I may be slightly partial to this Nordic city; after all, I was introduced to business-class luxury on a flight back to Paris, for the simple reason that my last name is Danish. But despite any predispositions, Copenhagen (aka København or CPH) is undoubtedly a relaxed, progressive city with a solid resume: it’s hanging out in the first European country to legalize pornography, more than 50% of the population bikes to work, and there’s a magical autonomous portion of the city with superior graffiti and legal marijuana.
Copenhagen is in the eastern-most portion of the country, quite close to Sweden (and yes, you should consider popping over to Malmö). If you aren't familiar with Scandinavian languages, learning any Danish prior to visiting will be tough. But fear not! The people are generally quite friendly and English speakers are plentiful. If you want to learn a few key phrases - something I always recommend doing - stick to the basics: hej (hey), carvel (bye), ja (yes), nej (no), tai (thank you). Learn the meaning of hygge; drink Carlsberg; chill in Vesterbro/Nørrebro/Christiania; enjoy.
Denmark produces some super-fab magazines. I'd recommend picking up the following:
I love the Scandinavian style in every sense. It’s a sort of chic OG hipster look: neutral colors, clean lines, experimental proportions, and relaxed accessories (think attractive sneakers and an all-black flat brim). It’s the ideal mix of comfort and fashion, and just happens to be perfect for walking around and exploring...and looking good while doing so.
Copenhagen has become a veritable foodie haven, with dining options spanning from the likes of a fish-focused lunch spot at Kødbyens Fiskebar to noma, the world's number one restaurant that will set you back a few hundred bucks, but may be the best meal you ever indulge in. Here are a few other favorites:
- Soupanatural: Chain of organic soup shops. Yes, it’s a chain. Yes, it’s delicious.
- Lankagehuset: In Christiania. A must for pastries, especially if you decide to take advantage of the 'hood's "greenery."
- Karamelleriet: A caramel factory producing the gooey goodness in-house on Jaegerborgade in Nørrebro.
Check out Vesterbro, the former red-light district that is now hip and gentrified (formally by the city); Nørrebro, former location of Ungdomshuset and the headquarters of the labor movement since 1897, which was demolished in 2007; and Christiania, Christianshavn in Danish, the legally autonomous neighborhood within Copenhagen proper.
- Cph:Cool: Sweet Vesterbro tours.
- Designmuseum Danmark: Museum of Danish design.
- Nils Staerk Gallery: A bomb little gallery. And If you visit in September, do not miss Art Copenhagen.
- Playtype Concept Store: A typography-focused concert store with chic products and equally exciting events.
- Assistens Cemetery: A beautiful locale and resting place of the only Danish names most people know: Søren Kirkegård and Hans Christian Andersen.
It should come as no surprise that Copenhagen has a solid music scene. As far as venues go, check out Vega Musikkens Hus (upcoming concerts include Angel Olsen, The Antlers, Lucius).
Festival-goers should mark their calendars for the following gatherings: Distortion in June (electronic), Copenhagen Jazz Festival in July (jazz, of course), Trailer Park Festival July/August (Indie, Hip Hop, etc), Wondercool in February (mixed arts, food, music)
Fun-ish Fact: 90s pop group Aqua were Danish. Seriously, this city has it all.
Where to stay
Ibsens Hotel, Vendersgade 23, 1363 København. 867 DKK - 1675 DKK/night.
This AirBnB Vesterbro Loft, Lyrskovgade, København. 922 DKK/night.
This AirBnB Nørrebro Architect flat, Fensmarkgade, 2200 København. 750 DKK/night.
Have a reliable recommendation or sweet spot to share? Go crazy in the comments section.