Lindsborg, Kansas, was settled by a group of Swedish immigrants in 1869 and has since become known as Little Sweden. This gem is located in McPherson County, just three hours from Kansas City.
The buildings in downtown Lindsborg date to the late 1800s—stick close to the square for the cute shops, delicious restaurants and charming Dala horse sculptures. The Swedish flag also flies on street corners and in front of many businesses.
Start your day by fueling up with coffee and a house-made pastry at Blacksmith Coffee Shop & Roastery (122 N. Main St.), located in an old blacksmith shop. The historic building still houses the original forge and anvil, along with an antique lumber wagon turned into an espresso bar.
Just across the street, you will find the wonderful shop Hemslojd Swedish Gifts (201 N. Main St.). They sell custom handmade clothing, Swedish food, books, music, and Dala horses just like the ones you’ll see all over town.
Peruse a few local galleries, like Small World Gallery (127 N. Main St.), featuring the stunning photography of Jim Richardson and the handmade jewelry of Kathy Richardson.
Walk a few blocks to the Birger Sandzén Memorial Gallery (401 N. First St.), a gallery dedicated to the work of artist Birger Sandzén, a Swedish painter and printmaker who taught for years at Bethany College in Lindsborg.
Grab a bite and a beer at Öl Stuga (Ale House) tavern (119 S. Main St.). Two things to know about Öl Stuga: First, Mikhail Gorbachev stopped in at Öl Stuga for drinks while visiting Lindsborg to deliver a speech at Bethany College in 2005. Second, their famous Brent Nelson sandwich was featured on Good Morning America.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with Swedish pancakes smothered in whipped cream, lingonberries and syrup at The White Peacock (124 S. Main St.), a cozy little coffee shop that serves breakfast and lunch.
Make sure to pencil in time to take in the gorgeous view at Coronado Heights, a stone castle overlook built during the Great Depression and named for the explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado. A ten-minute drive from town, it’s a favorite spot to gather with friends and picnic at sunset.
Lindsborg is a relatively quiet town, but crowds gather for festivals. They have a Midsummer’s Festival that takes place in late June that features Swedish food, music, dancing and the raising of the Midsommarstång (Midsummer Pole.)
The largest festival, Svensk Hyllningsfest, is held every two years and honors the Swedish immigrants who first settled the town in 1869. It features art and crafts, ethnic music, a parade and, of course, an authentic Swedish Smörgåsbord with six thousand meatballs.
In December, the St. Lucia Festival, a favorite Swedish holiday tradition, celebrates the legend of Lucia, the Patron Saint of Light. While nothing can replace the excitement of Lindsborg during a festival, this small Kansas town delivers a big dose of charm any time of year.
Stay at the Rosberg House Bed & Breakfast (103 E. State St.), a charming Queen Anne Victorian home just steps away from downtown Lindsborg with a large front porch and beautiful gardens. —Kim Horgan