Reykjavík is a city full of exciting culture. The best way to experience all the culture Reykjavík has to offer is to be in Reykjavík during Culture Night!
Culture Night in Reykjavík has been taking place for a number of years, and the theme each year is 'Come on in' or 'Gakktu í bæinn' (it could also be literally translated as 'Walk to town'). All the events related to Culture Night have a free entry, free buses drive into town and the entire city centre is turned into a pedestrian party. You can expect anything from theatre, dance, music and gallery openings to bbq's, free waffles, workshops or yoga classes - and the schedule ends with an impressive firework display at 11pm (recommended!).
Culture Night always takes place on the third Saturday of the month of August, the same day as the Reykjavík Marathon, so in 2016 it will be taking place on the 20th of August - next Saturday!
The Culture Night schedule is already up, and if you want to make the most of it then you should start looking through it straight away since there are hundreds of different events and activities on offer!
One of my favourite picks is even an artistic manifesto that's starting this Thursday at Grýtan - so it's more like a Culture Weekend than a Culture Night!
But I'll help you out by choosing my favourite picks of the list this year - listed in order :)
Best activities during Culture Night 2016
The Manifesto that starts on Thursday takes place all the way until Sunday, so it extends both ways around Culture Night. This is taking place in an old warehouse, Grýtan, where a number of artists have their residency. Unfortunately the building will be torn down soon, so this is sort of like a leaving party for all the artists that inhabit this space - and your last chance to visit it in all its glory!
Expect workshops (clothing design, woodwork, painting...), live music (programmed especially by Möller Records), coffee, talks, DJ sets and lots and lots of art for show and for sale :)
Program from 12-22 on Culture Night, find out more here.
Workshops at the Travelling Embassy of Rockall
The Travelling Embassy of Rockall has been offering free workshops, talks, movie screenings and concerts throughout the summer and it's a great place to hang out, meet people and have informative discussions about society. During Culture Night there will be workshops where people are offered to make masks out of recycled material, as well as some other exciting events.
Program from 2-8pm - but the area is open from 11 to 22, as you can also go to check out an art installation called BLPLST and explore the area (there are pop-up concerts, another art installation and reading sessions going on for example!).
Find out more about the Embassy of Rockall on Culture Night here.
The Maze of Yggdrasil
The opening launch of a maze that I've been building with my company Huldufugl is on Culture Night. The maze will continue to stay open for about a month after Culture Night - and continue to improve, it's still a work in progress - but it will open its doors to the public on Saturday.
Inside the maze you'll find artistic installations that are loosely based on Nordic mythology, as well as free pancakes, a tea ceremony and live music at the end of the day (8:30pm) with the singer and composer ÍRiS, who's created the musical score for most of the maze. And at the end of the night there will be a fire circus performance by Húlladúllan (after ÍRiS has played) - outside the maze :)
Only one person can enter every 2 minutes, children should be accompanied by an adult. The maze is open between 12 and 22. Find out more here.
Improv Iceland Marathon
Feeling like sitting down, kicking back and relaxing everything except your laughing muscles? Then check out Improv Iceland, that will be doing 20 sets of long form improv, guests being able to enter and exit every 30 minutes. Guaranteed fun.
Open from 12-22, more information here.
MINDFUCKNESS - Theatre Yoga
Yoga is fun. Theatre is fun. Theatre Yoga (with the title 'Mindfuckness') can be nothing but exceptional! This takes place for an hour at the wonderful yoga studio Sólir in the Grandi area, and although entrance is free, you'll need to book your place in advance.
Kíton concert at Bryggjan Brugghús
Kíton stands for 'Konur í tónlist' or Women in Music. All sorts of female musicians will be playing live music at Bryggjan Brugghús from 2pm until 11pm. And if you arrive earlier (from 12:30), then you can have some brunch too :)
Waffles and coffee in Þingholt
Get an insight into a local's house in the centre of the city by stopping by to enjoy a hot and freshly made waffle with cream and jam. A number of residents offer free waffles in their homes between 2 and 4pm.
Find more information about waffles and coffee in Þingholt here.
Iceland Symphony Orchestra plays Peter and the Wolf in Harpa
After nibbling on some waffles, head down to Reykjavík's beautiful concert hall, Harpa, and enjoy a free Symphonic Orchestra concert.
They are playing Peter and the Wolf at 3pm - but they also have a Russian celebration at 5pm when they are playing classical music.
There's actually a massive schedule in Harpa, from guided tours starting at 11am all the way through to 11pm when the firework display begins
For the love of cheese!
CHEESE! Do I need to say more? Oh, and there's music too. The Icelandic name for this is also hilarious: 'Allt fyrir ostana' (it's a wordplay, not really translatable).
Exactly at a time when you might feel like having a bit of a nibble, from 16-16:30 at Búrið, cheesemaking delí.
Milkywhale meets Whale
Go whale watching with the fantastic band Milkywhale, that seeks to play music for the loneliest whale in the bay.
Only 196 seats available, first come, first serve. This whale watching trip takes place from the old harbour with Special Tours, starting at 17:30 and finishing at 18:20. There's another one starting at 18:50 that ends at 19:40.
Evening celebration at Kaolin
Now's the time to relax, maybe grab some dinner and chat to people.
There's a full day schedule at Kaolin Ceramics Gallery from the morning until the end of the day. Stop by earlier in the day to pick up a flower or listen to one of the talks given by one of the resident artist - or come in the evening and have a chit chat about everything that happened during the day (if you're lucky, they haven't run out of flowers to give by this time!)
Mandólín Movie Music Concert at Tjarnarbíó
Yet another venue that has an exciting line-up from the start of the day until the end - Tjarnarbíó starts with concerts and exhibitions at 2pm and after a day of music and art exhibitions they end with Mandólín Movie Music Concert, where catchy songs from films of different periods are played live. Expect to meet happy Jews, Italian princesses, go to Gypsy weddings and secret clubs as you'll listen to music by Henri Mancini, Astor Piazzolla, Goran Bregovich and more.
The movie concert starts at 22 and finishes at 22:50.
Is that it?
Don't forget the fireworks by Harpa at 11pm - and afterparties all over town!
This is just a very teeny tiny example of everything that will be going on during Culture Night in Reykjavík in 2016, and I encourage everyone to just wander around and see what they stumble upon. Or look through the schedule in detail and pick out their favourite bits like I have!
I myself will be by the Maze of Yggdrasil for the biggest part of the day (although stealing away to eat some cheese, hoping to catch the Movie Music at Tjarnarbíó at the end of the night - and catching a lot of the events at Rockall since they're right next door).
If you read this and see me, say hi :)