Skip to Content

Top 10 Things to Do in Copenhagen for First Timers

We take pride in providing authentic travel recommendations based on our own experiences through unique imagery and visiting each destination. We may earn a commission when you purchase a product or book a reservation. Learn more ›

My journey through Copenhagen was enchanting, as the city, with its harmonious blend of historical richness and contemporary flair, offers many experiences that cater to every kind of traveler.

This was my first time visiting Copenhagen after having it on my bucket list for too long. It was also my first solo trip in a very long time.

I panicked and booked a stay at the Villa Copenhagen because my American Express Platinum credits for Fine Hotels and Resorts expired on January 1st (I booked my stay on December 30th).

It was a good panic booking, though, since, as I said, I’ve wanted to visit Copenhagen for a very long time. Read my full review of staying at the Villa Copenhagen.

Throughout the article, you’ll find images from my experience. You can also read my full Copenhagen itinerary if you want to copy and trace my footsteps from my trip.

Church of Holmen, Copenhagen canal at twilight, historic architectural marvel
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the top things to do in Copenhagen for first-timers, ensuring you capture the essence of this beautiful city. We also created a YouTube video featuring my photography and videography from the trip. You can watch that below:

1. Nyhavn

Yes, Nyhavn is the quintessential Copenhagen postcard you see in all the photos. This picturesque waterfront is a kaleidoscope of colorful buildings.

Old wooden ships bobbed in the harbor, creating a lively yet relaxed atmosphere. It’s a place where history comes alive, each brightly painted façade telling a story of the city’s maritime past. As you stroll along the quay, the lively ambiance and charming cafes and restaurants make Nyhavn a perfect starting point for any Copenhagen adventure.

2. Christiania

Step into Christiania, and you’ll find yourself in a different world. With its bohemian spirit, this Freetown is a testament to Copenhagen’s diversity and tolerance.

The graffiti-laden walls and quirky buildings are a canvas of artistic expression, offering a raw and unfiltered glimpse into the city’s alternative culture. A walk through Christiania is like exploring an open-air gallery, where the street art and eclectic vibe capture the essence of Copenhagen’s creative heart.

See Related: Most Beautiful Towns in Europe to Visit

3. Christiansborg Palace

Christiansborg Palace is a majestic sight, embodying the regal history of Denmark. The palace is a political and royal history hub surrounded by beautiful gardens and stunning architecture.

As you explore the opulent rooms and halls, you’ll be transported back in time, gaining insights into Danish royalty’s lives and the nation’s political evolution. The panoramic view from the tower, overlooking the cityscape, offers a royal perspective on Copenhagen.

4. City Hall Square

People walking in front of Copenhagen City Hall on a cloudy day, showcasing red brick architecture, Danish flag, and vivid cultural activity.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

In the heart of Copenhagen lies City Hall Square, a bustling hub of activity and architecture. This central spot is alive with the city’s pulse, where historic buildings blend with the modern-day rhythm of Copenhagen life.

Here, you can feel the city’s heartbeat, observe the daily hustle and bustle, and immerse yourself in the local culture. The square is not just a place of transit but a venue where history, architecture, and urban life converge.

5. Strøget

City life on Strøget Street, Copenhagen
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

For shopping enthusiasts, Strøget is a paradise. One of Europe’s longest pedestrian streets, it’s a lively city artery, lined with high-end boutiques, international chains, and local shops set in historic buildings. The street’s fun atmosphere and architectural beauty offer a shopping experience.

6. Nightlife in the Meatpacking District

Experience the energetic nightlife in the Meatpacking District, where the city comes alive after dark. With its blend of old butcheries and modern bars, clubs, and restaurants, this trendy area buzzes with locals and travelers alike.

The neon lights and the pulsating music create a lively atmosphere, perfect for those looking to dive into Copenhagen’s contemporary scene. Here, you can enjoy a night of dancing, dining, and socializing in the city’s best nightlife district.

See Related: Best Party Cities in Europe | Top Nightlife Destinations

7. Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek

Night-time view of Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek museum, Copenhagen, with lion statue and glowing facade
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Art enthusiasts will find a haven at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, an art museum that boasts an impressive collection of ancient and modern art. The building itself, with its stunning classical architecture, is a masterpiece.

Inside, you’ll find works from masters such as Rodin, Van Gogh, and Picasso, set in beautifully designed galleries. With its exotic plants and tranquil ambiance, the winter garden offers a peaceful retreat from the urban rush.

8. Tour the City on the Water

Tourists enjoying a guided boat tour on a canal in Copenhagen, Denmark, with urban waterfront buildings in the background.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Exploring Copenhagen by water offers a distinctive vantage point of the city. The canal tours allow visitors to experience the city’s historic architecture, quaint houseboats, and lively ports from a fresh perspective. Regardless of the weather, cruising through the canals provides a peaceful yet engaging way to appreciate the intricate beauty of Copenhagen’s urban and natural scenery.

9. Rosenborg Castle

Rosenborg Castle and Garden in Copenhagen, one of the top things to do
Lars Kynast / Adobe Stock

Rosenborg Castle is a journey back in time. This Renaissance castle, surrounded by stunning gardens, is a history, art, and culture treasure trove.

The castle houses Denmark’s greatest cultural artifacts, including the Crown Jewels. The lush gardens are perfect for a stroll, offering a peaceful escape and a chance to ponder the royal legacy of Copenhagen.

See Related: Real, Magical Castles in Fairytales to Visit

10. Tivoli Gardens

Copenhagen Central Station and Tivoli Gardens at twilight
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Tivoli Gardens stands as a captivating destination, embodying Copenhagen’s fun essence. This traditional theme park, adorned with exquisite gardens, exhilarating attractions, and a lively ambiance, reflects the city’s playful nature.

Hans Christian Andersen statue and Tivoli building facade, built

As dusk falls, the park transforms into a wonderland, bathed in the glow of countless shimmering lights. More than just a place for amusement, Tivoli serves as a cultural landmark, weaving together joy, history, and aesthetics to forge lasting impressions.

Related Resources

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    ↑ Top