Copenhagen Travel Guide
On top of having one of the top restaurant scenes in the world - Copenhagen is also home to one of my best friends, Thomas. We met right out of college, young gays in DC, wasting our new found paychecks at Cobalt on Thursdays, BYT pool parties, and bottles of sparkling wine at Logan Circle with a box of fried chicken. When he left DC I felt like this eccentric, goofy, nerdy piece of me withered a bit. I was eager to visit him in his new home, Denmark.
Before You Leave
Pick a place to stay! The best time to go to Copenhagen is the Summer - the average temperature between June - August hovers around 70. Lucky enough for me, Thomas, the geek that he is, sent me a custom google map offering advice on where to stay and said I could share it with you. Per his advice hotels were very expensive and Airbnbs offer the best value but get snagged up early. You want to stay as close to City Center as possible but parts of Norrebro and Christianshavn work nicely too. Feel free to play with the map below.
Using the above map I booked a fantastic airbnb that literally had a view of the Queen's Palace Garden - unbeknownst to me. The design of the space was priceless, the balcony and delightful kitchen space had me eager to cook from the minute we arrived.
Where to Eat & Drink
Small local burger chain joint - many with long lines. Christine and I had this at the top of our list and were disappointed. We don't think this lights a match to In N Out Burger or Five Guys in the US and would use serious air quote sarcasm around their tag line "world famous burgers..."
Christine and I popped in for a few speciality cocktails and enjoyed the drinks and the atmosphere. It's located in Kødbyen, aka "Meatpacking" an area we frequented and came to enjoy for the food and nightlife.
Thomas knew I'd love to check out the queer scene and was quick to prepare me that the "gay bars aren't really a thing here." Of course they existed but they weren't that fun and that it was more likely you'd be at any number of cool bars and see two guys make out next to a straight couple. After some arm twisting and a lot of wine, Thomas, dragged me to Nevermind and per his prediction - not great. My disappointment was assuaged when we went to Jolene. This bar also in meatpacking had eclectic music and a diverse mix of people including gays spilling from the sweaty dance floor into the street. The relaxed liquor laws allow you to drink almost anywhere making mingling outside bars and cafes both fun and easy.
I traveled to Copenhagen with my best friend Christine who I've known since middle school social studies in Orange County, California. Christine, I call her Espy, moved to NYC for Columbia University after high school and I went to William & Mary in Virginia. There are two constants when it comes to Christine - she will be wearing black and every morning she likes a large iced coffee preferably from a no frills corner bodega. So it was no surprise that she quickly discovered Joe & the Juice near our Airbnb. She quickly turned me onto the oat milk trend and I easily fell in love as all the staff at Joe & the Juice are hunky baristas. Ironically, when I returned to DC Joe & the Juice had sprouted up all over town.
We were strongly debating where to spend our splurge food budget. The obvious answer was NOMA but decided on Amass for a couple of reasons - NOMA was going to be $500+ and the only spots left started at like midnight. When we started to research Amass we discovered they had this fantastic tasting menu offered at lunch. I've come to love a leisurely lunch over dinner. We got to hang in their outdoor garden, enjoy a perfect lunch, then go swimming nearby afterward. Highly recommend!
This was at the top of Christine's list after she saw Chef Rosio Sanchez on Netflix original series Ugly Delicious. We absolutely loved our visit and the food. Our only regret not being able to eat here multiple times.
Snag a seat at this sidewalk cafe and hunker down for brunch and great people watching.
Atelier September was a place we revisited a couple of times for coffee and quintessential millennial avocado toast.
Highly ranked spot for seafood in the heart of meatpacking. We loved the outdoor seating and picnic tables. The service wasn't our favorite but the food made up for it.
We opted for the "Experience Menu" which included a bunch of smaller dishes like pickles, charcuterie, and cheese before the pizzas. If we were to go back we all agreed we would only order the pizza.
Is a famous local brewpub with adorable outdoor seating and tons of beers on drafts.
Things to Do
This is the home of the Danish Royal family and lucky for us our airbnb was literally next door. We stumbled upon multiple changing of the guard ceremonies and also some special occasion marches because it was Prince Frederick’s 50th Birthday!
This was a fun half day trip out of CPH easy by train.
The Disney movie interpreted from this old tale make this a very popular destination but we say hard pass.
Like most European cities, hanging it parks is a professional game and thanks to lax drinking laws it’s easy to enjoy your time here. We loved exploring the botanical gardens and many other public parks across Copenhagen.
Amusement park in the heart of the city, Walt Disney visited here and was inspired to create Disneyland. In fact Christine and I who are both Disney freaks, literally had Disney Annual Passports our entire childhood found the correlation shocking. It was like a cuter twilight zone version some of the ideas seemed exactly the same.
One of my favorite pastimes was laying out on a pier and going swimming. I did this a lot near the city center and during our exceptionally warm visit I witnessed locals leaving work early stripping out of their work clothes and jumping straight in. La Banchina was a little off the beaten path and had nice food/drink set up to compliment your dip.