Q – We are three friends – all in our thirties, all financially comfortable, and all working for West Coast architectural firms. We ski and take lots of photos, but we travel primarily to be stimulated by new ideas in urban planning, architectural design, and lifestyle planning. We like to go where the world’s happiest people live to try to gain an understanding of how buildings and design can make city living fun again.

We are now planning a November getaway – possibly to Stockholm. We have already traveled to Copenhagen. We are wondering if you would agree that Stockholm is the obvious choice? Love the site and the lack of ads. 

A – We would make a strong base for Oslo at the moment. A surplus of  Norwegian oil money has allowed the city mothers and fathers to devote considerable energy to take stodgy Oslo and turn it into a cultural colassus that admirably competes with Stockholm. You will actually see locals enjoy winter sports as you walk downtown in November.Walk to the top floor of the Oslo Opera House where you can climb promenades that slope toward the roof. The public library is not to be believed – they have craft stations with 3-D Printers and home-made crafting, high quality music studios, and movie theaters that are, of course, complimentary. The National Museum is spectacular and is larger than any other museum in Scandinavia.

Then there’s the Bjorvika District and the new performance center, SALT. But to see the locals enjoying one another’s compnay, you might want to book a short sailon a small Sauna boat that will drop you off in a relatively isolated portion of the fjord. You jump into the frigid water and then soon come back aboard warming up on the boat’s large sauna.

Sorry Stockholm – the newest hot major Scandinavian city of the moment is Oslo. But not literally “hot” in November.