adventures of an american housewife in the south of france

Copenhagen City Guide Part III: Dos, Don’ts, Eats

I hope you guys are ready for my final post on Copenhagen, because I have many more recent travels to tell you about!  You can read about Copenhagen Parts One and Two by clicking on the links. Like any city, we had a lot of options of what to do with our short amount of time.  I think we did a pretty good job of filling our days with relaxing and interesting activities.  I've compiled a list of Dos and Don'ts below and also highlighted the amazing food we ate to help you plan your trip...which you should be scheduling immediately! DO: -          Stay at the Copenhagen Island Hotel.  Although it was still a bit pricey (like everywhere in Copes), we got a great deal.  This place is really nice, clean and friendly.  Plus it's in a great location.

Copenhagen Island Hotel

the view from our room

-          Rent a bike!  Except that we didn’t.  What can I say, we just ran out of time.  But we have to save something for our next visit. NO ONE locks their bikes in Copenhagen, which I found absolutely fascinating.

no locks

no really, NO LOCKS!

-          Visit these places:
  • SMK (Statens Museum for Knust) – To be honest, art museums are not usually my thing.  I’d rather spend the short time I have visiting a city being outside, walking around, and immersing myself in the everyday life and culture.  But when The Hub, who also doesn’t particularly care for spending the day in an art museum, said we had to visit SMK, I figured it must be pretty cool.  This museum houses French and Danish works from the early 1900s and the main exhibitions are free!  I really liked seeing these early works from Picasso and Matisse because most of the pieces were actually done during their time in Montmartre and I’ve been learning a lot about that period during my recent trips to Paris.  It’s always cool to read about something and then see it in person.  I also discovered my new favorite Danish artist, Carl Bloch, a total badass.  The contemporary art exhibition, which is what The Hub wanted to show me, was closed but we still had a great time.


  • Botanical Gardens – it really was such a beautiful time of year to be in Copenhagen. The sky was blue, the sun was bright and the leaves were changing colors.  We grabbed some coffee and took a morning stroll through the Botanical Gardens before going to SMK (right next door!)  I could have spent hours wandering through the grounds and exploring the greenhouse.  These gardens are a lovely oasis in the middle of the city.

the water was like glass!

beautiful greenhouse in the botanical gardens

The Hub after our trip up the spiral staircase in the hot, hot, HOT greenhouse!

  • Carlsberg Brewery Tour – since it’s self-guided and open from 10-5, you can fit in your visit at practically any point during your trip to Copes.  But note, it's closed on Mondays!  Make sure to check out my Hump Day post to read more about our fun experience at the brewery.

beer and sun, two of my favorite things

  • Boat Tour – ya’ll, The Hub and I are CRAZY for boat tours.  Like, we’re weirdly obsessed with them and go on a boat tour in every city possible (so far Koh Phi Phi, Bangkok, Dubrovnik, Paris, Frankfurt, Seattle, Cabo and now Copes, Porto and Stockholm!)  It’s just such a great way to see a city and orient yourself, so we always try to go on the first day.  Make sure to take the Netto-Baadene boat tour, which is cheaper than the more well-known DFDS boat tour (40DKK vs. 70 DKK)  The tours leave every 20 minutes from the Nyhavn port and lasts about 1 hour.

my cute blue hub getting ready for the tour

seems like everyone has a boat

i love boat tours

amazing apartment building on the water

under the bridge

  • Church of Our Savior – If you can make it up all 400 steps, you’ll see some amazing views of the city from the top spire!  The church is open from 10:00 - 4:00 and costs 30DKK.

Church of Our Savior

we climbed up! this was obviously on a different day from the first picture - look at that sky!!

the stairs to the top

amazing view from the top

such a beautiful day

loving copes

Once you get back down to earth, walk a few blocks to…
  • Freetown, Christiania– man, I would love to do a whole post on this place, but since they don’t allow picture taking here (which literally hurt my soul), there’s really not a lot to show you.  Christiania is "the last free country in the world."  That's right, it's its own country of about 850 people, without any real rules or law enforcement.  So as you can imagine, a few uh, traditionally illegal activities go on here.  But it is surprisingly a very peaceful and respectable country.  There are real shops and restaurants and homes.  They have a gorgeous lake and the community is filled with families and children.  We just so happened to be in Christiania during their 40th anniversary celebration and the whole town was decked out with the colors of their flag (red and yellow) and there were several stages set up with live bands performing throughout the multi-day event.  It was so fun!  I managed to sneak in a few pics with The Hub's iPhone.

the poster advertising Christiania's 40th Anniversary Celebration

the beautiful lake in Christiania

one of the bands we saw at the festival - The Young Flowers - a famous Danish band of the 70s that broke up years ago. They decided to perform together again for the first time for the festival and they were AWESOME!

my favorite "bar" in Christiania. they had some delicious chai tea!

DON'T -          Take a cab anywhere – too expensive!  The train system can seem pretty complicated (mostly because all the maps are hard to read and make no sense) but once you figure it out you can pretty much get anywhere. -          Spend too much time in Nyhavn.   A lot of websites and books will list this as a destination, but it’s basically like going for a drink at Fisherman’s Wharf in SF.  Go here to pick up your boat tour and then get out.

lots of tourists

-          Go to the Danish Design Center.  Unless you’re really into that sort of thing.  We went and it was fine, but it was 10 Krone to visit one room, which seems like a bit of a rip off.

learning in progress

The rest of the exhibitions felt like a real life Power Point presentation of the steps in a design process.

way too much reading material for my taste

The best part was gift shop with all the funky things to buy. -          Waste time trying to get a cocktail at Ruby.  Everyone’s wearing ties and jackets and who wants to do that?  Grab a beer at Hvide Lam instead, that place was full of local flavor! -          Forget to make restaurant resos in advance, and do your research!  We didn’t really do this (very strange for us) and so we weren’t able to get into any of the many Michelin rated restaurants the city has to offer.  We did have some absolutely fantastic meals, so it wasn’t a total loss, but it would have been nice to try one of the "fancier" places like Restaurant Noma or Kiin Kiin.  I recommend trying to find a sister restaurant of one of the Michelin rates places and going there - that's what we did and we were very happy. Which brings us to... EATS: Traditional Danish food involves a lot of meat, boiled potatoes, and butter.  Truly delicious, but pretty rich and heavy, so when you're ready to move on, you'll be happy to know that there are TONS of different cuisines available in Copenhagen.  We had some really memorable meals but still left with a long list of places to try.  Here's a list of the places we really liked - keep in mind that most of the food photos are coming later this week in the International Edition of the Food Porn Dictionary post!  Gotta keep you all in suspense. - First of all, make sure to go to the Coffee Collective outside the Nørreport station.  This is a perfect stop to make in the morning because Nørreport is a huge transfer station so you'll probably be passing through anyway.  The Coffee Collective has developed their own Direct Trade model of obtaining their coffee, and it's really paid off.  Their morning lattes were one of the highlights of our trip!

the coffee collective - part of a big hall outside of the Nørreport station full of many different food and drink stands!

- We had an amazing lunch at Café Norden.  Located in a busy, downtown area, their street seating offered some great people watching.  It's on the pricey side, but the authentic Danish food is WORTH it.  We had the best tomato soup of my life (spicy and thick) and some delicious, not to mention beautiful, open faced sandwiches.  The Hub also ordered a 75cl beer...that's the same size as a wine bottle, for those interested.

he just looks so happy!

- On our first night, we went to for some more traditional, Danish food at Restaurant Puk.  Lots of meat, lots of potatoes and lots of attitude from our server.  We had a blast at this dark and cozy tavern. - Our second night, we dined at the Thai restaurant, Ricemarket, which is the sister restaurant of the Michelin starred Kiin Kiin.  I'm telling you, the food here rivaled some of the meals we had in Thailand, and for about half the price of what we would have paid at Kiin Kiin.  We started off with some delicious cocktails, and then moved onto the 4 course tasting menu.  It was definitely our favorite meal of the trip!

the delicious tasting menu at Ricemarket - 4 courses for about $65

The Hub had an awesome beer with dinner, which was brewed with lemongrass & coriander. made especially to be eaten with Thai food!

interior of Ricemarket - obviously we closed the place down

- Finally, for our last night in Copenhagen, I got to pick the restaurant since it was officially considered my "Birthday Dinner."  Did I pick one of the high end, Michelin rated restaurants?  Nope.  I picked Casa Mexico.

my birthday dinner

When I saw the Mexican in a sombrero sleeping underneath a cactus I knew it was the real deal and, remember, THERE IS NO MEXICAN FOOD IN FRANCE.  None.  Nada.  At. All.  So you see why I had to go to Casa Mexico.

so happy to be eating mexican food!

And it was SO GOOD.  Apparently they don't have rules against spicy jalapenos and cheddar cheese the way they do in France, so we got lots of good cheddar cheesy treats that we don't have the ability to make at home like quesadillas, enchiladas and nachos.

dark picture, but trust me on the quality!

Even though we were completely satisfied with all the amazing meals we had in Copenhagen, here is the list of the (mostly Michelin rated) restaurants we heard great things about and wanted to try, but either didn't have time or couldn't get a last minute reservation.  These are on our to-do list for next time! There was a time for about half a second during our push to move to Europe when we thought we could maybe, perhaps, possibly be moving in Copenhagen, so I spent a lot of our time thing really reflecting on how I would feel if we had.  Overall I'd say that I would be very comfortable and happy there.  People are nice, the language isn't a problem, food is great, and there's so much to do. Until next time, Copes!

9 Responses to “Copenhagen City Guide Part III: Dos, Don’ts, Eats”

  1. Julia says:

    Do you ever watch Weeds? I LOVED Andy’s facination with Copes! And it sounds like it really is as fabulous as it looked on the show. I’ve heard that riding bikes is a part of the lifestyle – putting it on my life to-do list! p.s. Food sounds AMAZING.

  2. Devon says:

    i want to go to copenhagen! such great shots, Nat! they should hire you to promote their city.

  3. Susan says:

    I was in Copenhagen around the same time and loved it. I walked around Christiana and took several photos (did not know it wasn’t allowed!) I loved all the bikes and agree that everything was VERY expensive. I regretably didn’t get to the botanical garden but did go to Tivoli Gardens the last night of the season. Surprised you didn’t mention it as restaurants totally surround the place!

  4. nate says:

    Okay, so am I the only one who noticed the irony of not being allowed to take pictures in “the last free country in the world”?

    Also, while I’ll agree that the mexican food in france is pretty terrible, it’s definitely *there*. Not sure about MTP, but in Paris Jess and I broke down once and got mexican food. I think they put ham in my burrito. Nuff said.

    • Natalie says:

      ya it stinks – there is absolutely no mexican food in montpellier. not even tex-mex. some of the kebab places claim to have “tacos”, but they’re the exact same thing as a kebab, just with a different name. but we’ll keep looking ;)

    • Natalie says:

      actually, i take that back. i recently learned of a place that supposedly has “fajitas” and “quesadillas.” we talked about going this weekend…i’ll report back ;)

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