuries; several small factories from the early 20th Centuries were added in the 1990s.
As you wander through the Town Quarter, you can see a printer, a team of glassblowers, a baker, woodworkers, and other craftsmen plying their trades. A café offers drinks and light meals, and the bakery has excellent pastries that are baked on the premises.
This area, which is directly north of the Town Quarter, has a rose garden and several buildings of interest, such as the summer house of Emmanuel Swedenborg (the Swedish philosopher and scientist who lived from 1688-1772).
Much of Skansen is devoted to farms and other examples of rural life. Northern, Eastern, and Southern Skansen represent the corresponding areas of Sweden, and you'll probably spend most of your visit exploring farmhouses and other historic buildings as you make your way around the park. This area also has native breeds of Swedish livestock such as ponies, sheep, and geese.
The hub of Skansen is Bollnäs Place and the Market Street (Marknadsgatan), where you'll find market stalls, refreshment stands, and--during Advent--the Skansen Christmas Market or Julmarknad.
A small zoo is tucked into the northern area of the grounds, not far from the 19th Century Bredablick Tower with its rooftop café and observation deck. Animals are mostly Nordic wildlife such as seals, otter, reindeer, elk, brown bears, European bison, and wild boar. An aviary has birds from Northern Sweden, and a children's petting zoo is open during the summer.
A stage for music performances, a café and restaurant, a small observatory from 1910, and a walk with panoramic views of the harbor are on the terrace of Upper Solliden, near the southern edge of the park. Just downhill is Lower Solliden, next to the main entrance, which has an aquarium (with a separate admission fee), amusements, a café, and an open-air dance floor in summer.
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