A neighbourhood spotlight
This article originally appeared in The List Spring issue 2023 and was written in partnership with Visit Trondheim.
A short walk or a tram ride west of Trondheim’s city centre, you’ll find the idyllic neighbourhood of Ila. The area is full of wonderful surprises, scenic spots, and lively cultural life. Enjoy this little intro and then go discover Ila yourself!
Beautiful strolls of contrast
Ila is one of the most enjoyable neighbourhoods in Trondheim to walk through. At its centre lies Ilaparken, a lush public park with colourful wooden buildings along the side. The park also has great public transport connections, and the world’s northernmost tram goes through there on the way up to Lian. From the park, you can easily visit cafés, restaurants, and galleries. You can even hike straight up to Bymarka through the beautiful Ilabekken path.
However, if you walk northwest along the little river that runs through Iladalen park, an area that’s won rewards for its restoration. The river will lead you down to the historic conservation site Ilsvikøra by the ocean. There you’ll find a cluster of traditional Norwegian wooden houses in every colour imaginable.
In the past, these houses used to be the homes of fishermen and woodworkers as they were close to the harbour and industrial areas. Today, all sorts of people live there — from artists to office workers — but you can still feel the area’s industrial history.
The tall corn silos of Felleskjøpet loom over the area and make for a stark juxtaposition. But within this collision between worlds, hides one of Trondheim’s true gems: the Open Street Art Alley. In 2018, the non-descript alley between two industrial buildings was turned into an outdoor art museum for street art. It’s truly a unique spot within Trondheim and well worth a visit.
Art in Ila
There’s a lot to enjoy for lovers of art and culture in Ila. In addition to the Open Street Art Alley and other street art, you have great galleries in the neighbourhood. Galleri Ismene is right next to Ilaparken in a beautifully renovated wooden building. The gallery features exhibitions all year round, with an emphasis on Norwegian and international visual art.
Dropsfabrikken is located in an old factory building a bit further north, close to the industrial area and marina. The gallery opened in 2018 and focuses on craft and the significance of materials in its exhibitions, which is a big topic within Norwegian contemporary art.
The newest addition to Ila’s art scene is Galleri 7, a concept gallery and collaborative design studio, which recently moved to a brick building by the Nidelva river, just a few minutes' walk from Ilaparken.
Enjoy a cosy break
Ila also sports great cafés and restaurants. Right by Ilaparken, you can find an important part of Ila’s cultural life. The delightful Ila Brainnstasjon is housed in an old red wooden building and is a fun mixture of a café and a local pub. Brainnstasjon also has a stage and frequently hosts events, so you can listen to smooth Sunday jazz while enjoying a meal from locally sourced ingredients.
West of Ilaparken you have Kaféen i Ila, a cosy little neighbourhood café that serves homestyle food and also has the occasional events and art exhibitions. Then down by the ocean, Lille Skansen has a veranda with a beautiful view of the marina and the fjord.