A Design Lover's Guide to Copenhagen

A Design Lover's Guide to Copenhagen

Claire Bock
Jul 25, 2013

When I moved to London, I happened to see an episode of Oprah that proclaimed Copenhagen to be the happiest city in the world. The next chance I got to go on vacation, I had to see the happiest city on Earth for myself. 

I discovered how the people of Copenhagen happily cycle around the city, rain or shine. With canals that run through the city and colorful building facades, there's always a nice view to look at. The Danes believe in peaceful co-existence, with great design that is all about functionality.


  • Tivoli Gardens: An amusement park located in the city center that lights up the night skies and will take you back to your childhood with cotton candy and carnival rides.

  • Nyhavn: The quintessential waterside neighborhood that most people think of when they imagine what Copenhagen might look like, with colorful row houses lining the canal.

  • Sweden: You can check out the Swedish town of Malmo with a train ride of only half an hour.

  • The Louisiane is one of the World's top Modern art museums, and is a quick half hour train ride outside of the city. 

  • Cycle Hire: Cruise around the streets of Copenhagen like a local on a bicycle. Rain or shine, the Danes' favorite mode of transportation will also give you the the best view of the city. Cycle hires are all around and even available at most hotels.

  • Carlsberg Brewery: Visit one of the oldest breweries in the region, with most of the tour located in the original brewery buildings from 1847.

Eat and Drink:
  • Noma: Ranked as one of the best restaurants in the world, Noma is well-known for its locally sourced produce and seafood, as well as its two Michelin stars.

  • Ida Davidsen: A Scandinavian version of a diner. The lines out the door show that this is the place to get a Smorrebrod — with over 250 varieties, there is an open-faced sandwich for everyone. 

  • Joe and the Juice: For coffee, juice and more, this is a great place for a break or quick and healthy lunch. Select from fresh fruits and create your own smoothie or one of their own recommended hangover cures.

  • Dop: There are several hot dog carts all around the city, but Dop is the first to carry all organic hot dogs.

  • Simply Chocolate: A chocolate shop for graphic design lovers. Simply chocolate makes a perfect souvenir gift to bring home, with quirky flavors such as Salty Fred and Minty Cindy.

  • Hay Shop: Considering that this shop is located in the heart of Copenhagen's shopping center, it can prove very difficult to find. The frustrating search is worth all of the effort once inside this gorgeous building from 1896 filled with Hay's entire furniture and home accessory range.

  • Normann Copenhagen: This cavernous space in an old cinema is now home to one of the most innovative shops in all of Europe. Each night the shop window is transformed into a new scene. Filled with a combination of their own brand and pieces carefully selected from other designers, this is a clean design lovers' dream.

  • Stilleben: A boutique just off of the main shopping square filled with ceramics of their own designs and small home accessories from a select group of designers.

  • Illums Bolighus: The Scandinavian home emporium in the center of the city is a must stop if you only have time for one shop. It brings all of the best brands from the Scandinavian region together under one roof.

  • Superlove: Colorful and cheerful, this shop combines Danish fashion and the happiest of home accessories for a fun shopping experience.

  • Fil de Fer: If you have tired of the minimal look of Scandi home interiors, check out Fil de Fer for French antiques.

  • First Hotel Skt Petri: Great location, great design, and great service that celebs adore when in Copenhagen.

  • SAS Radisson Royal Hotel: The world's first design hotel. Designed by Arne Jacobsen in 1956, it is the hotel that was the reason for the creation of the iconic Egg and Swan chairs.
(Images: Claire Bock)

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