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Oslo, Norway is a fabulous, family-friendly city. It is clean, safe, easy to navigate without a car, and filled with fun and interesting museums, parks, and attractions for kids and adults alike. Luckily, for families visiting Oslo with kids, you may be pleasantly surprised to find many of the things to do in Oslo are actually free for kids or deeply discounted. For the budget-conscious family, that is a welcome benefit considering Oslo is one of the most expensive cities in Europe.
Although one of the best Scandinavian cities to visit, Oslo, Norway is a pricey destination! But there are definitely ways you can save money in Oslo, even if visiting Oslo, Norway with children.
This family friendly guide to Oslo with kids, includes the best activities for kids in Oslo, a 2-day itinerary, lodging recommendations, and tips to save money during your visit.
Where to stay in Oslo with kids
As the capital of Norway, Oslo is a fairly large city. Many of the museums and best activities in Oslo for kids are somewhat spread out requiring you to use public transportation or drive to get to them. But it’s a good idea to stay in the city center, especially if you only have 2 days in Oslo.
We arrived by car after spending a few days in Copenhagen, and along the Sweden West Coast. After 2 days in Oslo, we were planning to take an early train to the beautiful village of Flam to see the fjords of central Norway, and then onto Bergen, Norway’s second largest city. So, we found it most convenient to stay near the central train station. Although it is slightly more expensive to stay in central Oslo than elsewhere in the city, it allows you to maximize your time.
We stayed at Scandic Byporten which is perhaps the closest hotel to the train station. It is literally connected to the station, as well as a shopping mall. The rooms were small, but the hotel was nice, modern, and included a delicious breakfast buffet served at the restaurant next door.
CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR STAY AT SCANDIC BYPORTEN.
2 days in Oslo itinerary for families
There is plenty to do in Oslo in 2 days. When I first started planning our Scandinavia itinerary, I didn’t realize all there was to do in Oslo. But once I started really researching, I found out that 2 days in Oslo with kids isn’t really enough to see and experience everything. However, if you have a limited amount of time, this 2-day Oslo itinerary allows you time to hit the highlights and experience all the top things to do in Oslo.
Day 1 in Oslo
- Shop or take a stroll down Karls Johans Gate
- National Theater
- Tour Slottsplassen and Royal Palace
- View the famous artwork “The Scream” at The National Museum (opening in 2022)
- Lunch near Karls Johans Gate or the National Theater
- Tour the Nobel Peace Center
- Explore Frogner Park
Day 2 in Oslo
- Oslo City Hall
- Take an OsloFjord cruise
- Visit The Fram Museum
- Kon-Tiki Museum
- See a real viking ship at the Viking Museum (reopening in 2025)
- Experience Norway throughout history at the Norwegian Cultural History
- Holmenkollen Ski Museum
FIND THE TOP-RATED GUIDED WALKING TOURS AND OTHER OSLO TOURS AND ACTIVITIES HERE.
Things to do in Oslo with kids
With exceptional playgrounds and lots of family-friendly restaurants, Oslo is a great European city to visit with kids. It is so kid-friendly in fact that it is hard to create an Oslo itinerary for just two days, because there will inevitably be things you’ll miss.
While this 2-day Oslo itinerary only hits the top highlights in the city, if you are looking for additional activities we include a few other things to do in Oslo with kids that your little ones will love at the end.
Karls Johans Gate
Karl Johans Gate is a popular pedestrian shopping street that runs from the central train station in Oslo to Slottsplassen and the Royal Palace. You’ll find a number of top attractions, restaurants, stores, and souvenir shops along the street. It is a great place to take a stroll, people watch, or spend some time browsing for a keepsake.
Named after King Charles John, or Karl Johan in Norwegian, the avenue is the main street in Oslo. A statue of the late king that gives the street its name also stands in front of the Royal Palace.
Slottsplassen and The Royal Palace
The Royal Palace is situated at one end of Karl Johans Gate. Since 1824 when it was built, the palace has been considered one of the most important historical buildings in Norway. It serves as the main residence of the King and Queen of Norway, and it is where the monarchy conducts state business, like hosting foreign leaders.
Slottsplassen is the main plaza in front of The Royal Palace. This is where you can watch the changing of the royal guards every afternoon at 1:30 p.m., and where the royal family will appear on the palace balcony and greet crowds. Additionally, you can walk around the grounds of the palace free of charge. You’ll find love gardens in the Palace Park, as well as interesting sculptures, ponds, shade trees and flowers.
Visiting the interior of the palace itself requires a guided tour and can only be done during the summer months when the palace is open to the public, from late June until the middle of August. On a guided tour, you’ll get to see the Banqueting Hall, Royal Ballroom and the Bird Room, where those seeking an audience with Norway’s monarchs will wait. There are a few other rooms included on the tour, as well.
The area in front of and surrounding the National Theater in Oslo is a lively scene. Musicians, festivals, and food vendors can often be found catering to crowds outside the National Theater. There is a lovely park with a large fountain that is a great place to let kids run around before continuing with the rest of your itinerary.
Situated between the Royal Palace and the Parliament of Norway, the theater is a cultural heritage site that dates back to the 1800s. The ornate building was officially inaugurated in 1899 and remains the primary venue in Oslo for theatrical productions and stage events.
We did not go inside or see a performance, but if your children love theater, this would be a great place to return in the evening and take in a show.
National Museum (Opening in June 2022)
Opening in June 2022, the National Museum in Oslo, Norway is the largest art museum in the Nordic region of Europe. The museum is a consolidation of the National Gallery, which closed in January 2019, the Museum of Architecture, Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. It houses one of the most famous paintings in the world, The Scream by Edvard Munch, which used to hang in the National Gallery.
Just a short walk from Slottsplassen and The Royal Palace, the National Museum is conveniently located in Rådhusplassen, near City Hall and the Nobel Peace Center.
The museum houses an impressive 5,000 works of art, so spend some time walking through and appreciating the different rooms and exhibitions. Young kids probably won’t appreciate this part of the itinerary, unless you have a little artist on your hands, but you can’t visit Oslo and not see The Scream. Besides, admission is included with the Oslo Pass and kids are free.
Nobel Peace Center
The Nobel Peace Center is another portion of your 2-day Oslo itinerary that younger kids might not appreciate to the full extent. However, it’s an important look at history and a good lesson in world peace if visiting Oslo with kids.
Housed in a former train station near Rådhusplassen in the heart of Oslo, the Nobel Peace Center is inspiring and, as the name eludes, peaceful. Visitors can take a self-guided walking tour through the center while reading about all the people and organizations that have changed the world and made it a better place. There is a lot of reading in this museum, so the experience is geared more toward adults. However, you can get an audio guide free of charge in either English or Norwegian, if you prefer that to reading the signage. There are also a few kids’ stations throughout the museum that explain things on a more child-friendly level.
You don’t have to spend long in the museum but it’s worth visiting and reflecting on the various topical events highlighted in the museum related to peace, human rights, and conflict resolution.
Of course, the room of past Nobel Peace Prize winners is the highlight of the self-guided tour. The exhibition of tablets in a dark room showcases all the people who have won the Nobel Peace Prize and their societal contribution.
Frogner Park is the largest park in central Oslo. Inside the public park you’ll find the largest sculpture park in the world created by a single sculptor. Vigeland Sculpture Park, which is free to visit, includes more than 200 sculptures in an outdoor, open air exhibit. Each sculpture tells a beautiful story about human life and its various stages from infancy to death.
Gustav Vigeland is the famous artist behind the park’s statues. He spent his life creating the many sculptures within the park. The most notable sculpture in the park, titled The Angry Boy, is perhaps one of the most famous statues in Europe. The sculpture depicts an upset toddler boy in the midst of a tantrum. While touching the sculptures is discouraged, so many people have touched the hand of The Angry Boy over the years that it has become shiny in comparison to the rest of the now dull, bronze statue. In fact, the city has even had to reinforce the sculpture at times, taking measures like dipping the hand in wax to provide a layer of protection for the bronze statue.
Frogner Park also has a world-class playground that you’ll definitely want to stop at if visiting Oslo with children. Kids of all-ages will love climbing all over the equipment with its different challenges and obstacles.
If you aren’t planning on exploring other parts of Norway or taking the Norway in Nutshell tour, then the Oslofjord tour is the closest thing you will get to seeing the majestic fjords Norway is known for.
Although not as narrow and stunning as some of the other fjords in Norway, the Oslofjord is still beautiful. The inlet is part of the Skagerrak strait which extends from Oslo to the North Sea and the Kattegat Sea.
Take a sightseeing fjord cruise or dinner cruise, go on a guided kayaking tour, or just hop on a ferry and take it across to the Bygdøy peninsula to see at least a small portion of the fjord. You’ll spend most of your second day in Oslo on the Bygdøy peninsula anyway, since many of Oslo’s most popular and kid-friendly museums are located there.
The Fram Museum
The Fram Museum on the Bygdøy peninsula is a must for anyone visiting Oslo, Norway. The fascinating museum tells the story of early polar exploration in Norway. Visitors can tour and go inside the Fram, the actual ship used to explore the Arctic in the late 1800s. The Fram was the strongest wooden shop ever built, and still holds the records for sailing the farthest north and south.
In the museum, you can also walk through a polar simulator, which our child did multiple times. The simulator lets you briefly experience the extremely cold temperatures felt by the Fram’s crew members during polar exploration. As one of Oslo’s top-rated museums, it is impressive, educational, and fun for kids and adults alike.
The Kon-Tiki Museum is directly across a small street from The Fram Museum. While The Fram Museum depicts polar exploration aboard a giant wooden ship, The Kon-Tiki Museum tells the story of a Norwegian explorer who journeyed from Peru to Polynesia on a raft! The original Kon-Tiki raft which carried explorer Thor Heyerdahl across the Pacific Ocean in 1947, is on exhibit in the museum.
Heyerdahl was one of the most famous, world-renowned explorers in the 1900s. He was also a champion for environmental issues, sustainability and world peace.
Beneath the Kon-Tiki raft, visitors can also experience life under the sea, with models of fish and sharks that Heyerdahl undoubtedly came into contact with during his journey.
It is a quick museum to visit and will inspire a sense of curiosity and adventure in little explorers.
Viking Museum / The Museum of the Viking Age (under renovations until 2025)
The vikings are one of the most intriguing and important parts of Norway’s history. And the Viking Museum is the only place where you can see a real, preserved viking ship. The museum actually houses three Viking era burial ships or battleships.
The museum is closed for renovations from October 2021 until 2025. When it reopens, the museum will still be included on the Oslo Pass, and will definitely be worth visiting, as these incredible viking relics will be back on display.
Norwegian Museum of Cultural History
Backside of stave church at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History
Another one of the best curated museums for kids in Oslo, the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History gives you a glimpse of Norway throughout the ages. Established in 1881, it was the first open air museum in the world.
On a nice day, you could spend hours at the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History. It is a large outdoor, open-air museum that features 160 historical buildings. You can take a guided tour or self explore. The museum depicts normal life in Norway from the 1500s until more modern times. In different areas of the open-air museum you’ll find old farms and buildings that showcase life in the countryside, as well as a restored Old Town and even an apartment building that illustrate the changes in technology and life over several centuries in Norway.
The Gol Stave Church, which is architecturally exquisite, is one of the highlights of the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History. The restored church building dates back to around 1200.
If visiting Oslo with kids, this might be their favorite museum you visit.
Holmenkollen Ski Museum
We are a family of skiers. Each winter we love to bundle up in ski gear, strap planks on our feet and glide across a blanket of fresh snow in the mountains. Naturally, the Holmenkollen Ski Museum was a must for us. The museum is built inside the Olympic ski lift used in 1952 when Oslo hosted the winter games. The museum walks you through the history of the sport of skiing. At the end of the museum you can take a lift to the top of the ski jump and peer over the edge. You get great views of Oslo and the Oslofjord, but be warned, it gets cold and windy up there!
Adventure lovers can even zip-line off the top, or if you prefer, wait for the next elevator to take you back down. Admission to the museum is included in the Oslo Pass. If you want to zip-line or take a ride in the ski simulator at the base of the ski jump, you can also get a discount with the Oslo Pass.
Although we love zip-lining and have zip-lined before in Costa Rica, we didn’t do it at Holmenkollen because we were traveling with a toddler and logistically it wouldn’t have worked. We did however, take our 3-year-old in the ski simulator and we all enjoyed the experience.
Other things to do in Oslo with kids
As with most of our other trips, we didn’t have time to visit all the Oslo attractions for kids that we would have liked to visit. If you have more time in the Norwegian capital, here are a few other things to do in Oslo with kids. Additionally, one of these Oslo activities can replace the Viking Museum or the National Museum, if visiting before they are welcoming guests.
Olso Opera House
One of the most photographed attractions in Oslo, the Opera House isn’t just great for those looking to take in an opera or ballet performance. On warm days, it’s a great place to enjoy lunch outside while overlooking the water. Completed in 2008, the Oslo Opera House is a unique, modern building that allows visitors to walk on the roof. Inspired by the natural landscape of Norway, the roof of the structure slants upward, giving the perception that it is rising directly out of the water of the Oslofjord.
While you can watch the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet inside the building, you can often catch free outdoor events and concerts on the roof.
It would be easy to fit in a short visit to Oslo City Hall before you take a cruise in the Oslofjord or around the same time you visit the National Museum. The most notable feature of City Hall is the fantastic murals inside the building.
Decorated with colorful artwork from 1900-1950, the murals depict Norwegian history, culture and working life.
International Museum of Children’s Art
If your kiddos love art, then the International Museum of Children’s Art is a great place for a budding artist to truly get inspired. See works of art from around the world solely created by kids. It is the world’s first full-scale museum dedicated to child art. It features works made by kids from 180 countries, including drawings, paintings, sculptures, and even textiles.
It’s a great way to show children that you’re never too young to do something great!
Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology
Our daughter LOVES science museums, and the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology is a great place to visit in Oslo with kids.
Visiting science museums is one of our favorite things to do, even in our hometown of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Science museums are fun, interactive, educational, and inspire a love of STEM through play. That’s why we love to visit science museums around the world. After all, science is universal.
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is Norway’s largest collection of natural objects including fossils, scientific collections, and zoological exhibitions. You’ll find more than 5,000 species of plants in the botanical garden, while indoors, your kids will love the dinosaur bones and recreations of natural animal habitats from around the world in the zoo-geographic hall.
The Natural History Museum in Oslo is also where you’ll find the world’s oldest complete primate skeleton. Named Ida, the skeleton has been on display in the museum since 2009.
The Barcode neighborhood of Oslo is more of a photography attraction than it is a place to visit, but it is still unique to see. It’s obvious when you look at the buildings how this section of the Bjørvika portion of Oslo gets its name. The facades on the 12 narrow, high rise buildings along the waterfront resemble a barcode. You can grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants in the district, or simply observe the unique architecture in passing.
The Oslo Pass
The Oslo Pass is one way to save a decent amount of money on some of the top tourist attractions in the capital city of Norway. If you are planning to visit several of the many great museums, then the Oslo Pass is definitely worth purchasing for the adults.
The Oslo Pass is a great value if you plan to spend your time in Oslo visiting some of the incredible museums. You can buy a pass for 24, 48, or 72 hours, so whether you have one day in Oslo or 3 full days, there is a pass that will cover your time spent in the city.
Is the Oslo Pass worth it?
Combined, we spent a total of $790NOK ($92 USD) for two adult 24-hour Oslo Passes. You write in the time and date when you arrive at your first activity, so you don’t have to activate the pass until you get to the first activity that requires admission. So, although we spent 2 days in Oslo, we only had to buy the 24-hour Oslo Pass. Had we paid our admission into everything on our 2-day Oslo itinerary separately, we would have spent $1750NOK ($206 USD). Purchasing the pass saved us more than $100 USD on our trip before you even account for transportation, which is free with the Oslo Pass. That makes the Oslo Pass well worth the cost!
RESERVE YOUR OSLO PASS HERE!
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This guide to how to spend two days in Oslo with kids was originally published in December 2018 and was updated in September 2021 for accuracy and current information.