Grunerlokka -definitely my favourite place in Oslo
I'd read so much about Grunerlokka being the 'happening' part of Oslo, that I almost expected to dislike it, as I frequently dislike areas that have been too hyped up by guide books.Happily, that didn't happen and it was here that I spent most time and that I loved most, along with the trips to the hills and the lake.
This is a formerly working class area to the east of the city centre that has been reborn as a sort of Left bank or Hampstead, with an influx of the young, enterprising and arty farty. Once you cross over the Akerselva river and start the long trek up Thorvald Meyers gate, the village atmosphere is immediately obvious. I'm sure there are office blocks and commercial premises here but what you notice are the cafes and bars, the funky shops with vintage clothes, the buildings with murals painted on the sides, small grocery and vegetable shops and the almost tangible feeling of relaxation you get from places that are pleasant to live in.
There are two parks along TM gate: first, the small and pretty Olav Ryes plass complete with fountain and further up, the large Sofienberg-parken with its elaborate pavillion. Parallel with TM gate is Markveien, another really great street for browsing and the best for second-hand shops and behind Markveien, is the riverbank walk dotted with tall redbrick chimneys and mills, remnants of the industrial past.
Because our hotel was just at the entrance to Grunerlokka we ate there most evenings and had long leisurely walks afterwards. There is an other side to life in Grunerlokka apparently, the seamier side I'd read about in the novels of Jo Nesbo, but this is certainly not obvious to the casual browser. We always felt comfortable walking there after dark and If I was working or living in Oslo, this is certainly where I'd go apartment hunting.