No one knows a city better than its locals. We asked musician Siv Jakobsen – who just released her debut album The Nordic Mellow – to share with us her favorite places in Oslo.
Oslo is one of my favorite cities in the world. It is perhaps my favorite city, as I was born in it, and have since been living in a suburb of it. After taking a 5 year stint in the US, I’ve now moved back to this beautiful city. As a touring musician I travel a lot, seeing new cities every day – but nothing quite beats home to me; this beautiful and relatively small city, easily manageable yet filled with lovely places and people.
Oslo feels like home, yet I discover new things about it every day. I guess my first six years of life living in Oslo didn’t really properly set me up for knowing the ins and outs of the city as a twenty-something. It wasn’t until I moved home from the US three years ago that I moved back to Oslo – and have sort of rediscovered it as an adult.
I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite discoveries of Oslo that I’ve had over the last three years – the places I like to go for coffee, food and drinks, for a good concert or just a nice stroll. If you’re looking for tourist attractions and museums, you won’t find them here – but if you want a day seeing some places that a local (me!) would take you to, I suggest you read on. These are the places I take friends when I want to show them my favorite parts of Oslo – even if all you have is one day.
A Local’s Oslo: The best coffee
Supreme Roastworks (Grünerløkka, Thorvald Meyers gate 18A)
As a massive coffee lover and former barista, one of my favorite things to do whilst touring is finding great places to have coffee in each city or town I go to. Oslo is no different, although from living here I’ve gotten to frequent my favorite places more often. My absolute favorite place to have coffee in Oslo is Supreme Roastworks in Grünerløkka. It might even be my favorite coffee shop anywhere. With their exceptionally friendly and award-winning staff members and incredible coffee (they roast their own in-house), it is a place well worth a visit, both for coffee-connoisseurs and “regular coffee lovers” alike. Their cakes and baked goods are amazing too. Just saying.
A Local’s Oslo: Where to get dinner
Villa Paradiso in Grünerløkka (Olav Ryes Plass 8) and in Frogner (Sommerrogata 17).
In my opinion this lovely restaurant has the best Italian pizza in town. I’ve had some incredible meals here – nothing beats one of their specialty pizzas with a glass of red. I’ve frequented both locations and they’re both equally great – although be sure to call ahead of time to reserve a table (especially if you’re more than two people) – this place tends to be fully booked, especially on weekends.
A Local’s Oslo: Traditional baked goods for lunch
Godt Brød – several locations all over the city, my favorites being Grünerløkka (Thorvald Meyers gate 49) and Bislett (Thereses gate 33)
The absolute place to go to try the best versions of traditional Norwegian baked goods, Godt Brød serves all-organic breads, as well as traditional Norwegian buns and cakes. Whether you want something a savory or sweet, you can count on everything on their menu to satisfy your tastebuds. Both the Bislett and Grünerløkka locations have lovely outdoor seating options for the summer, my personal favorite being the Bislett one, which has a lovely and secluded back patio, where I’ve spent hours and hours writing and soaking up the sun.
A Local’s Oslo: My favorite park
St. Hanshaugen Park (Geitmyrsveien 31)
In the lovely borough of St. Hanshaugen lies my favorite park – ideal for a nice sunday walk or a run (if you’re into that sort of thing, hehe.) I used to live in Bislett which is a short walk away, and my favorite park to visit was (and is) the St. Hanshaugen park. I recommend taking a stroll along the outer side of this idyllic park, and then work your way to the top of the park, for one of the nicest views the city offers. The area surrounding the park is lovely as well, with lots of old, beautiful houses and apartment buildings.
A Local’s Oslo: Go for a drink
Parkteatret Bar & Scene (Grunerløkka – Olaf Ryes plass 11)
Doubling as both a bar and a venue, Parkteatret is both one of my favorite venues in Oslo (to play and to see shows) and one of my favorite bars. The bar and venue are kept separate (although there is of course a bar in the venue as well), which means you can visit either or both at the same time. The venue part is known for its great programming, showcasing national and international quality acts. I’ve seen some incredible shows here (and played some of my favorite shows here as well) – and it’s truly a venue I recommend visiting while you’re in town.
The bar at Parkteatret is one of my favorite places to meet friends for drinks – with a great selection of local and international (micro-brewed) beer, wine and spirits. I’ve never been a fan of bars that play super-loud music, so this place is perfect – with the music on at a comfortable level so you can have a chat with your friends without shouting.
Although I have several other places in Oslo that I love, I think I’ll end this guide here. The above are all my absolute favorite places to frequent – and the perfect amount of spots to visit in a day. Get yourself a day-pass for local transport and go visit these places (or walk – Oslo isn’t that big, so you can basically walk everywhere) – I promise you you won’t be disappointed.
This is a guest post by Siv Jakobsen. Check out her debut album The Nordic Mellow here!