Copenhagen, Denmark

You’ve been hearing a lot about Copenhagen’s food scene lately. Noma was named the best restaurant in the world for three years in a row. Geranium and Relae are right on its heels. These three restaurants, plus ten more, all have Michelin stars. But there’s more to Denmark’s capital than just upscale restaurants. Most of the city is focused on local, delicious food. Bonus points when it’s warm enough to eat outside.

Photo: Nyhavn, hemogenes,
Photo: Nyhavn, hemogenes,

You can’t miss Copenhagen’s iconic sites: the colorful Nyhavn waterfront, the Little Mermaid statue, and Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest amusement park in the world. But in between–or even during–your stops at these places, you’ll want to eat. The smell of freshly baked bread will awaken your stomach quite early. Start with a Danish pastry with red currant jam. Check out Amalienborg Palace, the home of Queen Margrethe II. Stop for a second breakfast of farm-fresh eggs. Brunch is the most popular meal of the day here, especially places with outdoor seating.

Now bike it off. There are bike paths everywhere. Sunbathe in Assistens Kirkegaard, the cemetery where Hans Christian Andersen is buried. Grab smoked trout smørrebrød–open-faced sandwiches–and picnic in the romantic Frederiksberg Gardens. Or play frisbee in the King’s Garden. Have a smushi and a microbrew beer or homemade aquavit along the water. Climb the Church of Our Savior’s spire. Shop, or better yet, people watch, along Strøget. And finally have that locally forged tasting menu that brought you here in the first place.

Photo: Copenhagen habour HDR,  boff2,
Photo: Copenhagen habour HDR, boff2,

When its time to go out later, you’ll have almost as many options as you did for restaurants. One notable difference: the music and the performances are curated from around the world. Relax on the lawn at Fælledparken’s outdoor stage. See the symphony at the Copenhagen Concert Hall–you can’t miss the glowing blue building. Grab a cocktail in Vesterbro. Hang out with jazz musicians at Jazzhus Montmartre. Find the clubs on Gothersgade–they’re open until 5 a.m. And end the night (okay, morning) at a pølsevogn, for one last snack, a hot dog, with a bottle of Cocio. You should be stuffed for a couple of days. Or at least until you catch the scent of freshly baked bread as you stumble back to your hotel.

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