Reykjavík Culture Night will take place for the 23rd time on August 18. The festival celebrates the city’s culture with a plethora of different events and happenings. There’s so much going on in the city that everyone should be able to find something to enjoy. Culture Night has grown from a small festival celebrating the city’s wealth of artists and cultural events to one of the biggest events in the Reykjavík social calendar, barring Iceland’s National Day on June 17.

The festival celebrates culture in all shapes and sizes, with popular music, dance, classical music, food, theatre, and even sports all getting their time in the sun. The festival’s schedule is always bursting with new and exciting events, concerts and shows, but some aspects of the festival have been there for years, like free waffles, concerts, and a rad fireworks display.

Waffles in the city centre

Every year, the inhabitants of the city centre open their homes to visitors and serve them waffles with jam and cream, a traditional treat. This is a great opportunity to meet locals and see a different side of Icelanders.

Coffee and waffles

Concerts, big and small

Some of Iceland’s most popular musicians will be getting out their instruments for big, outdoor concerts in the city centre. Both Hljómskálagarður park by Tjörnin pond and Arnarhóll hill by Harpa Concert Hall will feature performances throughout the day. In addition, there are several smaller concerts all over the city centre.

Fireworks show

The grand finale of Reykjavík Culture night is a fireworks display. After a day of attending events, listening to music, mingling with friends and relatives, most of Reykjavík’s inhabitants gather by Arnarhóll hill to marvel at the explosions of light before dispersing into the night, some heading home and others visiting downtown bars, pubs and clubs.

Please note that due to the festival, parts of the city centre will be closed to traffic. City buses are free of charge during the festival and the best way to get downtown. Be aware that some bus routes will take detours due to street closures in the centre.

2018 events

Blacksmiths and Viking photo moment

Between 09:00 and 22:00 the public is welcome at the Settlement Exhibition. Guests will be greeted by blacksmiths who will demonstrate methods of sculpting iron. Guests can also visit the exhibition free of charge and play chess and other games. The exhibition will feature a Viking dress-up booth where you can take a selfie.

Welcome on board!

Coast guard vessel Óðinn will be open to the public between 13:00 and 19:00. Guests are encouraged to look around and talk to former crew members about their life on board when they sailed on deep, blue seas.

SalsaIceland offers an open dance floor, shows and a free lesson for beginners

SalsaIceland invites everybody to the dance floor where teachers, students, and beginners are welcomed to dance salsa, bachata and kizomba. The event will start with a free beginners’ lesson followed by a dance party.

Emilie – opening of a new exhibition

The Reykjavík Museum of Photography will open a new photo exhibition during Culture Night, Emilie. In 2017, 26-year-old Emilie was diagnosed with lymphoma. She decided to document her illness and treatment. The result is an intimate portrait series of her journey to recovery. Free admission and light beverages on the house.

For more events and information, go to

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