What to do in Oslo, Norway

I never imagined myself wandering the streets of Oslo, Norway, but it ended up being the place where I spent the longest amount of time during my travels over the summer. Initially, I was going to meet my friend Lisa there, but the timing of our arrivals was off by a single day (which is why I rushed to Germany for 24 hours). So, I was left with lots of time to wander and explore. I made lots of new friends and saw as many sights as I could.

Here is a list of some things to do in Oslo, Norway:

-The Munch Museum

  • The Munch Museum, or Munchmuseet, contains over half of Edvard Munch’s entire life works, which he donated to the municipality of Oslo after his death. There is so much more to see than just The Scream (but that’s also cool to see in real life)!

Explore Grünerløkka area

  • Grünerløkka is known as one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Oslo. It has tons of cafes, bars, street art, and boutiques. I wandered into a store called Frøken Dianas Salonger, which was a dangerous place for someone that loves vintage clothes.

-Book an Airbnb experience

  • Airbnb has started doing experiences you can book. Essentially, you sign up to do an activity with a local and it can be anything from a cooking class, photography session, guided tour, or dance party. The options are endless, especially in a bigger city. It’s a great way to do something less touristy and meet new people. I signed up to do a hiking trip for a scenic view of Oslo and got to meet a wonderful group of travelers from all over the world!

-Holmenkollen Ski Museum

  • This is the world’s oldest museum specialized in skiing! It is located underneath the famous Norwegian landmark ski jump. I was there during the summer, so you could pay to zip line down it. The observation deck also has a beautiful panoramic city view.

-Ride a ferry boat

  • Along with new friends, I took a ride on the ferry boat just to see the views. We hopped on at the pier in Aker Brygge and rode for about an hour. You can also get off at the peninsula of Bygdøy where some of the city’s most famous tourist attractions are located.

-Ekebergparken Sculpture Park

  • You can take a tram ride directly to this sculpture park. I love looking at art, especially in the midst of nature. This park to me had a very eerie atmosphere and some of the exhibits were strange or optical illusions.

-Take a day trip to Lillehammer

  • Lillehammer is a ski resort town in southern Norway, about a two hour train ride from Oslo. I personally really enjoy the train rides through Norway– the rolling fields, beautiful lakes, and trees speeding by. (On one of my rides the conductor even gave me a coin for a coffee on the instant machines that are on every train). Lillehammer is a charming little town surrounded by beautiful nature and also lots of arts and culture spots to visit. 

-Viking Ship Museum

  • Vikingskipshuset is located on the Bygdøy peninsula. It is home to the world’s best-preserved Viking ships and artifacts from Viking tombs around the Oslo Fjord. A really interesting film, The Vikings Alive, is screened throughout the day on the ceilings and wall inside the museum.
  • After the museum, I wandered with friends to Huk, which is a nearby parkland and sandy beach. Be aware that the beach is divided into a regular public area and a naturist beach area, which was interesting to find out accidentally. 

-Heidi’s Bier Bar

  • I had no expectations arriving here, but was surprised by the very fun– and chaotic– atmosphere I emerged into. I have no actual photos because my phone was almost dead at the time, but picture an Oktoberfest-style party with people everywhere dancing on tables to early 2000s hits and European music in unknown languages. If you’re looking for something more upbeat and exciting to do at night this could be the place for you.

-Explore Old Town

  • This is a neighborhood in the inner city of Oslo, Norway and is the oldest urban area within the current capital. It is full of buildings from the late 1800s, shops, restaurants, and pubs.

-Oslo city-center, or Sentrum

  • Sentrum is the downtown area full of historic buildings and landmarks such as the Oslo Opera House. By the water, there was an area with lots of pop-up food and drinks.