?With just over half a million people, chic but chill Gothenburg is Scandinavia?s biggest noncapital, its largest seaport, Sweden?s main university town, and the home of Volvo. Early Dutch influence left it with gorgeous canals, and it?s one of few world cities that can claim its own architectural style, Landshövdingehus?(19th-century workers? housing with a brick first story capped by two of wood). A longtime creative center, Gothenburg has nurtured a cornucopia of famed musical acts, from the pop of Ace of Base to the electro of the Knife to the indie folk of José González.
SAY IT RIGHT: GOTH-en-burg
(though if you really want to impress the locals, go for its non-Anglicized name, Göteborg: YUH-teh-BOR-ee-yeh
WHY GO: It?s one of Scandinavia?s artsiest enclaves, and its location at the middle of the Stockholm/Copenhagen/Oslo triangle makes access very easy.
GET THERE: Direct SAS
flights from Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Oslo are all an hour or less, and discount carriers offer nonstops from throughout Europe
; the train
from Stockholm runs about four hours.
WHAT'S ON: The fifth annual pridelike HBTQ Festival
), during which the city?s main museums and culture centers go gay (this year the R?hsska Museum will hold its first-ever queer club night, Goa Gubbar); on the fest?s final day, a parade down Gothenburg?s main drag of Avenyn will be followed by music in Liseberg
, northern Europe?s largest amusement park.
?DON'T MISS: The excellent Röhsska Museum of Fashion, Design and Decorative Arts
(Vasagatan 37-39; +46-31-368-3150); the bohemian Haga neighborhood, with its picturesque wooden houses and arty coffee shops like Café Husaren
(Haga Nygata 28; +46-31-136-378
), home to the city?s (and some say the world?s) largest cinnamon buns.
STAY: Slip into Scandic style at the "feng shui?certified" Hotel Avalon
(Kungstorget 9; +46-31-751-0200
), a Design Hotels member which in May begins a collaboration with the Röhsska Museum, wherein chairs and tables from the museum?s collections will be replicated for public use at the hotel.
EAT: The riverside Sjömagasinet
(Adolf Edelsvärds gata 5; +46-31-775-5920
) is among the best restaurants in what many consider the gastronomic capital of Sweden. It?s famed seafood dishes are now created under the watchful eye of local star chef Ulf Wagner.
SHOP: Fan outward from the corner of Vallgatan and Magasinsgatan, and within a few blocks you?ll find the modern-meshed-with-vintage fashion wonderland of Grandpa
(Vallgatan 3; +46-31-71 -7008
); a flagship store of the ultrahip Gothenburg-born Nudie Jeans
(Vallgatan 15; +46-31-609-360
); and a Valhalla of distinctive and practical Scandinavian interior productry, DesignTorget
(Vallgatan 14; +46-31-774-0017
), where $15 gets a handy Bananskivare to add speed and style to your banana-slicing.
CLUB: On weekends, head to Gretas
(Drottninggatan 35; +46-31-136-949
), the biggest and oldest gay club in town, spinning disco, house, and Schlager
(übercamp but übercatchy northern Euro-pop) on two dance floors.
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