Jul
26

Visiting Oslo with Kids? Read This!

What are the best things to do in Oslo with kids? How many days should I spend in Oslo? Is one day enough to explore Oslo? How to get around Oslo with kids? Where to eat in Oslo with kids? Where to stay in Oslo with kids? These questions are sure to ensue while you plan a trip to Oslo with family. This post will answer all your concerns about visiting Oslo with kids.

The capital city of Norway serves up history, culture, art, architecture, design, ocean, nature, and incredible food scene. It has everything that can keep even a super finicky traveler mesmerized. It’ll delight kids, kids at heart and grown-ups fairly.

Did you know Oslo was formerly known as Christiania and Kristiania and it also has a nickname – Tiger City (Tigerstaden)?

With open spaces everywhere, compact and easy to navigate character, breezy and easy-peasy public transport system, exclusive cloudberry desserts and mouthwatering Norwegian waffles at every corner – Oslo is absolutely sure to please the tiny travelers.

What I loved the most about Oslo? Nature is everywhere – literally and figuratively everywhere. You don’t expect to be surrounded by nature in a metropolis. Oslo is different. It’s a metropolis with a breath of pure and fresh air. The countryside is just a blink away from the city center. I heart Oslo for this very reason.

Best Things to do in Oslo with Kids

Visit the Iconic Oslo Opera House

If you visit only one place in Oslo, let it be Oslo Opera House.

Sitting right on the brilliant blue waters of Oslo Fjord, Oslo Opera House (Operahuset) reminds one of a glacier or iceberg. Made of glass, wood (oak) and white marble, this massive monolithic building is a photographer’s delight. The interiors are just as spectacularly designed as its exteriors – truly an architectural masterpiece.

You’d say we or our kids aren’t interested in Opera or Ballet or even photography so why would we visit? I’d say please do because if you don’t, you gonna miss the most exhilarating experience you could have in Oslo.

Oslo Opera House is more than just a center for Opera or Ballet or concerts. It’s more than just an attraction for art, culture, or photography lovers. It’s for everyone regardless of age, or interests.

The best and unique part about it is that you can climb on its roof. Yes! An extensive ramp takes you to the roof of the Oslo Opera House and once you are on the top, what you see can’t be described in words.

Opera House has many kids-oriented events or workshops from time to time for young kids who love dance and music.O

Oslo Opera House
Oslo Opera House

Explore the Child-Friendly Museums in Oslo

Oslo has some of the Europe’s most celebrated museums. A visit to one of the many world-class museums is a must for kids to get a real taste of Oslo and its culture and history.

Museums like Viking Ship Museum, Fram Museum, Kon-Tiki Museum, Midgard Vikingsenter, Veien Kulturminnepark, and Norwegian Maritime Museum showcase Norway’s interesting era of Vikings and are sure to inspire the imagination in kids.

Oseberg Ship Viking ship museum Bygdøy  Oslo
Oseberg Ship at Viking Ship Museum

Viking ship museum Oslo Norway
Viking Ship Museum Entrance

Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology is perfect for kids of all ages. The interactive exhibits at the museum turn science into fun.

Norwegian Museum of Cultural History (Norwegian Folk Museum), Maihaugen, and the Glomdal Museum are some of Norway’s best open-air museums and delight kids like nothing. Have you ever heard your kid say – “Museums are fun, mom”! Get ready to be surprised.

Don’t miss the iconic stave church ( stavkirke ), a medieval wooden church at Norsk Folkemuseum. There are less than 2,000 stave churches left in Norway. We witnessed Borgund Stave Church on our way to Oslo from Bergen.

Norwegian Museum of Cultural History or Norwegian Folk Museum in Oslo
Open-air Norwegian Folk Museum

Let kids know the story of Alfred Nobel and the birth of the Nobel Peace Prize at the Nobel Peace Prize Museum in Oslo.

Holmenkollen Ski Museum & Tower is where FIS World Cup ski tournament takes place. The observation deck on the top of the giant ski jump tower at Holmenkollen offers sweeping views of Oslo.

International Museum of Children’s Art, Norwegian Museum of Magic, Norwegian Forest Museum, and Natural History Museum are some other child-friendly museums in Oslo.

Revel in City’s Fascinating Parks, Playgrounds and Gardens

I found Oslo one of the very few cities in the world with such abundant parkland and thus, heaven for families who travel with young kids.

It’s not easy getting from one attraction to another with kids. They easily get exhausted, impatient, and irritated. Parks and Playgrounds serve as a perfect diversion for young minds.

The extensive and magnetic Frogner Park is one of the largest in Oslo. The park hosts Oslo’s best children’s playgrounds. Vigelandsparken, the 212-sculpture park within Frogner Park is amaze-balls.

Gustav Vigeland’s unique sculptures pull the visitors. I found the soaring Monolith with several statues enveloping it amazingly Instagram worthy 🙂

Vigeland sculpture park frogner park oslo
Iconic Monolith at Vigeland Sculpture Park

Located near the Vigeland Sculpture Park, Frognerbadet open-air public pool complex is a great place for a refreshing swim. Do check-in if you are traveling during the summer.

Slottsparken (Palace Park) is a beautiful lush green open area that surrounds the Royal Palace. You can relax and unwind here before or after the Royal Palace tour.

The University’s Botanical Gardens at Tøyen with almost 5500 species of plants and a range of play areas is a lovely space for kids to play around.

Cruise the Oslo Fjord

Get a real feel of Oslo by cruising the Oslo fjord and stopping by the quaint islands in the fjord. Ferries depart from the Aker Brygge just outside the City Hall.

Each island is unique in terms of culture and history. Some of the islands popular for day trips are
Hovedøya, Lindøya, Gressholmen, Langøyene, and Bygdøy. Explore one island at a time. Walk and admire the idyllic scenery, soak in the summer sun at a beach, fall in love with the colorful wooden houses at
Lindøya and you can even camp at Langøyene.

Oslo Fjord Tour
Akershus Fortress as seen during Oslo Fjord Tour

Breathe in Fresh Air at Oslomarka

Oslo has plenty of parks, forests, islands, rivers, and lakes beautifully cocooned between rolling verdant moors and satiny blue fjord. There’s no dearth of outdoor fun for kids.

Take a metro to Marka and join Oslovians in their favorite pass time – cross-country Skiing in winter and Hiking in summer.

Walking along the Akerselva river, from Maridalsvannet lake to Oslo’s center, stopping by the waterfall and cafe on the way and running around at the riverside lawn is all you and your kids need to fill your lungs and heart with happy vibes. Isn’t it what a perfect vacation should be?

Pro Tip: Explore Grünerlokka, a bohemian and vibrant neighborhood by the Akerselva River. It has many beautiful and tiny local shops, cafes and restaurants. Once a safe and peaceful oasis for artists, it is now a heart of Oslo’s food, coffee, and shopping scenes.

Marka Ostamarka in Oslo, Norway
Colors of Ostamarka

Capture the Essence of Medieval Oslo at Akershus Fortress and Castle

Discover the rich history of Oslo and catch some of the amazing views of the Oslo Fjord and Aker Brygge as you amble the stone paths in and around the medieval fortress on the Oslo coast, Akershus. The grounds are free and open to the public. The castle has an entry fee.

Akershus Fortress or Akershus Castle in Oslo, Norway
Akershus Fortress

Fun for Kids and Kids at Heart at Tusenfryd Amusement Park

The largest amusement park in Norway, Tusenfryd has attractions and rides for kids of all ages. Why should kids have all the fun? The amazing kinds of roller coasters and carousels make it the promised land for thrill-seeking kids and adults as well.

Stroll Around Karl Johans Gate

Karl Johans Gate is the main avenue making its way across the heart of the city. It’s a beautiful street with many of Oslo’s significant monuments, restaurants, cafes, and shops. The street starts at the Royal Palace and ends at Oslo S (Oslo Central Station).

We walked from the Oslo Central Station to Karl Johans Gate, taking in the relevant sights along the way. The Royal Palace, The Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget) and the National Theater are the notable buildings at Karl Johans Gate.

Norwegian Parliament- Stortinget Oslo
The Norwegian Parliament at Karl Johans Gate

Explore Oslo’s History or Just Relax at Oslo City Hall (Radhuset)

Oslo City Hall might not sound relevant to visit with kids but believe me, it is. Your kids will love it the same way my daughter did.

It has a beautiful entrance dotted with sculptures and fountains. The outside area itself fills the kids with great delight.

Its galleries are brimming with expansive and impressive murals that take you back in time.

The 49 carillon bells on the eastern tower make a mesmerizing and soothing sound like every hour or so.

The entrance to the City Hall is free for most of the year except the summer months (May-August).

Did you know that the Nobel Peace Prize is presented at Oslo City Hall every year?

Oslo City Hall Radhuset
Oslo City Hall

Where to Stay in Oslo

Oslo has quite a number of family-friendly hotels. If you are looking for a hotel in the heart of the city, Park Inn by Radisson Oslo is a great choice. The hotel is just a few minutes walk from the famed street, Karl Johans Gate and 5-minutes walk from the Oslo Central Station. It has been ranked highly by families.

If you prefer a serene and away-from-the-city-chaos place to stay, look no further than Lysebu Hotel located composedly at Tryvannshøyden Hill near Holmenkollen. You can indulge yourself in hiking and cycling in summer, skiing in winter, and delicious 7-course Norwegian cuisine. It takes almost 40-minutes to reach Oslo city center from here.

For the budget family travelers who want to save on food and self-cater; I’d recommend White Eagle Apartments by the Oslo Fjord and Sonderland Apt – Dronning Eufemias gate 47-49.

Airbnb is also a great option if you are traveling as a family. You stay like local plus kids get more space to run around and play. You can choose from many cheap yet lovely options to stay on Airbnb.

If you’ve never booked with Airbnb before, you can get a discount on your first Airbnb booking using our code. Click here to avail the offer.

Where to Shop in Oslo

I was surprised to notice that in Oslo or rather in Scandinavia/Nordics, shops close pretty soon like at 5 or so in the evening. All the markets and shops are closed on Sundays. Even the shopping malls and the washrooms in the malls are locked too (there’s a reason I mentioned this).

We visited Nordics in June when the sun almost stays up all day and all night. We had been clueless about what to do after 5.

Though there are days when they extend the opening hours till 8 pm.

For best local and authentic Norwegian souvenirs, the souvenir shop at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History is perfect. Way Nor at Lille Grensen is another huge two floor, souvenir shop with a mind-boggling variety of souvenirs in all price ranges.

Norwegian trolls at waynor oslo
Norwegian Trolls at WayNor

Grünerløkka is the best neighborhood in Oslo for a great shopping experience. The area has little independent shops that sell everything from jewelry, clothes, artwork, ceramics, houseware, Norwegian yarn, local specialty food, and vintage stuff.

If you happen to be in Oslo on a Sunday when all the markets are closed, don’t stress it. Oslo has an awesome street market culture. Most of the markets take place on Sundays. I’d recommend checking out flea markets in Grünerløkka – Sunday Market at Blå, Birkelunden flea market, and Sunday market in Ingensgate. Check out the flea markets in Oslo schedule here.

For all things fresh, visit the Bondens Marked, a farmer’s market that takes place at different locations in Oslo every week. Visit their website to know about the nest location.

Bogstadveien is Norway’s longest and Oslo’s top-tier shopping street that houses all the global fashion brands like H&M, Zara and likes. It has more than 300 shops, restaurants and cafes. I found it a perfect place for some great window shopping experience.

Souvenirs from Oslo

I assume that everyone loves to pick authentic souvenirs from the places they visit, just like me. I always have a hard time buying souvenirs because the variety overwhelms me.

One thing that I’m sure to buy from everywhere I visit no matter what is a fridge magnet with the famous attraction and name of that city or country on it. My fridge is more of a travel journal now with my favorite travel memories 🙂 What about you?

Here are some of the best Norwegian souvenirs you can shop from Oslo –

  • Fridge Magnets
  • Norwegian knitwear
  • Norwegian Troll Figures
  • Norwegian Brown Cheese
  • Cheese Slicer
  • Freia Chocolate
  • Aquavit
  • Vintage Finds
  • Classic Viking Souvenir

Scandinavia on mind? Read our travel guides to Copenhagen and Dragør in Denmark.

What and Where to Eat in Oslo

Norwegian hot dog or pølse represents Norwegian food scene. You can grab one at any of the convenience stores viz. 7-Eleven, Deli de Luca or Narvesen or gas stations in Oslo. It’s made of different variety of meats like beef, pork or reindeer but vegan hot dogs are also available at Narvesen. Head to Syverkiosken for Oslo’s best pølse.

Brunost (Norwegian Brown Cheese) with a slice of bread makes a great Norwegian Breakfast. It can be easily found at local grocery stores.

Mills Kavier, a bread spread made of cod roe and other variety of ingredients is important breakfast food in Norway and is available at the local grocery or convenience store.

Try Raspeballer, potato dumplings is a traditional Norwegian food. Norwegians couple the dumplings with meat and sausages though I ate it with spring vegetables. Kaffistova is the best place to try Raspeballer.

Risgrøt (rice porridge or pudding) forms a special place in Norwegian cuisine. It tastes best when hot and peppered with butter, cinnamon, raisins, and sugar.

Don’t forget to taste Kvæfjordkake, National Cake of Norway. We tried it at Cafe Cathedral at Karl Johans Gate and loved the way it melted in the mouth. The ambiance and the lovely surroundings add to the experience.

Lovely sitting area at Cafe Cathedral at Karl Johans Gate Oslo
Lovely sitting area at Cafe Cathedral at Karl Johans Gate

Another place that comes highly recommended by the locals (ask them!) is Grand Cafe at Karl Johans Gate. It’s a cafe with history. It has been a favorite hidey-hole for great personalities like Edward Munch, Henrik Ibsen,
Knut Hamsun
and Gustav Vigeland since its inception in 1874. Try Grand cafe’s today’s menu while having a date with yesterday.

Cloud-berries, a Norwegian delicacy is cultivated in Norway’s’ forests in abundance during summer. You can enjoy them fresh or eat them in the form of a dessert. Engebret Café is one of the best places in Oslo to taste the delish cloud-berry desserts.

Get high on Aquavit, a national spirit of Scandinavia distilled from potatoes or grains and caraway seeds.

If you are a non-alcoholic like me, buy a bottle of Solo or two from a supermarket to get the taste of Norway. It’s a famous Norwegian orange-flavored soft drink.

Aker Brygge is famous for its host of cafes and restaurants along the boardwalk. Delicatessen, Albert Bistro, Bonita Cafe and Akers Mek are child-friendly, cheap and best places in Aker Brygge to grab a good breakfast.

Mathallen Food Hall, an indoor food market is not only a foodie’s paradise but a remarkable culinary experience for not-so-food-lovers too. Bistro Budapest at Mathallen is a great place for vegans. My favorite at Mathallen were The Cupcake & Pie Co. and Smelt.

Oslo Raw Cafe is another gem in the town. This cafe plus bakery serves absolutely sugar free, gluten free, soy free and dairy free raw cakes, pies, salads, soups, coffee, smoothies and much more. I recommend the Triple Mocca and mini-me hearts Oreo Cake.

Whether you are traveling with kids or not, you can’t just leave Norway until you’ve treated yourself to mouth-watering traditional Norwegian waffles and crepes. They are served best with whipped cream and berries. Haralds Vaffel serves best waffles in Oslo. Norway celebrates waffle day on March 25th every year.

Norwegian Waffles with berries  and whipped cream
Delicious Waffles topped with berries and whipped cream

Kafé Seterstua at Frognerseteren on top of the Holmenkollen offers the breathtaking views of Oslo and the Oslo fjord while relishing their famous apple cake.

Last but not least, I’d strongly recommend Barratt Coffee Bar near Oslo Reptile Park for some great coffee, great refreshments and of course, great ambiance.

Planning to rent a car in Europe? Read our complete guide to renting a car in Europe.

Oslo Airport Transfer

How do you get from Oslo airport to the city center? The main airport, Gardermoen is around 45 km from the Oslo city center. The easiest and fastest way to travel to and from the Oslo Airport is Flytoget Airport Express Train. NSB (Norwegian State Railways) Gardermoen-Oslo train is a cheaper alternative to Flytoget.

Oslo lufthavn stasjon  Oslo airport station
Waiting for the train to city centre at Oslo airport station (Oslo lufthavn stasjon)

Flybussen, Flybussekspressen, OSL-ekspressen are the airport shuttles running to and from Oslo airport.

Oslo Bus Terminal and Oslo Central Station (Oslo S) both are located at Jernbanetorget (biggest transportation hub in Norway) and are conveniently connected by a bridge. It also houses a metro station. Trams and local buses have stops outside Jernbanetorget.

The taxis are available but the prices are exuberant. It seriously costs a fortune.

Getting Around Oslo

Get lost on beautiful and peaceful streets lined with Norwegian houses. Walking the streets is the most beautiful way to get around Oslo.

The public transportation is as easy as pie. They have buses, metros ( T-banen ), trams ( trikken ), and boats. The public transport system is managed by Ruter.

Pro tip: Hop on Hop off tram 12 to explore Oslo and its most popular attractions on your own. The tram starts at Majorstuen (Oslo West) and ends at Kjelsås (Oslo East).

tram Oslo Norway
Tram in Oslo

Cycling your way through Oslo’s bike-friendly lanes is the green and serene way to experience the city’s highlights. Oslo Bysykkel, with 200+ stations around Oslo, gives you enough flexibility to pick and drop the bike.

With such powerful public transportation system, I wouldn’t recommend hiring a taxi, unless you really need to. Oslo Taxi, and Norgestaxi are the major taxi services in Oslo. Uber also has a presence in Oslo.

Experience the magical Nordic summer. How? Read our travel guide to Lapland in Summer.

Oslo Pass

Oslo Pass is a great way to save money and time while exploring the expensive Norwegian capital.

What does the Oslo Pass include? The pass includes the unlimited use of public transport, free or discounted guided walking tours, free admission to more than 30 museums, discounted admission to some top attractions in Oslo, and discounts at cafes and restaurants in Oslo.

Does Oslo Pass include airport transfers? No. Oslo Pass doesn’t include transportation from Gardermoen, Oslo Airport to the City Center.

Where to buy the Oslo Pass? The Oslo Pass can be purchased from Oslo Visitor Center, selected hotels, Ruter’s Centers, designated sales points in Oslo, and can also be pre-ordered at the official website of Visit Oslo.

What are the Oslo Pass Prices?

  • 24-hour Oslo Pass: 445 NOK (adult); 235 NOK (6 to 17 years child); 355 NOK (67 years and above senior)
  • 48-hour Oslo Pass: 655 NOK (adult); 325 NOK (6 to 17 years child); 520 NOK (67 years and above senior)
  • 72-hour Oslo Pass: 820 NOK (adult); 410 NOK (6 to 17 years child); 655 NOK (67 years and above senior)

Is the Oslo Pass worth it? It’s really worth it if you are planning to stay in Oslo for at least 2 days. The 24-hour Oslo Pass can only be worth the money if you plan to pack a lot of attractions in the 24-hour time period which technically isn’t recommended especially with kids.

If you just have a day in Oslo, better purchase a 24-hour ticket for public transport. A pre-bought single journey ticket costs around 36 NOK per adult while a single journey ticket purchased from driver costs 56 NOK per adult. If you take 3 to 4 trips, imagine the money you’d be spending on transportation.

The 24-hour ticket costs 108 NOK for an adult and gives you unlimited access to public transportation in Oslo – be it tram, bus, metro, ferry (excludes Bygdøy ferry), and train. The cost of a ticket for a child and a senior citizen is around 54 NOK. It saved a lot of money, time and hassle for us. I’d absolutely recommend buying a 24-hour public transport ticket to make the most out of your day in Oslo.

Best Time to Visit Oslo

Summer (May-August) is the best time to visit Oslo because the weather is just about perfect. Oslo experiences almost 24 hours of daylight where the sun sets as late as 11 pm and rises as early as 4 am.

Make sure to be a part of the Norwegian Constitution Day celebrations if you are in and around Oslo on or about May 17.

Currency in Oslo

The currency used in Oslo is the Norwegian Kroner (NOK). Coins are available in the denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 20 kroner while notes are circulated in the denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 kroner.

Euros might be accepted at certain places but NOK is the preferred currency. We exchanged euros to NOK but rarely needed cash as they use credit and debit cards for virtually every purchase.

Visa for Norway

Many countries don’t need a visa to travel to Norway. Check the list here to know if you need one or not. If you need one, apply for the Schengen visa to visit Norway here and submit the visa application at VFS application center.

Read our Detailed Guide to How to Score the Schengen Visa to know more.

How to Explore Oslo on Budget

Norway is ridiculously expensive. There I said it. But, there are many ways you can avoid expenses.

  1. Choose to stay at Airbnb over a hotel. It not only saves money but also gives you a chance to live like a local.
  2. Choose self-catering over eating out. Self-catering from supermarkets becomes easy when you stay at an Airbnb that comes with a furnished kitchen. Buy food items and snacks at one of the cheap supermarkets and cook your own food. Kiwi and Rema 1000 are among the cheapest grocery stores in Oslo. The supermarket brands like First Price and Eldorado are cheaper alternatives over other brands.
  3. You can’t really leave Norway without tasting the Norwegian food, of course. Well, there are many restaurants that offer traditional Norwegian food at cheap prices – Schrøder, Dovrehallen, and Valkyrien to name a few.
  4. Choose free entertainment over the paid ones. Oslo has a great number of attractions with free entry all year round. Most of the museums and parks are free for kids.
  5. Hey! What about the attractions that are expensive but worth visiting. Oslo Pass takes care of that. It offers free entry to almost 30 attractions, free public transportation travel, and discounts at various restaurants and shops.

Travel Tips to Explore Oslo

  • Take the subway to one of its last stations to explore Oslo in style.
  • Taking a guided walking tour or bike tour is the best option if you are running low on time and still want to cover lots of sights. It’s also a great way to see Oslo through a local’s eyes.
  • Walk the charming cobbled streets lined by the well-preserved 17th-century wooden houses at Damstredet and Telthusbakken in Central Oslo.
  • Take the hop on hop off cruise on a traditional boat on the Oslo Fjord to experience Oslo from the water.
  • Go slow. Don’t rush. There’s too much to take in at once. Don’t even try. Let the kids soak in, one attraction at a time. Quality over quantity, please.

You might want to read one of these for the Europe trip planning:

Pin the Post!

Visiting Oslo with Kids
Best things to do in Oslo with kids

Hope after reading our Oslo with Kids Guide, you’re feeling confident to plan your trip to Oslo on your own. If I missed something and you still have any questions about visiting Oslo, please leave a comment. We’ll be happy to answer.

This post contains affiliate links. Please read the Disclaimer for more details.

We'd love to hear your thoughts

Send this to a friend