10 Top Unusual Things to Do in Oslo

Ziplining at Holmenkollen | Courtesy of Holmenkollen
Ziplining at Holmenkollen | Courtesy of Holmenkollen
Photo of Danai Christopoulou
27 February 2018

Every city has its must-dos—the top things you absolutely must do there, come rain or come shine. Amazing as these activities undoubtedly are, they’re usually a tad mainstream for you: a quirky traveler who likes going off the beaten path and embarking on unexpected adventures. Well, these unusual activities below won’t disappoint next time you’re in Olso.

Zipline from a historical landmark

The latest iteration of the Holmenkollen Jump Tower was built in 2011, but Holmenkollen has been around since 1892. Nowadays, there’s a ski museum at the tower’s base—but if you want to try something really life-changing, then you should consider ziplining there. The zipline is 361 meters (1,184 feet) long, and with a 107-meter (350-foot) drop, and you’ll get to admire Oslo from a (descending) bird’s eye view.

Get a new pair of jeans—with a side of flowers

No time to stop and smell the roses when you’re exploring a city? Well, what if you could combine it with some shopping? Mustang Sally is the only place in Oslo where you can get jeans, T-shirts, and relaxed floral dresses…with a side of actual flowers. See, apart from a fashion boutique, they’re also a florist shop, offering gorgeous flower bouquets and even pots for your plants. That’s what we call a fresh concept.

Mustang Sally exterior | Courtesy of Mustang Sally

Travel back in time in Grünerløkka

Oslo has a burgeoning retro community and several shops and venues (most of them located in or around Grünerløkka) for all your vintage and retro-inspired needs—from books and furniture to dresses and jewelry, as well as places where you can sip your coffee and eat in retro cutlery you can buy. But perhaps the most intriguing stop in your time travels is Miss Rockabully: a vintage and pin-up expert who will help you look your best through a one-on-one hair, makeup, and style consultation.

Miss Rockabully will give your style that retro twist | Courtesy of Miss Rockabully

Have a cheese sandwich from a three-Michelin-starred Chef

A grilled cheese sandwich: that’s the simplest thing you could eat, right? Well, MELT is going to teach you otherwise. This creative sandwich place in St. Hanshaugen is helmed by a three-Michelin-starred chef who takes grilling cheese very, very seriously. Here you can try their staple sandwich, which has lasagne and Norwegian cheese in it, or go overboard with the All Cheese (Norwegian cheese, mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan), get a sharing platter with extra cheesy sauce to dip your fries in, drink a salty chocolate milk, and see if their latest experiment, the sweet cheese sandwich, is still on the menu.

Melt grilled cheese sandwich with mozzarella and parmesan | Courtesy of Melt

Follow Michael Fassbender around

Not the actual Academy-Award-nominated actor himself, sadly. But you can follow the footsteps of one of his latest on-screen characters, cunning detective Harry Hole. The Snowman is a (quite controversial) film adaptation of Jo Nesbø’s seventh Harry Hole book, and the action takes place around Oslo (and Bergen), with landmarks you can visit—the police station where Harry Hole works being one of them. Book lovers, rejoice.

The police station in Grønland | Courtesy of Oslo Politidistrikt

Step into the office of the world’s most performed playwright

…After Shakespeare, that is. Did you know that Henrik Ibsen was considered to be the “founder of modern drama?” Perhaps you did. But perhaps you didn’t know that you can actually visit his home, completely restored to its original colors and décor as it was when he lived there, and step into his office where he wrote his plays. This beautiful apartment/museum is right across from the Royal Palace in Oslo. You’ll be happy you know this.

The blue parlour in Henrik Ibsen's home | © Haakon Harriss, Courtesy of Ibsenmuseet

Watch a film in a sauna

If these strange, wooden pyramids are still there in the waterside by the time you visit Oslo (the plan is to stay for 2018), definitely pay them a visit. This is SALT, a traveling art project that hosts concerts, cultural events, and some very unique sauna sessions—as in, have you ever thought about watching a movie, or a lecture in a sauna? Well, in this sauna you can: Àrdna reaches 65 ºC when all fired up, so it’s really comfortable. And you can always go for a dip in the cold water or have a sauna in the barrel afterward.

Movie night at the sauna | © Morten Høylo, Courtesy of SALT

Eat, so that the children in Kenya will too

Vippa is Oslo’s coolest food truck court, and not just because you can try anything from Thai, Vietnamese, and Syrian street-food to Italian pizza and hearty Ethiopian meals while listening to groovy tunes. The coolest thing about Vippa is their sustainable approach and their need to help immigrants share their hometown cuisines with the world. Plus, one of the vendors has a “meal for meal” program: for every meal you have at Tunco, they donate one to children in Kenya.

Vippa food court is a favourite meeting point for locals | © Per Sollerman / Vippa Oslo

Have the worst time ever (on purpose)

This experience is probably not for everyone—perhaps not even for most. But if you’re tired of all the bars in all the big cities looking mostly the same, and are on the lookout for something well, different, head to The Bemusement Bar of Discontent (Norwegian name: Misfornøyelsesbar). Its impossibly neon colors and chaotic rooms, each depicting a different mental health issue, will definitely give you something to think about.

The schizophrenia room of Misfornøyelsesbar | Courtesy of Misfornøyelsesbar

Take the subway to a ski slope

Or the tram. Or the bus. It doesn’t matter which option you choose: what matters is that hitting the ski slopes in Oslo is as simple as hopping onto the nearest public transportation. Don your ski attire and batons (if you don’t have any you can rent some equipment on the ski resorts) and you can be slaloming, or trying to, in less than an hour.

Varingskollen | Courtesy of Varingskollen

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