Mariestad is located at the mouth of Tidan river. Marieholm, an island in the mouth of Tidan, was the site of a large manor during the middle ages. The manor was used both as a royal residence and as a residence of the governor of the historical Skaraborg County. In 1583 Mariestad was founded by Duke Karl, later crowned as Karl IX of Sweden. He named the city after his wife Maria of Pfaltz. The Protestant Karl was in a feud with his pro-Catholic brother and King Johan III and one of the reasons for founding Mariestad was to build a protestant cathedral in the area, and thereby prevent Skaraborg Diocese from turning catholic. The city thus became an important religious centre, and Mariestad Cathedral was built between 1559 and 1615 in gothic and renaissance style. The cathedral is however unique in Sweden as the only cathedral which has never had its own bishop. The city was also dominated by trade with Värmland and the mining centres in Bergslagen on the other side of lake Vänern.
In the 1660s Mariestad became the county seat of Skaraborg County. However, the city remained rather small, with a population of some 900 people in 1760. The 'old city' of Mariestad was mainly constructed during the 18th and 19th centuries, and during this era Mariestad hospital was opened as one of the first in Sweden. During the 19th century Trollhätte and Göta kanal were constructed, contributing to increased trade and industrialization in Mariestad. Traditional Mariestad manufacturies include the whiteware company Electrolux and the paper industry Katrinefors. Mariestad was also the main place of production of the vulcanised lump paper material unica.
Mariestad central station is located on Nygatan by the railway Kinnekullebanan. It is connected to Gothenburg and Hallsberg, and is operated by the regional company Västtrafik (+46 771-41 43 00). The national operator SJ carries traffic between Stockholm and Gothenburg, with stops on the nearby Töreboda and Skövde, from where you can get a bus to Mariestad.
- Västtrafik operate the regional bus traffic in Västragötaland County, including Mariestad.
- Säfflebussen (in Swedish and Norwegian only) stops at the Mariestad bus station with the lines 201 and 203 (Uddevalla-Vänersborg-Trollhättan-Lidköping-Mariestad-Örebro).
- Swebus Express makes a stop in Mariestad with the buses 801 (Gothenburg-Mariestad-Örebro-Stockholm) and 839 (Karlstad-Mariestad-Jönköping).
Central Mariestad is very small and easy to cover by foot or bike.
- Bicycles can be rented at Sjötorps upplevelsecenter, Tallåsvägen 6, (+46 501-511 33) in Sjötorp 20 km (12 mi) north of Mariestad, which can be accessed with the regional train Kunnekulletåget.
- Västtrafik operate the regional bus traffic in Västergötland County, including bus traffic around Mariestad municipality.
- The local taxi company is Taxi Mariestad (+46 501-180 80), whose main hub is by the train station.
- Vänern - the biggest freshwater lake in Europe. Nice boats, and supposedly a lot of Swedish tourists in summer.
- 1 Mariestad Cathedral (Mariestads Domkyrka), Nygatan 23, ☏ . Constructed between 1559 and 1615 in gothic and renaissance style.
- Qvarnstensgruvan i Lugnås (Millstone Mine of Lugnås), Lugnås Älerud 1 (By Lugnåsberget 20 km (12 mi) from Mariestad by highway E20), ☏ . A millstone mine which date back to the middle ages up until the 1920s. Guided tours are available.
- Landshövdingsresidenset (The Governors Residence), Marieholmsbron 3, ☏ . Jun-Aug: Tu-Sa. Contains two museums, the Vadsbo Museum of art and local history and culture, and Mariestads Industrimuseum of local industrial history, with extra focus on the Unico-material.
- Djurö nationalpark (Djurö National Park), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A 2400-hectare island and natural reserve in lake Vänern. It can only be reached by boat. Boat tours are arranged by the local tourist office.
- Kanalmuseet i Sjötorp (The Canal Museum in Sjötorp), Slussvägen 110 (In Sjötorp some 20 km (12 mi) north of Mariestad), ☏ . A museum over Göta kanal, and the local seafaring and shipsbuilding industry. 40 kr.
Go swimming, rent a bike, or have some other fun. On Saturdays, there's a market at the main square.
- Bathing. There are 15 bathing areas in Mariestad. The three closest to Mariestad are Ekuddens camping, Sandviken and the recreational area Snapen. Ekuddens camping include a temperate outdoor swimming pool. Mariestads Badhus (+46 501-75 62 00) is an indoor pool on Göteborgsvägen 4.
- Miniature golf. There are several miniature golf courses in Mariestad. One course is located opposite of the police station and has preserved its look since the mid 20th century. Another is located by Ekuddens camping, Ekuddenvägen (+46 501-106 37).
- Mariestads Teater (Mariestad Theatre), Österlånggatan 8, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Mariestad has one of Sweden's oldest provincial theaters, constructed in 1842.
- Sandvikens Golfklubb, Årsundavägen 100, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. An 18-hole golf course.
ATMs can be found by Nya Torget, Esplanaden, Nygatan and ICA Oxen at Stockholmsvägen. Since Mariestad is the birthplace of the unica-material, unica items, such as boxes, are popular souvenirs.
In 2003 the local women's organization Kvinna Skaraborg launched a type of salmon canapé as Mariestad's unofficial signature dish.
- Restaurang Aqva, Viktoriagatan 15, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Housed in the eponomyous hotel with a medetiranian cuisine.
- Baltzar von Platen Lodge (Located in Lyrestad 20 km (12 mi) north of Mariestad), ☏ .
- Restaurang Holländaren, Rickard Hedlunds Väg, ☏ .
- Kingfisher, Kungsgatan 8, ☏ . An Indian restaurant.
- Sill & Dynamit, Hamnplan/Hamngatan 19 (Near the guest harbor), ☏ .
- Sin Thai, Sandbäcksgatan 63 B, ☏ . Mariestad's only Thai restaurant is in the basement of an apartment block. In addition to traditional thai dishes they also serve pizza.
Some times the city hotel organize club nights.
- [dead link] Bergs hotell, Kyrkogatan 18, ☏ . An 18th-century house which used to be a girls' boarding school.
- Björken resanderum, Viktoriagatan 8, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- STF Vandrarhem Mariestad, Hamngatan 20, ☏ . Definitely sleep at the youth hostel. It's cheap, it's fun, and it has a truly nice setting close to the lake. Moreover, it's several great old wooden houses grouped together in a nice courtyard! If you don't stay there, have a look at it!
- Stadshotellet Mariestad, Nygatan 10 (firstname.lastname@example.org), ☏ , fax: . The old town hotel has a restaurant, bar, spa and sauna.
- Hotell Vänerport, Hamngatan 32, ☏ .
- Hotel Wictoria, Drottninggatan 7, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A hotel in an old Italian-style villa.
- Baltzar von Platen Lodge Norrqvarn (Located in Lyrestad 20 km (12 mi) north east of Mariestad.), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A hotel and hostel.
- Stadsbiblioteket (City library), Drottninggatan 12, ☏ , ✉ stadsbiblioteket@Mariestad.se. Offers computers or Wi-Fi if you choose to bring your own device.
- Police, Oxvägen 1, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Only open during weekdays.
- Mariestad Hospital, Lockerudsvägen 12, ☏ . There is no emergency room, and emergency emergencies are sent to Kärnsjukhuset i Skövde.
- Apoteket Lejonet, Österlånggatan 15, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. One of two pharmacies in Mariestad, and the only one which is open on Saturdays.