Renowned for its animated art, massive music scene, and celebrated cultural and historical interests, there are plenty of things to do in Reykjavik alive with amazing adventures and fantastic things to see and even eat!
Although it’s the northernmost capital of the planet, Reykjavik’s population is pretty minimal with only 200,000 inhabitants. That’s not a bad thing though because it means there’s more space for tourists like yourselves to soak up the sights, activities, and non-ending nightlife of this zany city!
The choices for fun and experience are endless, so we have compiled a list of things to do in Reykjavik for tourists and trekkers who are either visiting Iceland to relax, endeavour, or make memories to last many moons!
Things to do in Reykjavik when not exploring the wildernessPeople are always asking me about eskimos, but there are no eskimos in Iceland ~ Bjork Click To Tweet
Explore the City on foot
You will love the streets of Reykjavik’s City centre which is probably best explored on foot or two wheels.
From Hallgrímskirkja church to the main shopping streets, Laugavegur, Bankastræti, Austurstræti, Lækjargata, and Skólavörðustígur, which are all easily accessible in the central area of Reykjavik.
You’ll have a thrilling time soaking up the charisma and culture of the high street outlets. With swanky trends and contemporary cuts, you’ll definitely be taking home a few favourites!
There are also many other neighbourhoods and streets in Reykjavik worth a visit too and they are all named after the Nordic theology. Neighbourhood of the Gods ,(Þingholtin), Odin’s Street, (Óðinsgata), Thor’s Street, (Þórsgata), Loki’s Path, (Lokastígur), and Freya’s Street, (Freyjugata), are just a few to mention. All lined with colourful little houses!
While you’re wading through the city streets, why not head towards the scenic old harbour too? In this spot, you can learn about Iceland’s marine life, and even wow yourself on a whale watching trip!
If you happen to visit on a weekend, you could also visit the city’s very own flea market, Kolaportið, and buy yourself a hand-knitted sweater. A traditional souvenir you will definitely want to take home!
While you’re in the city, you could also visit Valdís for some of the most incredible ice creams in Iceland, have a locally brewed beer at Bryggjan Brewery, or have a cup of Japanese tea at Kumiko!
Get involved in art and culture
One of the most incredible things to do in Reykjavik, has to be visiting the awe-inspiring museums, galleries, outdoor sculptures, and street art available within the city.
The Sculpture, Sun Voyager, situated along the seaside, not too far from Harpa Concert Hall, is a widely acclaimed attraction which has a magnificent view towards Mt. Esjan. Prefer hiking in Mount Esjan?
There are also various other sculpture museums around the town called the Einar Jónsson Museum (next to Hallgrímskirkja church), Ásmundur Museum in Laugardalur recreational area, Hallstein’s park (Hallsteinsgarður) in Gufunes, and Hólmasel in Breiðholt.
As well as this, there are several art museums and galleries such as Reykjavík Art Gallery, Kjarval Museum, the National Gallery of Iceland and the Marshall House.
Street art has also blossomed all over the city too, with mesmerising artworks covering entire walls of buildings can be found in the Capital.
There are also many historical museums such as the Saga Museum, the National Museum of Iceland or the open air Árbær Museum, where you can learn all about Icelands rich nature and wildlife.
Alternatively, you can visit the Maritime Museum, Whales of Iceland Museum, or Aurora Reykjavík: The Northern Lights Centre, where you can get a deeper knowledge of Iceland’s environment and nature.
In terms of art and culture, there is an abundance of things to do in Iceland which will keep you engrossed for hours!
Marvel at the magnificent Northern Lights
Iceland is one of the best places in the world to experience the rare and radiant, Northern Lights. You may even be able to catch a glimpse of their grandeur from downtown Reykjavik, or within the city limits by the seaside at Seltjarnarnes.
A little area called Grótta, where many birds nest, is very enchanting, and there is also a fascinating little light-house, fervently flashing and providing the perfect photo opportunity for photographers.
Make sure you pick your place along the coastline, looking out towards the sea, for the best views off the mesmeric Northern Lights. One of the most enthralling things to do in Reykjavik in the winter months.
The phenomenal Northern Lights can only be seen between mid-September and early May. However, if you book your visit in the summer, you could always enjoy the midnight sun along the coastline instead, another one of the thrilling things to do in Reykjavik.
Rave in Reykjavik’s Nordic Nightlife
Reykjavik’s nightlife is something to rave about! Partygoers boogie into the next day, and even if the pubs and clubs are closed, the roads will still be rocking with dancing people, trying to find their way home or to an after party.
Some cafe’s are open until 1am from Sunday to Thursday, but on Friday and Saturday nights, some places are open even later!!
Lots of these bars and cafes offer live music at night, and the City is sizzling with every sort of live entertainment you can imagine. So, whether it’s stand-up comedy, theatre, opera, drag shows, cabaret performances, musicals, and even poetry brothels, you’ll find something to be entertained.
Every inch of the City leaps into life in the evening, offering tourists and the locals a load of exciting and entertaining things to do in Reykjavik. Make sure you check it out on your visit!
Take a Tour of the Green Areas and Public Parks
With so many green areas and parks to visit in Reykjavik, you will be spoilt for choice! With public gardens in the City such as Hallargarður and Hljómskálagarður, by the city pond, as well as Klambratún/Miklatún, surrounding the art museum, Kjarvalsstaðir, you’ll be enchanted by the amount of greenery and natural ambience in front of you!
These green spaces are also ideal for outdoor games throughout the summer time. It’s no wonder us locals never run out of things to do in Reykjavik no matter what time of year!
For a quick dip within the cities limits, head towards Nauthólsvík beach. There’s a warm wading pool by the sand, and a warm tub by the sea. You could even take a dive in the sea if you’re in the spirit!
As well as this, there’s Elliðaárdalur in the middle of the city, where you can relax and have a picnic by a waterfall! This area is also popular with joggers or cyclists who like to venture through this inner-city paradise. As far as things to do in Reykjavik, this is one of our favourites to unwind.
On Reykjaviks outskirts, you’ll also find Rauðhólar (Red Hills) and Heiðmörk. The contrasting red and black colours of the hills are astounding. Most visitors and locals choose to go on a volcanic landscape journey on mountain bikes or walks through this idyllic area all year round.
Iceland, a country defined by water, is also renowned for its local pools. Thanks to Iceland’s renewable energy, the use of water in large quantities is very cheap, making this activity a favourite past-time among locals and visitors.
There are 18 swimming pools located in the greater Reykjavik area alone, and some of these have an indoor and an outdoor area, a sauna, and sometimes a hot tub!
Summary – Things to do in Reykjavik
With so many sensational things to do in Reykjavik during your stay, you’ll be entertained every minute of the day! When you’re not in the wilderness, you’ll be engaged in wonderment at the variety of activities on offer.
Whether it’s scouring the city, soaking up some culture, dancing into daylight, or marvelling at the lights, you’re guaranteed to have heaps of fun in Reykjavik! Guaranteed… you’ll never be short of things to do in Reykjavik city.