City Guide #001: Copenhagen
What to eat, where to stay, and things to know before traveling to this distinct waterside Scandi-city.
The theme of this newsletter seems to be cities, and I don’t hate it. Cities have always called to me, been the crux of life-changing decisions, shaped my identity and inspired me to ask within 20 minutes of arriving, “Should I move here?”
I traveled to Copenhagen for the first time on a solo trip in December 2021. I spent 6 days there, “workationing1”, where I explored in the mornings, worked in the afternoons on NYC time and headed out again at night. This is my compiled list of the city: what to do, see, and also, what I would probably skip if I were to return, which I hope I do. Keep in mind, this is from a solo tripper’s perspective, so I may have left out some things that are better to do in a group. Speaking of solo, CPH is a great city to visit alone if you’re looking to vacation soon but don’t have a buddy or partner.
I’d been drawn to Copenhagen for a while, mostly because the designs that the people living there push out feed my eyes and soul on a level not known to man. If the Danes touch it, I want it: whether it be fashion (see Saks Potts, Ganni), home (see HAY), or general aesthetic and styling (see Pernille Rosenkilde, Atelier September). I draw so much inspiration from Copenhagen, I couldn’t wait to visit myself.
Even while scouting Airbnb, I couldn’t help but notice how all the listings had an eye for design, even the ones that were on the cheaper end of the scale. Copenhagen is the queen of Scandinavian design, and is certainly at the forefront of some of the biggest trends and aesthetics we see in the market today.
When you hear Danish design, you may think of clean white minimalism. But actually, it’s full of color and character, and you’ll find that all over Copenhagen.
So whether you’ve already got travel plans to CPH or it’s just in your periphery for the future, (hint hint, summer is a great time to go - think 4:30 AM sunrises and 10 PM sunsets) I hope this guide finds you packing your bags and getting ready to eat, see, and play in this gorgeous waterside city.
Copenhagen in Winter
Although summer in Copenhagen gets a lot of love, one absolutely must visit Copenhagen in the winter. It is a dream for anyone trying to appreciate, get better at, or relish in the concept of Wintering.
It’s magical in December. I got there right before Jule, the beginning of the Christmas season which begins December 1. It was everything I wanted it to be: warm, friendly, cute, cozy, and aesthetically pleasing. I saw snow and a rainbow in the same day. It felt like I was in a fairytale of a town.
Where to Stay
A quiet neighborhood a bit removed from the hubbub
I stayed in Christianshavn at this gorgeous Airbnb. The hosts were fantastic and I adored it top to bottom. It was a bit far from some of the other walkable and hip neighborhoods I wanted to check out, but I didn’t mind and learned to love the solitude and respite of Christainshavn. Sometimes staying in the HIPPEST neighborhood causes me to panic every time I rest because I can hear people doing things and think I should be doing them too.
Christianshavn is near city center and is also near the metro so you’re never too far from anything.
I think if I were to go back, I’d stay closer to Bæst. Yes. The restaurant. Partly because it’s one of the best places I’ve eaten period but also because it’s in Nørrebro, and close to Østerbro, which are the two aforementioned walkable neighborhoods with lots of delicious food and fun shops to check out that I didn’t get to explore much, since it was pretty far from Christianshavn.
Where to Eat
A note on food in Copenhagen and my list - I thought people were crazy telling me to eat Italian food in Copenhagen. I was gravely wrong. Gravely with a capital G. I ate some of the best Italian food while in CPH. Don’t be an idiot and make reservations at Baest and Mangia while you are in town and you will not be disappointed.
Bæst - This place. I hear choir music in my mind when I think of it. It stands for beast, but in my mind it stands for “best”. I could only get an 11:00AM reservation (brunch) and I ordered the best pizza of my life. Photo below for proof. Honestly, I don’t need to write anymore. Just go.
Mangia - Again, another absolutely delightful eatery. In a very hip neighborhood. Attractive people eating inside. Arrive early to walk around the neighborhood before dinner or go for a stroll post-pasta. Get the beef tartar with egg yolk cream on top. To die for!
Baadklubben - Come for the hygge breakfast, stay for the vibes and extremely friendly staff. Also, if you’re planning on working from Copenhagen, there is free wifi here!! Just check the hours because they close quite soon after lunch. Get the open faced sammies, fresh squeezed orange juice, or the little-bit-of-everything plate.
Juno the Bakery - Did you really go to Copenhagen if you didn’t eat at Juno?!? Oh, it’s the cutest little bakery in Østerbro within a big building. When I went they were giving out free warm glug and you could see the bakers working on pastries.
Peder Oxe - Go here if you feel like splurging! I got a hearty meal on a rainy night of steak with mashed potatoes in a wonderful gravy. I also got a very interesting lobster bisque - not creamy like the kind we are used to hear in the states - but much more concentrated, perhaps with more lobster organs? The first few bites I found too salty but I soon got used to it and scarfed it down accordingly.
Street dogs - You must, I repeat, you must eat at least one street dog per day in Copenhagen! They are the perfect pick-me-up snack and I am so glad you guys flooded my DM’s making sure I partook. Get all the toppings and most of all get the crunchy onions!
Where to Shop
For “research purposes”, I spent a lot of my time checking out all the shops around CPH. My favorites were the Ganni Outlet and Magasin…which is the Danish version of a Bloomingdale’s or Bergdorf Goodman’s.
Ganni Postmodern Outlet - Ganni, one of my favorite brands, has an outlet shop in Copenhagen. GO. Every day they add new stuff, and I only know that because I went there every day. No shame. You bet I stocked up on stuff while there.
Mr Larkin - the girls that girl it, get it, the girls that don’t, don’t. The knitwear selection at Mr Larkin was enviable. Think thin wool butter yellow cashmere pants and matching tops. As Copenhagen as it gets, people. *Cries in regret for not buying*
Acne Archive - a pretty self-explanatory discounted Acne store. Didn’t buy anything but it was crowded as hell and had chaotic sample sale energy so just be careful about that to preserve your mental health.
Magasin – this is an epic, and I mean epic, shopping mall. It looks like Buckingham freaking Palace. If you love grandiose architecture, you’ll be just as delighted by the outside as in the inside.
HollyGoLightly - Meow! I’ve died and gone to high niche curated fashion with a Danish twist heaven! A gorgeous store to peruse or gather inspiration from, HollyGoLightly is a must! They carry brands like Marni, Sea New York, Simone Rocha, Chloe. But there are also tons of brands I’d never heard of either, I discovered a new fragrance brand there, 19-69. They decorate the interiors and windows each month and the store experience is an experience, so go.
H&M Home - If I had packed an extra suitcase, which I probably should have, I would have stuffed it entirely with H&M home goods. To my knowledge, we don’t have H&M Home here in New York and I was astonished by the gorgeous array of glassware, lamps, sconces, planters and other tabletop decor. Unfortunately, I didn’t get anything here but I wish I did. I know you can buy stuff on H&M Home’s website, but the shops in Copenhagen had 100x more stuff than you can find online and they were huge.
What to Do
Walk along the canals! Grab a coffee and head out during daylight to check out the canals near Christainshavn. There are so many house boats, it’s really cute and fun.
Buy street flowers - there are so many lovely places to get flowers. I have a feeling they grow better flowers there.
Buy a pre-loaded metro card, which I did not do. I think you can end up saving money if you buy a metro pass and not pay for each trip individually. But in general the metro is really easy to use, and so is the bus, so utilize the city’s public transportation!
What Potentially Not to Do
Atelier September - I didn’t feel anything original here, it felt like something I could find in New York or LA. I know it’s a trendy hot spot and maybe that was part of my feelings of discomfort upon entering. The layout is confusing and it felt corny. I was really excited to go but I just felt really uncomfortable and like I’m a meme for being here.
Tivoli - this would be fun if I had kids or went with my niece/nephew. But solo, I found it a bit depressing.
A vacation where you work full time.