Sandwiched between the city centre and Vesterbro, the area around the Tivoli gardens is the most touristy part of town. Staying here puts you right in the centre of it all, with immediate access to Tivoli’s leafy, pebbled paths and exciting amusement park rides. Next door is the central railway station, while just opposite is the buzzing Rådhuspladsen town hall square. It’s the gateway to several cultural powerhouses, including the sculptures and paintings at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, the historical relics at the Nationalmuseet and the cutting-edge architecture and objets d’art at the Danish Design Centre.
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North-east of the city centre, the brick and limestone Amalienborg Palace has been the home of the Danish royal family since 1794. Their Slotsplads square is host to the changing of the guard, where every day at noon bearskin-hatted royal guards march back to their barracks beside Rosenborg Slot. Just south is Nyhavn, a string of pastel-coloured cafés, restaurants and bars that are interspersed with fetching gabled houses on the banks of the city’s canals. The waterways are a defining part of the Copenhagen landscape and Hans Christian Andersen lived here during several periods of his life.
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The city centre, or Indre By, is Copenhagen's bustling heart, a medieval maze of lively streets and attractive squares. Strøget is one of the world's longest pedestrianised streets, crammed full of clothing and houseware shops, cafés and terrace bars from the Rådhuspladsen in the west to Kongens Nytorv in the east. The quarter’s historic buildings, churches and museums – especially the towering Rundetårn – strongly evoke Denmark’s rich past of architectural and artistic appreciation.
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Immediately west of the central railway station, Vesterbro is centred around the roughly parallel streets of Vesterbrogade, Istedgade and Sønder Boulevard, which run west to the Carlsberg Brewery and Frederiksberg Park. Vesterbro is home to the largest concentration of Copenhagen hotels and is also the city’s best area for lively pubs, dance clubs and upscale, swanky lounges. Vesterbrogade is the district’s major artery and the parallel Istedgade is one of the city’s best shopping streets – try Din – Sofie Nørregaard for interesing original jewelry or the funky feminine styles at Leasara. At the far end of Vesterbrogade is Frederiksberg, a verdant district of grand villas and sprawling parks and one of Copenhagen's wealthiest neighbourhoods.
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If you’re not sure where to stay in Copenhagen, an inviting alternative is Christianshavn, just outside the city centre and east across the waters of Inderhavnen. This district is often known as ‘Little Amsterdam’ because of its cobbled streets, handsome canals and old Dutch- style houses with brightly painted façades. With an attractive meeting point in Christianshavns Torv, the neighbourhood is ideal for gazing at the canal boats drifting by. Have a stroll through the ‘free city’ of Christiania, a hippie-like commune with no shortage of charm, gaze at the architecturally bewildering Operæn opera house and admire the magnificent spire of Vor Frelsers Kirke church.
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