Scroll To Top

Hej Copenhagen

Hej Copenhagen

This cozy, sophisticated, bike-friendly city is a traveler’s paradise—but be sure to come hungry, the foodie scene is unbeatable.

Geographically the smallest Scandinavian country, Denmark is the region’s powerhouse. The trailblazing nation has led the revolution in cuisine, design, and architecture, and has always been at the forefront of LGBT rights. In 1989, it became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex unions. Since 2012, gay couples have been able to get married in churches. Regularly named the most LGBT friendly destination on the planet, Copenhagen has a lot to offer — incredible food, top museums, a relaxed yet vibrant nightlife — all set against a manageable, beautifully bohemian setting.

The home of The Little Mermaid and Legos, Denmark is made up of thousands of islands, of which 74 are inhabited. Copenhagen, the country’s capital, sits on the island of Zealand, just across the sound from neighboring Sweden (if you haven’t seen it, make sure to watch the Danish-Swedish TV co-production The Bridge, which begins on the famous Øresund Bridge connecting Copenhagen with Malmo in Sweden). Thanks to a series of canals, water is never far in Copenhagen, which makes for stunning views, easy transport, and great places to swim in the summer. The blend of classic buildings, like those along Nyhavn, and modern architectural marvels, like The Black Diamond, makes for truly unique scenery. And, it has one of the liveliest LGBT scenes in Europe.


Copenhagen is Scandinavia’s gourmet capital, with 18 Michelin stars spread across 15 restaurants. The birthplace of New Nordic Cuisine, expect innovative meals with local ingredients, hearty breads and delectable treats.

Noma: The first thing to do before you even book your hotel, once you have settled on your Copenhagen dates, is to reserve a spot at this iconic (that massively overused word, justified here) dining room, because tables still get booked up months in advance. Is the first and last word in New Nordic cuisine worth the fight for a seat and all those press clips and Michelin stars? Absolutely. In fact maestro chef Rene Redzepi’s cooking has never been more assured and your taste of the Danish larder (expect juniper, moss, fish roe, lichens, and lots of busy pickling and smoking) will be a palate changer. (Strandgade 93, 1401 København K,

Kadeau: Designed as a regional homage, to the Danish island of Bornholm, this very single-minded restaurant dishes up the freshest Baltic harvest, from razor clams to blue mussels, in little dioramas framed by island stones, shells and wild grass. (; 45-3325-2223; Wildersgade 10A)

Søren K: Centrally located in The Royal Library, the restaurant, named after famed Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, transforms organic Nordic produce into delicious dishes. Housed in one of the city’s architectural gems, The Black Diamond, it combines two of Denmark’s greatest assets: its food, and its design. (Søren Kierkegaards, Plads 1,
1221 København K,

Øl & Brød (Beer & Bread): Only steps away from the original Mikkeller Bar in Vesterbro, this lunch hotspot serves smørrebrød (traditional Danish open sandwiches) with a twist. Using new ingredients and techniques, the menu is constantly changing, depending on what produce is available, and what Mikkeller beer is being served. (Viktoriagade 6, 1655 København V,

Copenhagen Street Food on Papirøn (Paper Island): Copenhagen’s only genuine street food market, food trucks and stalls gather along the water daily throughout the summer offering a smørgåsbord of tasty, affordable treats. All food must be sustainable, meaning produce is local and fresh. (Papirøen, Trangravsvej 14, hal 7 & 8, 1436 København K,

Meyers Bageri Jægersborggade (pictured above): No visit to Copenhagen would be complete without sampling the incredible range of baked good. This hole-in-the-wall hotspot can only fit five people at a time, but there’s always a crowd gathering for fresh baked bread and treats, such as kanelsnurrer (cinnamon rolls with chocolate). (Jægersborggade 9, 2200 København N,


Copenhagen offers a fantastic array of beautifully designed boutique hotels, from high-end to hipster.

Hotel Central & Cafe: With only one room, when this hotel says it offers a singular experience, it really means it. Located atop a small cafe is Vesterbro, the double room boasts handcrafted detail and beautiful design. (Tullinsgade 1, 1618 København V,

Radisson Blu Royal Copenhagen: This central, Danish modern landmark designed by Arne Jacobsen offers one sustained vision—from Jacobsen’s Egg chairs in the lobby to the 260 streamlined guestrooms. In addition to luxury services, Alberto K serves gourmet, seasonal Danish food with an unbeatable view of the city. (Hammerichsgade 1 København,

D’Angleterre (pictured above): In a city hurting for dramatic hotel rooms this ultimate grand dame, dating back to the 18th century, recently emerged from a two-year renovation and the result is a whole new toybox of features, including a spa (consider the Nordic stone massage), fitness studio, and champagne bar. The neutral-palette plush rooms themselves border on the more cautiously generic, unless you consider one of the flamboyant suites named for Great Danes like the taxidermy-strewn Karen Blixen (; Kongens Nytorv 34; 45-3312-0095)

AC Hotel Bella Sky Copenhagen: When first opened in 2011, this four-star design hotel was the largest in Scandinavia. An example of Scandinavian architecture at its best, this luxury hotel is furnished with original design furniture and boasts a pool and spa, and its Sky Bar has an incredible panoramic view of the city. (Center Boulevard 5, 2300 København S,  

Copenhagen Admiral Hotel: This four-star hotel is superbly located on the waterfront, less than a minute away from the Royal Palace, Amalienborg, and Amaliehaven gardens. With views of the Opera House and harbor, the famed Little Mermaid statue is only a short walk away along the water. (Toldbodgade 24 – 28, DK-1253 København K,


There’s a lot to do in and around Copenhagen, with culture and recreation for every season.

København Havnebade (Copenhagen Harbor Baths) (pictured above): In the height of summer, these public swimming spots scattered across the city’s canals are teeming with tanned Nordic bodies. Given how clean the city’s waterways are kept, it’s a perfect way to cool off while exploring new neighborhoods, such as Islands Brygge, Vesterbro, and Østerbro. (located throughout the city,

Hipsterhoods: If you want a taste of Williamsburg with umlauts head to Jaegersborggade in the northern district of Nørrebro where everyone collects first at The Coffee Collective (No. 10) before prowling the vintage boutiques. For a slightly more twee vibe Vaernedamsvej street in the Vesterbro district west of Town Hall Square comes dotted with antique shops and cozy cafes like the always packed Granoloa Kaffebar.

Christiansborg Slot (Christiansborg Palace): Home of the Danish Parliament, and setting for the hit Danish political drama, Borgen, this beautiful neo-Baroque structure was once the home of the kingdom’s royal family. Located in the heart of the city, tours are available, and visitors can climb to the top of the tower free of charge for breathtaking views of Copenhagen. (Prins Jørgens Gård 1, 1218 København,

Louisiana: Just a quick and easy train ride from the city, this modern museum boasts an incredible and ever-changing collection. Situated on the water near Elsinor, the gardens offer beautiful sculptures and spectacular views of Sweden. This is also one of architect Bjarke Ingels' favorite spots around Copenhagen. GI Strandvej 13,

Kastellet: One of the best preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe, it’s still an active military base today. However, it also serves as a public park, complete with two small museums. On a sunny day, it’s the perfect place for a stroll, either through the gardens or along the walls. (Gl. Hovedvagt, Kastellet 1, 2100 København,

Danish Museum of Art & Design: Set in a historic 18th century hospital, it’s the largest museum for design in the country. In the summer, Grønnegård, the museum gardens, are a perfect place to relax and refresh. (Bredgade 68, 1260 København,

Rosenborg Slot (Rosenborg Castle): This 17th-century renaissance castle was built as a summer home for Christian IV. Located in the central Kongens Have (King’s Garden), it is now a museum housing, among other things, the Danish Crown Jewels, Throne Chair, and Crown Regalia. (Øster Voldgade 4A, 1350 København,

(Pictured above) PLAY:

While the open-mindedness of Danes means that LGBT travelers are welcome anywhere, Copenhagen offers a fantastic array of gay bars and clubs.

Centralhjørnet: The oldest LGBT bar in Denmark, this cozy bar offers cheap drinks, a relaxed atmosphere, and the occasional show. (Kattesundet 18, 1458 København K,

Jailhouse CPH: (pictured above) This prison themed bar comes complete with prison bars, handcuffs, cells, and bartenders in police uniforms. Happy hour is everyday from 3-9pm. (Studiestræde 12 1455 København K,

Never Mind Night Club: Open every day of the year, the party never stops before 6am. If people want to keep going, however, the bartenders will keep serving until people start to drop. (Nørre Voldgade 2, 1358 København K,

Men’s Bar: Centrally located, the decor is black, and the average man is dressed in denim or leather. It doesn’t usually offer food, but on the first Sunday of every month, brunch is free! (Teglgårdsstræde 3, 1452 København K,

Vela: Copenhagen’s only exclusively lesbian bar, Vela is located in the trendy Vesterbro neighborhood. Also home to cultural events, like poetry readings and literary events, the partying doesn’t stop until the sun comes up. (Viktoriagade 2-4, 1655 København V,

Mikkeller Bar: While this isn’t a gay bar, it’s the quintessential Danish brewery experience. Offering world-renown craft beers from people who make it their mission to creating the very best, this is a must for any beer lover. (Victoriagade 8 B-C, 1655 København V,

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Outtraveler Staff