The queen, who turned 70 Wednesday, arrived in the city with her husband, King Harald, their children, Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Martha Louise, and their spouses, Aftenposten reported.
Local officials including the chief of police met the royals, who were welcomed by a crowd with cheers and music at the city's waterfront.
The queen was then taken to Stavanger's cathedral for a surprise gift -- a recreation of an Andy Warhol portrait of Queen Sonja created using 6,500 potted plants.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, Norwegian Parliament President Thorbjorn Jagland, Supreme Court Chief Justice Tore Schei and government ministers Helen Bjornoy and Erik Solheim also attended the event.
Royal guests from around the European continent were expected to attend a birthday banquet planned for Wednesday evening.