Healthy Tasting Menus, Urban Cycling and Design, Design, Design
Neighborhoods To Know
The destination neighborhood for hip kids, cafes, great bars and teeny galleries, all within walking distance of Nørreport station. Focus on Ravnsborggade and Elmegade streets to get a feel for the area.
Norrebro’s charming, slightly more grown up neighbor to the east, with wonderful coffee, cozy bistros, independent salons and yoga studios.
Easily accessible from the above two neighborhoods by foot or bike, this is the new restaurant row. Unlike New York, meat is still actively packed in the early hours.
A beautiful, quiet residential area that’s home to famed yet neighborhood-y restaurants Radio, Salon 39, Scarpetta.
One of Copenhagen’s most photographed areas, this 17th century neighborhood is filled with gorgeous, brightly colored townhouse buildings. It’s also home to an infamously hippie community, which means tons of vegan-friendly casual bites.
Copenhagen Central Station is here, as well as most of the city’s office buildings. It’s also home to Torvehallerne - the dining hall with anything and everything, a perfect way to do a progressive lunch.
Home to Copenhagen’s best barre spot The Studio, Hellerup is a posh suburb north of Copenhagen located on the water.
Dining + Drinking
The Danes typically grab breakfast at home, and for this reason there is not much around town in the way of healthy breakfasts. Thankfully, nearly every hotel will have an option that is inclusive of breakfast. Brunches out on the weekends are more popular and start in the late morning, and the following list is best after 10a on a Saturday or Sunday.
Swedish style cafe with filling brunch plates, gorgeous cakes and a homemade, vegan nutella
Joe’s is located on nearly every corner, serving juices smoothies and sandwiches starting at 10a
Focusing on savory porridges, Grod also offers acai bowls
Lunch can be quick and inexpensive or atmospheric and leisurely, the below choices run the gamut.
Spectacular seasonal salads, soups and treats ordered at the counter, which means great for take away to the park or relaxing mid-afternoon, though not the best option for when you’re in a rush - rumor has it there is to be a new market addition to the restaurant opening soon.
For $10, Riz Raz is the fastest, freshest lunch you can grab while dashing around town served buffet-style
Touristy and busy, sure. But it’s located in the center of Strøget in a soaring, multi-level, lush deco bistro
From raw truffles to a $21 burger, the Vesterbro location is a sweet nook of a restaurant with raw and cooked plant-based menu
A tofu banh mi style at the Torvehallerne is super fresh and one of the city’s few tofu for lunch options
A true Christiania experience, a cash-only, serve yourself co-op with a rotating menu in a homey environment
Local’s favorite for Mediterranean-style vegetarian dining with plenty of hummus, falafel and salads, dinner can get crazy crowded so lunch is the way to go
Along the sea in Nyan, grab a vegetarian prix fixe then wander over to grab a peek at the view
The quality and inventiveness of local tasting menus is not a total surprise, but that makes it no less impressive. Locals joke that every new restaurant is helmed by a former Noma chef, but even less serious restaurants are super serious about the creativity and quality of what’s leaving the kitchen. Equally as important as the food itself, a successfully cozy, friendly homey atmosphere (which the Danes call hygge and nicely explained here by FathomAway) is something not replicated anywhere else and adds to the splendor of Copenhagen’s dining scene.
Vegan four course tasting menu that’s mostly gluten-free and features creatively prepared seasonal vegetables
A neighborhood restaurant vibe with a killer five course menu. With advanced notice, they can prepare a vegan tasting menu
Italian small plates with a Nordic flair and lovely wine list, it’s a bit coupley and great for a date
One of the meatpacking’s newest, chicest casual spots - all industrial details and bold cocktails
Meatpacking’s Indian eatery and take out spot. Casual and perfect for a bite before an evening out
For a dinner on the run, local chain Lele and Lele take away offer easy curries with vegan protein options
The cocktail game in town is strong, with a focus on whiskey and seasonal menus highlighting local herbs. The variety of must-drinks include a one man show behind the bar to multilevel classic cocktail emporium. Each location is loads more hygge than most places in any other city.
Cozy, cozy bi-level bar favored by local and visiting English speakers, with more ambiance than you can shake a stick at and talented bartenders ready to whip up seasonal specialties and the classics
Where the bartenders come to drink, probably because the team and decor are lighthearted but cocktails are seriously delicious
One of few bars in town to hand-hew ice from a large crystal block each day, Atze is the one-man show owner and bartender whipping up excellent drinks many of the city’s bartenders call the best in town
Sexy-cozy Duck and Cover will get you interiors-wasted on its savvy Nordic design and lighting alone.
The third level whiskey bar with a library vibe and a fireplace nook makes it an excellent pick for a chilly evening
Great coffee is easy to find for eat-in or take away, as it seems every Dane starts their morning with a cup of the good stuff
Baristas with an opinion, a queue at anytime of day, and excellent filtered coffee and espresso, dairy milk only
A few locations throughout the city including one at Central Library serve single origin, Danish roasted espresso drinks and pastry
A great avocado toast, coffee made with Coffee Collective beans, wifi in a sweet Vesterbro locale
The most charming, miniature cafe underneath a one-bedroom hotel serving coffee, espresso, and pastry
In the Torvehallerne, Unplugged is the city’s first cold-pressed juicery and serves smoothies and paleo (though not vegan) friendly sandwiches
A fully raw restaurant serving herb-driven juices and smoothies all day
Located throughout the city, Joe serves not just juice, but sandwiches and smoothies, too accompanied by sounds of a house dj on weekends
Fitness in Copenhagen is strength and yoga-focused, with megaformer Pilates and barre just beginning to gain popularity. Crossfit is all the rage, which explains the large number of quality boxes in town led by esteemed trainers. Yoga comes in as a close second with Bikram being the most popular style. Word on the street is that Lady Gaga's preferred CPH studio is Bikram Copenhagen , a studio also quite popular with local hip kids.
One of the newer kids on the block and located in the meatpacking area, visitor friendly and WODs can be taught in Danish and English
Copenhagen’s oldest and biggest Crossfit box requires signing up in advance, is located in a former church - note that night classes especially get packed with fit locals
Led by master trainer in nearly every respected fitness methodology and 30 year army veteran Ole Cosmus, classes take place outdoors on a deck overlooking the sea during the summer
One of few TRX classes in town, Senses also teaches Pilates and yoga at a studio that’s mostly for the ladies
In suburban Hellerup, The Studio is a classical ballet take on barre with creative movements that will be new to those used to Bar Method style studios
Led by a former Crazy Horse dancer who moved from Denmark to LA and back, classes are skill level-specific and all include a choreographed routine at the end
Yoga + Pilates
Lady Gaga’s fave, also fave of stylish young professionals and uni students
For a Mysore class in Vesterbro, Astanga DK is the most esteemed and busiest
A variety of styles are taught including Ashtanga, Yin and Vinyasa Flow
Hot Vinyasa style yoga is taught here in addition to group fitness classes on TRX
55 minute class on a megaformer, many locals call this the toughest group class in town
Copenhagen is a goldmine for those with an interest in the chic, minimalist style of Denmark and neighboring Scandinavian countries. As for decor and design objects, nobody does it better than the Danes.
The Barneys of Copenhagen, filled with Scandinavian designer favorites and international mainstays
One of three archive stores, Sweden-based Acne’s Copenhagen shop sells current season styles as well as ‘archive’ collections for a fraction
Gifts heaven. Home decor, casual jewelry, design objects are all made by local artisans
The internationally recognized footwear designer is Danish and the flagship Copenhagen store is bananas
Moved from an apartment to a store front in April of 2015, Print Collective sells prints made by local and farther flung artists and photographers that are all produced in-house
For cool, minimal and delicate gold jewelry with an edge - Katrine’s new-ish atelier is the place to be
There is an amazing variety of great hotel properties for a city of this size. From super luxe to just the essentials, it is a cinch to find the right hotel vibe at the right price. The below are just a selection of favorites, but it’s hard to find an ugly hotel in this town.
Easily the most charming and smallest hotel anywhere, Central Hotel is a one bedroom, painstakingly designed pied a terre in the center of Vesterbro that includes bike rentals and breakfast at hip-kid sister restaurant Granola
Copenhagen’s newest boutique property has a fabulous Norrebro location and trademark Danish style throughout the rooms, from impressively affordable studios to three loft suites with balconies and bathtubs
A short 20-minute ride from Copenhagen station, Kurhotel is the Nordic spa hotel destination, with saunas, spa, fitness classes, a new soon-to-open fine dining restaurant and the famed Saunagus experience led by mist master Tina Anderson
Nordic spa is another level of nature-inspired, traditional healing and rejuvenation. It’s a must, even for those who may have just done a whole pre-trip spa routine at home.
Just steps from the Skodsborg station and right on the sea, Kurhotel is a perfect destination for unwinding and getting your wellness groove back or stepping up your game with Crossfit, massage and the main spa room with an unending amount saunas, steams, salt rooms and pools
Boutique destination for progressive facial treatments featuring mostly local beauty lines like BioEffect and SJÄL
Hotel D’Angleterre’s award-winning spa is a favorite for luxe treatments administered by top therapists
Copenhagen is a nature-friendly city and even on colder days locals will be out and about in the park for a mid-day recharge
Amalienborg is the Rococo styled winter royal residence, Rosenborg is a stunning Renaissance castle that’s had many lives and today houses the crown jewels, Christianborg is home to the Danish Parliament
The world’s second oldest amusement park is in the center of Copenhagen and turns into the most spectacular Christmas market in November and December
This picturesque part of town is made of colorful townhouses lining the canal - in the summer it’s lovely to be outdoors in the day and in the winter this part of town pulls out all the Christmas-y decor stops
Getting outside the city
Gorgeous location, stunning permanent collection and expertly curated visiting exhibitions which in 2016 will include: David Altmejd, Op Art, Taryn Simon and Louise Borgeois
There are so many architecturally unique castles throughout Denmark, and if you choose just one outside of the city, make it the castle from Shakespeare’s Hamlet - Kronborg Castle (Elsinore)
Aside from Hamlet’s castle, there are loads of other gorgeous UNESCO sites worth visiting
A local favorite for Italian food outside of town for a mini-escape
Try Cycling Copenhagen for their city tours themed by ‘must sees’ or the ‘urban tour’, or rent a bike on your own just give it a go, but don’t forget the GPS
There are a number of places throughout town that offer Saunagus experiences, but if you’re going to do it once, the 20-minute ride to Skodsborg is so worth it
To the uninitiated, jumping into literally freezing cold ocean water seems insane, but the endorphin rush is like no other and makes it more than worth the initial ‘what the?’ when your first toe hits the water
You could wander the city on your own for some self-discovery, or you could do a half day tour with a local who has their finger on the pulse of Danish design
Know before you go
- Locals don’t tip
- Biking through the city is efficient and safe
- The metro is new and very fast
- Dating is different than in the States and southern Europe, bar-goers don’t normally offer to buy drinks even if they’re interested
- It gets dark early and stays dark through most of the morning
- Finding vegan proteins such as tofu and tempeh can be next to impossible. Bringing your own protein sources such as powders for smoothies and bars is a must
- Danes love their bread and meat - the country has the highest meat consumption per capita of anywhere. Consider this when planning meals out and call ahead to inform of dietary restrictions, most places are happy to accommodate
- The Torvehallerne is a great stop for a progressive meal. Inside are Unplugged Juice, Coffee Collective, Grod, Banh Mi and others happy to whip up something plant-based and nutrient-rich
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