Copenhagen’s city guide, Denmark

Forget about the little mermaid, Birgitte is showing you
her favorite spots around the Danish capital, so you can act like a local.

B
irgitte works at the Danish parliament as a “Committee secretary”. Born in 1989 in Denmark, her motto could be “happy go lucky”, but in realizing she’s not making the most of it. She loves popcorn, swimming in the ocean (especially the first dip), being able to walk around with naked ankles during the first months of spring and Matthew E. White. However getting up before 8 am, action movies and packed calendar are not meant to please her. Getting off from work and spontaneously meeting up with friends is what we could call her favorite moment of the day. She would have loved to be a psychiatrist and live in Kyoto, Japan. Today, Birgitte is taking us to the most hip places of her beloved city.

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So first, how would you describe Copenhagen to someone that has never been?

The beauty of Copenhagen is really defined by the combination of the feeling of a “small city” combined with a great variety in architecture, expressions, cultures and atmospheres. Once you get a sense of the outskirts of Copenhagen you will discover an endless number of areas within the city – which is why I am still spending my weekends discovering the city. The city is vibrating and there is a curious vibe, which seems to make the citizens of Copenhagen take new and sometimes unexpected initiatives – just this week I visited an old cistern, which has been emptied and turned, into a huge sound installation!

How do you get around Copenhagen?

I guess it does not come as a surprise… I bike around Copenhagen! It is the quickest and easiest way to get around the city and the City of Copenhagen is working hard to make it even easier. At the same time they are working to optimize the bike experience. For instance this amazing bicycle bridge just opened.

What is your favorite neighborhood?

I live on Nørrebro which is in stereotypical words the multiethnic area of the city, and also where hipsters like to hang around. The area is super small, you can walk from one side of the area to another in around 25 minutes and that includes a coffee stop. But the reason why I love this area is that it is ever evolving. Shops, coffee places are opening all the time and even though some of them close again there is a spirit of entrepreneurship and curiosity. Just this last couple of months a donut shop and a noise record store opened. Furthermore Nørrebro is like a city within the city where there is a strong local involvement and identity.

Best time of the year to go?

Definitely summer or spring. The city becomes sparkling and the Danes are enjoying any minute of it sitting in parks and outside on the various cafés and bars.

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FOR A COFFEE

To go I would say Riccos (1), they have shops all over the city. For a « sit down »-coffee I would recommend Harbo Bar (2).

FOR A BRUNCH

Must be Taxa (3) in Kronborggade.

FOR A LUNCH WITH YOUR COLLEAGUES

La Galette (4) is a favorite. Otherwise go to Torvehallerne (5) where you can choose a lunch of exactly your liking because it is a food market. If you go there make sure to try Gorms Pizza.

FOR A ROMANTIC NIGHT OUT

If it is not for dinner I would recommend Duck and Cover (6) which is a super cool cocktail bar.

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FOR A DINNER WITH FRIENDS

If it has to be cheap I would choose FuWa (7) which serves a super good Dim Sum-menu. If it can be a bit more expensive I would go for Ranees (8) which serves the best Thai food in the city.

FOR A CRAZY COCKTAIL EVENING

Bremen Theatre (9) is good for dancing and has pretty cheap drinks. Otherwise go to The Meat Packing District (10) (Kødbyen in danish) where you’ll find a lot of cool places just next to each other.

FOR CHEAP BEERS

In Copenhagen we have a lot of « brown bars » which is the best translation I could think of. It was originally for people drinking more than they were working, but now this is where the young people go for cheap beers. My favorite would be Dilligencen (11) in Bragesgade or Bo-Bi Bar (12) in the center of the city.

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FOR A BUSINESS MEETING

Definitely Bevar’s (13). It is a cafe where you can actually reserve a meeting room.

FOR A FIRST DATE

Wascator (14) is the place! You can have both lunch and dinner (cheap) there, or you could just have something to drink and a game of backgammon.

TO WATCH PEOPLE IN THE STREET

Sit down next to the lakes (15) in the middle of Copenhagen. There is three of them, but choose the one closest to Nørrebro. There you will find a beautiful mix of hipsters dressed up for a Sunday walk, runners and families. Furthermore there are swanes.

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FOR A DRUNK DANCING NIGHT

Drone (16) has a great dance floor and you can get drunk rather cheap. The music is great, most indie and rock, but it gets super sweaty down there during the late hours!

FOR A QUALITY CONCERT

Make sure to check Vega (17) out, they hold great Danish and international names. Otherwise I really like to go to the Opera House (18). So if you are up for that make sure to try it out.

FOR A SPORT SESSION

In summer you can join free yoga classes in the public parks. I practice yoga every week at the yoga center called Senses (19). Beautifully decorated, clean and good instructors.

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FOR SHOPPING

For clothing, & Other Stories (20). If you have a few hours for shopping try the good shops on Elmegade (21), Nørrebro. Amongst others there is an Acne Archive (22) shop, where you can shop show pieces and Acne clothing on sale.

FOR VINTAGE

There is a great one on the corner of Ravnsborggade and Sankt Hansgade (23). Cannot think of the name right now but it easy to find. Next to the corner you will also find a number of vintage furniture shops which are also great.

FOR A GREEN AREA

Without doubt Assistens Kirkegården (24). It may sound weird but it is actually a church yard where people come to hang out. In a charming way it is super messy and you can easily be lost in it with all its small roads and corners.

FOR THE BEST PANORAMIC VIEW

There has just been built a restaurant in the Parliament, called Tårnet (25). Of course you cannot go for the restaurant for free but you can climb the tower. There you will find a great view over all of Copenhagen. Another possibility is Vor Frelser Kirke (26) but there you will have to walk all the way up.

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FOR A WALK

I would recommend checking out Danish Architecture Center (27). They have an app where they recommend walks around the city where you will at the same time get information on the buildings you are passing. Otherwise do as all the Copenhageners do: walk the three lakes.

FOR A TOURISTIC POINT

I would definitely go to Christiania (28), if you are in Copenhagen during summertime. Make sure to eat at Morgenstedet (29) and enjoy the free concerts on Sundays during summer. Otherwise go to Rosenborg Castle (30) which is always worth a trip.

FOR A MUSEUM

That must be The National Gallery of Denmark (31). But actually my favorite museum is a bit outside of Copenhagen and it is called Louisiana, in Humlebæk. It is a MUST if you are visiting Denmark. I also LOVE Thorvaldsens Museum (32) which is a famous sculptor exhibiting in the most beautiful surroundings.

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FOR THE WEEK-END ESCAPADE

I simply love Jutland and I find it a waste that some many people do not get to see the West Coast of Jutland when they are in Copenhagen. So I would recommend borrowing a car and driving the three hour drive to the West Coast where you could stay at a camp site or rent a summer house. And once you are there you might as well see the beautiful city Ribe which is one of the oldest in Denmark.

What do I need to absolutely taste or try before leaving?

Smørrebrød! I think it is called Danish open sandwiches or something like that in English. It is a traditional meal but the focus on the Nordic Kitchen has brought some new thinking of smørrebrød. It is perfect for lunch with a cold beer on the side.

 

Copenhagen inspirations

 

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Products to take back home

Maybe some Scandinavian design in shape of either clothing or furniture. Maybe a cool poster from this shop in Jægersborggade: Butik CMYK (33).

A song

The band called Ulige Numre made a song called « København » last year which was a major hit. I think it made us proud in a way of the city and that is why people loved it. But to also name a song in English it must be « I Remember » from the band Figurines which I listened to all the time when I moved here.

A book

That is harder. Cannot really think of a good book which is taking place within Copenhagen that I have recently read. It must be Nick Cave’s The Death of Bunny Munro because I have read it here and borrowed it to a lot of friends in Copenhagen.

A person

Check out Suzanne Brøgger. She is super cool and provoked a lot of people back in the days.

A movie

Maybe I could say Ghost Writer by Polanski because parts of it are actually recorded in Denmark, though not in Copenhagen.

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Photos by Chloé Brunet

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