Is Copenhagen the best place for a city break outside of New York? I think so. I recently came back from three nights in the Danish capital and honestly, I want to go back immediately. We must have uttered the word ‘cool’ about 4,000 times an hour: “Look at that cute street, so cool!”, “Look at that guy holding a beer while cycling home from work, so cool!”, “Look at her minimal, chic scandi outfit, SO. FLIPPING. COOLl!” etc. etc.
Copenhagen residents are said to be the happiest on the planet and it’s easy to see why. The city just feels so easy to spend time in, it has lots of water (my typical litmus test for whether I’ll like somewhere), it’s pretty walkable, it’s beautiful, classy, and so, so friendly. They also have uber so hopping into a cab isn’t as stressful as it can be when abroad. Here’s what I recommend if you’re planning a trip for where to stay, where to eat and where to drink. My ‘what to do’ post is coming up as a Part Two as I have so many recommendations, the post got too long!
We stayed in a boutique hotel in the Latin Quarter called SP34. If your budget stretches to a hotel (they’re not cheap in Copenhagen, nothing is!) then I highly recommend this place. You walk into one of the coolest lobbies I’ve ever seen, with a free happy hour bar every night and live music at the weekend, you feel like you’re discovered a little-known local’s bar and restaurant, not walked into a hotel reception. There are airbnbs to be had if you’re on more of a budget, although we booked SP34 with a good discount on travelzoo.
EAT & DRINK
Where to begin!! I ate some of the best food ever on this city break, be it at a small sandwich shop or at a fancier evening affair, everything was fresh and delicious. Go fill yer boots, here were some of our favourites.
DØP near the roundhouse was where the Guardian (via a massive vote by locals) told us to go to get a hotdog, so we headed there straight off the plane and it didn’t disappoint. Fresh, crusty bread, tasty sausages and every condiment you could shake a stick at. Also a nice cheap option which isn’t always easy to find in the city. A good shopping pitstop (it’s a hotdog stand, not a sit down café).
Café Taxa in the super trendy Nørrebro area (think a Scandi Bermondsey high street) was our first proper meal in Copenhagen. Sat on a street corner, I hear it’s a great day option for breakfast and brunches overlooking the local Nørrebroparken park but our night time burger and steak did the job of filling us up while we got our bearings in the city. I wish we’d had time to head back to this area in the daytime as a lot of the restaurants and bars were closed but we still loved it!
The Log Lady is a bar in the Jewish Quarter, right by our hotel. It feels like you’re having a drink in someone’s back room and it was tiny and packed but so much fun. One of the great things about Copenhagen is that we never felt like tourists in any restaurant or bar, whereas I can imagine the same, tiny bar in Paris would be super intimidating. Head here after a meal (although I hear they do organic food in the day too).
We stumbled across a few Emmery’s Cafés in Copenhagen and we used them as a good (cheaper) breakfast option or for a juice break during the day. Everything they sell is organic and so fresh. You can go healthy with a salad or, er, less so, with pastries like we did. AMAZING. Holm and Lagkagehuset are also good options too.
The meatpacking district Vesterbro is a MUST DO area, it feels like you’re in a Scandi version of New York, it’s ridiculously cool but way less aloof than its US cousin. Our local friends took us to Mother, a popular pizza place right in the middle of meatpacking action. It was HOT that day (I had to take my tights off and wear my new Weekday t-shirt!) and their lunch offering is a buffet all-you-can-eat medley of salads, meats, cheeses and their signature pizzas. Such a lovely idea and well worth the money as you can go wild with portions!
Another great meatpacking option is Bob, an organic bistro sat in an old Bosch showroom building (again: cool!). This meal was probably the most authentic we had, serving hearty stews and delicious cured fish. I was feeling a little full by this late stage in our weekend, so I opted for a few starters. The burrata was incredible and the lobster felt like it had jumped out of the water and onto my plate (poor thing). Highly recommended.
Copenhagen Street Food on Paper Island or Papirøen is an absolute must do. You can easily take a stroll from Nyhavn, the ‘classic’ harbour view of Copenhagen over their new bridge to this trendy eating and drinking spot. Our friends took us there on our first day for drinks and we went back on our last night for dinner (again, a cheaper option than a sit down meal). It’s like a much cooler version of Borough market crossed with Street Food East in London. You can get almost any cuisine you want from sushi to burgers and Mexican (we had a middle eastern flatbread which was HUGE and ridiculously tasty for less than a tenner). They even have an English pancake stall (WTF!) and disco cows hanging from the ceiling. This place also has DJs on the weekends and fire pits outside to allow you to take in the view without freezing. I loved everything about it and would put it firmly in the top ten things to do in CPH.
Our last stop before we got our evening flight saw us discover a street – Læderstræde – which we fell in love with for its cute bars and cafes (more cafes!), antique shops and quirky florists. Café Zirup is one of many bars you can head for a few drinks, but the street itself is really worth a look. Try and get one of the outside seats at about 5pm when all the locals are heading home from work (no late 7pm darts for the Copenhagen workers!) and indulge in some seriously cool people watching.
Finally, another great option for lunch or dinner is on the rooftop of Copenhagen’s most famous (and amazing) department store, Illums Bolighus. To be overly dramatic, the shop is LIFE CHANGING (more on that in Part Two) but the food hall on the rooftop is a fab option if you find yourself hungry in the shopping district, or like us you have time to kill before a flight. We opted for pizza at Rossopomodoro, but you can choose from seafood, raw food, burgers, steak, cocktails – you name it. They also have a coffee shop with a must-see rooftop view of Copenhagen. I didn’t care that I was probably eating in a Danish version of Pizza Express, it was tasty and much helped by the rooftop location.
Next up in Part Two: what to do in Copenhagen (aside from eat and drink!).