Copenhagen is continuously rated as one of the happiest cities in the world and it’s easy to see why. Full of gorgeous, northern European style architecture, cobbled alleyways, beautifully decorated shop windows and flowing canals a visit to Copenhagen is simply a must. With only a quarter of million inhabitants, most of which take to the streets by bike, Copenhagen feels somewhat spacious, charming and extremely laid back. It’s packed with fun things to do and see all over Copenhagen.
Copenhagen is a wonderful city and I cannot believe that I hadn’t discovered the Danish capital sooner. We were lucky enough to explore Copenhagen with some Danish friends who gave us all the best tips for where to go for the most authentic weekend. These are the 10 places we found to be the most crucial for a complete experience and shouldn’t be left out of any trip to Copenhagen.
If you’re planning to be in Copenhagen exploring all the museums and attractions and using public transport, I’d recommend you consider using a Copenhagen Card. This card, once purchased for the specified time frame allows you free entrance into 87 museums and attractions and public transportation is included.
#1 FREETOWN CHRISTIANIA
A visit to Copenhagen’s most hippie neighbourhood is a must. Strolling into the autonomist district of Christiania is like suddenly walking into a completely different world. Made famous by its history of anarchy and the open cannabis trade, Christiania was once a military base whose barricades were torn down by squatters who decided to settle. Nowadays there are about 900 permanent residents who live by completely independent laws to the Danish government. Walk around the area and check out the different street art and houses as well as the cannabis stalls and local bars. Even if you’re not a smoker the whole concept of a squat turned free town is something worth exploring in itself.
#2 TIVOLI GARDENS AT SUNSET
For the ultimate fun thing to do in Copenhagen Tivoli is a must. Tivoli is one of the oldest theme parks in the world but don’t dismiss it just yet as something purely for children. Did you know that Danish fairytale writer Hans Christian Anderson visited many times and Tivoli even inspired Walt Disney to create the Disney world we see today? Tivoli’s attractions are diverse, to say the least, and there is something for everyone. From traditional, nostalgic rides to 100km/h, throw you up upside-down type rollercoasters. Tivoli is particularly enchanting at night which is why I suggest visiting just before sunset- you can see it by day, watch the sun go down and then see the park transform into a sea of fairy lights giving it an atmosphere of total magic.
#3 GRUNDVIGS CHURCH
Why is a random church on the list of the 10 epic things to do in Copenhagen you may ask? That’s because this church is probably one of the most unique churches in the world architecturally speaking. If you like minimalist, straight-lines and smooth textures then don’t miss this church located in the Nordvest neighbourhood. Admire the unique expressionist architecture outside then be met by sweeping columns and brick ribs sending your eye skywards. This beautiful, well-lit church is the place to take some unique photos.
#4 BRUNCH AT ATELIER SEPTEMBER
Is there anything more fun than eating delicious healthy food? Located in Central Copenhagen this minimalist cafe serves some of the best food we had in the Danish capital. Not only is the food genuinely delicious, but it’s also well presented and really authentically danish. They use local, seasonal ingredients, the menu is small and everything is made to order. We had the rhubarb and danish strawberry porridge (with olive oil) and the grapefruit granola. Both were fantastic and the coffee and matcha were great too.
#5 A WANDER DOWN MAGSTRÆDE
Magstræde is the oldest street in Copenhagen. Take a wander down the cobblestones, admire the colourful buildings with their oak beams and wrought iron details, not to mention the street lights that suspend from a wire in the middle of the street. This is traditional danish architecture at it’s finest.
#5 DESIGN MUSEUM DANMARK
Danish design is world-famous and for good reason. With a focus on functionality and modesty, danish designers are the ones behind the Y and ‘Egg’ chair as well as the design of the Sydney Opera House. Learn more about danish design throughout history up to the present day at this well-curated, fun museum.
Travelling elsewhere in Europe or the world? Check out the rest of my travel guides here.
#6 A CYCLE/RUN ALONG THE CANALS
If you’ve been following Roam and Thrive for a while you’ll know that no day is complete without a little exercise and I feel that the Danes hold the same belief. Most of the population cycle everywhere and the city is well planned to include cycle lanes and recreational areas. Rent a bike and create your own sightseeing itinerary, go on a cycle tour or why not go for a run along the beautiful canals and experience life like a local.
#7 COPENHAGEN BOTANICAL GARDEN
The botanical garden is a beautiful oasis of green amid the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s a lovely place to rest after a morning of exploring, have a picnic or go for a run. Entrance is free to the main garden but you’ll have to pay to get into the glasshouses and butterfly rooms which allow you to have a look at plants and trees from all corners of the globe. In the butterfly house, you can get up close to a variety of butterflies flying freeing around you as you walk through. Tip: no matter what time of year it is, wear layers of clothing. Some of the glasshouses are kept at about 35 degrees celsius, with what feels like 90% humidity. It’s the perfect fun thing to do in Copenhagen, especially with kids.
#8 HAVE DRINKS ON A FLOATING PLATFORM ON THE CANAL
The iconic canals of Copenhagen are a proud emblem of the city and an integral part of life here. Locals relax by them, drink by them, cruise on them and even swim in them. Kayak Bar located just by Christians Brygge and Børsgade is both a bar/restaurant and kayaking spot. Rent a kayak if you’re feeling adventurous or if not, order some food and a drink, head to the floating platform and enjoy your time right on the canal.
#9 EAT DANISHES AT MEYERS BAGERI
What other fun things are there to do in Copenhagen other than eat? The acclaimed bakery of Danish chef Claus Meyer, Meyers Bageri is one of the best places in town to try a danish pastry. The small shop sells delicious, organic bread, cakes and of course a variety of different pastries including the famous ‘kanelsnurrer’ or cinnamon roll which is a must-try. If you don’t manage to get there then Emmery’s another bakery chain is also a good option.
#10 EXPLORE RENO BLVD
Reno boulevard and the area immediately around it such as Strøget are the main commercial streets of Copenhagen. A great place to dine and shop like a local. However, the area is also filled with the most beautiful danish architecture, colourful buildings that don’t go over four storeys, picturesque squares and elaborate fountains. It’s a great place to combine some tradition and history with shopping and eating.
I’d love to hear your remarks and questions about these fun things to do in Copenhagen! Comment below!
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