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Copenhagen is the capital city of Denmark and forms the moderate conurbation that one million Danes call home. This "friendly old girl of a town" is big enough to form a small Danish 'metropolis', with shopping, culture and nightlife par excellence, yet small enough still to feel intimate and be safe. Although mixed in its urban scene, the city is easy to navigate. Overlooking the Øresund Strait, with neighbouring Sweden just minutes away, Copenhagen serves as a cultural and geographic link between mainland Europe and Scandinavia. Copenhagen is where old fairy tales blend with flashy new architecture and world-class design; where warm jazz mixes with crisp electronica from Copenhagen's basements. You could feel you've seen all of Copenhagen in one day, but further exploration will have you discovering more for months. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Copenhagen
Complete listings can be found in the appropriate district articles
Entrance to most museums is free once a week, mainly on Wednesdays. You can always count on the principal attractions to be well signed in English and German and for these places to be generally geared towards tourists. A good tip to see whether a smaller museum caters to non-Danish speakers, is to check whether the website has an English section. If it does, this usually means the museum has at least some English information throughout its exhibitions. Of course if you have some interest in a particular subject, such museums can be interesting even if you don't understand the sign-postings. As Danes are usually fairly fluent in English, you can always try to ask staff if they could give you a brief tour.
If you are into the arts, Copenhagen has a lot to offer and the natural starting point is a visit to the Danish National Gallery (Statens Museum for Kunst, free entry, DKK 10 deposit for lockers) where you can feast your eyes on blockbusters from the likes of Rembrandt, Picasso, and Matisse. There are also a number of paintings by Danish artists from the "Golden Age". Across the Royal Gardens lies Scandinavia's biggest collection of Islamic art, the David Collection (Davids Samling) which has free entrance. It also has a smaller collection of Danish paintings including some by Hammershøi and Willumsen. It's a ten-minute walk through the Royal Gardens but you might have to know the address beforehand, since the museum is a bit of a hidden treasure. For more Classical art, visit the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (adult DKK 75, DKK 20 or €2 deposit for lockers). In addition to works by masters like Picasso, Leger, and Matisse, this spectacular building houses a large collection of Classical statues and sculptures. The winter garden here is a beautiful place to rest your legs on a rainy day. Both of these museums are conveniently located in the centre, or Indre By area.
If you are hungry for even more classic art exhibitions, an excursion north of Copenhagen to the beautiful Ordrupgaard offers you a chance to enjoy Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Gauguin. There are several other options for classical paintings but if you are ready for a change, head south to the Arken Museum of Modern Art for a world class exhibition of contemporary art, mostly Scandinavian, as well as hugely popular temporary exhibitions. However the arguably best and most visited museum in Denmark is the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art located in northern Zealand with a panoramic view across the Øresund. The museum frames the sculpture park facing the sea and the interaction between art, nature and the museum architecture is quite unique. Louisiana is an international museum with a considerable collection of modern art, and hugely popular temporary exhibitions.
If you want to enjoy some local color on an art tour, The Hirschsprung Collection in Østerbro features the top-of-the-pops of Danish artists, with a particular focus on the Skagen painters. For something quintessentially Danish, breeze through the wonderfully quirky sketches of the much-loved local personality Storm P at the aptly named Storm P museum on Frederiksberg.
Science & Natural history
If you want your vacation to be educational, or if you want to sneak some knowledge into the kids during the vacation, there are several options to consider. The best choice for kids is perhaps the hugely entertaining, and well renowned hands-on science museum, the Experimentarium north of Copenhagen. Another popular and well-renowned institution, is the Copenhagen Zoo on Frederiksberg, counting both among both the best and oldest zoos in Europe. If you are more into stationary animals, the Zoology museum on Østerbro offers a different perspective on the subject. Elsewhere on Østerbro, a little known attraction is a display of famous physicist Niels Bohr's study room, along with a setup of his experiments (but as this is not a museum, you should have more than passing interest in the subject to bother with them). City Cetre, the University of Copenhagen runs two adjacent science museums. The Geological museum where dinosaur fossils, moon rock, and glow in the dark minerals should spark some interest in the subject for even the most school-weary kid. The Botanical Gardens on the opposite side of the street is an excellent place for a stroll in the beautiful park, even if you are not botanically inclined, and the classical palm house is a nice place to relax if it is cold outside. In poor weather, Tycho Brahe Planetarium on Vesterbro is another option and is part planetarium with an interesting astronomy exhibition and part omnimax theatre where they usually screen science films.
An excellent start to any visit to Copenhagen is to climb the unique 7.5-turn helical corridor leading to the observation platform of Rundetårn (the Round tower), one of Copenhagen's most iconic buildings. It offers excellent views and is smack in the middle of the city. If that is not high enough for you head to Christianshavn for a climb up the circular stairs on the outside of the church spire of the Church of Our Saviour. It has always been regarded as something of a manhood test to climb up and touch the globe on the summit, nearly 100 meters up in the air. And now that you're in the area, head over to the opposite side of the street to Christiania, a self-governing community that has been squatting on an old naval area since the seventies. Their inventive, brightly coloured, home built houses are spectacular, as is the relaxed atmosphere — this is truly one of Copenhagen's most unique and best attractions. Due south of Christiania the old, crooked, brightly coloured buildings and soothing canals lined with masted ships make this an excellent place to continue a stroll. Other fine examples of classical architecture include the impressive City Hall and the massive dome of the Frederikskirken colloquially known as the Marble Church. This dome, with a span of 31 meters, is one of the largest in northern Europe. Both are in the Indre By area.
For real architecture buffs, the city's main claim to fame is the modernist architecture and its native masters. Jørn Utzon (of Sydney Opera House fame) and Son is behind a trio of buildings on Østerbro's northern harbour, known as the Paustian complex. There is a fine, but expensive restaurant in one of the buildings. You can enjoy Arne Jacobsen's work by either sleeping at, or taking in the atmosphere (and great views) of the top floor lounge bar at the Royal Hotel which is one of the very few tall buildings in the inner city. Alternatively, head north to Bellavista, a residential complex and theatre near the beach, where there is even a restaurant featuring his famous furniture and his name. Lastly Henning Larsen, famous for his iconic buildings in Riyadh, is behind Copenhagen's new Opera house overlooking the harbour in Christianshavn. From here you can also catch a view of Copenhagen's latest iconic contraption, the Royal library known to locals as the black diamond, after its shiny polished black granite walls.
Visit the Nationalmuseet in Indre By for many exhibits relating to Danish history, Viking weapons, Inuit costumes and stone age tools. If you want something more local, the Museum of Copenhagen in Vesterbro has exhibitions on the city's development since the Middle Ages. Another option is Frilandsmuseet in the northern suburbs — a huge and attractive open air museum with old buildings collected from all over the country. Or for a live version of old Denmark, you can visit the old town of the tiny fishing hamlet of Dragør on the southern tip of Amager with its fantastic old yellow buildings and cobblestone streets. For something more off the beaten path, paddle up the small Mølleå river in the northern suburbs through charming old eighteenth and nineteenth century mills.
The four identical classicist palaces of Amalienborg, make up the main residence of the Danish royal family. The octagonal courtyard in the centre is open to the public and guarded by the ceremonial Royal Guard. The relief takes place every day at noon and is a highlight for any royalist visiting the city. There is also a small royal museum on the premises. Rosenborg Palace is a small but pretty renaissance palace, surrounded by the lovely King's Garden which is one of the most lively parks of the city. The palace both serves as a museum of Royal history and as a home for the crown jewels which are on display in the catacombs beneath the castle. A closed-off wing of Rosenborg serves as barracks for the Royal Guard, and every day a detachment marches through the Copenhagen city center between Rosenborg and Amalienborg for the changing of the guard. Unusual for a well-founded democracy, the palace that houses the parliament, Christiansborg, is also a royal palace. It is usually possible to visit the Royal reception rooms, stables and the old court theatre here. And for entertainment of royal stature, you can try to arrange tickets to watch a play in the beautiful Royal Theatre facing Kings New Square. All of these sights are in the inner city. If you are hungry for more, head north, where the park around Sorgenfri palace is open to the public, or have a picnic on the huge open plains in front of the Eremitage Palace in the Dyrehaven park which formerly served as the king's hunting castle.
Denmark is world-famous for its design tradition, and while the term Danish design has been devalued over the years due to much misuse, it is still a world-recognized brand. The natural starting point is a visit to the Danish Design Center in Indre By, with temporary and permanent exhibitions, showrooms, and workshops relating to the world of Danish design, in a building designed by famous architect Henning Larsen. Not too far away, Kunstindustrimuseet is home of a nice collection relating to the study of design and its history in Denmark. Also in the same district, Royal Copenhagen runs a museum display of its famous porcelain from the early beginnings at its flagship store. Meanwhile Cisterne on Frederiksberg is an enticing museum showing modern glass art, in the intriguing catacomb like cisterns under a large park. Meldahls Smedie on Christianshavn is run by the Royal Danish school of architecture, which organizes exhibitions including final projects from students of the school here.
If you had dropped by Copenhagen in the 11th century CE / AD you would have found yourself looking over a quite small fishing hamlet, with some lazy cattle gazing back at you while chewing fresh green grass from the meadows around the village. Looking east you would see a host of small islets protecting the small fishing harbour from harsh weather — really not the worst place to found a city. If you would rather trust the written word than the archaeologists, the earliest accounts date from the 12th century, when a bearded clerk (or a renowned historian if you will) called Saxo Grammaticus scribbled down a few lines about the place; Portus Mercatorum, he called it, which was really just a fancy Latin version of Købmannahavn. This has since been mangled into København in modern Danish, and even further mangled into Copenhagen in English, but all it really means is "merchant harbour."
Around 1160 CE, King Valdemar handed over control of the city to the archbishop of Roskilde, Absalon, one of the most colourful characters of the Middle Ages — a curious mix of great churchman, statesman, and warrior. As the country's only city not under the king's control, Absalon saw it thrive and erected a castle on what is today Slotsholmen (the remains are still visible in the catacombs under the present day parliament). As a man of religion Absalon also built a great church, and with those necessities taken care of, Copenhagen quickly gained importance as a natural stop between the two most important Danish cities, the old royal capital Roskilde and Lund in present day Sweden. Endowed with an enviable location on the banks of the important Øresund Strait, it slowly but steadily surpassed the old urban centers. Copenhagen's rise was greatly aided by entrepreneurial trading with friends and foes alike and by prosperous fishing which provided much of Roman Catholic Europe with salted herring for Lent. But with prosperity comes envy and in the years to follow Copenhagen was laid waste and pillaged time and time again, mainly by the members of the German Hanseatic League, which at one point completely destroyed the city.
Like the phoenix, however, Copenhagen repeatedly rose from its ashes. When the Danes kicked out the Pope during the 16th century Protestant Reformation, Roskilde lost its importance as a Roman bishopric and, after taking control of the city twenty years earlier, the Danish king moved his residence to Copenhagen. Not terribly keen on seeing their new capital laid waste once more, successive Danish monarchs built massive fortifications around the city. None more so than King Christian IV, who embarked on a building rampage which not only included the ramparts still visible throughout much of the city, but also many present day landmarks like the Round Tower and the Stock Exchange. Since then Copenhagen was besieged by the Swedes, and then famously bombarded, set ablaze, and nearly destroyed by the British Vice Admiral Lord Nelson, who in one of two battles for Copenhagen, famously responded to the order to withdraw by saying "You know, Foley, I have only one eye. I have a right to be blind sometimes," and then raised the telescope to his blind eye and touted "I really do not see the signal."
Again, the city shook off its struggles and the population mushroomed during industrialization. When a cholera epidemic did a fine job of killing nearly everyone there wasn't room for, the King finally conceded that long range cannons would render its constraining walls irrelevant, and thus allowed the city to grow outside the now antiquated ramparts. But it was not long before a new modern fortification was built (known as Vestvolden today), which made Copenhagen Europe's most fortified city of the late nineteenth century.
After being subjected to yet another, German invasion during WWII, the whole idea of a fortified city was thrown out the window and replaced with one of the finest examples of urban planning anywhere — the Finger Plan. Copenhagen is one of few cities in the world to devise a long term plan for growth and then actually stick to it; try placing your hand over a map of Copenhagen with the palm as the city centre, and it's quite obvious why it's called the finger plan. Despite being the laughing stock of the country through the 70s and 80s, when wealthy residents all moved out into the fingers leaving behind an impoverished bankrupt inner city, a visit these days will prove that the Phoenix has risen once more.
Copenhagen, as in the rest of Denmark, has four distinct seasons. The best time to visit is definitely the warm period from early May to late August. Current weather forecasts can be checked at the Danish Meteorological Institute website .
Spring, while a bit risky, as no one knows quite when it sets in, can be the best time to visit the city. On the first warm day, usually in early May, Copenhageners come out of hibernation and flock to the city streets, parks, and outdoor cafes in a veritable explosion of life, relieved that the country's dreary and dark winters are finally over. Many locals consider this the high-point of the year.
Summers in Copenhagen are usually warm with an average temperature of some twenty degrees, and the days are long — reaching the a peak of eighteen hours on the 21st of June. If the weather becomes too hot, you can jump in one of the free pools in the cool harbour waters near the centre. Copenhagen's harbor is often considered the world's cleanest urban waterfront. Most of Copenhagen's annual events are held during June and July, and when the sun is out there is always life in the streets.
Autumn and winter have a profound effect on the city. The vibrant summer life withers and the streets go quiet, as most Copenhageners go directly home from work. This is where the Danish concept of hygge sets in, roughly translating into coziness. It is the local way of dealing with the short dark days. Friends and families visit each other for home cooking and conversations by candlelight with quiet music on the stereo. In week 42 the Danes have an autumn holiday, with many events taking place, such as the night of culture. The height of winter is December, where Christmas brings some relief to the short days, with lights and decorations everywhere, in the streets, shops and in peoples' windows. Tivoli opens its doors for the Christmas markets, and most Danes go on a drinking rampage, with the very Danish and traditional Christmas lunches, with work and family.
In the inner harbour, water quality has improved so much in recent years that it is possible to go for a swim from early June to late August in one of the two harbour baths: Copencabana on Vesterbro or Havnebadet at Island Brygge on Amager. When it is sunny these are packed with people from all walks of life enjoying the sunshine and taking a dip. The municipal administration has put a lot of money and effort into the facilities and this is an excellent opportunity for blending with the locals at their best.
If you fancy a proper beach, the closest are located at Charlottenlund Fort in Charlottenlund and the newly erected Amager Strandpark (The Lagoon), on Amager near the Lergravsparken metro station. If the weather is not going your way, you can opt for DGI Byen which is a leisure centre and excellent swimming pool near the central railway station or the Østerbro swimming pool, modeled after a Roman bath (on Østerbro).
Amazingly, the two oldest functioning amusement parks in the world, with the two oldest roller coasters, are both located in Copenhagen and they are distinctively different. Bakken or Dyrehavsbakken is the older of the two, set in a beautiful beech forest near Klampenborg north of Copenhagen. This gives it a special atmosphere and it is a lot less touristy than its counterpart — Tivoli — which is located smack in the city center in a beautiful park surrounding a lake.
- Crafts Fair (16 - 18. august 2012). Is held in August - Thursday-satyrday - every year outdoor at Frue Plads in central Copenhagen. The Crafts Fair has more than 130 exhibitors,all members of the Danish Arts and Crafts Association, showing unique and small series of handmade Arts and Crafts in all categories: ceramic, glass, jewelery, textile, mixed media.
- Copenhagen Fashion Week (2–6 February 2011). Is held in February and August. Copenhagen is fast emerging as a global fashion centre, with a host of both up-and-coming and already well established names. For two weeks each year more than 1,000 exhibitors and 50,000 guests come together and celebrate their accomplishments with lavish parties, catwalks at city landmarks, and three trade fairs.
- CPH:PIX (Copenhagen International Film Festival). (14 April - 1 May 2011) is a brand new film festival held in April and is the result of a merger between Copenhagen's two popular long running festivals — the Night Film Festival and the Copenhagen International Film Festival. It will feature 170 screenings competing for the grand prize of €50,000.
- International Workers Day on 1 May is a major event in Copenhagen. The main festivities are held in Fælledparken on Østerbro and they attract over 100,000 visitors in what has lately become a 50/50 mix of a gigantic party and a political rally with speeches, happenings, and concerts. Two travelling amusement parks also set up their gear for the day, one by the main entrance at Trianglen and one in the eastern part of the park.
- CPH Distortion. (1–5 June 2011) is held in the first week of June and is longest and wildest party you could ever go to. Over 60 parties in five days in each of the city districts, outdoors on the city streets and squares, in the clubs and three seriously huge parties. Over 32,000 people usually partying away between Wednesday and Sunday.
- Zulu Sommerbio. Held in July and August, Danish television station 'TV2 Zulu' plays open air films in various parks and squares of Copenhagen. There are movies in both Danish and English and they are free to watch. You can buy beer and popcorn.
- Copenhagen Jazzfestival. (1–10 July 2011) is held in early July and features ten days of jazz everywhere in Copenhagen — parks, cafes, clubs, and theatres. Usually a few headline acts are on the program but there are more than 800 concerts to choose from and the real attraction is often the obscure concerts you bump into randomly in a park or square somewhere in the city.
- Grøn Koncert. (24 July 2011) held in late July, is a one day music festival in Valby Parken near Åparken station. It is a major event in Copenhagen with over 40,000 attending. There is usually an international headline act, along with several major Danish bands and the atmosphere is quite unique with people having picnics and beers on a huge field of grass in the park. Tickets are sold through Billetnet, both online and at post offices.
- Stella Polaris (7 August 2011). Held the first weekend in August, is a big, free, chill-out event in one of the city parks. Top international DJs spin chill-out tunes on the decks, while people are relaxing in the sun and drinking beer. And the afterparty in one of the major clubs usually attracts some international headline acts.
- RAW (TBA, August 2011). Held in early August is Scandinavia's largest clubbing event. The organisers rightly pride themselves in carefully selecting high quality acts and more importantly the broad range of genres represented to make this an event with broad appeal to everyone in the Copenhagen nightlife scene.
- Strøm (13–20 August 2011). Also held in August is an annual electronic music festival, running in its third year. It is a gathering of the best promoters and vibrant venues Copenhagen has to offer, mixed up with events at squares, concert halls, or unusual locations throughout the city.
- Copenhagen Pride (14–21 August 2011). A lavish LGBT parade. The week leading up to the parade is usually full of community events and parties. Count on the City Hall Square (Rådhuspladen) changing its name to Pride Square during the week and hosting live acts, concerts and debates.
- Night of Culture (Kulturnatten) (14 October 2011). Is held in mid-October, on the last Friday before the school holiday in week 42. You buy a badge for DKK 70 and get access to major museums, exhibitions, churches, libraries, schools, organizations, the parliament and other cultural attractions including some places that are not open to the public during the rest of the year. Open from 6PM to midnight. Attracts about 100,000 people.
- MIX Copenhagen - LGBT Film Festival (TBA October 2011). Held in Week 43, Ten days of gay and queer cinema at its very best with more than 130 screenings of the world's best feature films, short films, and documentaries with gay or queer relevance, culminating in a champagne party on the final day, when the best film of the year receives its award.
Please look for general restaurant listings in the appropriate districts.
On a budget
If your budget doesn't allow for regular dining at expensive Michelin restaurants, don't despair — there are plenty of other options. The cheapest are the many shawarma and pizza joints' that you find on almost every street in the city. You can get a shawarma for as little as DKK 15-20 and pizzas start at around DKK 40). You can opt for take away or sit at the one or two tables that are usually available. The cheapest places can be found around Istedgade on Vesterbro and Nørrebrogade on Nørrebro. For affordable and delicious pita kebab, try Ahaaa on Blågårds Plads, or Boys Shawarma & Is for dürüm kebab on Nørrebrogade 216. For the best kebab in the city go to Shawarma Grill House Frederiksberggade 36.
If shawarma gets a little tiring, there are several Mediterranean-style all-you-can eat buffet restaurants dotted around the inner city. Riz Raz is popular, with three locations and a huge vegetarian buffet for DKK 69 (lunch) / DKK 99 (dinner). The branch on St. Kannikestræde has an infallible ability to seat and feed groups of all sizes. Nearby, Ankara on Krystalgade offers a Turkish-inspired buffet that includes meat as well as salads. Nyhavns Faergekro at Nyhavn has an original herring buffet where you can eat as much herring as you like prepared in ten different ways (grilled and many different marinades).
For breakfast and lunch try one of Copenhagen's bakeries (Bager — look for a pretzel-like contraption out front). They are numerous and the quality is excellent. Many offer ready-made sandwiches (Approx. DKK 35) such as Denmark's famous open-faced rye bread sandwiches called smørrebrød. These sandwiches are small enough to take away and eat either with your hands or with a fork and knife and a wide range of ingredients are available including some elaborate combinations for the more adventurous. Most bakeries also offer coffee, bread rolls and cakes (expect to pay DKK 8-10 for Danish pastry, here known as wienerbrød) and many bakeries offer at least some form of counter seating.
For something quintessentially Danish, no visit to Copenhagen is complete without trying out a pølsevogn (see image on the right), literally "sausage wagon", where you can get your hands on several different forms of tasty hot dogs with a free selection of various toppings for next-to-nothing by local standards. It is also one of the few places where you are expected to socialize with the other guests. To blend in, remember to order a bottle of Cocio cocoa drink to wash down your hot dog. At night, when the wagons are put into storage, 7-Eleven stores (which are open 24/7) take over the business of satisfying your hot dog craving. They offer other eat-and-walk items like pizza slices or spring rolls.
Also, remember to look out for the term dagens ret on signs and menus — this means "meal of the day" and often translates to a filling plate of hot food for a reasonable price.
And finally, if your budget gets really small, buy some of your food in the supermarket. But watch out, prices can vary a lot depending on which supermarket you are going to. "Netto" (e.g. close to Nørrebro metro station) is the one you should look for. Irma, with a lot of fresh and delicious food, is (even for danes) a little expensive.
Copenhagen has 13 Michelin starred restaurants, which is a huge number for a city of its size. This includes both Italian, French, thai and of course the new Nordic cuisine. The new Nordic cuisine is headed by world renowned noma, that has two michelin stars and have been number one in San Pellegrinos "The Worlds 50 best restaurants in 2013" in both 2010, 2011 and 2012. But tables can be extremely difficult to get. But if you still want to try thew new Nordic cuisine is Relæ and Kadeau great options, both with one michelin star. All three of them use traditionally Nordic ingredients and give new takes of classic Nordic dishes. Marv&Ben can be recommended for cheaper non-michelin starred experience in the Nordic cuisine. Manfreds og Vin is another possibility, Relæ's little sister, located just opposite to Relæ offer a relaxed atmosphere but still playful and delicious organic food, wine and beer with strong Nordic roots. It is also fine just to go for a glass.
Geranium is besides from noma the big international star in Danish cuisine. Head chef Rasmus Koefod has won the Bocuse d'Or (World Championship for chefs) in 2011 and Geranium currently have two michelin stars. The restaurant is located on 8th floor in the national soccer stadium in Østerbro. But don't get frightened by that, there is a beautiful view over the nearby park and most of Copenhagen. The focus is more classic French than noma, but there is still strong new Nordic vibes.
The new Nordic movement have been so strong that it is almost impossible to find a michelin starred restaurant in Copenhagen without at least some strong Nordic directions. One of the only exceptions is Era Ora, a classic Italian one michelin starred restaurant. That is famous for a fantastic (though expensive) wine menu and delicious Italian treats. If the wallet is not that heavy, if Formel B a strong choice. Besides from most other top restaurants is there no expensive tasting menu or the traditional starter, main and dessert. Here costs all of the 20 dishes the same and you can choose one, two or all twenty.
A fun story is that the only Thai restaurant in the world is located in Copenhagen, and with a Danish owner. The restaurant Kiin Kiin is located in the hip and a bit trashy neighbourhood Nørrebro. An affiliate was actually opened in Bangkok a few years ago. Aroii is one of Kiin Kiin's sister restaurants in Copenhagen, it is located in the same building and offers highly delicious thai food, for much cheaper prices. Also possible for take away.
Other michelin starred restaurants include: Kong Hans Kælder that opened in 1976 and have only have three head chefs in that time. In these almost 40 years Kong Hans Kælder have been a front runner for top gourmet in Copenhagen, it is still the place to go. The focus is changing from the classic French cuisine to a new healthy paleo inspired cuisine, as probably the only michelin starred restaurant is the world.
Other one michelin stars: Kokkeriet, Restaurant AOC, Søllerød Kro, Grønbech&Churchill and Den Røde Cottage Other top picks include: 1. Th. The restaurant is decorated as a normal living room, giving the experience as being to dinner at a friends house. You pay a fixed amount before, and everyone is included. So you don't get a check afterward. A fantastic place. Mielcke & Hurtigkarl (which has been "cheated" for a michelin star for many years, at least according to Danish food critics) Marchal at luxury hotel D'Angleterre. A newly opened restaurant by rising star head chef Ronny Emborg. Alberto K, a rising star in the Copenhagen culinary environment. Restaurationen, a former michelin star. But the owner lowered the tempo and still serve delicious food and give top service. Bror, Rebel, Pony, Pluto, Clou and Congo are all newly opened but show huge potential.
Brunch is a Copenhagen institution, especially during the summer, and it is not unusual to hear a serious invitation for a morning brunch together with the ritual goodbye hug when a long night out in town draws to a close. In this way, brunch is intrinsically linked to the second local obsession of drinking. Food and fresh air is a great cure for hangovers as Copenhagernes have long since discovered.
Most cafés offer brunch, at least on weekends, for upwards of DKK 80, often with a theme: American and French are especially widespread. One of the most popular options is O's American Breakfast at two locations in central Copenhagen.
A large beer costs DKK 30-40 or so at most places in central Copenhagen, but some charge only DKK 20-30, especially on weekdays or during early hours, while fancy places obviously charge more. Unless you come from elsewhere in Scandinavia don't frighten yourself by trying to work out what this costs in your home currency. At most places the beer on tap is either Carlsberg or Tuborg. In either case there will be a choice of the normal pilsner and then a slightly redder special or classic. Some might also offer wheat or dark beer.
If you are on a budget you could follow the example of local teenagers and get primed with bottled beer from a supermarket or kiosk (DKK 3-7 for a 330 ml bottle). It is legal and very popular to drink beer in public (not on public transport, although it will be accepted if you are not showing drunk behaviour), so buy a beer, sit on a park bench or at Nyhavn and enjoy Danish life.
As for where to drink, most tourists head straight for Nyhavn but while indeed pretty, the high prices here make it a bit of a tourist trap. In good weather imitate the locals by buying beer from a kiosk and dangling your legs over the water or head elsewhere to get your drinking on. The many side streets north and south of the strøget pedestrian street are a good starting point. Other good areas are Vesterbro west of the central station, along Vesterbrogade and Istedgade and in the meatpacking district. On Nørrebro, the cluster of bars and clubs around Sankt Hans Torv and Blågårds Plads, just after the lakes, is another hotspot. For a coastal city Copenhagen has surprisingly few places where you can enjoy a water view with your beer or coffee.
You can check for club listings in the various districts
The club scene is vibrant in Copenhagen, but most clubs are only open Th-Sa. Note that most locals have a party at home with friends or frequent their favourite bars, before they head out for the clubs, so they rarely get going until after midnight and close around 5AM. Most clubs have a DKK 40-80 cover charge and the ones that don't are rubbish more often than not. Also expect an additional DKK 10-20 for cloakrooms. Most clubs maintain a minimum age of 20 or 21, although they are not required to do this by law. Expect a draft beer, or basic drinks, to set you back DKK 40-50 — a bit more than bars usually charge.
Visitors who want to indulge Su-W will probably have to hunt around to find a place with some action but there are some options:
- Sunday. Rub'a'dub Sundays is a popular dance hall/reggae club (currently on hold until mid-2010 when the Stengade 30 venue will be back in business)
- Monday — The Scottish pub on Rådhuspladsen (City Hall) hosts a backpackers night, which is sometimes quite lively.
- Tuesday. Elektronisk Tirsdag (Electronic Tuesday) plays nice electronic tunes on Gefährlich on Nørrebro.
- Wednesday — You could either go for Midweek Brakes  at Kødboderne 18 on Vesterbro or the popular International Night  for resident exchange students on Stundenterhuset in Indre By.
- Thursday - Is tricky, there is no set place to go, but most clubs and bars will be open and often offer discounts on beers and cocktails and free entrance. Also concerts with bands of varying popularity at Nørrebro's Drone Bar as well as open mike nights at both branches of Cafe Retro (found in Nørrebro and Indre By).
Gay and lesbian
For its size, Copenhagen has a rather large gay scene with a good handful of bars and dance clubs located in the center of the city within walking distance from each other, some of the better ones include Club Christopher in Indre By. VELA, the only bar/lounge in town that is targeted at lesbians is on Vesterbro.
Most of the music venues in Copenhagen also double as nightclubs so watch for them under the club sections in the different districts. Tickets for almost every event in Denmark and Copenhagen are sold through Billetnet  which has both online sales and a counter available in all post offices. But apart from headline events, tickets are usually also sold at the entrance. Expect to pay DKK 100 and upwards.
The major music venues in Copenhagen are Parken stadium on Østerbro for the biggest stars. Copenhagen/Indre By, Copenhagen Jazzhouse obviously hosts Jazz concerts and The Rock is the spiritual home of the local rock and heavy metal scene. Vega on Vesterbro is a major venue with concerts of almost every genre by national and international acts. Nørrebro has two venues: Rust's stage mainly hosts mainstream rhythmic music and Global, as its name would imply, provides a stage for world music. Southwards on Christianshavn, it is no surprise that the Operahouse plays Opera and not to be missed, the different venues of Christiania are a powerhouse of Denmark's alternative and underground culture. Christiania's most famous venue is Loppen which has hosted many (mostly rock) acts that later grew in popularity to play bigger venues like Vega for far larger prices.
Strøget is one of the largest pedestrian malls in the world which links City Hall, Kongens Nytorv, and Nørreport station. Impeccably dressed Copenhageners breeze through high-end fashion and design stores when not zig-zagging through the hordes of tourists during the summer and Christmas seasons. Your fellow visitors can make it all feel rather touristy at times but if nothing else, it is great for people watching. If all this strange outdoor shopping takes you too far from your usual habitat, head for Magasin du Nord (on Kongens Nytorv) or Illums (on Amagertorv) for more familiar surroundings. There is even a real American style mall complete with a gargantuan parking lot out on Amager. Appropriately, it is called Fields.
If you would rather sample smaller and more personal stores, the quarter of narrow streets surrounding Strøget in the old city (colloquially known as Pisserenden and the The Latin Quarter), has a fantastic, eclectic mix of shopping. This ranges from quirky century-old businesses to the ultra hip in a wide range of fields. It is also much less crowded than Strøget, though unfortunately no less expensive.
You can also try Vesterbrogade and Istedgade on Vesterbro, due west of the central station, although you'll need to go a few blocks before hotels/sex shops/Thai restaurants turn into more interesting territory. Right at the border of this area, Værnedamsvej and Tullinsgade are also good bets.
In Nørrebro, Ravnsborggade is well known for its huge number of antique stores that are excellent for bargain hunting and the next street to north, while more modest Elmegade has some small independent fashion boutiques.
Laws limit opening hours for most shops, officially to the benefit of the staff, although the "closing law" (Lukkeloven) is facing increasing unpopularity among locals. But until the opposition grows loud enough, most shops will close around M-F 5-6PM on weekdays, around 4PM on Saturdays, and rarely will anything be open on Sundays, including supermarkets! For out-of-hours shopping (apart from the ubiquitous 7-Eleven and small kiosks), the shops at Central Station (offering books and CDs, camping gear, photographic equipment, cosmetics, gifts) are open until 8PM daily. Large shopping centres and department stores are open on Sundays about once a month (usually the first Sunday, right after everyone gets paid) and more often during peak sale periods. The immigrant-owned grocery stores on Nørrebrogade on Nørrebro also tend to be open until very late in the evening.
Nørrebro Flea Market is Denmark's longest and narrowest. It stretches for 333 metres on one half of the sidewalk by the wall of the Assistens Cemetery on Nørrebrogade. Here you may find a Royal Porcelain Christmas Plate, a Chesterfield chair or plain or downright rubbish. Open from 4 April until 31 October on Saturdays 06:00 - 15:00.
The oldest flea market in Copenhagen is on Israels Plads, close to the Nørreport S-Train Station. Here private individuals as well as professional dealers sell all kinds of old stuff, antique furniture, His Masters Voice gramophones and objets d'art. In 2009, the flea market celebrated its 35 year anniversary. Open from 18 April until 10 October on Saturdays 08:00 - 14:00.
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