National Geographic’s Intelligent Traveler is hosting a holiday series called My City Celebrates. Again, I was inspired, so without further ado, here’s how Oslo celebrates Christmas.

Oslo Celebrates
Cool photo of Frogner Park, photo credit: cris – as used in the Nat Geo feature

Oslo Celebrates

When I need a dose of holiday cheer, I always take in a concert with Sølvguttene (The Silver Boys).

The best place to grab a cup of cocoa after a vigorous hike is Frognerseteren. In the city center, try a steaming mug of gløgg (a delicious spicy winter drink served with raisins and chopped almonds–with or without alcohol) at the Christmas market by City Hall.

Oslo celebrates with sports
If you want to find great sledding, check out Korketrekker’n (the Corkscrew). The 2,000-meter-run takes about ten minutes at full speed. Rent a sledge from Akeforeningen (Oslo tobogganing association).

Strap on your skates at Narvisen on Oslo’s main street Karl Johan and enjoy the view of the National Theatre, Parliament, and the Royal Palace.

For a classic holiday photo op, be sure to check out the roof of the Opera House, which offers fantastic wintry views of the Oslo fjord.

A great place to take kids of any age during the season is Tryvann Winter Park, just 20 minutes by metro from the city center. Rent skis or snowboards and try one of the 14 slopes or miles and miles of cross-country tracks.

For all of your gift-giving shopping in one store, check out Sandvika Storsenter, Scandinavia’s biggest shopping mall.

The open-air Norsk Folkemuseum (Museum of Cutural History) has the best markets. Be sure to pick up some pepper cookies to nibble on with your gløgg. Another fun option is the alternative market hosted by the hard rock/jazz venue Blå for a more retro selection.

Oslo celebrates with food
No holiday meal in my city is complete without lutefisk (cod soaked in lye) and multekrem (cloudberries and cream). And Akevitt.

My favorite holiday tradition in my city is watching the Norwegian National Ballet perform The Nutcracker at the Opera House.

Locals know to avoid the throngs of last-minute holiday shoppers in the city center and find the real magic on the Oslo fjord. A minicruise on an old, wooden sailing boat takes you past Akershus Fortress, the Opera House, the outlying islands, and Bygdøy peninsula; all covered in snow. Beautiful!

The best part about my city during the holiday season is cross-country skiing by moonlight in Nordmarka forest.


Links are on the original National Geographic article.