We arrived in Oslo around noon and ventured out to the main touristy spot- Karl Johans Gate from Grunnerlokka, where our Airbnb was located. Most of the tourist attractions are actually on Karl Johans gate-Domkirke, Norwegian Parliament, Oslo University, National Theater and Royal Palace. Lunch at Mathallen varied from French baguette sandwiches to German pretzels. In the evening, we stopped by Aker Brygge and walked around the affluent neighborhood with lots of yachts and a sculpture park. We grabbed dinner at Crow bar with in-house brewed beer and ended our night at another microbrewery Schouskjelleren.
See & Do
- Grunnerlokka: A very lively area that’s just slightly north of the central station in Oslo. Kind of reminds me of a small version of the Greenwich Village in NYC — with lots of little vintage/design shops, plenty of restaurants and bars, and some nice parks to relax in. We stayed in this area, and it’s also quite convenient to visit all of the tourist sites — only about a 15-20 minute walk to Karl Johans Gate.
- Karl Johans Gate: The main street in Oslo that extends from the Central Station/Domkirke all the way to the Royal Palace. It’s mostly pedestrian-only (though I think there are a few stretches that allow cars). The weather was quite nice when we walked through, so there were a ton of pedestrians walking around and enjoying the outdoor cafes. Most of the major tourist attractions are either on this street or just a few blocks away. We walked by the Domkirke (main church–which has a conveniently located beer garden on the premises!), Stortinget (Norwegian Parliament), a huge Freia chocolate sign (we ate plenty of their chocolate), Oslo University, the National Theater, and ended up at the Royal Palace.
- Royal Palace: You can’t go inside the palace unless you sign up for a guided tour (which we did not do, you need to do it in advance), but you can walk around the palace grounds and enjoy the surrounding park area. A lot of people were resting in the lawn, and since we were still a bit jetlagged (we just landed in the morning!), we ate some strawberries and joined the rest of the Norwegians in resting for a few minutes. Fortunately the weather was pleasant enough to enjoy sitting in the sun for a bit.
- Aker Brygge: A modern area just below Sentrum, a nice shopping/residential district with great views of the harbor and nice, new looking buildings. We saw lots of boats parked with people sitting on them enjoying dinner without having to leave the harbor (kinda like Joey from Friends!). Near the end of the Aker Brygge area is the Astrup Fearnley Museet which looks like it’s made completely out of wood. There’s also a small outdoor sculpture park–the city of Oslo sure loves their public art.
- Tjuvholmen Sculpture Park: A small public sculpture park near the southern tip of Aker Brygge. Pretty cool looking sculptures, although the meaning of these seems to be up to the viewer’s own imagination. There is also a very picturesque view of the Akershus Fortress from here, which is located directly across the harbor.
Eat & Drink
- Mathallen: Indoor food market that somehow reminds me of the Granville Island public market in Vancouver, or the Chelsea Market in NYC. Several food options from a variety of different cuisines (i.e. Spanish, French, British, etc…). Conveniently located bar in the middle to grab a pint, and our first introduction to high Norwegian beer prices. Pretzel hot dog (20 NOK), Frydenlund draft beer (68 NOK) and Duck confit sandwich (100 NOK).
- Tim Wendelboe: These guys really take their coffee seriously somehow without seeming like they’re trying too hard. Definitely go here if you’re a fan of good coffee and you’re in the Grunerlokka area. Iced coffee(40 NOK) and black nano chila(42 NOK).
- Crowbar: Craft brewery where they have their own brew. Grabbed two kebab sandwiches (one falafel and one pork)–one of the first places I’ve ever seen a pork kebab, although that may not be too surprising in a place that also serves alcohol. We tried their Cream Ale, Pilsner, and Stout, brewed on site. Around 80NOK ($10 USD) per drink, and these were the cheapest options!
- Schouskjelleren: Brewery located in Grunerlokka not too far from the AirBnB. We sat outside and enjoyed the late daylight, but it got quite chilly after 11pm (though they conveniently provided blankets for us). Enjoyed one round of their lager (~80NOK).
- Airbnb in Oslo: In the southern part of Grunerlokka, this apartment was only about a 10-15 minute walk from the central station. Nice, clean, and designed in the cool minimalistic Scandinavian style. Heated bathroom floors were a nice bonus on chilly mornings. The view from the roof is pretty amazing, you can see the entire city, 360 degrees.
- Flytoget: Doesn’t get any easier than this train to get from the airport to the city center. 170 NOK if you buy the ticket in advance from a kiosk. There is also a local train that’s a bit cheaper, but it’s much less frequent.