Ahhh, Copenhagen: the land of the beautiful. The summertime suits the city well as Cullen clan look-a-likes come out from hiding and local lunatics plunge into Arctic waters...for fun. There's something so sweet about the summertime in the northern countries, where every last drop of warmth is welcomed. Copenhagen is no different, as it’s taken over by shining faces and places. No literally…the sun shines for nearly 18 hours a day.
Sure, there are a million places to venture and things to do in Copenhagen year round - but for those with a grudge against the cold, hit the town in the summer months to avoid the bitter cold and attitudes. On a quick trip? No worries. Here's what you've got to do and see in the city to have a true Scandinavian experience.
Prance around the culinary delight that is the Torvehallerne Market
Taste all the tastes and smell all the smells, after all, there's nothing quite like the collision of fresh flowers and fish on the nostrils. Stall markets are always a notorious sign that you're in Europe and Torvehallerne is no exception. You can cover every course from tapas to sweet treats and even get your veggies in, if you’re into that. Grab a coffee and a couple bites to-go and picnic at Ørstedsparken across the street. You’ll know you’re close when you spot the skate park. Nothin' like little Nordic children showing off the skills you'll never have. Sit alongside the lake and soak everything in.
One word: Christiania.
Upon entry to the hippie neighborhood, visitors walk under a cryptic sign with "Now leaving the EU" etched into the wood. This plot of property was once an abandoned military base that became overrun by artist squatters looking for a place to call home. The Copenhagen gov came to an agreement with the people that so long as they pay off the price of the property, they could operate autonomously. Today, the freetown is inhabited by around 900 people. Famously recognized as a Green Light District, cannabis is sold throughout the streets, but don't be fooled, there is so much more to explore within Christiania. From stall shopping to cafes and cocktails, this neighborhood is one of the most unique you’ll ever bare witness to. Set aside a few hours to explore the winding, carless roads and channel your childlike wonder with all of the whimsical (and not so whimsical) cottages.
If you do find yourself brave enough to venture to the north during the winter, Christiania boasts a standout Christmas market. I, myself, will likely never embark on that journey.
Scurry over to one of the most recognizable (and Instagrammable) streets in Europe
If there’s one thing Copenhagen is known for, it’s the picturesque Nyhaven Street. Brightly colored buildings lines the waterway, making it easy to understand how the Scandanavians stay so happy. Nyhaven is packed with the best restaurants and most precious patios to soak up the sunshine. Menus are posted outside the shops to scan for your liking, but honestly, you can’t go wrong. Skip the stress and have a seat at whichever waterfront spot calls your name. Want to have it all? Skipperkroen has a tasting menu and a patio for the best of both worlds.
Have a Traditional, Rowdy European All Nighter
First and foremost on the Copenhagen Guide to Going Out: wear an outfit you don't mind absorbing the smoke of a million cigarettes. Smoking in bars is still permitted in Copenhagen, which can be a bit of a shock if you're coming from the States. Now that the haze is out of the way, go cray. The bars and clubs don't even begin to heat up until the early hours of the morning, so stop by a local shop and cruise the streets first, bottle of wine in hand (the best part of Europe is public sipping.) What adds to the sweetness of the city is that you can travel sans destination, allowing the smoke and sounds to guide the way. You know you’ve hit the spot with you hear rumblings from a basement level entrance.
For a low-key local spot, check out Moose, a dive bar labeled with the mere cut out of the animal overhead. From there bop over to Zefside, a cocktail club with a dance floor DJ and a more upbeat crowd. For those looking for the true club experience, head to the meatpacking district for a night that doesn’t end just because the sun is rising.
All and all, you can’t cover the entire curious culture of Copenhagen over the span of a weekend but this makes for a good sampling and a true taste of a city. Hygge is a word they have to describe the Danish delight of life. A word for illuminating light and warmth (even on the darkest, coldest days.) A word to stress the importance of enjoying the good parts of life with even better people. Hygge is Copenhagen for you.
What did I miss? Shoot tips my way.