As I’ve gotten to know more of my classmates these past few weeks, I’ve been struck by how many of you moved from elsewhere to attend BI, whether from a different town or a different continent. BI’s Oslo location was probably part what attracted you to attend (I know it was for me). As I get to know Oslo, I’ve been finding that it is a great place to live as student! These five places are a great way to start getting to know Oslo if you’re new in town.
Oslo Natives: What have I missed? Where would you take a new friend to introduce them to the best of Oslo? Leave a comment!
Sometimes we all need a break from campus. Luckily I’ve found the area immediately surrounding BI has plenty of opportunities to recharge during a break or after a long day of classes.
You can reenergize yourself with some exercise at the on-campus Athletica gym, try a Crossfit class just across the river, grab some friends for a game of Cageball (like soccer with fewer people and a faster pace) or, my favourite, just talk a long walk on the path running alongside the Akerselva all the way into the sentrum.
If it’s a snack you need, head across the street to Nydalen Sushi for good-quality rolls at discounted student prices, grab a sandwich at the Godt Brød organic bakery in the Nydalen T-Bane station or save money by stocking up on snacks for class at Coop Mega supermarket also in the station building.
If you just need some relaxation, walk over to the Nydalen Bryggeri for a beer on the large patio, pop across the street for a haircut at Auster, or schedule a massage at Råh, located next door to Kroa (students get 15% off Monday-Friday 10:00-14:00).
If you like quirky cafes, relaxed bars, live music and vintage shopping, you will love Grünerløkka.
For your weekend dancing fix, check out Blå for an eclectic line-up of musicians and DJs, or if you are in the mood for something more low-key, see the schedule of upcoming shows at the Parkteatre. You’ll want to get tickets in advance as this pocket-sized venue fills up fast for popular acts.
While cocktails will always be expensive in Norway, it’s worth saving your kroners to try out some of the neighbourhood’s creative bars, like the Aku-Aku tiki bar. It will transport you to a South Pacific island with its mid-century, tropical décor and vintage tiki drinks.
Grünerløkka is also known for its coffee. From the flagship espresso bar of Oslo rockstar-barista Tim Wendelboe to cute local spots like Café Liebling, this area is nirvana for the caffeine-fuelled among us (that’s me!).
This central neighbourhood is great for students, especially international students for two reasons.
First, if you’ve come to Oslo from another country, chances are you can find a taste of home in the eateries and ethnic grocery stores in this area. I went in search of shrimp paste to make a Thai curry over the weekend and was overwhelmed by the huge variety of Asian ingredients for sale at stores like A Food Market, from whole spices to fresh produce like bitter gourd, green papaya and lime leaves. Other shops specialize in halal meat and Mediterranean or Middle Eastern fare.
Second, for students of all kinds, Grønland is great for maximizing your food budget! You can find the best deals in the city on produce at Grønlandtorg Frukt & Grønt as well as other fruit and vegetables shops in the area. And while you’re there, don’t miss the eclectic bars and restaurants in the area like Dattera til Hagen (with a relaxed patio and DJs on the weekend), Olympen (a historic beerhall and local food restaurant) or Punjab Tandoori (a very popular casual North Indian restaurant).
4. OSLO FJORD ISLANDS:
It’s only been one week since classes began and already I can tell that I will need some go-to activities to clear away the stress later in the semester. One of my favourite ways to do this is by spending a few hours on one of the islands that dot Oslo Fjord.
I can’t believe how convenient this experience is from the centre of the city! Ferries depart from Aker Brygge multiple times a day, stopping at the islands of Hovedøya, Bleikøya, Gressholmen, Lindøya and Nakkholmen and returning to Aker Brygge one hour later. A regular, zone one Ruter public transport ticket or pass is all you need to ride the ferry. But you’ll want to double check the schedule online before departing as it varies seasonally and by day of the week.
5. HIKES NEAR OSLO:
If, like me, part of what attracted you to going to school in Oslo was the access to nature close to the city, you’ll want to fit some hiking into your get-to-know-Oslo plan.
Perhaps the easiest and most accessible option when you need a nature fix right from school is to take T-bane line 5 to its terminus at Songsvann and walk the leisurely 3.2 km loop around the lake. If the weather is nice, one of the floating docks is a perfect place to catch up on some class reading.
Or, if you’re after a more strenuous but still convenient option, take T-bane line 3 all the way to Kolsås and climb the small mountain to Kolsåstoppen (about 7 km round-trip) for a free workout and panoramic views.
There is so much more I know I still haven’t seen of Oslo. I can’t wait to keep exploring!