Illustration of map of Oslo
Annika Huett

How to Spend a Day in Oslo’s Bjørvika District, Home to the Munch Museum

The new institution is just the latest reason to spend a day in Oslos coolest neighborhood. 

Over the last 15 years, new arrivals to Oslo's harborside Bjørvika district, like the marble-and-glass façade of the Oslo Opera House and the Astrup Fearnley Museum, have turned it from an industrial wasteland to a modern-architecture hub. In October, it got another world-class cultural destination when the Estudio Herreros–designed Munch Museum opened to reveal 11 galleries housing the world's most extensive collection from the Norwegian master, including several versions of The Scream. The 13th-floor terrace bar, Kranen, is already a hot hangout. Here, how to turn a visit to the museum into a full day in the neighborhood.

The concept space

Launched more than a decade ago as a nomadic art and food project, Salt now has a permanent home in Oslo, where its tall wooden “fish racks” host live music and exhibitions. Visitors can browse the outdoor food hall, eat waffles in the cozy Boat House, and sweat in six waterfront saunas.

The landmark

With or without concert tickets, visitors are invited to walk across the sloping roof of the Snøhetta-designed Oslo Opera House and enter the lobby to view artworks by the likes of Olafur Eliasson. The building debuted in 2008, heralding the beginning of Bjørvika's regeneration. Last summer, Operastranda, a 328-foot-long public beach, opened out front.

The wellness break

Floating saunas are the hottest trend on the cool Oslofjord. The two biggest operators are KoK, which has four sauna boats, and the Oslo Badstuforening, whose biggest facility, Bademaschinen, opened this summer. Visitors can steam in its two saunas, then jump into the icy water for a natural endorphin rush.

The watering hole

Trendy wine bars are also popular in Oslo, but none can compete with the location or selection of Vin Bjørvika on Munch Brygge, next to the museum. There are more than 100 wines by the glass and 600 bottles from New Zealand to Napa to choose from while you take in the fjord views.

The brunch spot

Behind a bubble-gum-pink door lies the Vandelay, the lower-key sibling of chef Esben Holmboe Bang's Michelin-starred Maaemo. It's packed at any hour, but brunch pulls in an especially big crowd of diners, who come seeking subtly Nordic-influenced classics such as fluffy pancakes with birch syrup and avocado on rye.

The eco shop

Known for timeless, versatile garments inspired by Norwegian architecture and Scandinavian minimalism, the sustainably minded label Envelope1976 opened its first brick-and-mortar location in September. The design ethos extends to the store itself, where everything from the racks to the decor is made from surplus or repurposed materials.

This article appeared in the December 2021 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. Subscribe to the magazine here.