12 Best Things to Do in Oslo: Must-See Attractions

by Jen
12 Best Things to Do in Oslo
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Are you planning to visit Oslo in the near future? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Oslo. These charming sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for an unforgettable vacation experience.

Welcome to the heart of Norway’s capital, Oslo—a city that effortlessly blends the old and the new, the tranquil and the bustling, the natural and the man-made. This is a city that invites you to explore, to discover its hidden gems and well-known landmarks, and to immerse yourself in its rich cultural tapestry. When it comes to things to do in Oslo, the options are as diverse as the city itself.

But Oslo is more than just pretty sights; it’s a vibe, a feeling, an experience. Whether you’re a history buff keen to delve into Viking lore, an art enthusiast eager to see Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” or an outdoor adventurer ready to conquer the surrounding forests and fjords, Oslo has something for everyone. And let’s not forget the food—oh, the glorious food! From trendy food halls like Vippa to traditional Norwegian dishes at Vaaghals, your taste buds are in for a treat.

So, grab your walking shoes and your sense of wonder, because we’re about to embark on an unforgettable journey through Oslo. Ready to uncover the best this Nordic gem has to offer? Let’s go! Here’s everything you need to know about these fun things to do in Oslo.

The top places to visit in Oslo right now
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Best Places to Visit in Oslo

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Oslo? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this tranquil vacation spot. So keep reading to discover all these unique Oslo places to visit.

Are you looking to explore museums and vibrant arts scenes? Or would you prefer experiencing outdoor adventures in the surrounding natural beauty of fjords, forests, and parks? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Oslo can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Oslo that you should know about.

1. Munch Museum

Ah, the Munch Museum, a temple dedicated to the genius of Edvard Munch. You’ve probably seen “The Scream,” but trust me, there’s so much more to explore. This museum is a treasure trove of over 20,000 pieces of art, sketches, and sculptures, all from Munch himself. It’s not just a museum; it’s an experience that delves deep into the human psyche.

Thinking of the best things to do in Oslo if you’re an art aficionado? This is your answer. The museum is located in the Tøyen district, easily accessible by metro. Once you step inside, you’re greeted by a variety of exhibitions that change throughout the year. The building itself is a work of art, with its modern architecture offering a stark contrast to the emotional intensity of Munch’s work.

And don’t rush through! Take your time to absorb the art, maybe even sketch a little if you’re inspired. After all, this is one of those unique places in Oslo where you can truly connect with the soul of the city. Before you leave, make sure to stop by the gift shop for some artistic souvenirs that go beyond the usual postcards and keychains.

The Munch Museum is one of the best things to do in Oslo.
The Munch Museum houses over 20,000 artworks by Edvard Munch, offering a deep dive into his genius.

2. Viking Ship Museum

Hey, ever wondered what it’s like to be a Viking? Well, you’re in luck! The Viking Ship Museum is your ticket to a time machine. This isn’t just a museum; it’s a journey back to the age of the Vikings. Curious about what to do in Oslo that’s interesting? This has got to be on your list.

The museum is home to three of the world’s well-preserved Viking ships, and they’re not just for show. You can almost hear the whispers of ancient sailors as you walk around. The Oseberg, Gokstad, and Tune ships are the stars of the show, each with its own story to tell.

But wait, there’s more! The museum also houses other artifacts like sledges, beds, and even a horse cart. You’ll leave not just educated but truly mesmerized. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to channel their inner Viking?

The Viking Ship Museum is located in the Bygdøy peninsula, a quick ferry ride from the city center. So, if you’re wondering where to go in Oslo for a dash of history and a sprinkle of adventure, you’ve found your spot. Is this among the top things to do in Oslo, Norway? You bet!

Explore the Viking Ship Museum for a journey back to the Viking age in Oslo.
Explore the Viking Ship Museum for a journey back to the Viking age in Oslo.

3. Holmenkollen Ski Jump

Picture this: you’re standing at the top of a towering ski jump, the wind gently tousling your hair, and the city of Oslo sprawling like a miniature toy set below. Welcome to Holmenkollen Ski Jump, a must-see in Oslo that’s not just for winter sports enthusiasts but for anyone with a zest for life.

This iconic structure is more than just a ski jump; it’s a symbol of Norway’s love affair with winter sports. The ski jump has been around since 1892, and it’s been modernized over the years to become a world-class facility. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to enjoy this place. The ski jump also houses a museum that delves into over 4,000 years of skiing history, plus it offers panoramic views of the city that are nothing short of breathtaking.

Wondering about the coolest things to do in Oslo when the snow is glistening and the skies are clear? Make your way to Holmenkollen, strap on some skis, or simply enjoy the view. Whether you’re a daredevil looking to soar or a history buff keen to learn, Holmenkollen offers a unique blend of excitement and education.

Visit Holmenkollen Ski Jump in Oslo for breathtaking views and a thrilling experience, perfect for adventure seekers.
Visit Holmenkollen Ski Jump in Oslo for breathtaking views and a thrilling experience, perfect for adventure seekers.

4. The Royal Palace

The Royal Palace—a place where the grandeur of yesteryears meets the vibrancy of modern Oslo. This isn’t just a building; it’s a living, breathing entity that tells tales of monarchs, of grand ceremonies, and of a nation’s journey.

Now, you might be thinking, “I’ve seen palaces before, what’s so special about this one?” Well, let me tell you, this isn’t just any palace. It’s a cornerstone of Norwegian identity, and it’s one of those Oslo attractions that you simply can’t afford to miss.

The Royal Palace is open to the public during the summer months, and the guided tours are a treasure trove of information. You’ll walk through opulent halls, admire intricate artwork, and maybe even catch a glimpse of Norwegian royalty! But the palace gardens are open year-round and are a peaceful respite from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Royal Palace is an experience that will make you feel like royalty, even if it’s just for a day.

The Royal Palace: A blend of history and modern Oslo, it narrates stories of monarchs and grand ceremonies.
The Royal Palace: A blend of history and modern Oslo, it narrates stories of monarchs and grand ceremonies.

5. Aker Brygge

Imagine you’re strolling along a bustling waterfront, the salty sea air filling your lungs, and the laughter of locals and tourists alike creating a symphony of urban joy. Welcome to Aker Brygge, the place where Oslo’s heart beats a little faster.

This isn’t just a destination; it’s a vibe. From chic boutiques to mouthwatering seafood restaurants, Aker Brygge is a microcosm of what makes Oslo so irresistibly charming. Is this one of the coolest activities in Oslo? You bet, and they’re all here. Whether you’re sailing on the fjord, dining al fresco, or simply people-watching, Aker Brygge has something for everyone.

If you’re an art aficionado, the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art is just a stone’s throw away. And for those who love to shop till they drop, the area is a haven of Norwegian design and international brands.

Aker Brygge is an experience that encapsulates the spirit of the city. Trust me, your Instagram will thank you.

Aker Brygge: Oslo's vibrant waterfront, where city life thrives by the sea.
Aker Brygge: Oslo’s vibrant waterfront, where city life thrives by the sea.

6. Oslo Opera House: A Symphony of Architecture and Culture

Ah, the Oslo Opera House—where the city’s architectural prowess and cultural richness harmonize in a grand spectacle. This isn’t just a building; it’s a canvas that tells a story, a stage that sets the scene for a city deeply rooted in art and innovation.

See yourself walking on its sloping marble roof, a design inspired by the concept of an iceberg floating in the water. It’s as if you’re ascending towards the heavens, each step taking you closer to a panoramic view of Oslo that’ll leave you speechless. And let’s not forget the interior—equally mesmerizing with its oak panels and intricate details.

But the real magic happens when the curtains rise. From operas that’ll give you goosebumps to ballets that’ll make your heart skip a beat, the performances here are nothing short of extraordinary. Looking for unique things to do in Oslo? Attending a show here is an experience that transcends the ordinary.

If you’re in the mood for a cultural feast served on a platter of architectural brilliance, the Oslo Opera House is where your quest ends and your adventure begins.

The Oslo Opera House: An architectural and cultural masterpiece, a symbol of art and innovation in the city.
The Oslo Opera House: An architectural and cultural masterpiece, a symbol of art and innovation in the city.

7. Grünerløkka

Hey, trendsetters and culture vultures, listen up! If you’re considering Oslo things to do that are a bit off the beaten path, then let me introduce you to Grünerløkka. This is the neighborhood where Oslo’s hip and artsy crowd flocks, and for good reason.

Picture this: cobblestone streets lined with vintage shops, indie boutiques, and—wait for it—some of the most Instagrammable cafés you’ll ever see. You know, the kind with latte art that’s basically a masterpiece and pastries that are almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

Dive into one of the many art galleries that dot the area. Or maybe you’re more of a park person? Well, you’re in luck. Grünerløkka is home to several parks where you can just chill, people-watch, or even join a spontaneous game of frisbee.

Searching for the best places in Oslo for a laid-back yet culturally rich experience? Grünerløkka, hands down. Whether you’re into shopping, dining, or just soaking in the local vibe, this neighborhood has got you covered.

Compiling your Oslo bucket list? Make sure Grünerløkka is on it. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Grünerløkka: Where Oslo's hip and artsy crowd congregates for a unique cultural experience.
Grünerløkka: Where Oslo’s hip and artsy crowd congregates for a unique cultural experience.

8. Akershus Fortress

History enthusiasts, this one’s for you! Akershus Fortress is not just a must-see in Oslo; it’s a journey back in time. Imagine walking through stone archways that have seen centuries pass by. The air is thick with tales of medieval knights, royal ceremonies, and even the occasional ghost story.

Now, let’s talk about views. From the fortress walls, you get an unparalleled panorama of Oslo’s harbor. It’s the kind of place where you can’t help but take a moment to just breathe it all in. And hey, if you’re into photography, this is your golden ticket. The way the sun sets over the water, casting its golden glow on the ancient stones—pure magic!

Inside the fortress, you’ll find the Resistance Museum, which offers a gripping look at Norway’s WWII history. It’s a sobering contrast to the fairy-tale-like surroundings, but an essential visit for anyone keen on understanding the city’s complex past.

If you’re jotting down Oslo places to visit, make sure Akershus Fortress is at the top of your list. Whether you’re a history geek or just someone who appreciates a good view, this place has layers worth peeling back.

Explore Akershus Fortress and step back in time through centuries-old stone archways filled with medieval history and royal lore.
Explore Akershus Fortress and step back in time through centuries-old stone archways filled with medieval history and royal lore.

9. Mathallen Food Hall

Foodies, brace yourselves! Mathallen Food Hall is the gastronomic playground you’ve been dreaming of. Picture this: a bustling market filled with the scents of freshly baked bread, sizzling sausages, and exotic spices. It’s a feast for the senses, and we haven’t even gotten to the tasting part yet!

You see, Mathallen isn’t just a food market; it’s an experience. From artisanal cheeses to gourmet chocolates, every stall offers a distinct taste of Norway. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you’re in for a treat. The fresh catches of the day are nothing short of spectacular.

What really sets this place apart is its atmosphere. It’s vibrant, it’s lively, and it’s utterly infectious. You’ll find locals and tourists alike, all united by their love for good food. It’s one of those destinations in Oslo where every visit feels like a mini-adventure.

So, if your idea of a good time involves tantalizing your taste buds, a visit to the Mathallen Food Hall is among the best things to do in Oslo. Trust us, your stomach will thank you.

Mathallen Food Hall is a foodie's paradise with an enticing array of scents and flavors.
Mathallen Food Hall is a foodie’s paradise with an enticing array of scents and flavors.

10. The Vigeland Park

The great outdoors! But wait, this isn’t your typical park. The Vigeland Park is where you’ll find the world’s largest sculpture park made by a single artist, Gustav Vigeland. Imagine strolling through a lush, green space and coming face-to-face with over 200 bronze, granite, and wrought iron sculptures. It’s like an open-air museum, but better!

Now, you might be wondering, what’s the big deal about a bunch of statues? Well, each piece tells a story, capturing the essence of human emotion and the complexities of life. From the iconic “Monolith” to the playful “Angry Boy,” these sculptures are more than just eye candy; they’re conversation starters.

And let’s not forget about the park’s layout. Designed by Vigeland himself, the park is a masterpiece of landscaping, featuring intricate bridges, charming fountains, and even an ornate monolith plateau. It’s a fun thing to do in Oslo that you simply can’t miss.

When compiling a list of cool destinations in Oslo, make sure The Vigeland Park is on it. Whether you’re an art aficionado or just someone looking to escape the city’s hustle and bustle, this park offers an exceptional blend of natural beauty and artistic flair.

Vigeland Park: World's largest single-artist sculpture park with 200+ sculptures in a lush, green setting.
Vigeland Park: World’s largest single-artist sculpture park with 200+ sculptures in a lush, green setting.

11. Ekebergparken

You’re standing on a hilltop, the city of Oslo sprawling below you like a living tapestry. The sun is setting, casting a golden glow over the fjords and the modern architecture. This isn’t just any hilltop; you’re in Ekebergparken, a park that doubles as an outdoor art gallery.

Ekebergparken is one of those unique places in Oslo where art, history, and nature converge. It’s not just a park; it’s a cultural landscape. The area is dotted with sculptures and installations from artists like Salvador Dalí and Jenny Holzer. But the real showstopper? The panoramic views of the city and the Oslo Fjord. Trust me, your Instagram will thank you.

And for those who love a good hike, the park offers several trails that wind through forests and open fields. You’ll even stumble upon remnants of ancient settlements and burial sites. It’s like a walk through history, with the added bonus of contemporary art installations.

Planning on where to visit in Oslo for a blend of natural beauty and artistic inspiration? Ekebergparken should be at the top of your list. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or someone who just appreciates a good view, this park has something for everyone.

Ekebergparken is a hilltop park offering breathtaking city views and an outdoor art gallery.
Ekebergparken is a hilltop park offering breathtaking city views and an outdoor art gallery.

12. Bygdøy Peninsula

Ahoy, sea lovers and history enthusiasts! If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to set sail on ancient ships or dive into maritime history, then a visit to the Bygdøy Peninsula, a gem in Norway, is among the coolest things to do in Oslo. This isn’t just a scenic spot by the sea; it’s a treasure trove of museums and historical sites that’ll make you feel like you’ve stepped into a maritime novel.

First stop, the Norwegian Maritime Museum. Here, you’ll find everything from Viking ships to modern oil platforms. It’s a deep dive into Norway’s seafaring culture, and you won’t want to miss it. Next, head over to the Kon-Tiki Museum, where you can marvel at the balsa wood raft that Thor Heyerdahl used to sail across the Pacific. Talk about an epic journey!

Are you into royal yachts and polar exploration ships? The Fram Museum is a must-visit. You can even go aboard the Fram, the strongest wooden ship ever built, and imagine yourself as an Arctic explorer.

And let’s not forget the beaches. Bygdøy offers some of the best places to go in Oslo for a swim or a picnic. So, pack your sailor hat and your sense of adventure, and set a course for Bygdøy Peninsula.

Discover maritime history at the Norwegian Maritime Museum, and explore Thor Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki raft at the Kon-Tiki Museum on Bygdøy Peninsula.
Discover maritime history at the Norwegian Maritime Museum, and explore Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon-Tiki raft at the Kon-Tiki Museum on Bygdøy Peninsula.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Oslo

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Oslo? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Oslo:

What’s the best time to visit Oslo?

The best time to visit Oslo is during the summer months from June to August when the weather is pleasant, and outdoor activities are in full swing. This period offers longer daylight hours, making it ideal for exploring the city’s attractions and enjoying the surrounding natural beauty, including fjords and parks.

Is visiting Oslo expensive?

Yes, Oslo is considered one of the more expensive cities to visit. Accommodation, dining, and transportation costs are notably high. However, travelers can manage expenses by seeking budget-friendly options, such as using public transportation, dining in local eateries, and taking advantage of city passes for attractions and activities.

What is Oslo famous for?

Oslo, the capital and largest city of Norway, is renowned for several reasons, reflecting its rich history, cultural significance, and natural beauty. Here’s what Oslo is particularly famous for:

  1. Viking Heritage: The Viking Ship Museum houses well-preserved Viking ships and artifacts, offering a glimpse into the fascinating Viking era.
  2. Nobel Peace Prize: The Nobel Peace Center in Oslo showcases the history of the Nobel Peace Prize, its laureates, and their efforts to address global challenges.
  3. Munch’s “The Scream”: The National Gallery and the Munch Museum house works by the famous Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, including versions of his iconic painting “The Scream.”
  4. Oslo Opera House: An architectural marvel, this modern building resembles an iceberg jutting out from the fjord. Visitors can walk on its sloping roof and enjoy panoramic views.
  5. Vigeland Park (Frogner Park): This park showcases the life’s work of sculptor Gustav Vigeland, featuring over 200 sculptures in bronze, granite, and wrought iron.
  6. Holmenkollen Ski Jump: An iconic symbol of Oslo, this ski jump hosts international competitions and offers a ski museum and panoramic views of the city from its observation deck.
  7. Akershus Fortress: Overlooking the Oslo fjord, this medieval castle and fortress have witnessed the city’s history for over 700 years and offer guided tours detailing its storied past.
  8. Oslo’s Fjords: The city’s proximity to beautiful fjords offers numerous recreational activities, from boat tours and kayaking in summer to ice-skating in winter.

How many days do I need in Oslo?

A stay of 2 to 3 days is typically sufficient to explore the main attractions of Oslo, including its museums, parks, and historic sites. However, those interested in more in-depth exploration or day trips to nearby natural wonders may choose to stay for up to a week to make the most of their visit.

The business quarter of Oslo, featuring modern skyscrapers, bustling streets, and a vibrant urban atmosphere.
The business quarter of Oslo, featuring modern skyscrapers, bustling streets, and a vibrant urban atmosphere.

Is Oslo safe for tourists?

Yes, Oslo is generally considered a safe city for tourists. It has a low crime rate and is well-maintained. However, as with any destination, it’s important to exercise standard precautions, like safeguarding belongings and being aware of surroundings, particularly in crowded areas, to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.

Do people speak English in Oslo?

Yes, the majority of people in Oslo, particularly those in the tourism and service industries, speak English fluently. English is widely understood and used as a second language, so English-speaking tourists should have no difficulty communicating and navigating the city during their visit.

Is Oslo worth visiting?

Absolutely, Oslo is a must-visit destination that offers a unique blend of modern urban life and untouched nature. It’s a city where you can indulge in world-class museums, vibrant street art, and delicious cuisine, all while being just a short trip away from outdoor adventures. It’s a city that truly has something for everyone.

What is Oslo best known for?

Oslo is best known for its rich cultural heritage, modern architecture, and stunning natural landscapes. The city is home to iconic attractions like the Munch Museum, the Vigeland Park, and the Oslo Opera House. It’s also a gateway to outdoor activities, offering easy access to fjords and forests.

Final Thoughts on Visiting Oslo

And there you have it, folks! Your ultimate guide to the coolest activities in Oslo, a city that’s so much more than just a pretty face. From its rich history and cutting-edge architecture to its bustling food scene and outdoor adventures, Oslo is a city that invites you to explore, discover, and fall in love over and over again.

Whether you’re a history buff, an art aficionado, or someone who just loves to soak in the beauty of new places, Oslo has something for everyone. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, book that flight, and get ready to experience the magic that is Oslo. Trust me; this is one adventure you won’t want to miss.

The top things to do in Oslo for all types of travelers
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