The Top 10 Things To Do and See in Kvadraturen, Oslo

Michelle Schmid

As the capital of Norway, Oslo has a history and cultural environment that are both rich and multi-faceted. Kvadraturen, the downtown district of the city, is a place where these come to life through countless old buildings, diverse museums and unexpected surprises waiting to be discovered. Let’s take a look…

National Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo

1. National Museum of Contemporary Art

Art Gallery, Museum, Building

A landmark museum, the National Museum of Contemporary Art has only been open since 1990. However, in this short amount of time, the museum has managed to offer over 5,000 Norwegian and international artists’ work for view. The time period of work ranges from 1945 to the present, and guests can enjoy both the permanent exhibitions as well as a number of traveling shows. Artwork takes on a wide variety of media, including drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture and even filmography. Make a visit on Sunday to gain free admittance to this prime Oslo institution.

2. Norwegian Film Museum

Movie Theater

Christiania Torv
© Dion Hinchcliffe/Flickr
Experience the development of Norway’s film technology with a visit to this intriguing and interactive museum. The Norwegian Film Museum is located amidst the bustling center of the film industry within the city, making it not just a place to learn about film-making, but also an interesting place to people watch. Within the museum itself, visitors can view archived films as well as a selection of new short Norwegian films. There is also an assortment of original instruments to keep visitors entertained for hours.

Christiania Torv

Christiania Torv is the very heart of Kvadraturen, with an epic fountain featuring a hand pointing down to the ground to mark the spot where the Danish-Norwegian King Christian IV decided to rebuild the town in the 1600s. Around this square, visitors will find an array of historic buildings that date back to the 17th century, including Oslo’s first town hall, which is now occupied by the restaurant Gamle Raadhus. Set about discovering not only the architecture of the area, but also the delicious restaurants that are within walking distance, along with the variety of shops available.

Galleri Pingvin in Oslo


Downtown Oslo is overflowing with art; at every turn, there is yet another museum to be found, another gallery waiting for exploration. Many of these galleries offer exceptional glimpses into the world of Norwegian art at its best. At Galleri Format, guests can look into purchasing small art objects that are distinctly Norwegian, while enjoying various exhibitions of art. On the other hand, the Mini Bottle Gallery is a one-of-a-kind institution that looks at over 53,000 miniature bottles containing anything from berries and nuts to mice, insects, and other – rather more horrifying – contents.

Oslo Cathedral

Government Buildings

Kvadraturen is the home of many of Oslo’s political buildings, including both the Parliament and the City Hall. The Parliament is an intriguing building with a rounded front and carved stone lions that stand guardian over the entrance ways. Take a tour inside and discover where political decisions for the country happen in a beautiful interior. On a visit to Oslo’s City Hall, guests can take in artwork from the 20th century that details Norwegian history. City Hall is also the sight of public carillon concerts every Wednesday afternoon.

Park in downtown Oslo


When visiting downtown Oslo, it is impossible not to stumble upon at least one or two parks that are perfect for a relaxing time enjoying the little bit of warm weather that comes to Norway in the summer. Each park has something different to offer, whether it is the rolling hill terrain of Kontraskjæret near Akershus Fortress, or the beautiful fountains of Spikersuppa and Grev Wedels Pass. Besides these, oodles of smaller parks exist – perfect for people watching between Oslo’s streets!By Michelle Schmid

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