A Day of Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen

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Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to a day of Unique Things to do in Copenhagen. As I’ve said in my earlier posts on Copenhagen, it is one of the happiest cities in the world. Truly there are times when Copenhagen seems to have stepped directly out of a fairy tale. Well, metaphorically because cities don’t have legs.

And if Copenhagen were a person, it would obviously be the Little Mermaid, so it would have a fin. But even the happiest fairy tale has its dark and seedy side. With 24 hours in Copenhagen’s Vesterbro neighborhood, we can begin to see the more unique things to do in Copenhagen. Take a walk on the wild side, if you will.

If a city that is so safe that parents regularly leave babies unattended out on the street in strollers can be considered to have a wild side.

24 Hours: Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen

Where to Stay?

There are so many hygge places to stay in Copenhagen that one hardly knows where to start. But Copenhagen, like the rest of Scandinavia, can be extremely expensive. That’s why I was happy to stay at Wakeup Copenhagen Borgergade. It was in a convenient location which made it easy to get to Vesterbro, it was affordable, and it had a clean private room with a bathroom. Plus breakfast was included! That’s really all I can ask for. It was the perfect base to go exploring the Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen.

If you’re looking for a great deal on this hotel, click here. And if you’d rather explore deals on over 1000 hotels in Copenhagen, click here.

Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen

What to Pack

Denmark can be on the rainy side. So the two most important things you’ll need to bring are an umbrella and some rain boots. My favorite travel umbrella is the Repel Teflon Waterproof Umbrella. It is strong enough to stand up to the sometimes-quite-strong winds of Sweden.

For rain boots, I recommend the Asgard Rain Boots. They are comfy/cozy and keep my feet dry all day. Plus they’re cute enough that I can wear them out and about without feeling like some gauche American with gross feet.

Finally, if you’re not from Europe, you need a universal adapter if you’re going to plug in electronics. European electrical outlets don’t work with either American or British plugs. I suggest the NEWVANGA travel adapter. It’s usable with any electrical outlet in the world, so you won’t need to keep buying new adapters. I always carry two with me, just in case something happens to one.

24 Hours: Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen

24 Hours: Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen

Morning: The West End Gourmet Tour

Some of you Internet Strangers might be thinking, “Hey! Where’s the seedy Vesterbro neighborhood I was promised? What’s this West End Gourmet Tour business?” In fact, Vesterbro pretty much means West End in Danish. And while Vesterbro used to be dicey, it’s now gentrified and safe for hipsters and babies alike. For good and for ill. you’re more likely to find artisanal coffee shops in this neighborhood now than you are to find Shady People and Their Shady Deeds. But you can still find Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen here.

I had come to Vesterbro to find happiness, and nothing makes me happier than a good meal. That’s why I chose the West End Gourmet tour with Foodtours.Eu, a company I had used in other Scandinavian cities. Our guide Rosemary explained that Vesterbro used to be outside the city of Copenhagen. The square where the tour began was a place where they used to make rope…for the hangman. (I don’t actually know the rope was for the hangman. I’m just trying to give this blog post some edge.) Now I will attempt to stick to just the facts with…

approximately top 5: vesterbro food

dream cake danish
1) Dream Cake

Because the tour began close to breakfast time, we started with a morning-appropriate dream cake. This is a Danish classic. It’s a simple white cake with a buttery, sugary, coconut topping. The cafe served the dream cake with chile sauce, which I gathered is not typical. But I guess putting chile sauce on a dessert is what counts as edgy in Vesterbro these days. (Also chile + sugar = delicious.)

fleisch copenhagen
2) Fleisch

Copenhagen’s Meatpacking District used to be in Vesterbro, but now those meat warehouses have all been converted into trendy bars and restaurants. (This reminds me of the Meatpacking District in my hometown of New York City, which is now full of models and their old, rich boyfriends, but used to be full of the blood of animals running through the streets.) Anyway, in Copenhagen, one of those trendy new restaurants, Fleisch, pays homage to Vesterbro and its past by serving succulent meat products. We got to sample basically every kind of animal flesh there is! We started with a warm pork croquette…

herring smorrebrod

Then there was a herring smorrebrod with egg and capers on top. (Smorrebrod is the famous Danish openfaced sandwich.) There was one kid in our group who said she didn’t like fish and refused to try it. I never understand why kids can be such picky eaters. I’m glad I was never a kid.

A Day of Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen 2

Of course you need to pair the herring with some of the Danish national spirit, aquavit. That’s just science. The kid didn’t want to drink this either. How ungrateful!

A Day of Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen 3

Finally we had chicken salad smorrebrod with crispy chicken skin. (The kid deigned to eat this.) My favorite thing about smorrebrod is how the chefs work so hard to make each one visually stunning. I suspect one reason the Danish people are so happy is because they are surrounded by cute sandwiches all the time.

biomio copenhagen

Organic food is all the rage in Copenhagen. It seemed like every restaurant had its own private garden with its own artisanal carrots. So the Vesterbro food tour got in on the trend by taking us to BOB. For a moment, I thought we were visiting the villain from Twin Peaks but (un)fortunately that was not the case. BOB stands for Biomio Organic Bistro.

As at Fleisch, we got to sample multiple dishes, which I appreciated. We started with some organic veggies and organic hummus. Both the pesto in the hummus and the cute little jar it came in were much appreciated by yours truly.

A Day of Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen 4

For carnitarians, there was a board with pork neck and carpaccio, which is Italian for raw meat. Doesn’t get more carnivore than that!

A Day of Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen 5
4) Anker Chocolate

Two things that are very popular in Denmark are candy and handmade goods. So it stands to reason that handmade chocolate would be incredibly popular. Anker Chocolate is a small shop in Vesterbro that makes all their phenomenal chocolate in-house. They use seasonal ingredients, so if you go here, and you really should, I can’t guarantee that these chocolates will be available.

We snacked on green apple chocolate and a caramelized ginger chocolate. (You can tell which is which from the picture.) I’ve decided green apple chocolates are edgy. I mean, they’re the same color as The Wicked Witch of the West. There, I brought you to the edgy side of Vesterbro.

A Day of Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen 6
5) ????

OK, finally I have some real Vesterbro edge for you. Are you ready for this most unique of all the Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen? What do you think is in this drink? Go on, have a sip! Are you done? Then I’ll tell you.

A Day of Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen 7

It’s cricket juice! This is just one manifestation of the Danish passion for health. The company Femten believes cricket juice is sustainable and healthy and hopes it will catch on. I have zero problems eating insects because I am not some picky, aquavit-hating child. And this just tasted like refreshing fruit juice to me. But I don’t know if the world is ready to drink Jiminy. Perhaps if Femten wishes upon a star…more crickets will die.

A Day of Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen 8
6) Mikkeler

All countries are beer countries or wine countries and Denmark is definitely a beer country. (All Stella Janes are both beer and wine drinkers, FYI.) That’s why our last stop was at a famous Danish brewery called Mikkeler. This is a “phantom” brewery. I was really hoping that it was a brewery run by ghosts because that would be very edgy. But a phantom brewery just means that the label doesn’t have a brewery of its own.

It floats around and uses other people’s equipment and collaborates with them and haunts them through their television set. Whatever poltergeist were involved with making this beer, I found my sour to be most satisfying on a Copenhagen summer day.

vice and vesterbro

Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen

Afternoon: Vesterbro

Allow me to take your on a tour of this once shady area to tell me about its history, beer, art, and the social services that help support the neighborhood. The dancing vices on that mural taught me more than…

approximately top 5: Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen in Vesterbro

24 Hours: Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen
1) Church for the Homeless

Though Vesterbro has gentrified in recent years, there are still inhabitants in the neighborhood who require social services. This church has padded floors so that homeless people can sleep comfortably there. She also said that Vesterbro has a safe shooting gallery that is run by the government where people can do drugs in relative safety. Drugs aren’t provided, only clean needles and nurses. The shooting gallery isn’t located in the church. I wouldn’t take a photo of a shooting gallery, for privacy reasons, even of one that is run by the government.

A Day of Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen 9
2) Noble Hunting Ground

As I mentioned during the food tour, Vesterbro used to be outside of the city. In fact, it used to attract a much more upscale audience than it does even today. That’s because the area served as the hunting ground for the royal family of Denmark. (Those holes you see on the wall are bullet holes left by the Royal Hunters. Edgy!)

A Day of Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen 10
3) Street Art

Like many gentrified neighborhoods, Vesterbro is famous now for its fancy street art. But it used to be famous for wild graffiti like the stuff pictured above. This heart was made from a graffiti-covered wall from the old Vesterbro. It stands as a reminder of what the neighborhood used to be like. I think all gentrifying neighborhoods should do something like this graffiti heart. Except instead of graffiti, they can preserve affordable housing.

world's smallest hotel
4) Hotel Central

Now that Vesterbro is so trendy, of course it is attracting tourists. And those tourists are going to need a place to stay. But not many of them can stay in Hotel Central because it is the smallest hotel in Copenhagen. It only has one room! Part of me is tempted to stay here just for the experience. But what if I break something in the front hall? I wouldn’t be able to blame another guest because I’d be the only guest! Maybe the owner has a cat, and I could blame it on the cat.

A Day of Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen 11
5) Freddy’s

Freddy’s is a great bar for a tourist because it’s full of locals and no one in there was cool. Blend in by ordering a Tuborg Classic. A Danish woman my age explained that Carlsberg was the Danish beer her grandfather’s drank, her father’s generation drank Tuborg, and her generation drank Tuborg Classic. It’s a pleasant beer to drink when you are sitting with your friends after work and want to complain about how Kevin in Accounting won’t stop microwaving his fish in the break room.

24 Hours: Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen

24 Hours: Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen

Evening: Dinner at Frk. Barners Kaelder

Head to the mystifyingly named Frk. Barners Kaelder. This restaurant specializes in Danish comfort food. Since the Danes are so good at making things cozy and hygge, I imagine their comfort food is tops!

I started with the skagen toast, which is shrimp with creme fraiche, lumpfish roe, the omnipresent Scandinavian dill, and something the menu calls Toast Bread. It was very good, so I wonder if I can get this Toast Bread at home. Also, though it is a simple dish, look at how beautifully it is composed. It’s even served on a dish that looks like it’s made of fish scales.

A Day of Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen 12
24 Hour Treat: Miss Barner’s Stew

So I don’t know exactly who Miss Barner is, but she definitely knew how to chow down. This stew is made with pork, cocktail sausages, bacon, and paprika, and it’s served with mashed potatoes. I believe this scrumptious brew could have gotten be through several consecutive Danish winters. However, I regret not taking a photo of the entire stewpot, so you could see how massive my portion was. I apologized to the waitress for not finishing, but she said I ate more than most people. I’ll take that as a compliment. USA, USA, USA!

A Day of Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen 13

Internet Stranger, when you are dining out and you are full, I presume you don’t order dessert. But I don’t have that luxury. I need to be able to review a city’s dessert for you. See how I suffer to bring you happiness! I admit I did not suffer at all while eating this apple “cake”. Now, I use the term cake loosely, as it is more of an apple stew topped with crumbled macaroons and then the largest whipped cream hat the world has ever known. If this is Danish comfort food, give me some butter cookies and call me Freja.

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24 Hours: Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen

What are your favorite unique things to do in Copenhagen? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Copenhagen? Are you a good child who drinks their aquavit and crickets? And would all those cool Danes have laughed me out of the bar if I’d taken some selfies? Please leave your thoughts below.

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend 24 hours with the Unique Things to Do in Copenhagen.

If you want a 24 hour itinerary with Rosenborg Castle, try here. If you’re looking for 24 hours with Freetown Christiania, go here. If you’re interested in Nyhavn, there’s this itinerary. If you like hygge and happiness, click here. And finally we have an itinerary with the adorable Tivoli Gardens.

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