30 Fun Things to do in Oslo, Norway

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30 Fun Things to do in Oslo, Norway

Whether you are visiting Oslo for the first time or you’re a frequent visitor, there are some things you just can’t miss during your trip. And then there are some things you shouldn’t miss. The capital city is the most-visited destination in Norway, and with good reason due to the many fun things to get up to there. The city is the main port of entry for most travellers arriving in Norway, and there are plenty of fun and unique things to do in Oslo.

Having lived in Oslo myself for 2 years, and with friends and family who still do, I visit the city quite frequently. In my humble opinion this makes me the perfect person to write a guide to the city, so look no further if you are in need of some unique and fun things to do in Oslo on your next visit!

30 Fun Things to do in Oslo, Norway
The Vigeland Park is one of the top attractions 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.

The river stretches through the city, and you can spend hours strolling along it watching all the people. You’ll also catch some popular Oslo sights along the way too. A nice walk along Akerselva is highly recommended, and there is even the option of joining a guided walking tour along the river banks.

#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 to this Oslo attraction comes highly recommended. The Astrup Fearnley Museum exhibitions is for many at the top of the list of what to see in Oslo.

Curious about Norway and what it’s like to live here? Then you’ll want to read these 18 things only Norwegians understand.

30 Fun Things to do in Oslo, Norway

#3 Visit Vigelandsparken

The Vigeland Park is a sculpture park and one of the most popular attractions in Oslo. It also one of the most unique and unusual things to do in Oslo, in spite of its popularity. The 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 (Norwegian; Sinnataggen), make sure to get a photo!

In the Vigeland Park / Vigelandsparken, you’ll meet tourists and locals alike, as everyone loves to drop by for a walk. The park is free of charge, and particularly busy on Sundays. You’ll also find groups meeting in the park to work out or start their runs here, so if you are hoping to get some exercise during your trip, this is the place to start! Head this way to read my quick guide to the Vigeland Park.

#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.

30 Fun Things to do in Oslo, Norway

#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 sneak a peek through the windows! When deciding what to see in Oslo, most people make sure not to miss the Palace.

#6 Visit Holmenkollen

We love skiing in Norway, and ski jumping is by many considered one of our national sports. Holmenkollen is one of the top Oslo attractions, and the building itself is impressive with or without all the snow. 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

Not everyone knows the significance of this place, and you’ll find that it’s mostly locals who do. But when I’m asked about what to do in Oslo, this is one of the first places I recommend.

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 named Christiania by Christian IV of Denmark (and Norway).

#8 Go on a guided walking or bicycle tour of the city

There are some great tours on offer throughout Oslo, and joining one of them is a great way to get to know the city – especially for a first-time visitor. Pick your tour based on your preferred mode of transport (bus tours are also available) and start exploring! I love going on walking tours when I’m in a new city, because you really get close and personal with everything going on. The guides are usually local, or have lived there long enough to be considered a local, and so you get more up to date information than from any guidebook.

Here are some of the top walking and bicycle tours in Oslo:

30 Fun Things to do in Oslo, Norway
#9 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. This is one of the more popular Oslo attractions, particularly because they 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, and are worth a visit if you are spending a day doing some Oslo sightseeing.

Hitting up a free activity is just one of the ways Oslo isn’t as expensive as you’d think!

#10 Visit the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology

This used to be one of my favourite activities in Oslo when I was little, as the Science and Technology Museum has so many fun things and activities for all ages. If you are visiting Norway with children, and you’re wondering what to do in Oslo that will be fun for the whole family, don’t miss this place. You can explore how electricity works, try to solve challenging puzzles and games, and simply learn while having fun!

30 Fun Things to do in Oslo, Norway
#11 Stay at some of the coolest hotels in Oslo

As you may have gathered by now, there are so many cool things to do and activities in Oslo, but did you know that there are also some pretty cool hotels in the Norwegian capital too?

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.

#12 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!

30 Fun Things to do in Oslo, Norway
#13 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.

#14 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.

#15 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. Definitely one of the most cool things to do in Oslo, especially for an art enthusiast!

#16 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 acoustic shows as well.

#17 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.

#18 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!

#19 Go to the Viking Ship Museum

If you are interested in Oslo attractions revolving around 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, and is in my opinion one of the most unusual things to do in Oslo, Norway! Here you will find restored Viking ships and loads of interesting history to explore.

30 Fun Things to do in Oslo, Norway
#20 Have a nice dinner at Aker Brygge

Oslo is located by the Oslo fjord, and there are plenty of areas close to the water where you will find stunning views and the opportunity to go for a nice walk. Aker Brygge is a short walk from Karl Johan (the main shopping street), and boasts plenty of restaurants along the fjord. Here you can enjoy everything from a proper steak to Spanish tapas. You’ll really find something for everyone.

If you are visiting Oslo in the summer, make sure to arrive early to scout out a restaurant, or to book your table in advance. It can get very busy on Aker Brygge, especially on the weekends.

#21 Have cocktails in the Grünerløkka neighbourhood

There are several neighbourhoods in Oslo, and they all have their distinct style and reputation. Grünerløkka is considered the hipster area of Oslo, and you’ll find it a little east of the city centre. In the evenings you will find that the neighbourhood comes alive, with many restaurants, bustling bars and an exciting nightlife.

#22 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!

#23 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 centre 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!

30 Fun Things to do in Oslo, Norway
#24 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!

#25 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!

#26 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, including one displaying the evolution of the Norwegian Bunad (our national costume) throughout the years, amongst other exciting displays.

30 Fun Things to do in Oslo, Norway

#27 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 the grounds of Akershus, and they also have a visitor centre where you can get all the information you need. If you are unsure of where to start and what to see in Oslo first; start here. You are also just a short walk from Aker Brygge, so it’s the perfect thing to do in Oslo before dinner!

#28 Walk around in Damstredet

Damstredet is one of the most beautiful streets in Oslo, due to the lovely wooden houses along it. This is definitely one of the more unknown suggestions, but a must if you are looking for some proper Oslo sightseeing! Basically, this area is just really pretty and makes for a great photo spot. All the houses in Damstredet date back to the 1800s, and I promise you that you’ll enjoy a little stroll along this street.

#29 Jump on a ferry to Bygdøy

If you are visiting Oslo in the summer, catching one of the classic ferries to the Bygdøy Peninsula is a must. The ferries depart near Aker Brygge, and make for a scenic tour on the Oslo fjord. The ferries are free with the above-mentioned Oslo Pass, and the ferries operate on a pretty regular schedule.

#30 Rent a bike and explore the city on your own

Why not ditch the schedules and simply rent your own bike to do some exploring? There is no better way to see the city than on your own terms, and you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to navigate around Oslo. Just remember to stay in your lane and follow the traffic signs, and you’ll be good to go!

30 Fun Things to do in Oslo, Norway

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Last Updated : Jan 15,2021
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