Oh, hey, don’t look now but Iceland’s Secret Solstice Festival — the music festival with arguably the most eclectic lineup of any this season — is only a week away. If you’ve never been to Iceland, it’s one of the more naturally beautiful places on Earth and we’re huge fans of the island nation, so much so that we’ve offered up some travel tips and info on it in the past (you can find them here and here and here.)
Not satisfied to end there, though, we asked a couple of Icelandic musical acts who’ve be performing this year at Secret Solstice to offer up some recommendations of their own, and they do not disappoint. First up is Une Misère, a dark, moody metal collective who were nice enough to put together a “Guide to the Reykjavik Underground.”
Prikið (Bankastræti 12)
Prikið is one of the oldest cafés in Reykjavík. Along with being the most popular hip-hop venue in Iceland, they also have killer food (vegan and non-vegan) during the day. We do a lot of our “office” work there.
Drekinn (Njálsgata 23, 101 Reykjavík)
This place has the most straightforward, no-bullshit hamburgers in town, which is refreshing when every restaurant in Reykjavík is trying to do the New-York-streetfood thing these days.
DIY all-ages venue in downtown Reykjavík run by our good friend, Ægir Sindri. It hosts a variety of underground music, from electro synth stuff to Black Metal and there’s always free vegan food before each concert.
Húrra (Naustin 1)
One of the best concert venues in Reykjavík. They have all kinds of music and other events there and it’s the only spot where you can get Club-Mate.
Gaukurinn (Tryggvagata 22)
I’m pretty sure it’s one of the oldest still living venues in Reykjavík. It’s in the same building as Húrra and it’s pretty similar but the curation there is more odd.
Húrra Reykjavík.(Hverfisgata 50)
The only proper streetwear shop in Iceland. They’re kinda expensive but you really get what you pay for.
Fatamarkaður Spútnik (Laugavegur 118)
There are a couple of secondhand shops in downtown Reykjavík but this one has the best price vs. quality ratio plus you don’t have to dig through piles of your dads suits to find anything decent.
Cafe Vinyl (Hverfisgata 76)
Amazing vegan food, good vibes and all around wholesome place with vinyl being played from opening until closing and with the weekends including more often than not special dj sets from various artists.
Hlemmur Mathöll (Hlemmur)
It used to be a bus terminal but was recently renovated and is now a food hall. It has a bakery, coffee shop, Vietnamese & Mexican food and all kinds of other shops and it’s pretty cheap.
Bike Cave (Einarsnes 36)
It’s a self-service pit stop for bikes but they also have killer vegan hamburgers.
Gallery Port (Laugavegur 23)
It’s an artist-run art gallery tucked away on Laugavegur that host shows by established and unestablished artist alike. We shot the video for Condescend there.
Next up is Reykjavíkurdætur, an all-female hip-hop act.
Best place to hang out: Grandi
Nice restaurants with hipster pizzas, hipster ice-cream, hipster bicycle store, hipster shirt store, hipster coffeehouse Kaffivagninn which is always full with old people and hipsters and more hipster places. And there is sea all around, I guess you can call it a hipster ocean.
Best place to hang out if you don’t like hipsters: Ingólfstorg
You have everything, icecream, sleezy subs, cute skaterboys and hobos calling you names. Solid.
Best place for lunch: Joe and the Juice
They have sandwiches and juices, simple but sooo good.
Best place to meet locals: Grund
Grund is a home for the elderly and the only place in Iceland you can be absolutely sure to meet Icelanders. What you can not be sure of is if the staff will let you in.
Best place for shopping: 66 norður
It’s an Icelandic clothing brand that somehow manages to make you stay dry, warm AND fashionable all at the same time. We are just so grateful for 66 norður ❤
Best place for a good laugh: Improv Iceland
It is a local favorite and has started doing shows in English. There are improv cults growing all around Reykjavik but they’re the best ones.
Best place to make out: Grótta
You have the sea, the birds, the quietness and in winter time the northern lights. You probably won’t be the only one making out there though.
Best place for dinner: Messinn
Iceland is an island so it would be very weird coming here and not having any fish.
Best place to sleep: Austurvöllur
To save a lot on accommodation you can sleep at Austurvöllur, downtown in front of our Parliament House. You’re not allowed to put up a tent there so you just have to pray for good weather and sorry to say the odds are not in your favor.