1. Culture Shopping
The trendy Tjuv-holmen neighborhood (a.k.a. Thief Island), sitting on a peninsula that juts into the Oslo Fjord inlet, is an oasis of contemporary art and design on the newly revitalized waterfront. Renzo Piano designed the building that hosts the new district’s pièce de résistance, Astrup Fearnley Museet. Once centered on American art, its collection has transformed into an international who’s-who of the modern art scene: Damien Hirst, Matthew Barney, Maurizio Cattelan, Takashi Murakami. Next door, the impeccably appointed boutique hotel the Thief opened by an art-collecting billionaire, showcases famous designers along with up-and-coming Norwegian talent—not to mention the views from room balconies that open up to the lapping waves of the Oslo Fjord.
2. Roasting Frenzy
Blame the midnight sun, but Oslo’s inhabitants have coffee coursing through their veins. The 1960s-era coffee shop Fuglen tipped off a kaffe frenzy when it was reimagined as a midcentury furniture store offering exquisite coffee by day and craft cocktails by night. Microroaster and former world barista champion Tim Wendelboe sources sustainable beans from all over the world and serves new flavor profiles at his slender espresso bar in Grünerløkka. The beautifully branded Jacu Coffee Roastery best expresses the New Nordic style of light roasts. Sample their smooth style at the coffee bar within Scotch & Soda, a super-cool retail shop in Aker Brygge. Order a short kaffe at Java Espressobar & Kaffeforretning and drink it black to get the jolt you need to power through the next 24 hours.
3. Scandi Sampling
New Scandinavian cuisine collides with European market-hall tradition at Mathallen, where you weave your way through a series of high-end specialty shops, cafés and tasting stations to order baskets of reker (peel-and-eat shrimp) and bottles of microbrew. The much-lauded, Michelin-starred Maaemo has sprouted the casual restaurant Kolonihagen and, with its locally procured menu, more effortless Scandinavian minimalism—bare floorboards, bricks and bulbs. Locals gather at Pjoltergeist for Asian-Icelandic bites served on china bearing the Scandi cartoon character Mumin. Nummer 19 is the unequivocal cocktail spot for well-mixed drinks such as the inverted vesper. Pace yourself, though, as young Scandinavians drink like fish and the Norwegian currency (the krone) is going strong.