Oslo has a bustling nightlife that thrives past midnight. The city boasts more than 100 night cafes, clubs, and restaurants, 35 of which stay open until 4am.
Oslo is also a favorite destination of international performing artists in classical, pop, rock, and jazz music. Autumn and winter are the seasons for cabaret, theater, and concerts. There are four cabarets and nine theater stages throughout the city.
For movie lovers, Oslo has a lot to offer. The city has one of the most extensive selections in Europe, with 30 screens and 5 large film complexes. Films are shown in their original languages, with subtitles.
The Entertainment Scene
The best way to find out what's happening is to pick up a copy of What's On in Oslo, detailing concerts and theaters and other useful information. Oslo doesn't have agents who specialize in discount tickets, but it does have an exceptional number of free events. What's On in Oslo lists free happenings as well as the latest exhibits at art galleries, which make for good early evening destinations.
The world-famous Oslo Philharmonic performs regularly under the leadership of Mariss Janson at the Oslo Konserthus. There are no Oslo performances between June 20 and the middle of August.
If you visit Oslo in the winter season, you might be able to see its thriving opera and ballet company, Den Norske Opera. Plays given at the Nationaltheatret (where plays by Ibsen are regularly featured) are in Norwegian, so those who know the language should enjoy hearing the original versions of his plays.
Dance Clubs & Discos -- There are standard age requirements to enter clubs and bars in Oslo and throughout Norway. For those taverns or other places holding a liquor license only for beer and wine, a visitor must be 18 years old or older. For establishments serving hard liquor, the minimum age is 20. In some reviews, varying age requirements are cited where appropriate.
Gay & Lesbian Bars -- This city of slightly more than 500,000 residents has few gay bars. Pick up a copy of Blick for NOK35 ($7/£3.50), available at most newsstands within the central city. Otherwise, call Gay/Lesbian Visitor Information, Kongensgate 12, 0153 Oslo (tel. 23-10-39-39), Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm.
Summer Cultural Entertainment
Det Norske Folkloreshowet (Norwegian Evening) performs from July to August at the Norwegian Folk Museum, Museumsveien 10 (tel. 22-12-37-00 for reservations). The performances are on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 5:30pm. Tickets cost NOK250 ($50/£25) for adults, NOK50 ($10/£5) for children (T-banen: Stortinget).
The ensemble at the Norwegian Folk Museum, on Bygdøy, often presents folk-dance performances at the open-air theater in the summer. See What's On in Oslo for details. Most shows are given on Sunday afternoon. Admission to the museum includes admission to the dance performance. Take the ferry from Pier 3 near the Rådhuset.
Special & Free Events
Oslo has many free events, including summer jazz concerts at the Nationaltheatret. In front of the theater, along the Students' Grove, you'll see street entertainers, including singers, clowns, musicians, and jugglers.
Concerts are presented in the chapel of Akershus Castle & Fortress, Akershus Command, on Sunday at 2pm. During the summer, promenade music, parades, drill marches, exhibits, and theatrical performances are also presented on the castle grounds.
In August, the Chamber Music Festival at Akershus Castle & Fortress presents concerts by Norwegian and foreign musicians.
The Oslo Jazz Festival, also in August, includes not only old-time jazz, but also classical concerts, opera, and ballet performances.
American and British films are shown in English with Norwegian subtitles. Tickets are sold for specific performances only. Many theaters have showings nightly at 5, 7, and 9pm, but really big films are usually shown only once an evening, generally at 7:30pm.
Because of the city's long winter nights, film-going is big business in Oslo. Two of the city's biggest theaters are the Saga Kino, Stortingsgata 28 (T-banen: Nationaltheatret; tel. 82-05-00-01), and Klingenberg kino, Olav V's Gate 4 (T-banen: Nationaltheatret; tel. 82-05-00-01). Most tickets cost between NOK90 and NOK130 ($18-$26/£9-£13) for adults and are half-price for children. During matinees (usually on Mon and Thurs) the cost is reduced to NOK70 ($14/£7) for adults and half-price for children.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.