As a Dane working in Gothenburg, a lot of my colleagues are traveling to Copenhagen during weekends. A so, I am asked what to do. To lessen the work from writing recommendations, I started collecting places I liked into a curated city guide.
The guide includes the best value for money food (in one of the most expensive cities in the world), where to take your tinder date if you want to impress her/him, and the most instagrammable cafes in Copenhagen.
Here you can find the local city guide to Copenhagen in a printable format. I have tried to make it as easy to navigate as possible.
Where to go for food?
Best value for money
Madklubben (best three-course dinner for cheap)
Madklubben have restaurants all over Copenhagen — it doesn’t really matter which one you go to. The concept is an excellent food for reasonable money. Premium as a standard as some would say. The winning strategy is you ask me. Fun fact: I used to be a waiter in one of their restaurants, I would still recommend it.
Smagsløget (best sandwich for your pennies)
As we are talking value for money, you cannot get a more sandwich for your money than this place. Smagsløget is a student favorite, and for a good reason. no French-sized portions in this shop.
Dalle Valle (local favorite cheap buffet)
If you are looking for value for money this is where you go to eat lunch buffet. they have a broad selection of warm and cold dishes. anyone who doesn’t like this place wouldn’t be able to see a great deal if it spat them in the face.
Mad & Kaffe (design your own brunch plate)
The worst thing about a brunch plate is most of the stuff is a garnish. Here you can design your own brunch plate. funny story — I actually went to gymnasium with the guy who started this chain. if you are looking for delicious brunch this is a local favorite.
Grød (strangest gourmet food)
This place made porridge (the most boring of all the foods) into a goddamn artform. This is not your average morning breakfast porridge. Surprise you followers with Instagram worthy (delicious) oats.
Paludan (book cafe to make you look sophisticated for your followers)
You want to seem sophisticated. Aight, here is a tip for you — go here, pick a cool looking book from one of the shelves, and ask the people next to you to take a picture of you reading deep in thought. Also really good nachos.
Joe House (mainstream cafe, new concept)
You don’t want to be the average Instagram joe-hoe. You want something special that still says Joe & The Juice. Joe House is a concept breakfast place (only one of its kind) where you can get delicious food from hot guys (and girls. They hire girls now). Fun fact: also used to work here.
The Organic Boho (most colorful vegan brunch plate)
The vegan option, because there is always a vegan in a Swedish crowd. This is, however, a vegan brunch plate that will make you full, and the colors of the food you get mean you won’t have to use a filter to boost them.
Det Lille Apotek (danish food the old school way)
Most old school danish food restaurants you will come across today. This place has been around for centuries (literally) and is still popular today. Make sure to book a table, as there is a waiting list.
Fars dreng (danish food the new school way)
Ain’t got time for antiquities like Det lille apotek? Try some modern Danish food. Smørrebrød remixed with the future. It isn’t cheap, but what is in Copenhagen anyway?
Impressing your (tinder) dates
Lundgren VIP (most unique dining experience)
You might not realize this yet, but in reality, you hate going through a menu trying to pick the dish you will most likely enjoy for the money you want to spend. Then comes the even worse wine card, which is twice as hard because here you have actually no idea what the fuck you are supposed to look for. This restaurant took these hassles out of the equation. They only offer one dish which is a shared tapas plate. You don’t like it? Don’t go there. Now for the wine — you tell the waiter what you like (fruity, dry, strong, drugged) and he/she will run to their 600 bottle wine cellar and pick something that matches your request. They place the bottle on the table and mark it. Now you just serve yourself to some wine. When you don’t want more, you return the bottle and the measure how much you drank and calculate the price from there. Fucking genious.
Gorilla (best (and only) 16-course dinner)
Again, you cannot pick something — too much of a commitment. Why not just pick small portions of 16 dishes that come in rapid succession? This is what Gorrilla can offer you (and your date) plus it is a super cool location in the meatpacking district.
Cocks & Cows (best burger, no questions asked)
Best burgers. ‘Nough said. If someone says anything else, assume they don’t know what they are talking about — about anything.
Warpig (a proper feast as the Vikings would have it)
This is the most disgusting place you will ever eat — not that the place is disgusting, actually, it is amazing. But you will feel disgusting after you bite into your third rack of amazing grilled spareribs.
Outside of the center
Ludolph (crazy big softice)
Located in Hellerup, north of Copenhagen, you will be sure you get your money worth the trip. Just make sure you order the biggest ice-cream you can get. You won’t be sorry. Or maybe you will when you throw up in office.
Reffen (best atmosphere to enjoy a cold beer in the sun)
A bit of a walk out there, but once you get there, you will find an inferno of food stands. Hard to choose, but they are all equally shit and expensive. But the atmosphere is amazing, so just bring some beers yourself and enjoy the sun.
For a rainy day
Bastard (best group activity)
A million-billion board games at your disposal. And really, really good nachos. You will stay here for ages if you can get a table.
The Living Room (best place to rest your legs after a long, cold walk)
Go down in the basement and enjoy a real fireplace, hot chocolate (or chai latte) in really worn, not-matching living room chairs.
Buzz Cafe (best WiFi in scandia style surroundings)
I usually went here as a student, because there are no people and really, really good wifi. And the staff is super nice. So basically your own office with dedicated baristas.
Next Door Cafe (blueberry pancakes served in a basement)
There is this bald guy with a bunch of piercings and a net-tanktop that is always behind the counter, which is always good for a funny comment to your order. Order blueberry pancakes, or whatever seasonal pancakes they are making. Go down in the basement and enjoy suddenly being a part of something out of A Clockwork Orange.
Where to go for drinks?
Ruby (personal fav)
Sort of a not-so-secret secret bar. My favorite place when I am in the mood for really expensive but equally expensive drinks. Good place for tinder dates
Blume (best mix of class and young clientele)
Located in the basement of a Copenhagen courtyard. This place is a bit hidden away, but again, really nice, not as expensive cocktails as Ruby. People mostly come here in groups, so less chance of picking anyone up.
The Jane (the only secret-ish bar)
The only real secret not-so-secret bar in Copenhagen (it comes up as first if you search “Secret Bars in Copenhagen” but it is cool. The staff is known for being hilariously rude, but it is part of the experience. If you can indulge in the experience of bad customer service this is your place.
Clubbing with cool people
Rust (all the music you like)
Rust is a favorite as it has three floors with different music, so you can always find something you want to dance to. The clientele is 20–30 but don’t let that stop you. It is filled with alternatives and hipster, but everyone is normally very nice, and very drunk.
Hornsleth (not for the fragile souls)
Just go there because of the interior on the walls. You won’t regret it. Unless you don’t like swearwords and big pictures of genitalia.
Bars for casual convos
PS Grill & Bar (sangria!!!)
This gets super duper busy all weekend, but if you come early and grab a table (or reserve beforehand) you will be the king of the night as people will enviously look at you as if you were sitting on a throne. The point in going there is to get sangria. So treat yourself to a pitcher.
Vinhanen (wine on tap)
The most original wine bar you will see in Copenhagen. No premade bottles, all wines are on tap. If you want to buy the wine you are tasting, they will fill a bottle then and there, and you take it home. Other than being a fun concept, the wine is really nice, and the bottles will impress you, snobbish wine friends.
Weltkuglen (cheap beers in nice surroundings)
Weltkuglen is located in the party street of Copenhagen (Gothersgade) but despite the rowdy neighbors this place is worth a visit. Dimmed lights, nice interior and cheap beers. What’s not to like?
Where to go shopping?
København K (best finds)
The absolute king of second hand. There is almost always something you will fall for in this shop. There are two of them in the city, and they are equally good, so make sure you visit both.
Wasteland (broadest selection)
The broadest selection of second-hand items. They have a rack dedicated to vintage Ralph Lauren which is a weird, but very popular niche. Worth a visit.
The Vintage (the most fashionable, I guess???)
I personally haven’t been here, as it is women’s wear, but I was told that this is the best second-hand store for women. So, you know, if you are a woman try going here. Apparently, Lady Gaga loves this shop.
Museum-like interior stores
Studio Oliver Gustav (the shop that wishes you had a million $ to burn)
I guarantee you that you will leave this store empty-handed, but motivated to make a lot of money so you can buy every item in this store. Every single item is unique, specially curated for the selection. The store carries no stock and Oliver Gustav is literally making a living from traveling the world and finding these items.
Fil der Fer (weird overpriced items that will make you apartment cool)
This is how rich people buy second-hand stuff. It is a mess of a shop, and the price tags will make you feel like you are on a student budget, but they have some amazing items.
Beau Marché (eat in the furniture you will want day want to own)
This shop has so many cool items, in which you literally sit and eat lunch, as it is also a restaurant and cafe.
Finding a book in the land of gibberish
Politkkens Boghaller (English literature)
By far the best book store in Denmark when it comes to an international selection of literature. Besides having a large section of classics and fiction, they have also had a bunch of philosophy, biographies and popular science. I visit this place religiously every time I am in CPH.
Arnold Busck (artsy books)
If you are into more artsy books, Arnold Busck’s flagship store at Köbermagergade (the other ones are not good) is where you want to be. They carry a lot of Taschen books, super nice photography books, and great table tops.
Tranquebar Bookshop & Cafe (travel books)
I have never bought anything but coffee in here, even though you will want to buy every single book in this motherfucker once you start browsing.
David K (unique bow ties and beer on tap)
David K is the number one (yet relatively unknown) gentleman shop in Copenhagen, if not in Denmark. They offer beer on tap for free for customers (to make you stay longer) and the staff is super professional yet witty.
WoodWood (the Danish equivalent to Grandpa)
If you are looking for expensive scandi designer clothes, woodwood will happily provide you with a deluge of over-priced, over-beautiful limited edition clothes and items.
What to do in the city?
Forgotten Giants (best free activity for childish adults)
Someday, a Dane decided it would be a fun summer project to build a bunch of wooden giants in remote parts of Copenhagen, leave clues to where he hid them, and then let people go troll hunting. And he was right!
Superkilen (best photo ops)
To rebrand one of the not-so-good parts of Copenhagen Superkilen was made. This weird strip of land runs through otherwise ordinary apartment buildings, but is filled with cultural items imported from across the globe, and designed in strange ways. Make sure to bring a camera.
In the summer
Copenhagen Cable Park (for adrenaline junkies)
If you happen to be in Copenhagen in the summer CPH Cable Park is a fun midday activity. Essentially it is a wake-board park. You can buy beginners classes online (be sure to book a time). After your class, you can go to the Amager Strandpark which is literally next to it.
Friendships (lunch IN the canals)
It is allowed to sail around the canals of Copenhagen without a license as long as the boat isn’t faster than 5 km/h. Which a bunch of companies has taken advantage of. You can rent bought on an hourly rate, and see Copenhagen from another side, whilst having lunch. Win-win.
Ophelia (bathing in the middle of the city)
Go to Ophelia in the summer and grab a mojito and a swim. Come early, as it gets a bit crowded during the day. The recently build a swimming deck, which I guess means that the water is clean enough to swim in.
Bakken (the actual oldest amusement park in the world)
You know Tivoli and it is all good and fine. But Bakken is the real, authentic, old school amusement park. Located in the middle of Dyrehaven in the rich man's ghetto of Hellerup, you will find a bunch of bars and restaurant together with amusements of course. You can go in the winter too, where they have a cute Christmas market.
In the winter
Copenhot (another kind of spa day)
Jacuzzis are fun. Jacuzzis-boats sailing around the canals in the middle of January is even more fun. Copenhot has literally put a motor on their hot tops and will sail you + friends around the canals.
CPH Boulder (for indoor adrenaline junkies)
CPH Boulder is an indoor rock climbing hall. I normally find rock climbing very intimidating as I don’t know how to secure my lines and how to use the gear. None of that here. It is literally a playground for adults. The climbing tracks are not very tall, and the floor is covered in mattresses, so you cannot hurt yourself. It is really just going in and have fun.
Creative Space (for the creative souls)
Creative space is a cafe, where you can paint your own porcelain and get it burned. After finishing your artwork it needs to get baked which usually takes a couple of days, so if you are only staying for some days, make sure to do this early on.
Manon Les Suites (pretend you are in Bali)
This gem is really a hotel, but their pool is open for the public. This is a fucking secret oasis in the middle of a rainy city. You can lie and pretend you are at the poolside of a luxury hotel in Thailand or take a swim in the heated pool
If you are there at this particular time
Distortion (street parties for a week)
Once a year, Copenhagen closes down for the street festival distortion. Stages are put up all over the city and drunk people fill the street, whilst techno beats and live music is filling the air.
Stella Polaris (most chill outdoor festival)
An open-air festival focusing on electronic music. In contrast to what might go through your mind right now, this is one of the most chill festivals as a lot of the artists are usually playing deep house.
The Color Run (most colorful experience)
You don’t have to travel to India to take part in a colorful Holi event. Copenhagen provides. Once a year, thousands of people dress up in white and run a 5K race whilst participants and audience throw colors at each other.
Cherry Blossom / Japanese Festival (strangest festival)
Not far from the little mermaid (Denmark’s worst attraction — don’t go there) you will find a small forest of cherry trees. Once a year all of them blossom at the same time and it looks amazing. The same weekend, there will be a Japanese festival celebrating the cherry blossoming. Bring a bottle of wine and enjoy (yes, you are allowed to drink outside in Denmark) and look at all the Naruto dressed teenagers.
Lagersalg (buy expensive brands for cheap)
For a lot of danes, fashion outlets are a hobby. So needless to say, there is a lot. Some of them are proper brand outlets you can go to any time, but in weekends there are often temporary outlets selling last year’s collection for cheap. Check out the guide.
Zulu Sommerbio (free outdoor cinema)
In the middle of Copenhagen, the TV channel Zulu usually put up big screens and a projector in the middle of public parks and show old movies. Awesome way of spending a summer evening.