Begin your short break in Copenhagen at the central, early 20th-century brick Rådhuspladsen town hall. From here, stroll up Strøget, Copenhagen’s high street of shopping and street entertainers, towards the neo-classical Nytorv and its charming bric-a-brac market. Head east to the Helligåndskirken, a 14th-century church of granite columns, vaulted ceilings and frequent art exhibitions. Continue beyond Kongens Nytorv square to Charlottenborg, a palatial building built for a son of Frederik III. It’s been the seat of the Royal Academy of Art since 1754 and is the site of eclectic modern art exhibitions.
Head east of Charlottenborg for the ‘free town’ of Christiania for a healthy lunch in one of its wholesome, organic and inexpensive cafés like the vegan Morgenstedet. After lunch, amble along Christiania’s paths to marvel at its folksy sculptures and DIY houses. One stands on wooden poles in the middle of a lake. Browse the neighborhood’s craft and artisan shops. Proceeds support the local community.
South-west of Christiania is hip and trendy Vesterbro. The area is bursting with Scandinavian, continental and organic restaurants like pizzeria neighborhood. After a hearty meal, there is no shortage of nightspots for drinking. NOHO is a hidden gem among the old industrial buildings.
Start your day with a walk in Frederiksberg park, filled with lime-tree groves and a network of tiny canals. The city’s top military leaders once came here to meet at the stately Frederiksberg Palace, now a military academy. The lawns are perfect for a picnic lunch and then it’s an easy trip to Copenhagen’s Zoo, with its collection of elephants, lions and monkeys.
Start: Frederiksberg park
With its unpretentious cafés, Nørrebro is perfect for an afternoon meal. Try Kate’s Joint, a small and lively venue serving delicious, inexpensive Jamaican jerk chicken and chicken tikka. Walk across the Sortedams Sø canal into the grounds of the Kastellet, a fortress built by Christian IV. Just off the rocks here is the home of Den Lille Havfrue (the Little Mermaid), a bronze statue of a Hans Christian Andersen character and Copenhagen’s most famous emblem. Nearby is the more elaborate Gefion Fountain, depicting the goddess Gefion with her four sons.
Surrounding the Little Mermaid are some of Copenhagen’s best jazz clubs where you can unwind on your last evening. Among the city’s best spots to hear live, foot-stomping music are La Fontaine, Huset, Mojo and Børneteater. For a bistro dinner, the cobbled streets around the clubs offer tasty and cheap food.