Frogner / Majorstua
Frogner oozes old money, but in a good way. Get lost in what some people would probably claim is Oslo’s answer to Paris; keep an eye out for future SKAM stars at Hartvig Nissen school, and jump off the diving board at Frognerbadet before they empty the pool.
Popular dining spots Munchies and Villa Paradiso also have locations in Frogner. The perfect place for a satisfying lunch is Eckers, but the hidden gem Café Elise might surprise you. And Frogner isn’t far from Kunsternes Hus, where you can find what some deem to be the city’s best pizza. Or instead you can go next door to Litteraturhuset, to lunch with Oslo’s cultural elite. If you get an A this semester and want to go crazy, Hos Thea is the place to celebrate: it’s ranked highest on Trip Advisor.
Just like last year, we recommend Tiffani, in Behrens Gate – it’s too good to miss! The nightlife around Solli is something special (and not just on the 17th of May), one of the best places in Oslo, if not the whole country. There’s no question that Skaugum, with its laid-back vibe and DJ sets, is much better than Nox, which can seem like a sort of next-level Møllers Rock Bar. If you wander back to Majorstua, Billabong is a tropical watering hole with student prices. From there it’s a short walk to Chateau Neuf, where you can really get the full student life experience.
The National Library is the place to be if you feel like Blindern is a little too crowded, too serious, or both. This is the place for peace and quiet, as is Dronningparken (Queen’s Park), which is open until October. If you ever get in a real pinch economically, Vestkanttorget is the place to sell your things, open every Saturday. Or, of you’re already sick of Oslo after these few weeks, the travel store Nomaden is the place to plan your next trip.
The editor: Five reasons why Oslo is the best student city
Grünerløkka meets you with open arms, green lungs, and an exhausted liver. The former working-class district is now more «Portlandia» than proletariat, but it has a lot to offer.
Work up an appetite for burgers and kebabs at a reasonable price. Bislett Kebab and Munchies are both good. Focacceria and Lille Saigon also offer affordable and tasty options. But if you’ve got some extra cash burning a hole in your pocket, check out what the hype about Bass is really all about, enjoy Trattoria Popolare’s legendary ravioli, or pick and choose from a smorgasbord of options at Mathallen.
Tijuana has beer pong and student-friendly prices on Thursdays. Saunter along afterward to Bør and Børsen for karaoke with your clearly impressed friends (and a bunch of strangers). And it’s not even Friday yet! Blå, Ingensteds, and Parkteatret are obvious picks for any night out. Shuffleboard at Fyrhuset is worth the money, and the beer is cheap – plus it’s the perfect place for outside seating if it’s a warm day or night. Glød and Fru Hagen offer cozy spots to have a drink as autumn creeps up on us.
Walking along Kjærlighetsstien (The Love Trail) toward Telthusbakken is a late summer pleasure. Or enjoy playing basketball in Kubaparken, kicking a ball on the artificial grass in Mølleparken, or ping pong outside the library on Schous plass. You can also duck into Serieteket for some comics nostalgia. It’s a guarantee there will be someone slacklining in Sofienbergparken, and they will definitely want you to join; kick off your shoes and put on some harem pants.
Further reading: Nine places to drink in nine tram stations
The city center of Oslo is kind of like that friend you’ve known your whole life, or the last beer before closing: fantastic one day, terrible the next. Sometimes there’s nothing better than having a cold beer on Karl Johan, while other times just the thought can make you want to puke. Luckily the concept of a city center is pretty vague.
Oslo’s main street is overflowing with restaurants that don’t deserve your student loans. The detour down to Vippa food court is definitely worth it! Make sure you visit Aleppo Bahebek, which serves Syrian street food. The various food trucks around Aker Brygge always have something good to offer. Torggata will be serving kebabs until the end of time, but if you want something filling and homey, try Dovrehallen.
The Villa and Jaeger are still going strong, as is the basement of Revolver. If you’re in a youthful mood, there are several places to visit along Universitetsgata, if only to get a gin and tonic á la Wiersholm at Frokostkjelleren. Café Sara is still Oslo’s friendliest watering hole, while Bar Lardo is the place to establish your high culture credibility. Low on cash? The Thursday offers at Ett Glass will keep your budget on life support.
Megazone is on its way in again – or was it ever out? In any case, The Villa isn’t far if you’re more in the mood for dancing. Cinemateket is always the place for a first date, where you can seem cool without saying much. The Museum of Contemporary Art a few blocks away is a good excuse to also visit the Kvadraturen neighborhood. Don’t forget to look contemplatively at the installations while nodding pensively. Norli antikvariat is lovely little bookstore, just a stone’s throw from the legendary Tronsmo Books.
Bislett / St. Hanshaugen
Bislett is more than sports and kebabs! It’s a place to sit back and relax, have a long lunch, and people watch. The tram down from Blindern only takes a few minutes, and from there you can walk to St. Hanshaugen park. The views are beyond reproach, and somehow the best spots are always free.
Gutta på Haugen isn’t a restaurant – instead think of it as a place to find inspiration to make something at home. TUNCO serves wok food to take to the park, while Smalhans holds its own with classic, hearty food. Mother India can brag to be the oldest Indian restaurant in Norway, with food that still delivers. Kolonialen was recently renovated, and is the place for special occasions.
This is the perfect area to drift from bar to bar. Begin with a beer at La Boheme, and maybe a round of shuffleboard in the basement. From there you can walk to Underwater Pub, Waldemars, or Schröders – all typical «brown» bars. Underwater even has live opera on Tuesdays. Rouleur is a good deal hipper, and from there you can bike to Samfunnet Bislett faster than you can say «exam.»
We hate to say it, but there will come a time, not so long from now, when sitting in the grass at St. Hanshaugen or Stensparken will seem very unattractive. Thankfully autumn has its own delights. For example, you can join in with the Lyn supporters – the outfits are great and people are friendly. A spa day at Bislett Bad is also enjoyable. If you have a room to redecorate, both Brocante and Tidsrommet are worth checking out for their retro lamps, dressers, and chairs.
Grønland is quite a place. You have a fair chance of meeting Per Fugelli, the vegetables are cheap, and the beer is always flowing. Add in the exciting smells, hippie bars, and locals’ big smiles, you have a Lonely Planet parody – which isn’t so far from the truth.
Newly-opened Abelone serves homemade slushies, drinks, and toast. Toast is the new burger apparently, so get with the trend. Punjab Tandoori is still serving delicious, authentic food at cheap prices. You can also find authenticity at Olympen, although at a higher price point. A short walk away in Tøyen Torg you can find Postkontoret, where they make a mean pizza.
Did we mention the alcoholic slushies at Abelone? Go for it. Or if you’re looking for something a little more lowbrow, there are plenty of dive bars in the area, with Stargate as the flagship. Here you can drink beer in the morning without feeling out of place – though perhaps a little dumb. Dattera til Hagen is a classic alternative for a night out, but if that gets to be too crowded, there’s always neighboring Ivars Kro. Above Olympen you can find Pigalle, where you can sip a cocktail in what might be Oslo’s classiest locale.
Tøyenparken is worth visiting even when there isn’t a festival on. The natural amphitheater is perfect for a lazy Sunday (or any sunny day), and if it gets overcast you can go to Tøyenbadet for a few laps around the pool. A short tram ride from Grønland you can also find Ekebergparken, which has become quite a hip and lovely place to visit, despite local dissent. Plus it’s free, and the view over the city is unparalleled.
Welcome to your new favorite city!