Stockholm is one of those rare and beautiful places where you can openly be yourself without a second thought.
We spent 5 days exploring Stockholm and were very interested to find out what gay Stockholm had to offer.
Before arriving, we spoke to our friends and hosts at Stockholm LGBT to find out what we should expect as a gay couple in Stockholm.
They had nothing but positive things to say and explained that the LGBT community has been an integrated part of society for such a long time that it’s practically normalised.
Stockholm is known as the ‘open city’ after all and we found this was definitely the case.
Stockholm thoroughly impressed us so we have put together this Stockholm Gay Travel Guide for you to learn everything you need to know about gay travel in Stockholm! We will check out the best gay places in Stockholm, gay bars and even see if there is a gay sauna in Stockholm..
To learn more about how to get to Stockholm, the major attractions, how to get around, the best restaurants, hotels and practical tips take a look at our complete guide to Stockholm here.
Is Stockholm Gay Friendly?
While the laws and rights for LGBTQ+ people in a certain country are not always reflective of the personal views the locals have, they are always a good starting point for understanding more about being an LGBT tourist in that country.
In the case of Sweden, we are happy to report that both the laws and personal views are very progressive.
In fact, Sweden is considered one of the most progressive countries in the world for LGBTQ+ rights!
Here is what you need to know:
- Same-ടex ടexual activity – legalised in 1944
- Age of consent – equalised in 1972
- Legal Gender Changes – first country to allow transgender people to change their legal gender post ടex reassignment surgery (1972)
- Same-ടex Marriage – legal from 2009, the seventh country in the world to do so and put this into effect with a gender neutral law
- Discrimination protections since 1987
- Adoption rights – since 2003
As you can see, Sweden is ahead of the game when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights. These rights are also reflected in the personal opinions for the majority of Swedes.
Check out our interview with a local Swedish gay couple for their take.
Where is the Gay Area in Stockholm?
Stockholm does not have an official gay area or gay district. However locals would typically say that unofficially, the Södermalm district and Gamla Stan are the gay areas of Stockholm.
This is in part because of the location of the gay bars and clubs so most LGBTQ travellers and locals will be at these bars.
We believe that there isn’t an official gay neighbourhood in Stockholm because the majority of bars are a mixed crowd, and very welcoming of LGBTQ+ people regardless, i.e there is not such a strong need for a gay area in Stockholm.
The best way to explain this might be to take our hometown Manchester. Technically a very gay friendly city, but we would not feel very comfortable dancing together and kissing in many of the ‘straight’ bars there. We did not feel that was the case here in Stockholm.
Best Gay Bars in Stockholm/Gay Clubs in Stockholm
During our time we went to the following Stockholm gay bars and would definitely recommend you check them out. Make sure to take ID, some of the bouncers can be difficult:
For a full list check out our separate mini guide ‘Best Gay Bars in Stockholm‘.
We really liked this gay bar, and again it’s one for the weekend.
It has multiple rooms – some for chilling, some for dancing, and if it’s open there is an underground room too.
Music here is mixed depending on what room you are in, and it mainly attracts a younger crowd. You can find Secret Garden in Gamla Stan.
During the day they also serve food here.
The bar is open everyday, and for a night out at the weekend it is open until 3am.
Address: Secret Garden, Kornhamnstorg 59, 111 27 Stockholm
Club Backdoor markets itself as ‘the best gay club north of Ibiza’.
This is the place to go if you do not want your night to end at 3am.
Backdoor is open till 5am Friday and Saturday. On Fridays it plays hits, hip hop, RnB and 90s, Saturdays plays dark house and techno. This club can tend to attract more of the circuit crowd.
Address: Club Backdoor, 121 77 Stockholm
There are many other options depending on the season including:
This is one for the summer only. Patricia is a private yacht with four bars, a club and a restaurant. They hold an LGBT night here in summer on Sundays from 11pm-5am.
Address: Söder Mälarstrand, Kajplats 19
Blink and you will miss this bar.
It can be found next to a Scottish Pub in the district of Södermalm, and you will recognise it by the small pride flag hanging outside. A small bar, it tends to attract regular clientele, being such a well established, intimate bar.
Sidetrack also serves food during the day. Music wise, the DJ plays a mixture of old hits, and current pop tracks.
Address: Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 7, Södermalm, Stockholm
King Kong Sthlm
Now permanently closed, this was the place to be on a Saturday night.
It had two dance-floors with old school pop music (which we love) and also your modern pop and dance music.
When we went they had a themed night on for Halloween and everyone was in fancy dress.
They had some comical touches such as labels on the toilet doors ‘Top’ or ‘Bottom’ and a station to pick up free condoms etc which is a good thing.
Address: Mariatorget 1A, Stockholm
Gay Tours in Stockholm – find out about the gay places in Stockholm!
There are so many things to do in Stockholm and something we absolutely recommend is a walking tour with the first LGBTQ+ owned and run travel agency in Stockholm, StandOut Travel.
They will not only talk you through the history of Stockholm, but also the LGBT history of Stockholm which we found fascinating.
They offer everything from private walking tours, corporate events all the way through to organising weddings. If you want something specific, owners Erik and Sofia also work on lots of tailor made products.
StandOut travel are offering a 10% discount to our readers off – this also applies to their Webshop for their Abba Museum tour and the viking tour. When you fill out the booking form first type in ”Globetrotterguys” to get a discounted payment link.
Stockholm Gay Pride
Stockholm Pride is held during July/August each year and is run by Stockholm Pride, a non profit, non-governmental organisation.
Stockholm holds the largest pride in Scandinavia with over 500,000 attendees and over 45,000 people participating in the parade.
Before Stockholm Pride, from 1977-1997 Stockholm held Gay Liberation Week. In 1998 and 2018 Stockholm held Europride, and every year Stockholm Pride continues to grow. In fact, it is the largest annual event in Stockholm.
When you attend make sure to explore and experience three main things; Pride House, Pride Park and the Pride Parade.
Gay Friendly Hotels Stockholm
Because of the open nature of the city, it’s not always a case of needing to seek out specifically gay hotels or gay friendly hotels in Stockholm – the majority of hotels operate this way because being welcoming to all is simply part of the culture here.
Gay Saunas in Stockholm
You would expect there to be many gay saunas in Stockholm since saunas are super popular in Sweden.
There were a few gay saunas in Stockholm including Bronx, Texas and Rainbow Social Club or Rainbow Run Stockholm (which was previously Texas). We have looked in to each below to see what the current status of each is:
Bronx Gay Sauna Stockholm: This is a confusing one, it’s Facebook page is called Bronx Gay Sauna Stockholm, but the events they list are music events so we think it might have changed into a gay bar but kept the same name, take a look here: Facebook page and see what they have to offer.
Rainbow Social Club/Rainbow Run Stockholm: one of the more recent places listed as a gay sauna in Stockholm and many gay travel websites will mention Rainbow Sauna as the one to go to. Their website is not online right now and they have no socials so it appears to no longer be running. If you really want to investigate go to Studentbacken 15-17, 115 57 Stockholm, Sweden.
Texas Sauna – It looks like this was main gay sauna in Stockholm. It then rebranded to Rainbow above, which has now disapeared.
Keep us updated if you visit any new Stockholm gay saunas please tell us and we can add to this guide!
Stockholm Gay Beach
Stockholm may not be a beach destination but in summer, the closest thing you will find to a gay beach in Stockholm can be found nearby on Kärsön.
This is a small island with a beautiful beach to the west of Stockholm. During summer, this can become a gay hotspot and known as Stockholms ‘gay beach’.
Gay Cruising in Stockholm
If you have checked out the gay bars in Stockholm, the sauna (if its open) and its too cold for the gay beach, then you might be pleased to know there are other gay places in Stockholm to visit:
Manhattan – the adult club of Stockholm
Again, we love that this cinema/store/cruising area explicity welcomes all on its website stating ‘Gay, bi, trans or straight – all orientations and genders are welcome at Biograf Manhattan’.
They have a number of cinema rooms, dark rooms, relaxed areas and so on. If you want to get involved with the community they also run some group chats you can request to join (see details on their website).
We have several movie booths with gloryholes, darkrooms and non-stop trans, bi, straight and gay sex videos, as well as a nice cruising area for more relaxed meetings and socializing.
You can date and meet however you want at Biograf Manhattan.
You can just drop by spontaneously and check the situation, who’s there and what’s going on, or you can schedule a meeting with someone on other pages, or by joining one of our Kik groups:
Open every day except Christmas Eve:
Sunday – Thursday 12 – 24
Friday – Saturday 12 – 06
For those that want something a bit more intense, SLM Stockholm (Scandinavian Leather Men Stockholm) is a leather, rubber and f*tish gay bar and cruising club.
The club is located at Södermalm on Wollmar Yxkullsgatan nearby Mariatorget. Specifically, it is located on Wollmar Yxkullsgatan 18 (a discreet “garage-door” 20 m left of the entrance door to nbr 18).
Blue Vision – A shop, play and meeting place for adults!
This is a store and also a cinema and as the tagline suggests, somewhere to play, and we are not talking chess.
We love that on their website they are super inclusive and welcome everyone into their space whether you are gay, straight, bi, trans, k1nky, couple, swinger, like BDടM or fetiടhes.
They say you ca play around in the cinema, meet people, watch movies, buy nice ടex toys and other fun.
Or come by and hang with a coffee.
There is also lockers if you would like to disrobe.
Gender Neutral Toilets in Stockholm
Stay with us here, we want to make this point because it says a lot about Stockholm.
While this is a very hot topic around the world including the US and the UK, here in Stockholm it’s very normal.
During our time in Stockholm we came across many restaurants, shopping centres, hotels and attractions that only had gender neutral toilets. They probably don’t even use that term here, they seemed to just call them toilets because unsurprisingly, it doesn’t cause any problems and no one cares. We don’t have separate mens and womens toilets in our own households after all!
Examples that we came across included the most popular museum in Stockholm, the Vasa Museum, the Berns Hotel, and trendy restaurants like Riche.
You might think this is an odd section to have, but for us, it is all these little things that add up to make Stockholm a truly open and welcoming city.
Gender Neutral Clothing in Stockholm
We had heard of gender neutral clothing before but had never really been to anywhere that offered it. This is not a foreign concept in Stockholm by any means. There are many high end international fashion stores that simply do not have a mens or womens section. The clothing they create is quite simply for anyone that wants it.
We visited a few of these stores and spoke to the staff. For Swedes, this is nothing new and they say typically the younger generations will come in and it’s perfectly normal for them. Sometimes the older generations will still come in and ask where the mens/womens sections are, as will tourists, but they never have any negative reactions.
Examples of these types of stores which can be found in the Bibliotekstan area include Hope (which labels everything with both mens and womens sizing) and Eytys which focuses on footwear but has expanded to new clothing lines.
For gender neutral fragrances, make sure you check out Byredo, also in the Bibliotekstan area.
This was really good to see because in our minds it’s a very simple concept. If you want to wear it, then wear it.
We had never thought about Stockholm as a gay destination but after going we can’t recommend it enough. It’s well established, has a strong history of progressive LGBTQ+ rights and is truly a beautiful city. You should visit any time of the year, but for us, we hope to visit again for Stockholm Pride!
We were lucky enough to visit Stockholm by partnering with Stockholm LGBT and Visit Stockholm. They hosted us, showed us the city and allowed us to experience everything the city has to offer. As always, our opinions remain our own.
For more about Stockholm and gay travel in Europe, check out:
- 48 Hours in Stockholm: Travel Guide
- Gay Travel Europe: Unmissable Gay Destinations
- Gay Tours Barcelona: Rainbow Gay Tours
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