My name is Lena and I am the founder of GO! Running Tours, and below are some of my favourite Copenhagen tips on what to do and places to visit in Copenhagen.
I will in this post try and get you away from the Strøget (main shopping street), Tivoli and other touristy places, as I am sure your guidebook has already done a very good job at describing these. Also I will focus on some of the things that I like to do when I go abroad (apart from running :-)), which is walk, eat, drink, visit local designer shops, speak to the locals, local live bands and simply just hang out and soak up the atmosphere… Enough of the introductions – here we go:
Copenhagen tips – Good coffee (because life is too short for bad coffee!)
Risteriet is a fantastic little coffee bar close to the City Square, so if you want to grab a coffee after you have finished your run, then don’t get tempted by the Baresso but walk 100 meter further to Risteriet which is located at Studiestrædet and have been voted “Copenhagen’s best coffee” several times.
Another good coffee place is Coffee Collective, which has its original shop at Jægersborggade (One of the hippest streets in Copenhagen, and much recommended) and it recently opened up the second shop at Torvehallerne (near Nørreport). It has been voted best coffee bar in Copenhagen several times and boasts several barrista champions.
Both shops roast their own coffee and you will find it hard to find more passionate “coffee makers” in our capital. None of them are cheap, but trust me, its worth it!
Copenhagen tips – Bakery
There is only one bakery I will recommend, as its my absolute favourite, its independent, its traditional and my running guests have so far loved it. It is The Sankt Peders Bageri located in Sankt Peders Stræde 29 (5 min walk from the City Square) and if you are in there on a Wednesday, simply ask for the “Wednesday snail” (sounds appetising right? ) and you will get a cinnamon roll, that I will bet my runnings shoes on is the best and biggest you will ever set your teeth in (ok – if you are American it might not be the biggest :)).
Copenhagen tips – Restaurants
OK – here we come to one of my favourite topics, as I am passionate about food both expensive and less so, and the things I value are fresh and ideally organic produce, a good wine menu and a relaxing atmosphere.
At the top of the list is of course Noma, which is one of the world’s leading restaurants and 100% dedicated to nordic food. The food and wine is absolutely amazing and for such an esteemed restaurant the atmosphere is very relaxed and friendly. The waiting list is long (months), so make sure you book when the tables are “released”.
If you didn’t manage to get a table at Noma but still want to try one of Copenhagen’s Michelin restaurants, then I can warmly recommend Restaurant AOC and don’t let yourself miss their amazing wine menu. The food caters for all your senses and you will find yourself dining in a vaulted cellar from the 17th century.
Jumping down the scale a tad, then Copenhagen has a vast number of restaurants that offers gourmet food where you can easily get a menu of 4-5 dishes including wine menu below 1000 kroner (still expensive, but hey…you are in Copenhagen, and everything is expensive :-)). A few to mention are: The Dining Room (located at the top of the Radisson hotel and boasts views of the entire city), Den Lille Fede (directly translated its called “the small fat one”) and Bistro Boheme (a very decent selection of wines by the glass).
If you are looking for good food, but do not want to spend a fortune, then there are still plenty of good and interesting places to go. Manfreds which is located in Jægersborggade is superb and it will in no way ruin you. Also, Frankies in Admiralgade is much recommended, where the food is very good compared to the price and the interior reminds me of my grandma’s living room. Lastly, Magstræde 16 is my personal favourite in Copenhagen, with fair priced Italian food and an extensive wine menu.
If you want to go real budget, then the sausage stands and kebab places are always good choices.
Copenhagen tips – Smørrebrød
Though we are still discussing food and restaurants, our traditional Smørrebrød gets its own section. Smørrebrød is in short: open faced sandwiches on rye bread! Can’t wait to dig in I am sure with that description 🙂 It truly is very Danish and I will admit that I eat Smørrebrød every day for lunch, so I am completely biased in this description. I have often had friends from abroad visiting, and the urge to try our Smørrebrød, has not always been that great, when they imagine ryebread, pickled herring, raw onion and a shot of “snaps” on the side. You don’t however, have to jump in at the deep end and order the herring as there are hundreds of variations with some of the favourites being liver pate, sausage and eggs and shrimps. I am a big fan of the super traditional Danish restaurants, so here are my recommendations:
Toldbod Bodega at Esplanaden is a very traditional Danish restaurant and as you walk into the place, it feels like you are taken back 30 years in time. The smell that hits you is the smell of a “Danish kitchen” and in addition to Smørrebrød you can also get Danish dinner consisting of Hakkebøf, flæskesteg etc.
Slotskælderen near Højbroplads is also super traditional and I personally feel I walk into my granma’s livingroom whenever I enter this place. From the outside, the restaurant looks somewhat dated, and as you walk in and you see the 60+ clientele, you know you are in for a true Danish and traditional experience.
Ida Davidsen in Store Kongensgade 70 and Aamans at Østerfarrigmagsgade 10 are probably the most famous Smørrebrød restaurants in Copenhagen and also a bit more upmarket. You have greater variety of toppings and the Smørrebrød is also more modern and according to my foreign friends, more “tourist friendly”.
Copenhagen tips – Places
Christiania is in my opinion an unpolished pearl in Copenhagen. Its mostly known for being a hippie community with an open cannabis trade and a steady stream of drunken or drugged people. If you can either look past this or appreciate it for its diversity, then you will no doubtedly love Christiania. Its jam packed with creativity, nature, tolerant people and fantastic eateries. On a sunny day, just go there and simply sit an chill out with the rest of Copenhagen.
If you happen to find yourself in Copenhagen during a heat wave, then firstly praise yourself very lucky, because it hardly ever happens :-). Secondly, go to Havnebadet “the Harbour Bath”, which is just opposite the water from the Mariott Hotel. Here you can go swimming in Copenhagen harbour and cool down (it can get very busy, and the grass paths furthest away from the bridge is always more quiet).
Copenhagen has a fantastic music scene and I would recommend everyone interested in music to check it out. One of the bigger, music venues, where you can catch a breath of Danish music is Vega. It is located at Vesterbro and has concerts almost every night and the artists are both Danish and International. If you venture out to Nørrebro then Rust is an absolute must and an institution in itself (tickets are usally around 40-70 kroner at the door). There is usually always a concert or two at Christiania, so if you are there anyway, it could be an idea to pop your head into one of the places where the music is blaring out.
Kødbyen (the meat packing district) is the place to go out if you consider yourself hip and trendy or simply want to see how the Copenhipsters party. In addition to bars and clubs, the Meat Packing District also boasts lots of restaurants, galleries and lots of creative offices, so its worth a visit regardless of time of day. It is still also a fully functioning meat packing district, so don’t be surprised by the hustle and bustle on a weekday.
……………….and I could keep on going, as Copenhagen is changing constantly and there is always something interesting and exciting going on. If you want information on running in Copenhagen, check out the running guide and running races 2019 post. The guide team and myself are all huge consumers of our capital and we love to talk about what is going on, so when you are out running with one of us, and you would like a few Copenhagen tips on what to do, then please just ask away. Its one of our favourite topics, so you will be doing us a favour by asking 🙂
Welcome to Copenhagen and make sure you enjoy the way that we do 🙂
p.s. Have you read our Tour Guide Tuesday interview? Some of our favourite locals, running guide Henrik, Signe, Janne, Jens, Anna, Alexandra and Lena are always keen to share their favourite spots.