Here is one I sent out this winter. Not much about summer activities here, but it’s a start:
Here are some Oslo tips off the top of my head, please feel free to ask if there’s anything I’m not covering that you’re curious about!
First: Stop by UngInfo in Møllergata, where they give out free tourist maps and can give you practical advice on how to get around, you can borrow a bike for free or store your luggage for free. I used to work there, they’ll be happy to help.
The best bars imho are typically on the east side of the city centre, starting from Youngstorget square and stretching out to the Grünerløkka neighbourhood (just go bar crawling in down Thorvald Meyers gate, stopping in at Aku Aku, Bar Boca, Grünerløkka Brygghus, etc). The bar Revolver in Møllergata has been somewhat of a second home for me over the years, so I would definitely have brought you there for a drink. If you fancy lots of different kinds of beer, try Brygg in Storgata and BD57 in Markveien. The latter is near the very heart of Grünerløkka. Also check out Blå or Ingensteds or Bortenfor, a trio of bars just on the edge of Grünerløkka. Parkteatret is an institution and is inside an old cinema building. Also check out Tilt in Badstugata which may look small from the outside but has lots of Shuffleboards and other fun things inside! Right around the corner is tiny Bar Robinet which has a lot of fans. The bar Himkok is internationally renowned but can be tricky to find, so do your googling before you try to find that one! But it is in the same street as Kulturhuset (The Culture House) which has several bars, a café, a games room, and more.
If you want to make your way just outside of the city centre, you should walk or get the subway to Tøyen main square, which in recent years has become a really friendly and welcoming neighbourhood. Postkontoret and Human mote are both nice places (Postkontoret does really nice pizza as well!), and the new place Skatten is rumoured to sell fairly cheap pints… A few minutes’ walk away from the main Tøyen square is also the bar Gurken Gurken Gurken Gurken (Gurken is not a real word so idk), which is definitely more of its own kind of thing and worth checking out if you venture out to Tøyen in the first place. All of these places can be googled of course.
As in most cities, the city centre is dominated by big chains and expensive stuff. Again, Grünerløkka would be my recommendation – more independent shops, second-hand, etc. A real nice little joint café/second-hand shop is Retrolykke, in Markveien. They do very good milkshakes and waffles too. (If you go there you’ll see the Irish bar O’Reilly’s Drinking Heaven just downstairs in the same building, which is where I go to watch rugby lol). Other than that, just walk around the area and up and down the two main streets (Markveien and Thorvald Meyers gate) and see what you find.
TOURIST THINGS AND CULTURE
The city centre of Oslo is quite compact, and it used to be a lot smaller obviously so most of the traditional tourist things are within easy walking distance of one another. You can start from the central station (the side of it that has a big tiger statue, because Oslo is for some reason nicknamed the Tiger City), and walk up Karl Johans gate which is the high street. That will take you past the parliament building Stortinget, down past the park/square Spikersuppa which has the National Theatre on one side and the original University building on the other (it now serves as the Law building). And then straight up ahead is the royal palace, which has a pretty nice park surrounding it. If you walk kind of straight through the park you’ll end up near Litteraturhuset (house of Literature) and Kunsternes Hus (House of the Artists) which both have cafés where you can warm up, and sometimes there are cool events or exhibitions on. Aker Brygge, the waterfront, is also close to Karl Johan (down to the left past the National Theatre if you’re walking from the Central Station), which is where you can see the City Hall as well.
A bit further west is Vigelandsparken, which is where you can see all the naked statues if you’ve heard of that. Nice place, but obviously better in the summer because it is essentially just a huge park. Close to that is the cinema Colosseum, which actually boasts the biggest THX screen in the world (THX is a sound system thing) so you could always check if anything good is on there.
Speaking of cinemas , the best two are the following: Cinemateket in Dronningens gate, where you can see a lot of older films as well as newer releases thematically programmed etc. And there’s the brand new Vega Scene, which is closer to Grünerløkka again. It’s actually Norway’s first ever independent cinema, as we’ve had a cinema monopoly since forever which is a whole thing. They also have a nice café with food and drinks so it’s a good place to sit and relax as well.
Also there is the opera house which is cool, it’s very close to the central station so you should be able to find it from there just by asking to be pointed in the right direction. Almost everything surrounding the opera house is a mess though as they’ve just decided to build an entirely new part of town there with lots of fancy buildings etc, so a lot of construction work and big buildings with no people in/around them.
As several of the big museums and galleries are being moved down to that very area, some of them are closed for the time being – including the National Gallery and the Munch Museum. However, if you’re willing to travel outside of town (literally just get on a tram to Kjelsås (number 11 or 12) and sit there for 20-30 minutes until you reach the stop Kjelsåsalleen) the Museum of Science and Technology is quite good! The people at UngInfo will know more about what other museums etc are open and such.
And lastly, I always bring all of my foreign guests to Frognerseteren which is essentially just a huge old café but it’s an example of a real institution to generations of Oslo inhabitants – the markastue, where you can go to get something hot to drink and eat before or after going skiing or hiking in the woods ( marka ). It’s a really nice place and if the weather’s nice, you can see almost all of the city from there. Get the westbound subway line number 1 to Frognerseteren, and follow the signs from there (five minutes walk). Excellent hot chocolate and cakes.
Ooooh and if coffee is your thing, Oslo is a great place to be. Check out any of the Stockfleths around town, or Fuglen in Pilestredet (they also have a branch in Tokyo so pretty hip!) or Tim Wendelboe in Grünerløkka. Don’t bother with Espresso House as it’s essentially just Starbucks.