Whether you are visiting Oslo for the first time or is a frequent visitor, these are the best things to do in Oslo. The capital is the most-visited city in Norway, and with good reason. The city is the main port of entry for most travelers arriving in Norway, and there are plenty of fun and unique things to do in Oslo. Having lived there for 2 years, and with a sister who still does, I visit the city quite frequently. Look no more if you are looking for things to do in Oslo on your next visit!
27 Unique Things To Do in Oslo
1. Go for a walk along Akerselva
I’ve written about this green walk in the city before, and walking along Akerselva is one of my favourite things to do in the city. Grab a coffee and put on your best shoes. You’ll meet runners, dog walkers, businessmen on their breaks and more along Akerselva.
READ MORE: A walk along Akerselva
2. Visit the Astrup Fearnley Museum
The Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo is a private art museum with many exciting exhibitions. If you are a fan of the arts, a visit comes highly recommended.
3. Visit Vigelandsparken
The Vigeland Sculpture Park is one of the most popular attractions in Oslo, and also one of the most unique. This collection of sculptures is actually the largest sculpture park in the world created by only one artist; Gustav Vigeland. If you can find the most popular sculpture; the Angry Boy, make sure to get a photo!
READ MORE: Visiting Vigelandsparken, Oslo
4. Have a stroll through Karl Johan
Karl Johan is one of Oslo’s busiest pedestrian streets, with plenty of things happening. You’ll find shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment along the way, and the street leads all the way to the Norwegian Palace, passing the Norwegian Parliament and National Theatre on the way.
5. See the Norwegian Palace
The Norwegian Palace is a must for when you visit Oslo. This is where the royal family resides, and when the royal flag is up; you’ll find that they are at home. I love walking around the palace trying to peak through the windows!
READ MORE: The Norwegian Palace, Oslo
6. Visit Holmenkollen
We love skiing in Norway, and ski jumping is almost a national sport. At Holmenkollen, you’ll find the Holmenkollen Ski Museum, which is the world’s oldest museum dedicated to skiing, and the famous jump tower.
7. Have lunch at the Grand Café
The original Grand Café opened in 1874 in the basement of the Grand Hotel (where the likes of Obama have stayed), and was a watering hole for the now famous ‘Kristiania Bohemes’. The likes of Henrik Ibsen, Knut Hamsun and Gustav Vigeland (the sculptor) would all spend their days there.
Fun fact: Oslo was originally founded as Kristiania.
8. Go to the Botanical Gardens
At the Botanical Gardens you will be able to see and explore plants and beautiful flowers from all over the world. They also have a ‘scent garden’, which is filled with plants of different scents, and designed specifically with the blind in mind. The Botanical Gardens in Oslo were founded in 1814.
9. Visit the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology
This used to be one of my favourite things to do in Oslo when I was little, as the Science and Technology Museum has so many fun things and activities for all ages. You can explore how electricity works, try to solve challenging puzzles and games, and simply learn while having fun!
10. Stay at some of the coolest hotels in Oslo
Oslo boasts a bunch of great hotels scattered around the city. One of my favourite and centrally located hotels in Oslo is the Terminus Hotel, which I have written a little review about as well. With so many great hotels to choose from in Oslo, you want to stay somewhere fun and comfortable.
READ MORE: The Best Hotels in Oslo, Norway
11. Get a free coffee and snack on your birthday
If you have read my guide to visiting Oslo on a budget, you’ll know that there are many fun hacks that will get you a long way in the city. One of my favourites is downloading the apps for 7-Eleven and Narvesen, and entering your birthday as one of the days you are travelling to Oslo. On the day you will get a free coffee and a treat!
12. Travel by tram to see the most of the city
Oslo has a great public transport system, consisting of underground subways, buses and trams. The latter is by far one of the best ways to explore the city, and can provide you with spectacular views of Oslo’s famous ‘Barcode’ area (pictured above). For an overview of the different ways to get around in Oslo, check out the route maps before you go.
13. Go shopping in Bogstadveien
Bogstadveien is a nice shopping street just behind the Palace. The area is quite fancy, and you can easily spend an entire day people-watching along this street. They have shops for any budget, from H&M to By Malene Birger. You’ll also find some great restaurants along Bogstadveien.
14. Visit the National Gallery
The Norwegian National Gallery contains Norway’s largest public collection of paintings, so if you are an art lover – you’ll want to pay a visit. Famous paintings such as The Scream and Madonna by Edvard Munch can be found here.
15. Catch a concert
You may be surprised to hear that Oslo actually has a thriving music scene! Telenor Arena, Oslo Spektrum and Valle Hovin are the larger arenas in the city, where you can catch the bigger tours. There are also several smaller venues, such as Sentrum Scene, where you can catch more intimate, often acustic shows as well.
16. Go see a musical at Folketeateret
There are plenty of great musicals going on in the city, just make sure you know whether it’s in English or Norwegian first! Folketeateret have been showing the likes of Les Miserables and Mary Poppins for example.
17. Take a photo with the big tiger
Outside the Oslo Central Station you will find a large statue of a tiger. Don’t ask me why, but Oslo’s nickname amongst Norwegians is actually ‘the tiger city’. Whether the nickname or the statue came first, I don’t know. Taking a photo with the tiger has become a tourist staple, however!
18. Go to the Viking Ship Museum
If you are interested in the history of the Norwegian Vikings, this should be at the top of your list of things to do in Oslo. A visit to the Viking Ship Museum is not to be missed! Here you will find restored viking ships and loads of interesting history to explore.
19. Have a nice dinner at Aker Brygge
20. Have cocktails in the Grünerløkka neighborhood
There are several neighbourhoods in Oslo, and they all have their distinct style and reputation. Grünerløkka is the hipster area of Oslo, a little east of the city center. In the evenings you will find that the neighbourhood comes alive, with many restaurants, bustling bars and an exciting nightlife.
21. Visit the food markets in Mathallen
Mathallen is a ‘food hall’ inspired by the European indoor food markets. Here you will find stalls, cafes and restaurants, and many food-related activities throughout the year. Make sure to visit their website before your trip to make sure not to miss anything fun!
22. Go ice skating in Spikersuppa in the winter
‘Spikersuppa’ means ‘the nail soup’ (as in construction nails, not the ones on your fingers), which is a fun nickname given to this water/fountain in the center of Oslo. You will find it along the Karl Johan Street, and in the winter it freezes over and is turned into a free ice rink!
23. Have a walk on the roof of the Opera House
The Oslo Opera House is more than just a cultural hall, it is one of the best things to do in Oslo during your visit. The fun design of the Opera House attracts many visitors, and having a walk around the roof is a great Oslo activity for a sunny day. Grab a coffee to go and enjoy the views of the harbour!
24. Spend a day at Tusenfryd amusement park
If you are looking for thrills, head to Tusenfryd! This amusement park just outside of Oslo is actually Norway’s largest amusement park. You’ll find buses running from the Oslo Bus Station to the park, making it really easy to visit!
25. Visit the Norwegian Folk Museum
The Norwegian Folk Museum is a great activity in Oslo! This open-air museum has 160 historic buildings, showing you how Norwegians have been living for hundreds of years. You will find indoor exhibits as well, displaying the Norwegian bunad throughout the years, amongst other exciting displays.
26. Explore Akershus Fortress
Akershus Fortress overlooks the harbour of Oslo, and is a castle and fortress dating back to the 1300s. It has been a prison, the seat of the royal family, and currently holds barracks belonging to the Norwegian army. There are daily tours taking you around, and a visitor center where you can get all the information you need.
27. Walk around in Damstredet
Damstredet is one of the most beautiful streets in Oslo, due to the lovely wooden houses along it. All the houses date back to the 1800s, and I promise you that you’ll enjoy a little stroll through this street.
Looking for more things to do in Oslo?
There you have some of my favourite things to do in Oslo during a visit. There are plenty of unique ways to explore Oslo, whether you are on a budget or looking to splurge a little. Oslo is a great city to visit, both in the winter and the summer, and I hope you enjoy the Norwegian capital! You can find some more information about visiting Oslo and Norway here on Fjords and Beaches, and also on the Visit Oslo website.
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