Just a few steps away from the city centre, lies Hljómskálagarður garden. It is named after the white building called Hljómskálinn (conservatory) which was built in 1923. The garden surrounds the south part of Tjörnin (the Lake). The garden was designed in 1908 by Knud Zimsen, town engineer and Fr. Kjörboe, Danish master of carpentry, who was then working on the National Library building at Hverfisgata. The first trees were planted six years later.
There is a large play area for children, outside barbeque facilities and many benches and tables where it is possible to relax and enjoy the garden. The birdlife in the garden is fantastic as the lake and nearby wetlands in Vatnsmýri provide rich habitat for several species of ducks, geese, arctic terns and wading birds.
There are several statues and works of art in Hljómskálagardur park which are well worth observing. There is a statue of the national poet Jónas Hallgrímsson (1807 - 1845) and another one of the Icelandic - Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (1789 - 1838). On the west side of the lake there are six sculptures by pioneering Icelandic women sculptors which were placed there in 2014; "The Settleress" by Gunnfríður Jónsdóttir (1889 - 1968), "The Mermaid" by Nína Sæmundson (1892 - 1962), "Man and Women by Tove Ólafsson (1909 - 1992), "Boy and Girl" by Þorbjörg Pálsdóttir (1919 - 2009), Son by Ólöf Pálsdóttir (1920) and "Nafarinn" by Gerður Helgadóttur (1928 - 1975).
In this part of the garden there are also 50 cherry trees presented to Reykjavík by the Japanese - Icelandic friendship societies in May 2011.
A little closer to Tjarnargata you will find a large statue of Ólafur Thors, former prime minister, and a statue of the Reykjavík poet Tómas Guðmundsson sitting on a bench contemplating and overlooking the lake.