København, Danmark

Despite 30° weather, I’ve visited Copenhagen in December twice. The takeaway? It must be pretty great to lure me in those temperatures more than once. 

There are a good array of museums (I’ve highlighted my favorite ones below), but exploring Copenhagen is more about experiencing the Scandinavian lifestyle. Map out all the bakeries, sink into the well-made furniture, appreciate cups of black coffee, walk or bike through the different neighborhoods, and take in the city’s orderliness. 

It makes sense to start any Copenhagen exploration in Indre By, the city center. Start at Nyhavn, the picturesque canalway lined with colorful homes. Snap your photo and then head on to Strøget, a long commercial street worth exploring. Walk all along it towards City Hall (Københavns Rådhus). From there, explore the Museum of Copenhagen and the Ny Calrsberg Glypotek, or spend the rest of the day in Tivoli, the world’s second oldest amusement park. If you want to see a play or concert in the evening, check what’s on at The Royal Theatre

The next neighborhood to explore—Christianshavn. Yes, it’s home to Christiana, the small commune known for hippies and pot, but a quick walk through is all you need. Instead, enjoy the neighborhood’s excellent food scene. If you don’t choose to stay at Kanalhuset (you should!), I recommend at least spending a morning in their upstairs bar/lounge area where you can have a perfect Danish breakfast of hot coffee, freshly baked bread, and butter. Or sign up for one of the communal meals they serve each evening to have a fantastic family style meal with locals and visitors alike. If you’re not the social type, head across the canal to some of the other excellent little restaurants in the neighborhood. 

Having read the Copenhagen Trilogy before visiting Copenhagen, I had expected Vesterbro to be… bleak. Instead, the meatpacking industry is quite trendy nowadays. There are plenty of nice dining options, but for the most unique experience, consider signing up for social dining at Absalon, a church that now serves as a community center. 

Finally, spend a day or two in Nørrebro and Østerbro, two very different neighborhoods. Nørrebro is more “hip” and international, so you can enjoy everything from Thai curries to Turkish kebabs. It’s also chock full of bakeries and home to the Assistens Cemetery, a beautiful cemetery where you can find the graves of many famous Danes. Meanwhile, Østerbro feels decidedly upper class. It’s more residential and quiet, but there are a few nice streets to walk along in order to get a better sense of yet another corner of the city. 

Have extra time for a day trip? You can easily take the train to The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, located just north of the city, or cross the Öresund Strait for a day in Malmö.


  • Sankt Annae 8: Cozy French-esque wine bar—a real hidden gem! 
  • Kanalhuset: Great spot to read and have coffee, or to enjoy a full Danish meal in the evening
  • Christianshavns Faergecafe: Sit on the boat or in the restaurant, but either way you’ll have some traditional Danish food
  • Dzidra: Simple, nice little lunch spot 
  • Absalon: Affordable communal meal in a former church
  • Mikkeller: Yes, they’re all over now, but the Nørrebro location is very cute! 
  • Restaurant Kronberg: I’d make a reservation—this is the perfect spot for authentic smørrebrød
  • Bakeries: Andersen & Maillard, Juno, Hart, Rondo, the Collective



  • Walk whenever you can! Biking is even better, but will need internet service on your phone to easily rent a bike. The metro is also cheap and convenient. 


  • The Hunt (film)
  • Borgen (TV series) 
  • Smilla’s Sense of Snow (book) 
  • The Copenhagen Trilogy (book) 

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