At Parkteatret (the old cinema at Grünerlkka) you will find an exciting theater company that has performed a number of interesting plays. Nordic Black Theater is a drama school specifically aimed at young people with origins in Third World countries. It readily experiments with alternative methods and forms of expression. This is a good place to visit if you are looking for a different and unusual theatrical experience.
Inspired by the Norwegian wilderness, the Oslo Opera House is a marvel of modern architecture and the home of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet. The glass facade of the playhouse is embraced by a marble roof that swoops down to its base in a graceful arch, inviting the audience to take a walk on the roof and drink in sweeping views of the waterfront. Inside, the spacious hall is a tapestry of textures and patterns designed by local artists; a visual and tactile experience that mimics the country's natural wonders. The concert hall itself is illuminated by a moon-like chandelier of hand-cast glass bars, beneath which sprawls a horseshoe chamber replete in wood. On stage, the Oslo Opera House hosts a diverse program of the performing arts, showcasing classical performances alongside contemporary renditions by some of the world's best-known artists. A cultural and artistic pearl, the Oslo Opera House is a contemporary wonder that was built to be touched by the masses.
Vigeland Park is the world's largest sculpture park dedicated to the work of a single artist, and an ode to one man's obsession with the human form. The park displays over 200 sculptures fashioned from granite, bronze and wrought iron by the Norwegian artist, Gustav Vigeland, created over a period of 20 years from 1924 to 1943. In fact, the park itself was designed by the famed sculptor and is actually a mammoth installation in Frogner Park. Vigeland's work varies from depictions of humans engaged in everyday tasks, to more symbolic and abstract works like The Monolith, a 14.12-meter (46.33-foot) high sculpture composed of 121 human figures intended to represent the human desire to reach out to the divine. Other notable sculptures include The Wheel of Life and The Fountain. Although each is a masterpiece in its own right, the interplay with the layout and architecture of the park creates a whole that is more amazing than the sum of its parts. Today, Vigeland Park is one of Oslo's most popular attractions, visited by over one million tourists each year.
Holmenkollbakken on the west side of the city is famous for the enormous ski jump that can be seen from just about everywhere in Oslo. The most popular sports arena in Norway, Holmenkollen also contains the world's oldest Ski Museum and an exciting ski-simulator (on which visitors can try out the Holmenkollen ski jump themselves!). Holmenkollen hosts a variety of winter sports events, culminating in the annual ski festival in March. Even those not interested in winter sports should not miss the chance to enjoy the spectacular panoramic view of the city.
The former studio of sculptor Gustav Vigeland's lesser-known brother, Emanuel, is now a combined museum and mausoleum. The windowless, church-like room plays tricks on your eyes when you enter, but after a few minutes an impressive mural covering the walls and ceiling will unravel, a truly awe-inspiring representation of entire human life.
Norsk Folkemuseum, the open-air museum that has been giving visitors a peek into a life-sized past for over a century, contains more than 150 authentic buildings from different regions. The buildings date from as far back as medieval times, including the 13th-century Gol Stave Church. The permanent exhibition features sections on handicrafts, traditional clothing and the culture of the Sami people. A souvenir shop, cafe and restaurant are located on the grounds.
This is Oslo's main street, a pedestrian area leading from the central station to the palace. Visitors can watch the world go by at one of the street's numerous watering holes or simply follow the crowds down the road, past street vendors and entertainers, past the parliament, national theatre, Grand Hotel and the university. With hundreds of different shops, the street is also a Mecca for shopaholics. The park between the parliament and national theater is turned into an ice-rink in the winter.
The Parliament building houses the Norwegian Storting (Parliament) and dates back to 1866. The magnificent building was designed by the renowned architect Emil Victor Langlet. The facade is a beautiful blend of styles, mainly inspired from Italy and France. Visitors can enroll themselves for a guided tour of the entire structure. Private tours for groups can also be arranged upon request. The tours last approximately one hour. Admission is free.
Det Norske Teatret is the only theater in Oslo where all the plays are presented in Nynorsk (contemporary Norwegian), the country's second written language. During the last few years it has been the most popular theater in Norway. The large, modern theater building also hosts exhibitions, Saturday matinees, and "Poems at Lunchtime" (daily in the Bistro). The theater has three stages and is equipped with an IR system for those in need of a hearing aid.
The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design contains a stunning collection of pre-war art. Many of Norway's most famous paintings are on permanent display here, such as Tidemand and Gude's Brudeferd i Hardanger and several paintings by Munch, including The Scream (known as Skrik) and Madonna. A smaller part of the museum is devoted to French painters like Delacroix and Picasso. In addition to the permanent collection, the museum arranges for seminars. There is a small museum shop, where guests can purchase memorabilia.
The National Theater, steeped in tradition, is located by Karl Johans Gate and is something of a national symbol. The theater hosts mainly - but not exclusively - Norwegian plays and a mix of classics and more modern works. The National Theater celebrated its hundredth anniversary in 1999. On site you will also find a café, as well as equipment for those with hearing difficulties. Guided tours can be arranged.
With its six screens in the heart of the city, the Saga multiplex is perhaps the largest and most important movie theater in Oslo. This is a family cinema that shows a wide variety of films, both Norwegian and foreign. Filmeffekten, a film memorabilia shop, is located in the lower hall at Saga. If you are lucky, you might also meet Småen - the funniest ticket collector in the city!