Streets of Norrebro
Copenhagen is a beautiful city full of inspiring Nordic design and a thoughtful approach to style. We had both been looking forward to spending some time in what we knew to be such a design-focused city. We arrived from Iceland and were immediately smitten by it's warm t-shirt weather in mid-September. So we hit the pavement exploring! We were in CPH a total of 8 days which was plenty, and decided to break up our stay into two different neighborhoods/Airbnbs. The first in Osterbro and the second in Norrebro.
It's important to note that most everything in Copenhagen is carefully executed with a strong design eye. And most certainly there are very cute haunts that were nice, but didn't make my list. I went with a laundry list for a map, but after walking into so many shops and enjoying so many places to eat and drink, I've narrowed it down. Here are your MUST eat restaurants, must see museums, and must shop boutiques in Copenhagen. You'll find at the bottom of each section an "At Quick Glance" list for your reference. I'd write those down if you don't have time to read. Beware of just skimming the images: I failed to take pictures of some really amazing places that are written down, so make sure to take note, design/Instagram-obsessed friends!
We first stayed in Osterbro in an insanely gorgeous Airbnb. Osterbro is a quiet, charming, and mostly a residential neighborhood, and we honestly decided to stay in the 'hood just for the flat! Luckily, it was a worth it choice. It was one of the best stays we've EVER had using Airbnb. Our flat was two blocks away from Meyers Bageri, the most famous bakery chain in Copenhagen — we walked there every morning for a pastry, yum — and about five blocks away from Original Coffee, which quickly became our go-to spot for cappuccinos. And honestly, was one of the best coffee shops we tried in the entire city. Original Coffee has another location close by, along the canal between Osterbro and Norrebro as well, if you find yourself in the need for good coffee!
Osterbro is a bit a ways from the heart of where things are happening, so we had to rent bikes, which is a must in Copenhagen in general. Copenhagen is not a walking city, it's a biking city. Finding a place to rent bikes is easy. Walk down the street and there are at least 3 rental places within a few blocks radius, guaranteed. We did some shopping around in our hood and just went with the best deal. There were no problems whatsoever.
Osterbro didn't have much as far as dining went, so we did have to make our way to other neighborhoods for food. Usually that meant biking to the next neighborhood over which was Norrebro, a solid 10 minute ride and 30 minute walk. Despite a lack of good eats, when it came to a late night snack, Osterberg Ice Cream, which was in walking distance of our flat, was our saving grace! It's quite possibly the cutest ice cream shop I've ever been in and the flavors are wild, tropical and unique. You must try it if you're in the area.
We liked Osterbro's laid-back vibe and loved our flat, but ultimately found out that Norrebro was more central to where we wanted to be. So after 5 days in Osterbro, we spent our last nights in Norrebro.
Our Airbnb in Osterbro
Meyers Bageri Osterbro
Original Coffee Osterbro
Osterberg Ice Cream
*Osterberg Ice Cream
For the second half of the trip, we stayed in Norrebro. It really was the center of all the action for us and was hands-down our favorite neighborhood. Everything is in walking distance which is nice. While we still used our bike rentals, the young and vibrant area is easily a place you can get away with touring sans-bike if you wanted to. It's packed with hip boutiques, the newest restaurants, bars and vintage shops and of course, tons of pretty flower shops.
As Norrebro quickly began to feel like home, we hit up a few of our favorite places time and time again. The full must-visit list is below, but we enjoyed BRUS, Istid, Torvehallerne, and 20A so much, we went back twice, or more! If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?
There are two great parks in Norrebro that are gorgeous to walk or bike through. Orstedsparken is just next to one of our must-hit spots Torvehallerne, and an absolutely gorgeous spot to picnic or people watch. Assistens Cemetery park is a large park and is beautiful to bike through and tour the grounds. It's situated quite centrally in the neighborhood and is used as a street, practically, so you may just find yourself traveling through it. It's a must!
Our Airbnb in Norrebro
*20A (enjoy one of two house sandwiches on the menu for lunch, as well as dinner which has a similar two-item menu. both lunch and dinner were SO delicious — went for lunch and the best sandwich we've ever had, and then came back for dinner which if possible, was even better!)
*Manfreds (skip the course menu and just order their famous beef tartare and a glass of rosé!)
*Istid Ice Cream (yummy nitrogen frozen ice cream — went multiple times!)
*Coffee Collective (two locations in Norrebro, one in Torvehallerne)
*Torvehallerne (huge food market hall with fresh produce, cheese, restaurants, food stands and so much more — went over and over again!)
*Ol & Brod (outdoor seating and nice not-course meal and just across the way from Mikkeller)
*Mikkeller (most famous beer in CPH — you'll find it on almost every menu, but their bars themselves are pretty popular and a local must)
*Brus (newish brewery and restaurant in a happenin' Norrebro corridor — tons of great local beer on tap + cool bottle shop)
Must-Visit Norrebro Boutiques At Quick Glance:
*Keramiker (gorgeous porcelain — hauled some back with me!)
*Antique shops down Ravnsborggade (great little street to walk down and get your antique on!!)
*Assistens Cemetery (very large park and cemetery, you'll want a bike)
* Orstedsparken (beautiful and quaint and complete with a small lake, grab food and beer at the nearby Tovehallerne and enjoy it here. yes, you can walk around with beer in your hand!)
We did some exploring in the Meatpacking district. It's a little further away from the heart of the city, and still developing, so at this point I'd say, it's not a must-must. But if you find yourself with some time like we did, it's a good up and coming place to explore, with a handful of restaurants and bars in a grungy, warehouse-like hood. If you like to check out the newest and latest, this is where you'd find it.
We also crossed the bridge over to Christiania. The weather was exceptional that day, so everyone in the city was jam-packed on the waterfront at the Copenhagen Street Food Restaurant which in our opinion, you can definitely skip. All the locals rave about it, but coming from San Francisco, it was subpar. There are a few popular restaurants on this side of the water like NOMA and 108 which we didn't eat at, but may be worth the waitlist.
The city center Indre By is home to one of Europe's largest shopping areas. Blocks and blocks and BLOCKS of stores from Louis Vuitton to Zara are here for your spending pleasure. Beyond fashion, there are also great design stores to check out in this neighborhood — ooh la la! This is where I spent all of my money! See list below.
The Botanical Garden is also in Indre By and free, so it's worth checking out if you're looking for something to do on the cheap.
Must-Visit Indre By Design Stores At Quick Glance
*Atelier September Antik & Grafik (boutique in back of restaurant)
*H. Skjalm P.
*Butik for Borddaekning
Just outside of the city is the Louisiana Museum and it would be an absolute crime to miss it. It's about a 40 minute train ride north and the perfect half-day trip. The museum is one of the best I've ever been to — integrating outdoor space with indoor space in an exceptional way. Be prepared to be inspired!
Another museum that is a must is the Glyptoteket. Filled to the brim with stone statues from all over the world dating back to BC, as well as other European art, the use of color in this museum took my breath away. Its modern approach in displaying art was quite unexpected — just like it's wonderful indoor atrium that is full of lush, tropical plants intermingling with statues. It was SO breathtaking.
We also visited the State Museum, SMK Statens Museum for Kunst. While it's not a must for me, it is a nice museum with modern art, and if you're looking to dip in somewhere on a cold and rainy day, (and have already checked off the two museums above!) this is worth your visit.
Statens Museum for Kunst
Statens Museum for Kunst
Must-Visit Museums at Quick Glance:
Overall, Copenhagen is a great city. Stylish like New York, with a hint of European lifestyle, mixed in with a very unique Danish and Nordic approach, it's full of well-designed, thoughtful places to explore. The Danes were some of the friendliest people I've EVER encountered and they sure know how to enjoy life! Once 4:00 hits, the bars are packed, parks full and everyone in the city is smiling. So if you're into a little bike riding and a lot of beer, Copenhagen may just be your heaven.