The last few years, Oslo’s Grünerløkka area may have stolen the headlines when it comes to hip districts. But all the major cities in Norway have cool neighbourhoods where locals go to hang out, eat great food and have a good time.
Grünerløkka in Oslo is regularly included when foreign newspapers write about “hip” European districts. The cafes, restaurants, shops and the food court Mathallen are frequently mentioned, and UK-based The Telegraph called the district “the Shoreditch of Oslo” when they wrote about 27 of the world’s best hipster neighbourhoods.
Still, it's not only the capital that has districts that stand out. Nowadays, you’ll find exciting areas with special niche shops, cafes and restaurants in cities across Norway.
Do you need some tips for enjoyable urban activities? Here are Norway's hippest districts:
According to Linn Falkenberg 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, a digital magazine that specialises in nightlife, fashion, culture and the music scene in Bergen.
Utetrend.no 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 the sound gallery Østre, which often transforms into a festive club scene with electronic music when darkness falls. Or you can visit Litteraturhuset (the Literature House), where you can catch exciting debates and lectures, in addition to enjoying breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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 in 2007 when 46 people each invested 10,000 kroner in an after-party idea for a "pub that everyone would want to go to".
Get the locals’ tips to Bergen.
Several districts in Stavanger 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 some 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 is also home to the Michelin restaurant Sabi Omakase and the super cosy bakery Ostehuset Øst.
Stavanger East has a vibrant and innovative feel. It’s often called Stavanger’s “Silicon Valley”, and the Innovation Dock entrepreneurial arena plays an important role. In the aftermath of creating this coworking space, many cosy cafes and pubs are highlighting local beers or organic tea, and the new food hall in Stavanger is also located here.
The Fargegaten street, 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 changed.
“Today, this is Stavanger's own hipster area, and Fargegaten has become an attraction with cafes, pubs, restaurants, and alternative niche shops”, says Lene Lunde.
Get the locals’ tips to Stavanger.
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, coworking sites and cafes”, says McKenna Starck, Marketing & Communications Manager of Visit Trondheim.
The people living in the Bakklandet area, are a mix of young and old. But with its own festival and Christmas Market, the neighbourhood is used year-round by everyone in Trondheim.
When you’re visiting this city, you should also make your way to the green and lush Lademoen and Lilleby.
“Visitors can explore garden allotments, a herbal hotel, green shared housing, organic food and second-hand shops”, says Starck.
Lilleby is basically an industrial area where townhouses and apartments are built with a focus on the environment and sustainability. Here, you can also enjoy exciting food concepts such as Credo, Jossa and Finnes.
Get the locals’ tips to Trondheim.
While visiting Tromsø, Storgata is a must. Here, you'll find popular sites such as Bastard, Skarven and Helmersen.
“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 the part of town where you meet the most people, there are several urban development projects underway, both along the harbour promenade towards the south side of the city and the Telegrafbukta bay, as well as north of the city centre, he says.
District Vervet at the foot of the Tromsø Bridge has already opened its first bakery. Here are also apartments and commercial premises in full development. Nearby, you can also try tasty surprises at restaurants such as Hildr, Burgr or restaurant Smak.
If you want to enjoy the local vibe, check out the bar menu at Verdensteatret, test 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.
Get the locals' tips to Tromsø.
For the past 10-15 years, Grünerløkka has often referred to as Oslo's hippest district.
There are many small independent shops here, as well as new and exciting restaurants, relaxing green areas, and a relatively young population. The food hall Mathallen offers the very best of Norwegian fresh produce, fish and meat.
There are, however, other exiting parts of the capital that should interest travellers who seek cultural experiences, distinctive shopping and good food, according to Sonja L. Birch-Olsen, communications manager at VisitOslo.
“A lot of exciting things are happening at Tøyen, for example, a place with numerous nightspots and restaurants such as Human Mote, The Golden Chimp, Brutus, Nord & Natt, Grådi and Postkontoret to name a few”, she says.
Centrally-located areas include Youngsgata and parts of Torggata, known for their nightspots and watering holes – and if you are extra interested in beer, you should find plenty of places to check out here. There is also a wide selection of fun game bars, including Oche Oslo dart club, Norway’s first chess bar The good night, Rendezvous Bar & Biljard, and Oslo Camping, which has an 18-hole mini-golf course.
“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 drink experiences”, says Birch-Olsen.
Get the locals' tips to Oslo.
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