I’ve decided to break down my personal trip review of Copenhagen (i.e., not a “guide”) into three parts: See, Eat, and a general post on my impressions and thoughts. I’m going to jump right in with what I saw and where I went.
Since I stayed in an Airbnb with a family in their spare bedroom in South Copenhagen, I purchased the 72 hours Copenhagen Card, which was approximately $98 with the exchange rate. I thought it was a good deal because it included unlimited rides on CPH public transportation (bus and metro) as well as free entry to many of the museums.
Danish Museum of Art and Design - I loved this museum. I think it would be a good place to go for anyone, not just design fiends or even just Danish design enthusiasts. There was fashion, photography, furniture, mixed media, and a special exhibit on the Japanese influence on Danish design. There was also a great gift shop and cafe. This museum isn’t very close to a lot of other sights, but I felt it was worth the visit. Also, Copenhagen is not that big, and you can always rent bikes and bike to everything even as a tourist. Cycling seemed very safe in the city. I’m an idiot on a bicycle (hoping to change that) so I did not! This was included with the Copenhagen Card.
Statens Museum for Kunst - This place was very close to the Botanic Gardens, but did not open until 11. So I visited the gardens, then the Design museum, then breezed through this place. It is your typical State art museum with paintings from the Renaissance through the modern period. There was renovation going on when I was there so they’d created a special ground floor exhibit of the most special Nordic paintings and put them on one floor. I thank them for that, I was most looking forward to the more contemporary art and I was pleased. This museum isn’t huge so you can see it all in 2 hours or less. This was included with the Copenhagen Card.
Botanic Gardens - I was up with the sun so I went here because it was the only thing already open when I was out and about. But I am glad that I did! It was pretty and I imagine it must be quite busy on the weekends when the weather is lovely. There were so many beautiful flowers and plants. The greenhouse was filled with beautiful plants as well. This place was free.
Tivoli Gardens - I went here to see it all lit up at night because that is what a TripAdvisor person said was most magical and he was there with his kids. I got the feeling that he thought “I came all the way to Denmark and had to take my kids to a stupid amusement park, but the lights made it worth it”. So, I saved this for the end of a day and I was SO TIRED when I got there. It was my last day, I had walked all over, I got there at about 8 pm and then remembered that it would not be dark for about 2 more hours. Oy. I walked around the park, where people were having fun on the rides and playing games! There were some interesting circus-like stage shows happening, and some live classical music, however I needed to sit. After I circled through the park, I sat with a view of the most famous white palace looking building, at an outdoor cafe under some heat lamps, and ordered a coffee and a caramel sundae. I enjoyed the peace and quiet for about an hour before it was finally dark and then I snapped photos, bought some souvenirs, and took the bus home with dozens of drunk teenagers and 20-somethings who had been at Distortion. I got stuck in the Distortion crowd two nights in a row! Woohoo! (More about this later in probably both CPH posts). Entry was included with the CPH Card - rides are extra.
Round Tower - This was worth the climb to the top because Copenhagen does not have any hills of notable size to view the city from so a climb up a tower was in order to get a 360 degree view. The climb was mostly a ramp that just circled up, and a very short and steep staircase at the end (like 10 steps or less) so it is actually a good climb for anyone who is claustrophobic because the ramps were spacious! There was also a mini-museum type display on almost each floor on the way up as well as public toilets so there were places to rest. Included on CP Card.
Christiania and more to read here, and here - The last link is a Buzzfeed article, but sometimes they are right on (actually many times). I did a great walking tour that ended up near Christiania. I don’treally have any words to describe this place and photos were not allowed so I just want to say you should read the arcticles I’ve linked, go yourself, and form your own opinion. I think it is really cool that it exists and coexists somewhat peacefully within Copenhagen, Denmark. It is a bit hippie, a bit strange, but good for them. My walking tour was free and I tipped the guide about $10 after the exchange rate.
The Little Mermaid - This is a “pass” for most people because it is kind of a hike from all of the main attractions. However, I went my first day because I needed to walk and adjust to time change. I am also a huge fan of the Little Mermaid, both the original Hans Christian Andersen tale as well as the animated Disney version, so I had to see her in person. :) Free because it is a statute and there are no restrictions around seeing it.
Nørrebro - Very cool neighborhood, if I lived in Copenhagen, I’d want to live here. Lots of shops, restaurants, and bars. I did some shopping in this area after spending the morning wandering around the main “downtown” area and then having lunch at a place I’ll review in another post - then I took the bus to Nørrebro. I wandered and took a few photos, then shopped, bought some jeans, a cool earring, and some small gifts, and then had a few beers at Mikkeller and Friends before continuing on to Copenhagen Street Food and then Tivoli (omg what a full day I had my last day!) My favorite shopping street in Nørrebro was recommended to me by a friend of a friend and it was called Jæggersbroggade.
Nyhavn - If you have seen any photo of Copenhagen, I’m going to bet it is either Den Lille Havfrue (the Little Mermaid) OR, some extremely colorful rowhouse looking buildings that line a canal that leads to the port that was once one of the busiest in the world. Nyhavn means “new harbor” and is the name for the area. There are restaurants with outdoor patios and boat tours leave from canal - it is extremely touristy. However, you must see it. I headed straight for it my first day and it was cloudy. I passed it a second day and it was a little bit brighter. My last full day I was close by and had time to kill (how?) and it was SUNNY and I ran over to snap a third group of photos of the colorful architecture. Must-see, for sure. Some of the houses date from the late 1600′s and Hans Christian Andersen lived on the street.