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11 Best Things to Do in Oslo with Kids

Norway is known for its stunning natural beauty with its fjords and forests, waterfalls, and Northern Lights. Oslo is all of this and more with its world-class museums and architecture on display throughout the city and along its beautiful waterfront. The city is extremely family-friendly and easy to navigate using your feet or public transportation. The capital of Norway will delight the whole family in many ways, but I’m sharing what I think are the 11 best things to do in Oslo with kids.

What Not to Miss in Oslo with Kids

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Unforgettable Things to Do in Oslo with Kids

1. Explore the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History

The best place to start your family adventure in Oslo is at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, also called the Norwegian Folk Museum (and Norse Folkemuseum). 

An easy and enjoyable way to reach this museum is to take a ferry to the Bygdøy Peninsula, a service that runs from April through October.

The ferry leaves every 20-30 minutes from the pier and makes two stops: one at Dronningen (for the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History and Viking Ship Museum) and at Bygdøynes (for the Kon-Tiki, Fram, and Norwegian Maritime Museum). 

Visit Oslo with Kids Norwegian Cultural Museum Kids Are A Trip
Each area of the museum is a step back in time.

There’s a bus that runs year-round if you prefer that option. No matter how you arrive, you will be blown away by Norway’s largest collection of cultural history.

This open-air museum also features some indoor exhibits. The property features 160 structures from different periods and places throughout Norway as well as a complete stave church from Gol dated to 1200.

As guests walk through the property, they’re greeted by people dressed in traditional costumes performing daily tasks such as chopping lumber and tending farm animals.

This is a fabulous way to learn about Norway’s history and traditions while enjoying the outdoors. If you have small children you’ll appreciate having the free space to run around.

2. Head to the Holmenkollen Ski Museum and Ski Jump tower

Holmenkollen Ski Museum & Tower is one of Oslo’s top attractions, and it’s a great place to bring the kids! Just a quick metro ride out of town to the Holmenkollen metro stop and you will enjoy Oslo from an entirely different perspective.

Holmenkollen hosts World Cup Nordic skiing events every year and has the world’s oldest skiing museum with over 4000 years of skiing history on display. Plus, the newly renovated ski museum was just redone for its 100th anniversary, so it’s a big deal.

 There’s a ski simulator allowing visitors to feel what a ski jump would be like, and a new zipline that takes you over the Holmenkollen Ski Jump! The main attraction is the observation deck at the top of the ski jump, where you’ll enjoy amazing views of Oslo below.

3. Visit Akershus Fortress with Kids

If your kids have seen the movie “Frozen,” you’ll want to make a stop at Akershus Fortress, which was the inspiration for Elsa and Anna’s castle! Even if they haven’t, it’s worth a visit to this beautiful medieval fortress on the waterfront.

The castle and royal residence were both built in 1299 and went through many fortifications to protect the city from sieges over the years. In the 19th century, the fortress was used as a prison, but the majority of the complex still retains much of its original grandeur.

What to Do in Oslo with Kids Akershus Fortress-Kids Are A Trip
The banquet hall inside Akershus Fortress.

Visitors will enjoy learning about the history of the castle and exploring the banquet halls and royal rooms.

Note the wallpaper pattern in the banquet hall is the same one found in Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at Walt Disney World! I only noticed when I visited WDW on a subsequent trip. It’s fun to connect the dots between the two places.

Walking the grounds of the fortress is free, there is only an admission fee to enter the buildings.

Note the wallpaper pattern in the banquet hall is the same one found in Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at Walt Disney World. I only noticed when I visited WDW on a subsequent trip. It’s fun to connect the dots between the two. Walking the grounds of the fortress is free, there is only an admission fee to enter the buildings.

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4. Visit the Fram Polar Ship Museum

The Fram was the first wooden ship ever built for Norway to make polar expeditions and it still holds the records for sailing the farthest north and farthest south.

At the Fram Museum, you can go on board the ship and learn how the crew was able to survive the two most dangerous places on Earth, the Arctic, and Antarctic. You will feel like you’re stepping back and time to see what life was like with the polar simulator!

What to Do in Oslo, Norway Visit The Fram Museum-Kids Are A Trip
The Fram is easy to reach by ferry.

There are other ships on the premises, the Gjøa and the Maud. Young explorers will love the interactive exhibits and everyone will be surprised by these tales of survival.

Located on the nearby Bygdøy Peninsula, the Fram Museum is easy to reach by ferry.

5. Spend the Day at the TusenFryd Amusement Park

If your family loves theme parks, you’ll want to plan a trip out to the TusenFryd Amusement Park. Located just outside of Oslo, it’s Norway’s largest amusement park, featuring over 30 rides and attractions.

The park is open late April through mid-October, and includes a water park during the summer months. It is packed with a wealth of playgrounds, water play areas, and rides just for younger kids!

To get to TusenFryd, the best thing to do is use public transportation, especially since you won’t need a car the rest of the time you’re in Oslo. Just take Route 505 from Oslo bus terminal towards TusenFryd.

6. Stop in the Kon Tiki Museum

In 1947 Thor Heyerdahl gained worldwide fame when he sailed across the Pacific Ocean on a balsa wood raft named Kon-Tiki. At the Kon-Tiki Museum, visitors can learn about Thor’s voyage and his subsequent expeditions on reed boats, the Ra and the Tigris.

Families might enjoy watching the movie “Kon-Tiki” before heading to the museum to put everything in context. Not a big museum, but fascinating to think Thor was able to conquer the ocean on a raft.

7. Stroll around downtown Oslo

Norway’s capital city is very walkable and our kids enjoyed strolling along and taking in the sights. We walked from the magnificent Oslo Opera House (where you can walk on the roof), over to the Central Oslo train station, and down the main thoroughfare, Karl Johans Gate.

Visit The Oslo Opera House with Kids-Kids Are A Trip
The unique Oslo Opera House is fun for kids to explore.

Along the way we stumbled across a beach volleyball tournament, street performers, a gelato shop (where we stopped of course), a bookstore, and finally the Royal Palace. It was a long walk, but we took our time and the kids enjoyed every moment!

8. Explore Vigeland Sculpture Park

If you’re looking for outdoor activities in Oslo, the Vigeland Park is worth exploring. This city park features grand open spaces and 200 whimsical sculptures by the beloved sculpture artist, Gustave Vigeland.

In the summer, you can grab a picnic, hop on a tram, and explore at your leisure. The kids will enjoy the freedom of running around the park. In the winter, it’s still worth a visit to see the fascinating bronze, wrought iron, and granite sculptures trimmed with snow!

9. Learn at the International Museum of Children’s Art

The International Museum of Children’s Art is an inspirational visit for the whole family. The first of its kind, it’s the first museum dedicated solely to art created by children from around the world.

The museum is a great way to inspire young artists, and older kids will appreciate the social topics many of the exhibits address through art. Younger children will have the best time at this interactive museum with all of the hands-on activities available to them.

Just keep in mind that the museum is closed from mid-December through mid-January each year.

10. Visit the Oslo Central Station

At some point during your visit to Oslo with kids, you’ll end up in Oslo Central Station. I suggest planning to spend a little time exploring the station before or after a journey!

In addition to being the central hub of the capital city of Norway, it features absolutely stunning interiors, a bustling and vibrant atmosphere, and a variety of shops.

Take your time perusing bookshops, boutiques, and souvenir shops here. There are also several cafes and eateries offering a range of cuisines, perfect for the family to grab a quick bite or sit down for a meal.

11. Take a sunset cruise

During your family adventure in Oslo, don’t miss out on a magical sunset cruise! Watch the city buildings turn dark and see landmarks like the Opera House and the Akershus Fortress from a new perspective. It’s like a scenic history lesson without the classroom!

Oslo harbor cruise

This might just be what everyone needs after a day of exploring the city. And let’s not forget the photos! A sunset cruise offers some of the most photogenic backdrops you could ask for.

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So, be sure to include a sunset cruise in your Oslo itinerary. It’s a wonderful way to see the city from a different angle and enjoy some quality family time.

How to save money with an Oslo Pass

Many of the attractions I mentioned can be visited for free with an Oslo Pass. This includes admission to over 30 museums and attractions, free public transportation, free parking in public car parks, and many other perks.

If you don’t wish to buy an Oslo Pass, many attractions offer discounted family passes to their attractions.

Where to Stay in Oslo with Kids

Oslo is expensive, but we found reasonable lodging for our family of five at Thon Hotel Panorama which included breakfast and was a short walk to the main train station and the central downtown area. Head to Peppe’s for pizza which can be shared as an inexpensive meal.

Families might also enjoy the newly opened Sommerro with a year-round rooftop pool and some amazing city views. The property is housed in the former headquarters of the city’s electric company.

Sommerro Junior Suite - Francisco Nogueira
Photo: Francisco Nogueira

It offers unique Art Deco rooms, 7 on-property restaurants and bars, its own cinema, and live entertainment on a regular basis. Located in the city’s west end, families will have easy access to Frogner Park, shopping, and Aker Brygge Wharf.

Another good option for families in Oslo is Amerikalinjen, adjacent to the Central Station, in the former Norwegian America Line headquarters. This means guests have easy access to the Oslo Opera House and the city center.

Amerikalinjen exterior Oslo hotel
Photo: Francisco Nogueira

The rooms are elegantly decorated, and the common spaces and restaurants are stunning and inviting. There’s also a well-equipped fitness center and Finnish sauna if parents want a break.

Located in the city’s west end, families will have easy access to Frogner Park, shopping, and Aker Brygge Wharf.

How to get from Oslo airport to Oslo

Getting to/from the airport is easy with Fly to Get. It is a train service that leaves from the central train station to the airport and vice versa. We found taxis to be cost-prohibitive for our family of five, so we used this service instead.

Oslo is a beautiful place to explore on your own or with your family. Before our visit, I wasn’t quite sure the city was kid-friendly, but as you can see, there is quite a bit to explore.

Looking for more information about Norway? Check out 7 Reasons to Visit Norway with Kids and Best Travel Tips for Visiting Scandinavia and the Baltics or some of our favorite resources.

Europe Travel Tips

Book Your Flights – You can find discounted fares using sites like Momondo or Skyscanner. If you want to keep an eye on discount fares, we suggest signing up for Scott’s Cheap Flights, a daily newsletter with flight sales around the world.

If you travel frequently, consider investing in a Priority Pass for airport lounge access. It’s nice to have a space where you can relax before your flight.

Book Your Accommodation

We regularly use Expedia.com and Hotels.com to find lodging when we travel. It’s a great way to compare vacation rentals, hotels, and resorts.

If your family knows they want to stay in a vacation rental, we recommend looking at VRBO and Plum Guide.

Book Your Transportation

For rental car agencies, try Rentalcars.com. We tend to use Hertz simply for the quality of service. If you need airport transfers, we recommend Welcome Pickups.

When traveling in Europe, we use AutoEurope to make our bookings. They find the best rates and allow you to compare different car rental agencies. Europcar is another option. If you plan to take the train, we recommend using Rail Europe.

Book Your Tours and Travel Photos

We regularly used companies like Viator and GetYourGuide to book tours when we travel. Both have great communication and a large variety of activities that work for all ages. Other companies to look at include Tours by Locals and Withlocals.

If you’re visiting a city with multiple attractions, be sure to check out a discount pass, such as CityPASS or Go City. Both are worthwhile investments.

Context Travel is another option and they offer more educational-based activities. The former teacher in me loves their tours. For unique, curated activities, check out Headout.

One of our favorite things to do annually is taking photos with Flytographer. They have photographers around the world and we’ve used them on four separate occasions. This is our favorite travel souvenir.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

With the state of travel these days, it’s important to have some type of travel insurance to cover any unforeseen accidents, illnesses, threats, or cancellations. We always travel with insurance and would recommend SquareMouth, Travelex, or Medjet as good options. And if you want to compare different insurance options, use Travel Insurance Master or World Nomads to find the best policy for your group.