Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen
You’ve landed on this page because you’re searching for the best things to do in Copenhagen. And don’t worry, there’s more than enough to fill days, even weeks, traveling around the city.
Copenhagen’s a bustling metropolis with a hip atmosphere, a thriving art, and dance scene, and epic clubs—some of which rival Berlin. And while you might not expect it, Copenhagen has one of the best food scenes in the world; the city has 23 Michelin stars spread across 16 restaurants.
Copenhagen’s the most fantastic city I’ve visited in Scandinavia; it has some of the best neighborhoods in the world. (And that’s not just a cute antidote, its communities have been voted the coolest in the world).
It’s a city that’s sparked my imagination and my passion. And the deeper I dive into getting to know the city, the deeper in love I fall. So if you find yourself saying, “Why should I visit Copenhagen?” the real question you should be asking yourself is, “Why haven’t I visited Copenhagen already?”
Let’s look at the things to do in Copenhagen that cover everything from amusement parks to museums.
Tivoli Gardens ranks first in most articles about “things to do in Copenhagen.” And with good reason! Tivoli Gardens is the second oldest theme park in the world and the most iconic site in Copenhagen.
Started in 1843, this theme park, which has an old romantic representation of the Orient, houses lush gardens, exotic buildings, and thousands of colorful lights.
All of which come together to create an otherworldly ambiance. The park’s perfect for kids of all ages has a cemented place in history and offers a unique experience.
Basically, Tivoli Gardens is a must-visit when traveling in Copenhagen. Those who love the thrill of roller coasters and heart-pounding adventures will want to check out the Tivoli gardens rides like Aquila, the Astronomer, the Golden Tower, and the Demon.
This theme park was visited many times by Walt Disney, who took inspiration from the park to create Disney Land. Connect with your inner child at one of the world’s oldest theme parks.
It wouldn’t surprise me if about now you were asking yourself, “Why is biking one of the best things to do in Copenhagen?”.
From the first moment you step off the Eurail Train, you’ll notice hundreds (if not thousands of bikes) outside the central station.
Biking and Copenhagen are as synonymous as pasta and Italy. It’s part of their culture and a key component of many people’s lives in the city.
There are miles of world-class bike lanes and roads around the city. And while getting on a bike for the first time might seem intimidating, you will soon find that’s easy to navigate the city. (And it’s also the fastest way to get around).
If you want a little practice before hitting the busy roads, then the morning and evening rush hours.
After you gained some confidence, try biking the Harbour Ring; This 13 km trail takes you on an epic journey to some of the biggest sites in the city. When wondering what is Denmark famous for? Bikes are the top answer.
Are you an intrepid traveler who wants to avoid other tourists at all costs? Then Nyhavn ISN’T the place for you. Nyhavn pronunciation “Knee-houm”, translated as Harbor in English, could easily sit at the number one spot for things to do in Copenhagen. And one of the most scenic areas of the city.
In fact, there’s a good chance that a majority of the pictures of Copenhagen you’ve seen are photos of Nyhavn.
This historic waterfront’s the most famous neighborhood in the city. In Nyhavn, old wooden tall ships still line the canals, walkways are flanked on either side by large, colorful buildings, and the stony streets are lined with charming shops and restaurants.
Nyhavn’s an enticing neighborhood and one that captures the charm and atmosphere of Copenhagen. Nyhavn at night is also filled with a lot of bustling restaurants and bars.
If you’re traveling to Copenhagen during peak season, don’t let the sizable crowds discourage you. Nyhavn maintains its beauty even with large groups of other travelers. For my fellow book lovers and historians, it also has some notable landmarks. If you are traveling to Copenhagen during the winter months don’t forget to check out the Nyhavn Christmas market.
Little Mermaid Statue
Hans Christian Andersen, the famous Danish author, has left an enormous mark on Copenhagen – as well as the rest of the world.
Arguably the renowned author’s most famous fairy tale is The Little Mermaid. Another famous Dane and artist, Edvard Eriksen, wanted to pay tribute to Anderson and this tale by constructing a statue along the coast.
Eriksen’s statue, made in 1913, depicts a woman (maybe Mermaid) looking out to sea. While the statue’s small, it’s a great place to get away from the city center, take in the beauty of northern Copenhagen, and grab some great pictures.
This a small, and perhaps overrated, thing to do in Copenhagen. The Little Mermaid Statue lies in the northeast part of the city, near where the cruise ships come to port. One of the best ways to get a cool view of the statue is via a canal tour.
Rosenborg Castle’s probably the most recognizable building in the city – right up there with Christiansborg Palace. Rosenborg Castle (Or Rosenborg Slot) is a must for those interested in history and architecture. But nature lovers will also appreciate the Rosenborg castle gardens.
Rosenborg Castle inside is ornate, to put it mildly. To this day, the rooms stand elaborately decorated. However, there’s a good chance that the King’s Gardens will find the most impressive.
Today the castle lingers as a symbol of the Dutch Renaissance. Rosenborg Castle is just one of the many attractions you can visit for free using your Copenhagen card.
While Noma is a foodie’s dream, it might not be in our price range (The tasting menu starts at almost $300 a person). For those of us with more modest budgets, we can steer clear of the Michelin-star restaurants and head to Torvehallerne Market.
These buzzing markets are packed to the brim with food stalls — many of them giving you a massive bang for your buck. There’s everything from fresh fish vendors to strange cocktails to sip on.
As you wander the stalls and halls (did I just rhythm), you can sample a range of Torvehallerne best foods, inspired and new dishes without breaking your budget. It’s a great addition to anyone looking for fun things to do in Copenhagen.
Strøget’s famous in Copenhagen. It’s also one of the most touristy parts of the city. Strøget’s a pedestrian street that stretches across downtown. (It’s actually one of the longest pedestrian streets in the whole of Europe.) Lining the street are high-end shops, fancy restaurants, one of the biggest malls in the world, and a handful of independent shops.
Frederiksberggade marks Strøget’s starting point. From there, the street runs through both the new and old squares to Kongens Nytorv where it ends. From the central station, it is under a ten-minute walk to Frederiksberggade.
Strøget’s great for shopping (window shopping included), enjoying Copenhagen’s atmosphere and people-watching.
Strøget copenhagen restaurants
- Organic hot dog stand by Round Tower,
- Hotel Chocolate Copenhagen
- Conditori La Glace
- Café Norden
- The Dubliner
Places to Visit on strøget
- House of Amber
- Guinness World Records Museum
- Hay House
- Birger Christensen
Carlsberg Brewery Tour
The Carlsberg Group has held a spot in the top 5 biggest breweries in the world for as long as I can remember. The Carlsberg Brewery offers an exciting tour of the very first brewery in the city. Along the tour, visitors uncover a handful of epic things to do in Copenhagen; like the largest collection of beer bottles in the world, and the elephant gate (both of which we’ll talk about later).
The tour takes you up close to the original machines that helped put the company on the map. And of course, what brewery tour doesn’t give you some free beer?
The Carlsberg Brewery gives you a peek into what makes this brand the most established all over the world. A tour demonstrates the intertwined history of beer and Copenhagen. And will ignite your passion for Danish beer.
Right now, the brewery’s closed for restoration, we expect the Carlsberg Brewery opening to happen soon. And once it does you’re granted free entry to this site with the Copenhagen Card.
Bakken Amusement Park
Welcome to the oldest amusement park in the world. This amusement park has been sitting in this spot since 1583! And while not as famous as Tivoli, Bakken Amusement Park’s still worth a visit to experience the games, rides, entertainment, and food. The park doesn’t just cater to kids but offers a blend of attractions that appeal to everyone in the family. And – in the typical Danish fashion – there’s a couple of pubs in bars in the park.
Visiting Bakken Amusement Park’s like traveling back in time. Most of the rides are dated and old compared to today’s standards, but there’s a deep sense of nostalgia drenches every inch of the park. Bakken’s an icon of Denmark, and to think of the impact that this park has had on the world from Tivoli Gardens all the way to Disney World and Universal.
The park is a 10-minute drive north of Copenhagen, located in the Dyrehaven Woods. There are 32 rides for people of all ages, and 78 other fun attractions. Oh yeah, and did I forget to mention that the park has a free entrance?
The Kings Garden (Also referred to as Rosenborg Castle Gardens) maintains the dual-title as the most visited park in Copenhagen and the oldest park in the city – dating back to the 17th century.
Built during the rule of Christian IV, walking the gardens, your mind quickly wanders to picturing danish royalty walking along the same paths. During the summer, the park has a puppet theatre with two performances a day (except Mondays).
These spectacular gardens have huge flowerbeds (depending on the time of year), and lie on the doorstep of Rosenborg slot. Much attention has been drawn to the fact that these gardens are the lushest place in Copenhagen. And they continue to attract over 2.5 million visitors annually.
Inside the park, you’ll find the renowned Hans Christian Andersen statue. As well as the Hercules Pavilion, and the sculptor-heavy herbaceous rose garden, which also has a cafe and adventure playground.
Events, concerts, and ballets are often hosted in the park, so you never know what you might find.
Wondering about the King’s Garden Copenhagen price? Well, you are in luck as entry to the garden’s free.
Jægersborggade Street, in the Nørrebro neighborhood, has shed its reputation as a dodgy part of town. Now the street’s been reborn as a cool, safe, and trendy street in Copenhagen. In fact, Jægersborggade has become one of the most visited streets in the city.
The transformation started with Christian Puglisi, a famed chef in the capital, who decided to open a restaurant on this dicey street.
Soon after opening, the restaurant earned a Michelin Star. As more people flocked to Jægersborggade to eat at the restaurant, crime, and drug activity when down.
Next, quaint bakeries, cafes, galleries, and shops were taking over the area.
Today Jægersborggade’s a buzzing street and home to some of Copenhagen’s best restaurants, wine bars, cafes, and organic markets and shops.
Jægersborggade cafés & Sweets
- Ro chokolade
- Meyers Bageri
Sønder Boulevard’s a favorite place among locals. Sønder was miraculously transformed from a boulevard into a long grassy strip with benches, grassy knolls, and tall trees. Now Sønder’s become a noteworthy vibrant and lush section of the Vesterbro quarter.
Almost instantaneously, after the facelift, both locals and travelers gravitated to Sønder.
Sønder’s broke up into many sections, each offering something different. There’s the playground for kids, the BMX track, the ball field, and even ping pong tables. And what’s better than free things to do in Copenhagen with kids?
Mesmerized by the burst of beauty, it’s become a hotspot and the perfect area to hang out with friends, go for a bike ride, or explore the cools cafés and local shopping.
Personally, I like to big some snacks and have a picnic.
Refshaleoen, an old shipyard on a man, made island. Sitting just outside the city center, Refshaleoen been converted into a thriving smorgasbord of culture, food, and events. The most unique place in Refshaleoen is the restaurant Alchemist. However, it isn’t just a restaurant. It’s a whole dining experience of food, sound, science, art, and moving backdrops.
It’s also a vibrant and lively place to visit. It’s become of the most popular area to visit in the city. A hub for culture and creativity. It’s a great place to get food, hang with friends, or even have a spa day.
Imagine you’re in a neighborhood called by many “The world’s coolest, and in said neighborhood, you’re on the hippest street. Picturing it? Good, then you have some idea of what it is like to visit Istedgade.
Vesterbro’s, without question, tops the list of the coolest neighborhoods in Copenhagen; it even made Lonely Planet’s top ten list.
And no streets are cooler in Vesterbro than Istedgade, the main hub of the area. Like Jægersborggade; Istedgade was once a terrible neighborhood dominated by drug crime and prostitution. So you might be wondering, “is Istedgade safe?” I’m pleased to report it, yes.
However, like Jægersborggade, the street has undergone a remarkable transformation. Today it’s packed with many shops and restaurants; a handful of them the best the city has to offer. There are slick hostels (for you budget travelers), clubs, bars, and more.
If you want the best of the best food, then there’s the Malbeck Vinebar (wine bar), Cafe Bang & Jensen, Neighbourhoods organic pizza, and the JAGGER – just to name a few. But you can find anything on Istedgade from fresh sushi to shopping for recent fashion trends.
- Malbeck vinbar
- Cafe Bang & Jensen
- JAGGER Vesterbro
- Sticks’n’Sushi Istedgade
- DANSK Made for Rooms
- Edison & Co.
Church of Our Savior
As a whole, Scandinavians aren’t very religious. However, the Church of the Savior’s a beautiful baroque building that dates back to the middle of the 1700s.
When approaching the building, you’ll notice the helix spire with a spiraling staircase on the outside. Yes, some steps are outside of the building, which adds a dash of adventure to this thing to do in Copenhagen.
The Church recently underwent six years of renovation to repair the spire. This tower is the main treasure of the Church, as from the top of the tower, you get the best view of the city.
View lovers should get ready to climb the 400 stairs to the top. Frightening enough, the last 150 are on the outside of the tower. But the juice is worth the squeeze, and the view from the top is unparalleled. And the spire draws more than 600,000 visitors a year.
At the top, enjoy the panoramic view of the city, but don’t forget to admire the impressive spire and the golden globe that’s meant to protect the capital.
As you enter Christiania, you makeshift, worn-down sign that signs, “Now leaving the EU.” These four words perfectly sum up Christiania. Located in downtown Copenhagen, Freetown Christiania is a self-governing society. They have their own laws, flags, and way of life. You’ll see handmade knick-knacks for sale, a weed market, and a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. This hippie community has strike rules they follow, like no weapons, violence, or stealing.
Tourists are welcome but should stick to some basic rules: First, no violence, no car, no cameras, and photos.
It’s one of the most unique and colorful communities I’ve visited in Europe, and one of the best things to do in Copenhagen.
Christiansborg Palace, a massive building, surrounded by water on the small Islet of Slotsholmen, plays an important part in Denmark’s history.
Denmark has one of the oldest monarchies in history. And Christiansborg Palace serves as a venue for royal receptions. Mainly the palace is used by the heads of state and prime minister to receive important guests and heads of state from all over the world or host sumptuous dinners.
In the palace, you’ll find the Throne of Denmark (more detail on that later), and the imposing Great Hall filled with the Queen’s tapestries.
The Christiansborg Palace also houses the PM’s office, the Parliament, and the Supreme Court of Denmark.
Those with a ticket to the Royal Reception Rooms, also have access to a free guided tour of the area.
Christiansborg Palace Ruins
The ruins of the old castle (which date back to the 11th century) are a worthy site when visiting the palace. This accidental discovery is well preserved, and many of the ruins are part of Bishop Absalon’s Castle – dating back to the 11th century. There’s Bishop Absalon’s wall, a wall once used to protect the palace from pirates.
The Blue Tower’s another large ruin under Christiansborg. This tower was a jail used to keep criminals and political prisoners. The most famed inmate was Leonora Christine, daughter of Christian IV, who was held in the tower for over 20 years.
Want a fun fact about Christiansborg Palace ruins? We these historical sites under the palace we discovered by accident.
Vesterbro’s busted onto the scene in recent years increased in popularity and garnered a reputation as one of the best neighborhoods in the world.
The main street – Istedgade, which we talked about earlier, was once the red-light district of the city.
Now Vesterbro’s has a strong mix of different vibes and atmospheres. Everyone from hipsters to families will find something to do in Vesterbro. It’s also an excellent spot to venture for nightlife or hang out in the iconic Vesterbro meatpacking district.
- Mikkeller Bar
- Ideal Bar
- War Pigs
Vesterbro hotel copenhagen
- Comfort Hotel Vesterbro
- Hotel Ottilia
- Guesthouse Vesterbro
- Scandic Kødbyen
- Copenhagen Island Hotel
Nørrebro’s a huge multicultural melting pot in the city. And a foodies dream. Here you can find everything from ramen to tacos. Also, increasing in popularity right now, there’s a huge buzz around Nørrebro and its area of the city with a promising future. The entire neighborhood feels like it’s one large hanging-out spot.
As odd as it is to say, the most popular site is Assistens Cemetery. It’s a lush green section of Nørrebro that holds famous Danes such as Hans Christian Andersen. There’s also the busiest bicycle street in the world and the globally famous Superkilen Park.
Nørrebro’s an area where street culture thrives, with great eats, locally-owned shops, and cool sites. It’s really a no-brainer to visit.
- Nørrebro Bryghus
- Gaarden & Gaden
- The Barking Dog
- The Mudhoney
- Kølsters Tolv Haner
Kent Kaffe Laboratorium
Those addicted to coffee, like me, can’t pass up a visit to the Kent Kaffe Laboratorium. Opened in 2011, this organic coffee shop is a laboratory for experimentation. Here they brew coffee in all sorts of weird, wild, and complex ways, with a bunsen burner, for example. They take brewing coffee to the next level, and I love every second of it.
The atmosphere is cozy, it’s an unusual approach to coffee, and its friendly staff makes this Copenhagen’s most unique coffee shop in town.
A word of warning, the Kent Kaffee Lab, focuses on brewing black coffee. If you ask for milk, there’s a good chance you’ll be greeted with precarious looks.
Those seeking to get away from the touristy sites and get a good feel for the culture of Copenhagen will want to head to the unique meatpacking district, popularly known as Kødbyen. This gritty part of town now plays host to small clusters of nightlife, restaurants, and galleries.
It’s a fashionable area, offbeat, but getting more popular. Great for hanging out with friends, people-watching, meeting locals, or partying all night.
Foodies will want to venture to the meatpacking district food market; here for a few times during their visit. As it’s home to some of the best restaurants in Copenhagen. During the summer in Copenhagen, this place is buzzing!
meatpacking district Copenhagen restaurants
- Restaurant KUL
- Restaurant Gorilla
- Tommi’s Burger Joint
meatpacking district Copenhagen things to do nearby
- Centre of Photography
- V1 Gallery
- Gallery Poulsen
- Galleri Bo Bjerggaard
Experimentarium lets you explore science, the Danish way. This science center is full of hands-on exhibits that people of all nationalities and age groups will love.
This rare take on science has over 19 presentations (including the bizarre tunnel of senses). You’ll take part and get hands-on with a variety of games, take the interactive Olympic test, or weigh your worth in The Arena. They even have the world’s first interactive Experimentarium cinema based on motion sensors.
Can you get more Danish than the ‘Hygge’? Hygge’s the Danish art of being cozy. Yep, Danes are so addicted to relaxing and being cozy that they have a word and an entire museum exhibit dedicated to it.
This crazy place was named by TIME as one of the 100 best places.
National Aquarium Denmark (Den Blå Planet)
I’ve got to come clean here. I’m not a massive fan of Aquariums or Zoos. I feel like wild animals should stay wild. But I do see their value as learning tools to inspire the next generation. So if you have curious little ones, then the National Aquarium of Denmark is a great option. It’s the largest aquarium in Northern Europe and holds over 7 million liters of water.
The vast array of animals, in the Ocean Tank, gives you a glimpse of life under the seven seas, from the Giant Pacific octopus to imposing hammerhead sharks.
Kids will love the Water Playground. Here learning and playing intersect, with large pumps and drains that aim to teach the little ones all the various ways water can be used.
Oh, did I mention that there’s also a Tropical Rainforest with exotic flora and fauna? A rainforest with tiny frogs, piranhas, and arapaimas.
This Aquarium brings out the inner kid in everyone.
- Top Things to Do and See in Copenhagen
- Tivoli Gardens
- Biking Copenhagen
- Little Mermaid Statue
- Rosenborg Castle
- Torvehallerne Market
- Carlsberg Brewery Tour
- Bakken Amusement Park
- King’s Garden
- Sønder Boulevard
- Church of Our Savior
- FreeTown Christiania
- Christiansborg Palace
- Kent Kaffe Laboratorium
- Kødbyen district
- National Aquarium Denmark (Den Blå Planet)