With a population of 120,000, Reykjavík is not a whirlwind metropolis. Few skyscrapers grace the skyline, traffic jams are rare and faces are familiar. But don't be deceived-a steady beat of energy and events keeps the city alive and pulsing with excitement.
Sunny days feel like spontaneous holidays in Reykjavík. Sunbathers and picnickers fill Austurvöllur, the green square in front of Parliament; locals and tourists alike stroll up and down Laugavegur, the main drag, shopping, stopping for coffee, and people watching. The thirsty jockey for sparse outdoor seating at bars as happy hour rolls around. Crooning buskers line the sidewalk; performance artists stage surprise acts; maybe a marching band appears from the ether. Anything can happen.
Downtown Reykjavík (also known by its postal code as 101) is the nucleus of Iceland's rich culture and arts scene. By day, café-culture rules supreme. A steady hum of conversation keeps the city's several cafés lively. With free wifi and refills on drip coffee being fairly common, Reykjavík's café-goers like to linger until they're sufficiently buzzed on the strong, dark elixir. As day turns into night, people start filing into many of the cities excellent restaurants.
Throughout 101, playful murals and street art testify to the city's sense of creativity and fun. Art galleries such as the Reykjavík Art Museum and the National Gallery showcase the works of classic Icelandic artists, while smaller independent galleries display the projects of cutting-edge, contemporary Icelandic and international artists.
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