The last few years, Oslo’s Grünerløkka may have stolen the headlines when it comes to hip districts. But all the major cities in Norway have their own cool areas where locals go to hang out, eat great food and have a good time.
Published: 30 April 2018
Grünerløkka in Oslo is regularly included when foreign newspapers are writing about "hip" European districts. All the cafes, restaurants, shops and Mathallen are frequently mentioned, and UK-based The Telegraph called the district "the Shoreditch's of Oslo" when they wrote about 27 of the world's best hipster neighbourhoods.
It's not only the capital that has districts that stand out. In cities across Norway, you will nowadays find exciting areas with special niche shops, cafes and restaurants, or with slightly different menus:
Do you need some tips for enjoyable urban activities? Here are Norway's hippest districts:
According to Marianne Johnsen of Visit Bergen, Skostredet is the place to go to if you want to experience the hippest part of Bergen.
This district of "The City between the Seven Mountains" is described as being both fun and retro, and among the small, colourful, wooden houses, you will find everything from charming niche shops and galleries to cafes, bars, and restaurants.
"Skostredet is casual and relaxed. At the same time, there are a lot of people here, and I think even more will come here in the future," says Daniel Christoffersen of Utetrend.no.
The website Utetrend.no specialises in nightlife, fashion, cultural and the music scene in Bergen, and describes Skostredet as a street full of music, hustle and bustle. And if you're looking for second-hand and vintage shops, you've come to the right place. You can also drop by the zero-waste grocery shop, Råvarene (i.e. raw materials), which avoids using unnecessary packaging.
"It's also a very cultural part of the city. There are several galleries of contemporary art," says Christoffersen.
One of them is sound gallery, Østre, which often transforms into a festive club scene with electronic music when darkness falls. Or you can visit Litteraturhuset (i.e the Literature House), where in addition to enjoying breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can catch exciting debates and lectures.
You can round off the day at the Hallaisen ice cream parlour and cocktail bar; the retro bar, TempoTempo; or at the popular bar, Folk og Røvere, which got started when 46 people each invested 10,000 kroner in 2007 on an after-party idea for a "pub that everyone would want to go to".
A number of districts in Norway's oil capital have woke up from hibernation in recent years:
"We have both Stavanger East and Fargegaten - Øvre Holmegate," says Lene Lunde of Region Stavanger.
The resurgence of Stavanger East started with the old brewery a few years ago. These days, Tou Scene is an important cultural scene and serves as the centre for exhibitions with street art and is the starting point for guided street art tours.
This district also has a vibrant and innovative feel and is often called Stavanger's "Silicon Valley" where the Innovation Dock entrepreneurial arena plays an important role. In the aftermath of the creation of this coworking space, a number of cosy cafes and pubs are highlighting local beers or organic tea, and the new food hall in Stavanger is also located here.
Fargegaten, or Øvre Holmegate, which is its real name, is referred to locally as Stavanger's very own "Notting Hill". Up until 2005, this was a completely "dead" area, but when hairstylist celebrity Tom Kjørsvik and artist Craig Flannagan created a comprehensive colour code for the whole street, things really got rolling:
"Today, this is Stavanger's own hipster area, and Fargegaten has become an attraction with cafes, pubs, restaurants, alternative niche shops and its own barbershop," says Lene Lunde.
While visiting Tromsø, Storgata is a must, and especially at the intersection of Storgata and Strandskillet where you'll find popular sites such as Bastard, Skarven and G.
"Strandskillet is also located near the Tromsø railway station. We don't have a train, but at least we have a station. And since no trains are arriving, you can always have a beer," says Knut Hansvold of the Northern Norway Tourist Board.
Although this is clearly the part of town where you meet the most people, something is also happening a bit further north in "Paris of the North", he says.
There are, in fact, several projects being initiated to create a more vibrant atmosphere among the historic wooden buildings in Nordbyen, just a stone's throw from Tromsøbrua. If you go for a walk in the old works district today, you can already enjoy tasteful surprises at restaurants such as Hildr, Burgr or Rå Sushi.
If you would rather just enjoy the local vibe, you can check out the bar menu at Verdensteatret, test out the local beer at the micro-breweries at Graff or Bryggeri 13, or sit down and savour a cup of coffee at Svermeriet or Bårstua.
Once you're in Trondheim, you must go to Bakklandet. This was the city's first suburb, and the first settlement was already here in the 1600s. In addition, this has been an important industrial area, and Bakklandet has always had a combination of residential buildings and business activities. Fortunately, for anyone who takes a trip to Trondheim, the locals have blown new life into the old part of town.
"Today, Bakklandet is an iconic urban area with niche shops, galleries, exciting food concepts, small fitness centres, co-working sites and cafes," says Sunniva Evjen, Marketing Manager of Visit Trondheim.
The inhabitants here are a good mix of young and old, but with both its own festival and Christmas Market Bakklandet is used year-round by everyone living in Trondheim.
You should also visit the green and lush Lademoen and Lilleby when you're in Trondheim.
"Visitors can explore garden allotments, a herbal hotel, green shared housing, organic food and second-hand shops," says Evjen.
Lilleby is basically an industrial area where townhouses and apartments are now being built with focus on the environment and sustainability. While here, you can also enjoy exciting food concepts such as Credo, Jossa and Finnes.
During the past 10-15 years, it is commonly known that Grünerløkka is often referred to as Oslo's hippest district.
There are a plethora of independent small shops here, as well as new and exciting restaurants, relaxing green areas and a relatively young population. In recent years, this district has also got a new food hall, which offers the very best of Norwegian fresh produce, fish and meat.
However, there are other exciting parts of the city and areas where a lot is happening that should be of interest to travellers who are seeking out cultural experiences, distinctive shopping and eating well, according to Sonja L. Birch-Olsen, communications manager at VisitOslo.
"For example, a lot of exciting things are happening at Tøyen, which has numerous night spots and restaurants such as Human Mote, The Golden Chimp, Brutus, Gurken Gurken Gurken Gurken, Nord & Natt, Grådi and Postkontoret to name but a few,” she says.
Centrally-located areas include Youngsgata and parts of Torggata, which are particularly interesting when it comes to night spots and watering holes - and if you are extra interested in beer, you should find plenty of places to check out here.
"I also want to mention Landbrukskvartalet in the Grønland district, a place where much will be happening in the future. This is where Bruket Oslo recently opened, which focuses on sustainability, culture, food and drinking experiences," says Birch-Olsen.
Back to top