Oslo date

Nine fabulous first date ideas to try in Oslo this summer

By Asa Hedvig Aaberge

Photo: Kok Oslo

The day is finally here, and though your heart might be aflutter, your head is all out of suggestions. If you're (finally) meeting IRL, here's where to head to in the Norwegian capital

Have you lost the dating plot after the solitary lockdown years, or maybe you just need some fresh input before inviting your Tinder match out? Firstly, try not to overthink and just focus on having fun. Secondly, if your date happens to be in Oslo, keep reading...


If you're struggling to get creative, here's nine of Vogue Scandinavia-approved ideas for a first date in the Norwegian capital – from phenomenal natural wanders to cultural curiosities and idyllic evenings.


Stroll the Botanical Gardens

Walking can be a great way to get the conversation flowing. And taking a stroll in the lush Botanical Gardens in Oslo is a wonderful first date option, year-round. Discover seasonal flowers, get lost on hidden pathways, unwind on a bench and explore the jam-packed greenhouses and the cute cafe. Plus, a park date is a bit of a canny move, as if you're running low on chat, then the flora and fauna can act as a happy conversation starter.

However, if things look like they are going well, wander to the next park, Ekebergparken, for phenomenal city views and sundown. Or, stop by one of the nearby cafes for lunch or a glass of wine.

Photos: Åsa H. Aaberge.


A date at the museum

It is intriguing to acquire new acquaintances through art, and exhibits can be a good icebreaker and help to get the conversation going. And Oslo's stunning new National Museum, which just opened this year, is the perfect place to browse everyone from Munch, Matisse and Picasso. Round off the rendezvous with a drink up on the museum's rooftop terrace, with its stunning views of the Oslo Fjord, or try their in-house restaurant.

If you prefer more intimate, laid-back vibes, visit Kunstnernes hus to see contemporary Norwegian and international arts. Enjoy the institution's neoclassical architecture, its independent cinema, concerts and talks, and top it all off with a pizza on the patio.

Left: Kunstnernes hus/Leonie Merkl, Right: Nasjonalmuseet/Iwan Baan.

Photo: Nasjonalmuseet, Iwan Baan


A sauna and swim

It might be a bit of a bold move for a date, especially if this is someone you have just met, but if you're feeling brave, the sauna can be a great spot to unwind and really put the world to rights. Plus, this particular city-sauna by the fjord is a unique experience, and if you rent one of Kok Oslo’s private saunas, you get it all to yourself. The saunas have direct access to the waterfront for dips, and you can bring your drinks.

This is a fresh and fun date that can be enjoyed all year with its orchestral views back over the city from the sauna. And if the atmosphere permits, take a swim and watch the sunset together from the ice-cold fjord – how romantic. All together now: ahhhh.

Photos: Kok Oslo.


Go island hopping

For an idyllic date with a difference, try island hopping. Boats depart several times every hour from Aker Brygge to a number of little islands nearby, such as Gressholmen and Hovedøya. Dress in a floaty summer dress, bring a bottle of rosé, some bread and cheese and have enjoy an adventurous picnic on the rocks. For a more informal vibe, grab a beer at the Gressholmen Kro, surrounded by lush green forests and rolling fields with the nearby ocean ready for a midnight dip.

Remember to check the timetable for boats back to the mainland to avoid getting stuck on the island with your new acquaintance. Too much of a good thing and all that...

Left: Gressholmen/Kristine Maroy, Right: Hovedøya/Åsa H. Aaberge.


Live tunes and wine tasting

The wine bar Becco manages to expertly merge casual, creative, charismatic and chic all under the one roof. They host live events with DJs and musicians almost daily, and the rotating wine list means you never really get bored. They offer everything from jazz to beats, soul and pop, plus there's wines on tap – what's not to enjoy. Becco makes for an atmospheric date night, both in their cosy interiors or, in the summer months, out in their backyard.

Photos: Becco/Andrea Tecusan.


A relaxed dinner

Whilst a meal for two might be a little cliché, neighbourhood restaurant Kolonialen Bislett is an excellent spot for a low-key dinner date. It is easygoing, the seasonal menu is tasty, and the ambience is friendly. They also really know their wine, with over 800 different bottles in stock. So, grab a seat at a bench outside in summer and share oysters in the balmy evening sun. Bliss.

Photo: Instagram @KolonialenBislett


Tipsy cocktail hour

Oslo is not short of great cocktail hubs. But when it comes to choosing a great spot for a date, Bettola and Svanen both reign supreme as they ooze charm and character. The bars are dimly lit, with detailed, unique interiors and world-class bartenders.

Svanen is housed in an old 1895 pharmacy with the neoclassical interiors of the pharmacy still intact. At Bettola, where the interiors features 1960's style Scandinavian furniture, order a negroni and an Italian aperitivo of nibbles and you're pretty much set.

Left: Bettola, Right: Svanen/Sofija Markovic.


Cosy coffee date

Want to wow your date with world-class coffee? Then you better head to the coffee bar of the former World Barista Champion Tim Wendelboe at vibrant Grünerløkka and order a coffee tasting for two.

If a coffee date paired with freshly baked goods and a great brew is your jam, Java at St. Hanshaugen is lovely. Take a seat on a bar stool by the window and watch the world pass by as you sip.

Left: Tim Wendelboe/Dorothee Brand, Right: Java/Klaudia Koldras.


Cinematic magic

If you or your date are more the silent type, then sit back and breathe a sigh of relief at Frogner Kino, a charming oldschool movie theatre. The cinema still boasts its authentic 1920s interior and a cosy bar with drinks and snacks you can bring to the screening.

A mix of new films and old classics are shown, everything from chick flicks and rom-coms to independent movies. The ceiling even has a night's sky painted on it, with twinkling stars, and the atmosphere is dreamy.

Photo: Frogner Kino