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Copenhagen | © Aliki Seferou
Copenhagen | © Aliki Seferou
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10 Top Things to See and Do in Copenhagen

Picture of Aliki Seferou
Updated: 23 February 2018
Copenhagen is a city that offers plenty of choices for things to do and see no matter of what type of traveler you are. This guide has a little something for everyone from culture enthusiasts and architect lovers to fashionistas and hip millennials.
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Discover Copenhagen’s historic center and relax by the canals

If you walk from Nørreport station along Frederiksborggade in only 15 minutes you’ll find yourself at one of the city’s most beautiful and historic areas, the Slotsholmen island. Well, it’s difficult to notice that you’re on an island, but if you look closer you’ll see you’re surrounded by the city’s canals and harbor. On this quarter stand, you’ll see some of Copenhagen’s most notable buildings, which are Christiansborg Palace, Thorvaldsen’s Museum, Børsen, the Royal Danish Library ,and Christian IV’s Stock Exchange. Even if you’re not in the mood for visiting one of those places, a walk along this area is definitely worth your time. If the sun shines, grab a beer and hang out like a local at the wooden platforms by the canals.

Slotsholmen, Copenhagen

Christiansborg_fra_Nikolaj_Kirken

Slotsholmen and Christiansborg| © By Mik Hartwell/Wikimedia Commons

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See Copenhagen from the city’s highest tower

Christiansborg Palace is nowadays housing the Danish Parliament, the Supreme Court, and the Ministry of State. It’s built in three different architectural styles, its main part in neo-baroque, the chapel in neoclassical, and the showgrounds in baroque. The reason this building earned a place in the 10 top things to see in Copenhagen isn’t only its historical value and impressive architecture, but also the fact that its tower is the highest in Copenhagen and visitors can go on the top (for free) and enjoy a breathtaking view of the capital of Denmark.

Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen, Denmark

Christiansborg Palace | © Tim Bartel/Wikimedia Commons

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Visit the city’s Black Diamond

When in 1999 the Royal Danish Library got extended with a modern architecture building known as Black Diamond due to its shape and black glass facade, the area by the waterfront at Copenhagen’s harbor got new life. The Black Diamond’s interior design and various halls are equally impressive, with the building’s exterior architecture considered one of the city’s architectural masterpieces.

The Royal Library, Søren Kierkegaards Plads 1, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Walk up Europe’s oldest astronomical observatory

The Round Tower (Rundetårn), Europe’s oldest functioning astronomical observatory, was constructed in the 17th century by Christian IV. Nowadays, it’s open to visitors who want to see Copenhagen from 36 meters above the ground. To do that, of course, you have to walk 209 meters along the tower’s spiral corridor, so make sure you have comfortable shoes on.

The Round Tower, Købmagergade 52A, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 33 73 03 73

Copenhagen Rundetårn | © Avda/Wikimedia Commons

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Stroll around Copenhagen’s renowned amusement park

Tivoli Gardens is one of the top things travelers in Copenhagen look forward to seeing, and who can blame them? The majestic amusement park—with the flourished gardens where Hans Christian Andersen used to hang out and draw his inspiration, the numerous rides some of which are only for the bold ones, and the stylish restaurants serving traditional delicacies—isn’t only a favorite among tourists, but locals as well, especially during Christmas or Halloween when the place looks like a scene out of a fairy tale, and with myriads of lights, food stalls, and colorful decorations, no one misses the chance for a stroll around the gardens.

Tivoli Gardens, Vesterbrogade 3, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 33 15 10 01

Tivoli Gardens | Courtesy of Tivoli Gardens/Anders Bøggild | © Anders Bøggild / Courtesy of Tivoli Gardens

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Walk along Lingelinie

To be honest, the Little Mermaid isn’t as impressive as you may have thought and there are many more sculptures in Copenhagen that are worth a look. However, it is Copenhagen’s trademark and therefore couldn’t be missing from this guide. Plus, even if the statue itself isn’t something that you’ll look at in awe, the area where it’s situated is a great place to take a walk, and close by is the Kastellet, a star fortress of the 17th century.

The Little Mermaid, Langelinie, Copenhagen, Denmark

The Little Mermaid | © Wilson Hui/Flickr

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Explore H.C. Andersen’s neighborhood

Nyhavn is Copenhagen’s old port, where H.C. Andersen lived for more than 20 years mingling with fishermen, prostitutes, tattoo artists, and notable musicians of the time. Nowadays, the atmosphere has definitely changed, as it has become one of the most touristic spots in Copenhagen, but Nyhavn, with its colorful houses standing by the waterfront, still preserves its charm from the old days.

Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark

Nyhavn | © Michael Apel/Wikimedia Commons | © Michael Apel / Wikimedia Commons

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Grab a coffee or a vegan meal in Copenhagen’s hippie neighborhood

Even people who aren’t planning to visit Copenhagen are familiar with the name of Freetown Christiania. That’s mostly due to the fact that in the autonomous hippie district, cannabis trade is allowed. However, those who finally visit Christiania realize that the open cannabis trade is the least of the reasons that make this neighborhood special. Cozy restaurants, music venues, smoky bars, one of the city’s best skate parks, and a great lake are the things that make the autonomous neighborhood a must-visit place in Copenhagen. Even Prince Henrik enjoyed taking a walk with his friends around Christiania.

Freetown Christiania, Copenhagen, Denmark

The Freetown Christiania | © Aliki Seferou | © Aliki Seferou

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Go bargain hunting in Nørrebro

Secondhand shops, warm cafés, and bars of all styles, and some of Copenhagen’s most beautiful parks and outdoor hang out places; welcome to Nørrebro, the city’s vivid multicultural neighborhood. Take a walk along Jægersborggade, the hip street with small boutiques and galleries, go bargain hunting on Ravnsborggade, and soak up some sun at Dronning Louise’s Bro by the waterfront.

Nørrebro, Copenhagen, Denmark

Nørrebrogade | © Aliki Seferou

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Mingle with the city’s hip crowd at Vesterbro and Meatpacking District

With so many hip places, it’s no wonder Vesterbro was selected by Lonely Planet as one of the world’s coolest neighborhoods. Istedgade and Vesterbrogade, the area’s most central streets, brim with bars and coffee shops, making this district an ideal destination for day and night. Plus, in this area you’ll also find the Meatpacking District, which boasts a wide range of restaurants, galleries, and nightclubs.

Vesterbro, Copenhagen, Denmark