Three days of nonstop fun as a family of three.
A bustling city with more bike traffic than Amsterdam! Copenhagen exceeded my expectations for things to see, food and beverage variety, and being exceptionally kid friendly.
Getting Downtown from the Airport
We arrived by plane and took a train to the Central Station (Køpenhavn H) which is just slightly more expensive than the public bus, but arrives much faster; approximately 20 minutes.
Follow the Airport signs to the Metro where you’ll find numerous kiosks to purchase train tickets. We opted against the multi day pass as we found the city to be very walkable. We only ended up taking one additional metro ride to get back to our hotel after walking across town.
11 Things to Do with a Toddler in Tow
Sightseeing locales that are baby friendly!
The world’s 2nd oldest Amusement Park, built in 1843, has inspired Walt Disney himself when constructing Disney World. (The oldest is also in Denmark, but is outside the city of Copenhagen.) Tivoli was charming and nostalgic the way the old mixed with the new. The park was quite damaged during WWII however the Danes quickly rebuilt within just a few weeks to restore their beloved attraction. To enter was about $23 per adult with current exchange rate. Our 18 month old, Liam, was free. This admission only got you through the gate, which was worth it on its own. Any rides required tickets which were quite pricey. The carousel was one of the cheapest and it cost about $5 per rider.
Liam loved the (free) playground and outdoor musical instruments more than anything else in the park.
2. The Lego Store
You can’t leave Denmark without doing Legoland or at least a Lego Souvenir! If you don’t have the time to take the two hour train out of the city, at least visit the Lego Store near Nyhavn and build your family out of Legos.
Translated to “New Harbor,” the area was established in the 1670s as a sailors’ quarter. Wealthy merchants began building their homes along the harbor side. Hans Christian Anderson wrote his first stories here. It is fun to take a picture of the houses but everything on the street is expensive including food and drinks.
4. The (Very) Little Mermaid
To be fair, we were warned. The statue was quite underwhelming. It was crowded with tourists trying to get a photo op as close to the statue as possible. We didn’t bother and took a photo from afar. If you go to Kastellet it is right next door, otherwise I’d say skip this area as it takes a bit of time to walk there from the rest of downtown.
The statue represents Danish author Hans Christian Anderson’s most beloved stories.
From the Little Mermaid, head back towards the center of the city taking a path through Kastellet, pass the adorable Kafferiet, and end at Amalienbog. That walk will take about 30 minutes with kids.
A quiet yet active military fortress in the shape of a star. It is open to the public to walk through. Cross one of the two bridges over the moats and wander the outside of the old barracks/offices. This fortress was occupied by the Germans during WWII.
While you’re in the area, make sure to stop at the picture perfect Kafferiet Coffee Shop.
6. Amalienborg Palace
Amalienborg Palace and Square were magnificent and a great place for Liam to run free. At noon we watched the changing of the guards complete with a uniformed military band. Quite the fanfare so this is the optimal time to visit, we just happened to get lucky. Queen Margrethe II lives in the palace and if the flag is flying, it means she is inside.
7. Frederik’s Church
AKA The Marble Church is even more beautiful on the inside. If you’ve seen the pantheon in Rome, this has a similar feel.
8. Church of Our Savior (Vor Frelsers Kirke)
Characterized by its outdoor staircase winding around the spire, this church is worth stepping inside as well. The organ appears to be supported on the backs of two elephants.
9. Eat and Drink
We kept going back to Kødbyen (the former Meatpacking district) for meals. Each block was filled with diverse restaurant options. We found traditional Danish options at Chicky Grill Bar and a wonderful brunch at Mad & Kaffe. For traditional food, you can’t leave Denmark without tasting smørrebrød (open faced sandwiches), a hot dog from a pølsevogne (sausage wagon), a gooey “Danish” pastry, and drinking a Carlsberg Beer.
We also really enjoyed Pizza from a restaurant called Neighborhood in the Vesterbro district.
Of course, there are a number of upscale dining options ($100 plus per person for fixed 3 or 5 course meals), but we opted against these due to the unpredictability of dining with a toddler. Would love to try Nomo 2.0 (approximately $350 pp without beverages) on a future trip.
Drinking in Copenhagen
Open container is legal here. So save money by purchasing a bottle at a convenience store or grocer and drink alongside a canal for 25% the price of a drink in a restaurant.
Where We Stayed
Lodging is crazy expensive. We stayed in a “Hotellet” called City Hotel Nebo right next to the central train station. We loved the location, yet the room was smaller than our cruise ship cabin and it was $500 or so for 3 nights. It was clean though, had friendly staff, reliable wifi, and served its purpose.
We found the most amazing playground that even had an indoor ‘community center’ filled with toys for us to retreat to when it started raining. The park is called Skydebanehaven and has limited day time hours only.
11. *Freetown Christiania
Hippy Heaven. *As we passed “Pusher Street” and the pungent smells of marijuana, we realized our poor parenting decision to explore this neighborhood with our toddler. We would not return with kids. That said, you do you.
Since 1971 squatters have taken over old military grounds as their Free city. We were told it was a refreshing break from the ‘commercialism’ of the city, yet we found many vendors and signage inside Christiania as well. Regardless, we were glad we stopped for a brief visit to this alternative community/social experiment.