Stockholm Pride 2023 rewind: Top 5 fabulous moments

Our pride party under a rainbow mural at Stadion Station.

Our feet are sore, our vocal cords are officially on strike, and we are still finding remnants of glitter in places we shouldn’t. But do you know what? We wouldn’t have it any other way! Stockholm Pride 2023 was an absolute dream; a technicolour whirlwind of love, freedom, and ‘euphoria!’ that swept through the heart of the Swedish capital, leaving behind it a trail of memories.

Through a week-long extravaganza of parades, performances, discussions, and exhibitions, participants from all walks of life came together to commemorate not just any Pride event, but Stockholm Pride’s historic 25th anniversary. Reason enough to rewind and relive the top 5 most heartwarming, jaw-dropping, and yes, even tear-jerking moments that defined the momentous occasion…

5. Witnessing the legacy of a queer icon at The Royal Palace

Queen Kristina's silver throne at The Royal Palace.
Gilded queerness: Queen Kristina’s Silver Throne on display at the Royal Palace. Photography courtesy of The Royal Palaces.

After an indulgent Fika at Chokladkoppen, one of Stockholm’s earliest and proudest LGBT-friendly establishments, we were primed for a day of queens, queerness, and regal romance. Just a quick 2-minute walk led us to Stockholm’s Royal Palace, one of the largest palaces in Europe and His Majesty The King’s official residence. 

Wandering through regal corridors with the lingering taste of kanelbullar still on our lips, we found ourselves in the Hall of State, where a silver throne once belonging to Queen Kristina takes centre stage. With speculation surrounding her gender identity, Queen Kristina’s legacy as a queer icon continues to fascinate modern minds, solidifying her status as one of Sweden’s most intriguing and ‘scandalous’ royal figures.

As we gazed upon the resplendent silver throne that once bore the weight of power and politics, we were drawn into Queen Kristina’s unique life by our tour guide. The royal’s rumoured queerness adds a layer of complexity to her story, challenging historical norms and inviting contemporary conversations about LGBTQ+ representation and identity.

4. Dinner at Mälarpaviljongen

Influencer couple Chris & Mike imbibe Mälarpaviljongen's positive atmosphere during Stockholm Pride 2023.
Lovebirds Chris (left) and Mike (right) soak up the jovial ambience at Mälarpaviljongen.

With Stockholm Pride (and our appetites) in full swing, it was simply inevitable to make a beeline for Mälarpaviljongen – a vibrant gay-owned bar and restaurant floating on the waters of Lake Mälaren. 

Sipping on Mälarpaviljongen’s very own wine we dug into toast skagen, a concoction of hand-peeled shrimp on hearty rye, jazzed up with zesty lemon and crowned with delicate lumpfish roe. And oh, the Panfried Char! Cooked to perfection, draped in a luscious Sandefjord sauce, and joined by a parade of seasonal veggies. A velvety cheesecake that tasted of fresh berries was the perfect finale. Yet, the true essence of Mälarpaviljongen extends beyond the plate, as we were informed by Arto Winter – restaurant owner and co-founder of the Rainbow Fund (Regnbågsfonden).

A portion of the profits generated by this queer oasis is dedicated to supporting critical LGBTQ+ first-response initiatives across the globe – from Chechnya to Uganda. Moreover, it goes a step further by offering opportunities for LGBTQ+ refugees to integrate into Swedish society through employment at the venue. With every bite and every toast, Mälarpaviljongen redefines dining as an act of compassion and empowerment, embodying the true spirit of Stockholm Pride.

3. Cocktail making at Hellsten Glashus

Cocktail making at Hellsten Glashus during Stockholm Pride 2023.
Nailed it! Globetrotter and content creator Alex makes the perfect French Martini. Photography courtesy of @itschrisandalex

Our Pride party converged at Hotel Hellsten Glashus for a little mixology magic as we delved into the art of cocktail making. Under the watchful eye of a talented bartender, our mission was simple: create a classic French Martini. But, having already smuggled a few cocktails into the hotel via our stomachs, let’s just say our coordination wasn’t the best. Our French Martinis, the pièce de résistance of the evening, might not have been textbook perfect, but making them was an absolute joy.

With an ambience that feels like a fusion of Alice in Wonderland and a vintage jazz club, Hotel Hellsten Glashus provided the perfect backdrop for the evening. Its unmistakable hipster appeal and central location elevated our Pride experience to a whole new level.

2. Loreen’s surprise performance at Pride Park

Loreen performs at Pride Park in the pouring rain.
Drenched in Pride: Swedish sensation Loreen performs at Pride Park in the pouring rain! Photography by Iwi Onodera (@iwionodera)

So there we were, cruising on a boat through Stockholm’s Archipelago, rainbow flags waving when suddenly we caught wind of some big news: the Swedish sensation and Eurovision icon herself, Loreen, was gearing up for a surprise performance at Pride Park! 

Without a second thought, we shifted gears and headed towards Östermalm, arriving at the park just in the nick of time. And there she was, the one and only Loreen, a true Swedish icon, owning the night with the greatest hits in her repertoire, including the gay party anthem ‘Tattoo’ from her recent Eurovision triumph. The atmosphere was nothing short of electric. 

That spellbinding impromptu performance was one of those moments that we will recount with a smile for years to come whenever someone mentions Stockholm Pride 2023.

1. Watching the parade from Hotel Kung Carl  

Our pride party waving from the balcony of Hotel Kung Carl above the Stockholm Pride 2023 parade.
Birds-eye bliss: Overlooking the Stockholm Pride 2023 Parade from Hotel Kung Carl.

Perched high up on a balcony at Stockholm’s oldest family-run hotel, Hotel Kung Carl, we had the ultimate panoramic view of the Stockholm Pride parade as it unfolded in the central square in Stureplan. Families, friends, lovebirds, and solo revellers all joined in on what can only be described as a riot of colour. 

With wide-eyed excitement, we watched the neighbourhood transform into an exuberant street party, courtesy of drag queens, dancers, and floats pumping out infectious Swedish anthems. Every now and then, we couldn’t resist the urge to dive into the heart of the action, making our way downstairs to walk the parade.

From the historic charm of the hotel to the effervescent energy of the Pride Parade, this experience has truly dazzled everyone involved.

Are you planning to attend Stockholm Pride 2024? Explore these fantastic LGBTQ-embracing hotel choices that promise comfort and top-notch hospitality.