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Activities in Stockholm. A picture of a farmshed at Akalla 4H, with Järvafältet stretching out in the horizon.

Photo: Visit Stockholm

Categories: Activities

How I spend a family-friendly day in Akalla

Publish date: 30 September 2022

I often describe living around Akalla as living in a holiday village. Everything you need is within walking distance, safe for little ones to explore, and there are plenty of things to pass a quiet family day at whatever pace your child desires.

I live in Akalla at the northernmost edge of Stockholm's metro network. This story first and foremost is about why this area of Stockholm isn't just my home, but the ideal stomping ground for my three-year-old and – I'm sure – for many others as well.

Public transportation in Stockholm. A train car at Akalla subway station in Stockholm.
Before Akalla was re-developed into to an modern urban area, with residential buildings and a subway station, the area consisted mostly of fields, forests, and farmland. Its nature was occasionally used by the military for various exercises.Photo: Visit Stockholm

Arriving by subway or bus brings a surprise once you emerge at ground level. Here, we are devoid of traffic. The urban planning of this area is a dream, especially for me as a parent of an exploring toddler. Practically the entirety of Akalla is pedestrianized, with the main central streets only accessible with permission, and others limited to deliveries and then only at walking speed.

It means that I can let my three-year-old cycle from one side of Akalla to the other without needing to keep him glued to my side.

Activities in Stockholm. Ducks swimming in a pond at Akalla 4H farm in northern Stockholm.
Like most 4H farms, the one in Akalla is a great way for city kids to get to meet some of our most common farm animals, like pigs, sheep, ducks, ponies and rabbits.Photo: Visit Stockholm

When I pick him up from preschool we have a few favorite destinations. Akalla By is the most obvious highlight. Centuries-old, the buildings here now house a 4H farm with goats, sheep, and pigs, but also a cute cafe, ceramics studio, and a play area renovated in 2022. While perfect for a quick Sunday afternoon pony ride treat or after-school ice cream, I'd recommend checking out their Facebook page (in Swedish) for some of the special celebration days that take place here. They arrange one of Stockholm's most popular Christmas markets (we always buy our trees here) and midsummer celebrations for those who can't head out to the countryside.

I can let my three-year-old cycle from one side of Akalla to the other without needing to keep him glued to my side
Ben Robertson

Within a stone's throw of Akalla By is all you want for a gentle summer day, Swedish style. Down the slope is a wading pool that becomes the center of attraction when the temperatures rise, and beyond that: A classic minigolf course that backs onto the majestic Järvafältet.

The Järvafältet nature reserve bounds Akalla by almost 180 degrees, and gives a route both in towards the center of Stockholm but also out into the wilderness. Turn the corner, and it's not unusual to see hares, foxes, and deer roaming around the green space that separates Akalla from Hjulsta on the other branch of the subway's blue line. From the center of Akalla, you can make it to the open countryside in about a five-minute saunter, perfect for a bit of adult-paced walking during nap time.

Swimming pools in Stockholm. Husbybadet in the northern suburb of Akalla.
With it's indoor mini-aquapark and slides, as well as saunas and swimming pools, Husbybadet is perfect for both parents and their kids.Photo: Rinkeby-Kista Stadsdelsförvaltning

When the weather isn't playing ball to enjoy the outdoors, we usually hop across to the neighboring suburb of Husby for fun and games. No more than a ten-minute walk from central Akalla lies Husbybadet, one of Stockholm's premier leisure swimming pools. Husbybadet features an indoor mini-aqua park perfect for kids with slides, a white water rapids ride, and a lazy river. Parents, on the other hand, can relax in the sauna, exercise in the 25-meter pool, or chill out in the jacuzzi. Be warned though, you may want to book a slot on their website – the weekends especially are often fully booked.

Parks in Stockholm. Old farmhouses in Husbygårdsparken in the northern suburb Husby.
The picturesque 19-century cottages near Husbygårdsparken house a café and exhibition hall.Photo: Rinkeby-Kista Stadsdelsförvaltning

And while I could marvel at how seemingly every spare patch of land between housing blocks has a playground, I couldn't end this guide without mentioning my son's favorite, up at Husby Gård. Husby Gård lies on the edge of Järvafältet just like Akalla By and has a marginally older, yet marginally bigger playground that I'd say is perfect for a three-year-old's adventuring needs. However, it's also great for bringing the grandparents along, with a community art gallery and café that we frequent for their monthly afternoon tea specials. The unlimited scones don't hurt!

About the author

Ben moved to Stockholm in 2011 after falling in love with the city while Interrailing as a student. Settling in Akalla at the very edge of the city, Ben has the best of both worlds. Stockholm is small enough that public transport gets him to the heart of Sweden's capital in less than thirty minutes, but out here nature is on his doorstep, with hares and deer roaming freely. "I remember those first years living here," Ben recalls, "when I would spend my weekends maximizing my public transport pass to explore parts of the city I hadn't yet seen. There is something different to love about Stockholm in every direction."

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