Moving to Oslo: An insider’s guide to the city

Written on 
September 4, 2018

You’ve got an apartment, you’ve sorted your paperwork — now it’s time to start enjoying your new life in Oslo! Not the tourist version; we mean the ins-and-outs of real local life (like knowing where to buy discounted groceries).

As PART IV of our Memory Guide to Oslo, here’s our definitive list of everything you need as an Oslo newcomer — from where to get bedding and good coffee, to useful everyday apps and unique experiences. And it’s 100% organisk — created by the expats and Norwegian locals here at Memory!

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Top 5 Oslo restaurants

  • Der Peppern Gror: brilliant Indian restaurant
  • Saray: finger-licking Turkish food (especially the Spinach and Feta Børek)
  • Freddy Fuego: solid Burrito bar (“Burrito Fridays” are a thing in Norway)
  • Wunderburger: Oslo’s best burgers
  • Izakaya: Great Japanese snack food and cocktails

…Ok, one more — head to Hitchhiker for global street food.

Top 5 Oslo cafes

Top 5 Oslo bars

  • Himkok: rated the 20th best bar in the world!
  • Kulturhuset: multi-story bar with tons of entertainment, like shuffleboard and ping pong
  • Blå: bar, concert venue and general great place to be (also open on Sunday)
  • Ingensteds: nice seating right by the river with regular cool DJ sets
  • Torgatta Botaniske: awesome cocktails

Bonus extra! Prindsens Hage has a super cool outdoor area in summer.

Where to buy stuff in Oslo

Furniture

Homewares

Groceries

Clothes

It completely comes down to your personal style. There are tons of malls, vintage thrift stores, designer boutiques and independent shops all over this city!

The Oslo supermarket hierarchy

Meny and Coop Mega have the biggest selection, but are the most expensive. Good for more specialist ingredients you can’t find in other supermarkets.

Rema 1000 and Kiwi are your standard “everyday” grocery stores. They are the cheapest among the chains with a good variety. You’ll find everything you need for normal breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Coop Extra has a similar vibe to Reema 1000 and Kiwi, but there are fewer of them about.

Joker and Bunnpris are generally smaller stores. They close later than others (some operate 24/7) and are the only stores open on Sundays. Being smaller, their selection tends to be more limited and at times a little pricey.

Useful Oslo apps

  • Ruter Reise: a staple alongside Google Maps for just getting around
  • Ruter Billet: an essential ticket app for using buses, trams and trains around the city.
  • Oslo Bysekkel: app if you want to rent a bike from April-November (highly recommended)
  • Vipps: great mobile pay app that lets you easily pay friends and also now available to easily pay at stores/merchants and online payments

Where to find deals in Oslo

  • Too Good to Go (app): get goody bags of end-of-day discounted food from tons of bakeries, restaurants and cafes. Help fight food waste while getting a great deal on staple foods!
  • Mattilbud: website with all the grocery store deals in town
  • Letsdeal.no: has some offerings for restaurant deals in the city and activities around Oslo

Unique Oslo experiences

We recommend you check out these local activity and hangout spots to really get a flavour of Oslo city life. While you’re guaranteed a cool set of friends by joining Memory, they’re great places to build quality new friendships.

Water

People love hanging out at the beaches in Bygdøy (Huk and Paradisbujta) and Sørenga in summer. If you’re into swimming, try Tjuvholmen at Aker Brugge or embrace the sharp waters of Akker Selva itself! Want to stay dry? Take a boat from Aker Brugger to visit the islands of Oslo’s fjord.

Winter

toboggan down the 20km Winter Olympics track Korketrekkeren, head to Tryvann winter park for some skiing and snowboarding, and check out the pop-up ice rinks across the city in winter. Don’t miss the Holmenkollen ski festival too!

Outdoors

Oslo is surrounded by beautiful nature! As a start, check out Kolsåtoppen, Mellomkollen, Frognerseteren-Sognsvann and Øyungen Lake hikes. Head to the Marka forest for everything from biking and skiing to fishing and foraging.

Culture

Aside from the Astrup Fearnley, Viking Ship and Fram museums, there are tons of tiny museums across Oslo to check out. For culture without the price tag, get free entry to the National Museum on Thursdays and enjoy free music concerts across the city during the Musikkens Dag festival. If you don’t mind standing, you can see world-class ballet performances and operas at Oslo’s Opera House for just 100 NOK.

In case you missed them, check out the rest of the series:

PART I: How stuff works in Norway

PART II: Sorting your paperwork

PART III: Where to live in Oslo

🇳🇴DOWNLOAD THE BEAUTIFUL PDF GUIDE

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