A month or so ago I finally went on a trip I bought (semi drunk?) at 2 am. It’s very like me to buy a flight 9 months in advance and sort of sit on it. In my mind it somehow feels free this way? (It definitely isn’t and wasn’t but I can dream.) Anyways, Drew and I hopped on an 11 hour insanely reasonably priced Norwegian Airlines flight from LAX to Copenhagen for the first time. The crisp early Spring weather paired with the incredibly liberal sensibility definitely made me a fan of the capital of Denmark. I also loved that being (as what I think is fair to call) a less traveled European city, I felt less pressured to go to a million sites and had actually less recommendations coming my way, which prompted me to do a little bit more research and explore on my own.
Where we stayed:
Another Air BnB success story, we stayed in this cute studio apartment in the neighborhood of Vesterbro, which I totally recommend. Super walkable area filled with boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, wine bars, and more.
Where we ATE!! (YASS! Copenhagen is a food capital!):
*DISCLAIMER* The infamous NOMA was closed. I knew this about 6 months before we arrived, and basically got over it immediately until as soon as I was in Copenhagen people were suggesting that I go, as if you could just pop in…..
One note about my eating experience in Copenhagen. Copenhagen is expensive. I’d say 35% give or take more than equivalent places in LA/SF/NY. That being said, tipping, especially 20% is not customary, so it sort of evens out or is 15-20% more. Because of this, fine dining was a LOT less expensive than I expected. This may also be some sort of competition with NOMA which is world famous, or because NOMA is closed, I’m not sure. But if you consider a kabob and a soda is USD $15 or a coffee, juice, and pastry is $20, why wouldn’t you have a three course meal for $50 when you have a chance.
Radio Radio boasts a former NOMA chef, so I felt like it was as close as I could get. We opted for the 3 course tasting menu, which allows you to choose 3 of 5 dishes available that night. There’s even a fresh juice pairing for those looking to skip the wine. We spent a nice two hour long meal on an amuse bouche of radish, a first course of scallops, a middle course of a warm(!) lettuce, and a final of the most amazing root vegetables ribboned into pasta-esq pieces with pulled veil and a brown creamy sauce over it. We added an additional course to split of Danish cheese with a berry compote.
Hoest I would exceed the WordPress word limit if I even went into explaining this meal. What we expected to be another 3 course meal turned into a 10 course meal when you include all the amuse bouches and pre-courses Hoest includes. Highlights included an egg yolk over a kale salad, a chicken skin sauce over octopus appetizer, ice cream with poprocks as a pre-dessert (yep you heard that right), and even an unreal petit four before the official dessert came. Even the BREAD basket changed with each meal and one even came with a wheat grass butter, I didn’t love that, but the presentation and creativity won me over. The 10 course meal was about $65 each or so.
Mad & Kaffe I found this place via the Instagram geofilter feature. This super popular lunch and brunch spot is smorgasboard heaven. Each diner selects 3, 5, or 7 items from a list to create the board of their dreams. Items like fresh carrot muffins, lox and cream cheese, mini yogurt parfaits, half an avocado covered in almond pieces, and a fresh bread basket were just a few of the many choices we made, along with a bunch of beautiful iced teas and coffees. We had to wait 40 or so minutes, but the restaurant even offered us blankets to cozy up to while we waited. And of course… I’m at this beautiful “do it for the ‘gram” type restaurant and take the most hideous photo because I was in a rush.
& of course a few random doner / kabob because these little counter restaurants are abundant basically all over Europe and I love them.
Where we went out (ie. drank):
Brass Monkey this ’50s esq Americana (I know, why are we at an Americana bar in Scandinavia) was right by our Air BnB and stole us away on two different occasions with it’s corny but tropical vibe.
Foder Braette We found this place online before even getting to Copenhagen and when I heard it’s specialty is hot dogs and champagne, I knew we had to go. It wasn’t too packed and I later found out it’s actually closing soon, so I copped an overpriced but amazing t-shirt with a graphic of the grim repear pouring champagne on a shirtless woman. Obviously.
Vela So this one was amazing, just because it was so spontaneous. As we were on our way to another bar I heard about from a bartender at Foder, we see a little bar with geisha stained glass covered in sweat blaring dancehall. Obviously we want to go in. A security guard who looked exactly like Sia looked at us super strangely and let us know it was a lesbian bar, as if we, or anyone in this incredibly woke city would care, and then let us in.
Rust One of our friends from NY was tour managing a rapper who was touring Europe, so we ended up at his show at this hip hop club. Copenhagen, very lax about drinking beer on the street which I appreciate, also very hyped off pretty old Drake (but same).
A few things we did:
Christiania. Okay so this is wild and you probably need to do a Google search after reading this and also look at this blog about it. Christiania is a city / commune / separate entity outside of the EU that exists in the middle of Copenhagen. Weed is legal there, and there is plenty of Venice Beach / Amsterdam esq corny weed culture, but when you get past that, it’s actually an insanely beautiful micro-community of people and houses on a lake with farm animals and people just living by their own rules. Apparently no one owns any of the property and you have to apply to live there based on what you can bring to the community. When I heard about an anarchist commune, I obviously jumped to gross crust punk squat houses, but this was NICE. It’s definitely a must see, and just an example of the way the government and culture operates in Denmark that allows this to exist in such a non dramatic way. It’s free, you just walk in (can take a cab to the area) and walk out, no check point, nothing of that sort. It’s basically as if there was a little city in Central Park. So bizarre.
Shopping. We hit the Acne Archive, which is like the (still expensive) outlet store, a few vintage shops on Elmegade and Amagertorv, and the COOLEST leather / motorcycle store called Motorious. The owners even gave us coffee and beer as we hung out and Drew got a vintage leather jacket. We weren’t lucky enough to be there in the Summer when they have parties in their backyard but maybe you will be. A lot of hilarious vintage porn also.
Design Museum of Denmark. Free for anyone under 26 which is something I’ve never seen before at a museum. I obviously wanted to look at 100 different style mid-century modern chairs while we were in Denmark, considering my love for Danish and Scandinavian design principles.
City Bike. To give you an idea of how utopian Copenhagen is, their city bike program consists of bikes that each have their own TABLET on them for you to use for maps, tracking your trip, finding nearby docking locations, all with their own wifi, and no one is stealing or vandalizing these tablets! Imagine!