Great if you: are looking for a venue with pop or rock on most nights of the week.
The Rockefeller has been pumping music since 1986, providing a stellar concert experience for all genres, but namely pop and rock, its two favourites. It’s got a jam-packed music calendar, so you’re never left hanging!
The Rockefeller is situated in a prime part of downtown Oslo, with its little sister venue the ‘John Dee’ in the same building and bigger brother ‘Sentrum Scene’ not far away either. Together, this trio of Oslo music venues offer an exciting range of live music.
The Rockefeller building used to be a public bath, thus the building name is “Torggata Bad”, which translates to “Market Street Bath”.
Great if you: enjoy indie bands and solo acoustic artists.
With a capacity for 400 people, it’s the smallest of the Rockefeller trio, so if you prefer something a bit more intimate, this is it.
Here they host everything from small indie bands to solo acoustic artists, and you’ll find that all the musicians that play here perfectly fill the venue. It’s a popular joint for up-and-coming acts, so if you like to be in the know for the next big thing, you might just find it at the John Dee.
Great if you: want awesome live music with clear views of the stage.
It’s part of the same establishment as the Rockefeller and John Dee, but it’s in a whole other building and is actually bigger than the others, with standing-room for up to 1750 people.
Sentrum Scene was originally a cinema, so it has an interesting layout. There are multiple levels, so you can choose whether to watch the show from the first floor where the stage is or sit up on the balcony.
Also, the first floor is actually slanted, so the views are pretty good no matter where you are.
There are several bars to choose from, which usually means shorter queues — yay!
Great if you: want to enjoy jazz or blues in a friendly local club.
One of the most popular jazz bars in Oslo, Herr Nilsen is a must-visit if you want some smooth jazz or blues, but aren’t in the mood for a fancy night out. The venue has more of a casual and friendly vibe — you can relax with a beer or wine and just enjoy the grooves.
The venue is quite small, only fitting up to 150 people, so it’s quite cosy. But it’s still a good idea to head in early in the evening if you want a good seat near the stage.
Herr Nilsen opened up more than 25 years ago, so it’s definitely part of the backbone of the live music scene in Oslo. For many live music lovers who’ve been dropping in for years, you could even say it’s the heart and soul of the local jazz scene.
Keep in mind: last we checked, it’s not the kind of place you go to for dinner, but if you’re hungry for good music, you’ll be more than satisfied.
Great if you: want to see a performance in one of the most elegant concert halls in Oslo.
Concerts in Oslo don’t get much more sophisticated than this. It’s the kind of place you’ll want to get dressed up and make a night of it.
The Oslo Concert Hall opened in 1977, and up until 2014 housed the largest organ in Norway (with a whopping 7000 pipes).
It boasts two halls — the bigger one seats 1404 and the smaller one seats 266. Both of them are used for some spectacular shows featuring the usual favourite of classical music, as well as world music and sometimes even rock shows. The seating is well-tiered with good views of the stage.
When they’re not busy touring, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra are based here. If you enjoy the classical genre, you might like to check out one of their performances.
Bars at the Oslo Concert Hall open an hour before the show.
Great if you: enjoy folk music and love the authentic Irish pub experience.
It might be in the heart of Oslo, but this pub is authentically Irish with great beers, a huge selection of whiskeys, Guinness of course and live folk music to warm the soul.
It only offers a small stage for musicians to perform, but the close quarters of the venue provide an intimate feel so you can really enjoy the music. Small bands and solo artists only play on certain nights of the week — it’s best to call ahead if you want to know exactly when they’re on.
It looks and feels exactly as a pub should: there’s a central fireplace, classic pub décor on the walls, friendly bartenders and a hearty pub menu.
Getting here, it’s not too far from Central Station and Karl Johan Street.
Great if you:want to check out new talent on their way to fame.
The name means “Blue” and it’s located by the picturesque Akerselva river in an arty neighbourhood in downtown Oslo. The hip, urban feel of the venue blends perfectly with the natural beauty of the riverbank right outside its seated terrace area.
The building was originally a gold and diamond storage warehouse. Since it opened in 1998, the only gems that come out of the venue are the amazing musical acts on their way to the top.
BLÅ offers both Norwegian and international music.
Interestingly, it began as a jazz club for new artists, but they never really excluded other genres, and these days you’ll hear a bit of everything. The overall philosophy has never really changed — they’re all about showcasing new talent so they can find their audience.
If you’re a sucker for pretty scenery, their outdoor area is a must-see.
Great if you: want to see an international artist and don’t mind large-scale concerts.
If you’re wanting to catch the latest big thing touring Oslo, there’s a good chance it’ll be held at the Oslo Spektrum Arena, which is popular for large performances with international musicians.
The venue, which has been running since 1990 is absolutely huge and regularly holds concerts that hold thousands of people. It has previously hosted the likes of Lady Gaga, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Christina Aguilera, among others.
Most concerts here offer both seated and standing tickets.
Oslo Spektrum Arena is an easy place to get to. Just a short walk from Oslo Central Station and Oslo Bus Terminal. Plus, Jernbanetorget Station (where metro trains stop) is directly under the venue.
Great if you: are looking for live rock bars in Oslo that put music above all else.
Since the 1990s, this legendary rock bar has been releasing fresh Norwegian talent onto the stage before the rest of the world knows about them.
It’s small (capacity for 100 people), sweaty and unapologetic, and nobody does rock n’ roll better. In fact, they’ve put on some amazing gigs across all sub-genres of music with a no-nonsense approach to quality music and shows.
Don’t expect: trendy Scandinavian décor or fancy cocktails.
Do expect: an authentic rock atmosphere, good beer and amazing live music.
This is the kind of place that either is or isn’t your scene, but if it is, you’ll want to go back again and again. And yes, it’s probably a good idea to plan to catch the last train home.
Great if you: want to get your groove on in the building that was Oslo’s first cinema.
Located in the vibrant area of Grünerløkka, this place has been a concert-venue since 2002, but its roots date all the way back to 1907. Back then, the building was actually home to Norway’s first cinema, so it’s certainly got some historical significance as an entertainment hub.
Fun fact: the cinema was named “Parkteatret” sometime between 1918-1922, so its name has a very long-standing reputation in Oslo.
Some of its favourite genres are pop and rock, but you’ll also see some indie, bluegrass, country, rockabilly, jazz and blues artists on the stage. Capacity-wise, it fits about 500 people, so concerts never get too big.
Parkteatret Bar is a popular hangout before concerts. It’s got a particularly nice outdoor area, which is great in summer. The cocktails are a big hit. Keep your eye on the live music calendar, because they sometimes even hold smaller concerts and album releases here.
If you enjoy supporting local artists and young bands, definitely check out the Sunday Digestive — it’s held over ten Sundays in the fall and spring, and is a lot of fun. Tickets are available at the door.
To get there, it’s easiest to catch tram number 11, 12 or 13 — you just get off at Olaf Ryes Plass, which is just outside the venue.
Great if you: love opera but secretly just want to walk on top of one of Oslo’s architectural gems.
The Oslo Opera House hasn’t been around that long but it’s certainly one of the leading tourist attractions in the city.
Inside you’ll find both the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, as well as some pretty mind-blowing architecture and art installations. In fact, you might just find that the venue itself is just as alluring as the music that echoes inside its walls.
But when you’re finished enjoying the spectacular live music in the Oslo Opera House, be sure to take a walk on its white marble roof.
Yes, you read that correctly. It’s one of the only music venues in Oslo that let you waltz right to the top of the building and bask in the panoramic views of the harbour. Or, you can just hold out your arms and yell “I’m king of the world!” like Leo in the Titanic…you know you want to.
We hope you enjoy all the live music venues Oslo has to offer
Remember, this is just a quick guide to the best live music venues in Oslo. It’s simply a compilation of our favourites for anyone who is short on time in Norway’s capital and is in need of a live music fix without too much uncertainty.
But if you’re taking an extended trip, we encourage you to be bold and explore the unknown. There are so many great live music venues in Oslo, and they all deserve some love.
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