Many of the suggestions on this page are child-friendly. Nevertheless it’s worth mentioning that Copenhagen has more than 60 museums. Everything from the National Museum to smaller-scale ventures like the Danish School Museum and the Museum of Customs and Taxes.
If I mine the pits of my personal experience I’ll always recommend the Royal Danish Arsenal Museum. Soldiers and sailors, cannons and guns. They put a lot of effort into events that kids love. Demonstrating how cannons work or jousting knights or naval fighting techniques. Very child-friendly.
Called Tøjhusmuseet in Danish, the museum is located on Tøjhusgade, which is right next to Christiansborg castle, which houses the Danish parliament.
Tel: (+45) 33 11 60 37
Price: Adults 40 kroner. Kids 0-15 get in free.
It’s touristy and it’s often chilly but you can’t beat a ride on the canal boats. They ferry tourists on a guided tour by sea around the capital and through the maze of canals. Yes, you get to see The Little Mermaid - don’t worry - although your photo will be populated by tourists on shore doing the same thing as you.
It’s a great way to get acquainted with the city and get a bit of history thrown in - in three languages. I loathe to admit it but even as a local I look forward to having guests from out of town solely because I get to take them on a refreshing canal boat ride.
All the boats depart from Nyhavn - the canal that ends at Kongens Nytorv. Most of them have a hop on - hop off system. Prices vary but count on roughly 30 kroner.
Various companies depart Nyhavn throughout the day.
For centuries Copenhageners have made day trips out to Dyrehaven - or Deer Park - north of the city. The journey no longer requires a horse and carriage. Just hop on the C line of the S-trains and head to the end of the line Klampenborg station. From there you’re metres away from the main entrance.
King Frederik III designated Dyrehaven at a hunting area for his son, Christian V in 1670. There are still hundreds of deer and stags the fields and forest of the 1000 hectares of the park. In the autumn you can hear the feisty stags bleating loudly.
It’s the ultimate oasis for city folk.
Try the sausages from a ‘pølsevogn’ - sausage stand - on the street. Traditional Danish fast food at its greasiest. Grab a sausage on a cardboard tray, place two globs of ketchup and mustard next to it, order two pieces of bread and get dipping. These portable sausage stands are so revered as cultural institutions that long lines of cars don’t dare honk when the respective vendor is walking the stand down the streets to get to work on a city street corner.
On a street corner or city square near you
It’s secret mostly because Google Earth’s satellite photos are so outdated that it doesn’t even exist. Copenhagen’s new riviera, Amager Strandpark, was inaugurated this year and puts a massive recreation area with beaches, lagoons and outdoorsy pursuits within a 15 minute bike ride from the city. A man-made island juts out into the sea towards Sweden from the island of Amager just to the south of Copenhagen and will undoubtedly be a popular summer destination. Copenhagen doesn’t lack great beaches. There are long stretches to the south and trendy beaches to the north, but the new beach is an impressive attempt to create new, exciting areas for recreation close to the city.
Located along Amager Strandvej on the island of Amager.
Reached by metro to Lergravsparken station and a 15 minute walk along Øresundsvej or by bus #12 from the Town Hall Square or the airport.
Don’t know what it is about benches that attract couples. Especially in the summer benches are frequently occupied by amorous pairs in various stages of courting. The long-lasting light of the nordic summer provides a Hollywood glow. Any bench overlooking a body of water is preferred or try the King’s Gardens (Kongens Have). This pursuit isn’t purely a summer one. My wife and I gravitated to a bench at the tail-end of October on the first evening of our relationship.
For a sharp bit of contrast I’ll recommend a dimly-lit table in the corner at the jazz club Lafontaine at 4am on a mid-week day where loving mumbles dance across the glasses of whisky between you. It’s the oldest jazz club in town and features live jazz on Friday-Sunday.
For the benches try the lakes surrounding the city centre or find one by the harbour.
The entrance to the King’s Gardens can be found on Gothersgade.
Lafontaines Jazz Club is located at Kompagnistræde 11
Tel: (+45) 33 11 60 98
Open from 20:00 - 05:00
www.lafontaine.dk/ (Danish only)
Kitsch ‘Made in China’ copies of The Little Mermaid and tin soldiers. Oh, and those plastic helmets with Viking horns. Oh, and anything to do with Hans Christian Andersen. This is the year of the bicentenary of his birth so you’ll do well to avoid the Hans Christian Andersen wine/ cookies/dolls/badly-translated books of his fairytales/etc.
Funky, radical designer items that cause your friends to say, ‘Didn’t know they could do THAT with a corkscrew/lamp/cheese slicer?!’ A good stop is at Illums Bolighus on Amagertorv. Danish design at its best.
And why don’t you take the ultra right-wing politicians from the Danish Folkeparti with you when you go. Their xenophobia is getting on a lot of people's nerves. No, don’t send them back. Keep them.
Walt Disney was so fond of Tivoli Gardens that he was inspired to build Disneyland. That’s where the similarities end. Tivoli is a must see, if not for the modern rides then for an understanding of the down-to-earth Danish mentality. Don’t expect an amusement park experience. Get ready to wander lazily about soaking up the quaintness of it all and it's simple pleasures: a cold glass of beer; feeding the fish in the lake; a bite to eat.
Sure, have a go on the gut-wrenching Demon rollercoaster or one of the other new rides, but remember to take a spin on the rickety old Odin Express rollercoaster or the little Ferris wheel.
All within earshot of the bells from the town hall. It’s a quintessential Danish experience.
Located between the Central Station and the Town Hall Square.
The locals with hip tendencies stick to the surrounding neighbourhoods when they hit the town by night. In Vesterbro, at the far end of Istedgade, you’ll find the nightclub Vega with the accompanying Ideal Bar. Vega is the venue of choice of visiting bands and the nightclub hosts the touring DJs. Get there before 1am to avoid the queues that form after the cafés close at 2am.
Enghavevej 40, Vesterbro neighbourhood
Even in a modern design utopia on the cutting edge of technological progress it’s still a treat to see marching soldiers. At the Queen’s palace, Amalienborg, the changing of the guards takes place every day at 12 noon. The whole bearskin hat, snapping of the heels thing is always enjoyable. It’s amusing to see a group of soldiers carrying loaded machine guns with an ambling policeman armed with a little pistol as their minder.
Amalienborg Palace is on Amaliegade or entrance from Toldbodgade along the harbour.
Every day at 12
The term ‘view’ is relative in a city that banned skyscrapers by referendum in the 1970s. To get a bird’s eye view you’ll have to do a bit of climbing. Rundetårnet, or the Round Tower, is a landmark in the city centre.
Another option is the spire of Our Saviour’s church in the Christianshavn neighbourhood is unique in that the spiral staircase is on the outside of the spire. If your boots are made for walking you’re all set.
Our Saviour Church (Vor frelsers kirke)
Sankt Annægade 29, Christianshavn
Admission is free
The Round Tower (Rundetårn)
Tel: (+45) 33 73 03 73
Prices: 20 kroner for adults and 5 kroner for kids
Pick a square, any square. Like in any European city worth its salt, the world passes by in the city’s squares. Copenhageners have memorised what time the sun shines on which square and they gravitate accordingly to the sunny spots. Grab a coffee at either Cafe Norden or Cafe Europa on Amagertorv (‘torv’ being the Danish for square) in the heart of town and watch said world pass by.
Located at the junction of the Stroget and Kobmagergade pedestrian streets near the parliament
The public service channel Danish Broadcasting has a fanatastic website about Hans Christian Andersen and I particularly recommend its Time Machine feature.
If you want to get a crash course in Copenhagen's history in the 1800s click your way to the site and watch the city come alive with images, sounds and heaps of extras. They have an English version. The perfect way to prepare for a visit to the city for those who find history interesting.
This charming hotel is situated on a quiet street in the heart of Montmatre. There is a parrot in the lobby that can speak in five languages and if that's not a good reason to stay here then I don't know what is. Inexpensive, charming, centrally located.
Address: 5 Rue Tholoze 75018.
10 min. walk from Abbesse or Blance metro stations;
www.hotel-des-arts.net (Flash plug-in required for this site)
If you're going to The Huntingdon, have a drive around the neighbourhood in which it's located: San Marino. It's easily as flash as Beverly Hills, with spectacular mansions to gawk at. See how many you recognise from tv shows.
San Marino, Ca.
Stunning views, smog-permitting, of LA from this iconic observatory that has featured in many a film. You're really out in the woods on the drive to Mt Wilson, which is refreshing after hectic L.A. The mountain is also a hotspot for paragliders.
19 miles (approx 45 min. driving time) from the Angeles Crest Highway exit from the I-210 freeway in La Canada-Flintridge. Turn north toward the mountains and follow Angeles Crest Highway (California Route 2) for about 14 miles.
Fancy a walk or a bike ride? The pathway around Glenmore Reservoir is 14 km long and leads you through gorgeous forests as you skirt around the reservoir. You actually leave the city limits. If you ride a bike, wear a helmet or risk a fine or, even worse, dirty looks from everyman and his dog.
Start at Heritage Park.
Most of the south coast of Ile de Ré is beach but the mother of all beaches is Plage de la Conche on the western end of the island. Wide and sandy and child-friendly, especially when the tide is out, this plage is worth a drive or a bike ride every day.
The Germans fortified Ile de Ré on this beach and their bunkers remain - now tilted and silted and covered in colourful artwork but cool inside when the sun is hot. The film The Longest Day was shot here, by the way.
Go west to the end of the island.
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