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Why You Should Visit Tøyen, Gamle Oslo’s Hidden Gem

Picture of Danai Christopoulou
Updated: 3 January 2018
Tøyen is a lot like Oslo’s ever evolving architecture scene: a couple of years ago, there wasn’t much there. But this modest neighborhood just west off the more famous Grünerløkka started getting attention in 2016, when a couple of bars and restaurants opened around its square—and has since become a destination for the hip Osloites. Here’s how to best spend your time there.

All the things to explore

Tøyen is home to an impressive pair of green lungs—Tøyenparken and the Oslo Botanical Garden are just a street apart from one another, and make for a great way to start exploring the area. The Botanical Garden is home to more than 1,800 different plants, greenhouses that feature exotic plants, woven sculptures, and even a Manor House from 1640! As for Tøyenparken, depending on what time of the year it is, it can be a venue for very cool festivals like the Oya Festival (one of the greenest festivals in the world that, in the past, has featured bands like the Pixies).

Oslo's Botanical Garden | © Jan Sølve Borlaug / Flickr
Oslo’s Botanical Garden | © Jan Sølve Borlaug / Flickr

All the things to learn

Right between Tøyen’s green lungs is the beating heart of the neighborhood: the Munch Museumwhich, by the way, you should hurry up and visit before it relocates next to the Oslo Opera in 2018. It contains the largest collection of Edvard Munch’s works in the world, plus an ever-changing roster of interesting cultural events.

The Munch Museum | © Ove Kvavik, Courtesy of the Munch Museum
The Munch Museum | Courtesy of Munchmuseet

But apart from the Munch Museum, Tøyen is also home to the Natural History Museum (which reopens after Christmas), a public library that’s also a cool place to hang out if you need to work or study, and Biblo Tøyen, a cool new library that caters exclusively to the needs of youngsters (from 10-15 years old) and hosts anything from educational seminars to cooking workshops.

Biblo Toyen | Courtesy of Biblo Toyen
Biblo Toyen | Courtesy of Biblo Toyen

All the things to eat and drink

But if you think that Tøyen has only cool daytime activities to offer, you’ll be (pleasantly) surprised: there’s actually a plethora of restaurants and bars that are worth your time here. For starters, Nord og Natt, Nord’s latest incarnation, is a café/restaurant hybrid that serves great brews in the morning and great Nordic dishes the rest of the day. For drinks, there’s Postkontoret, where you can grab a beer and enjoy a nice vibe, and Human Mote for ingenious cocktails, but you never know when the next cool place is going to open. Tøyen is unpredictable like that.

Postkontoret interior | © Arne Ove Bergo:Dagsavisen, Courtesy of Postkontoret
Postkontoret interior | © Arne Ove Bergo:Dagsavisen, Courtesy of Postkontoret