Christiane S-M O’Connor is a true insider—as a Danish actress, TV host, and founder of the uber-chic Chri Chri, an online magazine devoted to inspiring women—she’s not only one of the most in-demand people in all of Denmark, but she’s really lived and breathed all that fantastic Danish culture. When she offered up her expertise to her native city of Copenhagen (which she calls “CPH”), I didn’t hesitate to give her a resounding “yes.” This is a city high on my list to visit, and there truly is no better tour guide. Without further ado, take it away Ms. Chri!
I love my city. But let’s face it; it’s a small city with a huge ego. In Copenhagen, you can do anything you like; become anything you like, with equal rights and opportunities for everyone. However, Copenhagen struggles with wanting to be a big city in Europe, play with the big guys like London and Paris, while at the same time, it wants to maintain its simplicity. A hard cocktail to mix – but I think it’s slowly finding its way. During the weekend (and even Thursdays!) the city is alive. The restaurant and bar scenes are bustling and the fashion industry is really making a name for itself. Copenhagen truly is one of the best shopping cities in the world—bet you didn’t know that! So let’s get to it—you’ll want to start shopping and eating your way through the city as soon as you can!
Nimb – A hotel built in an old Moorish castle; it is is the most beautiful hotel in Copenhagen. D’angleterre is also fantastic for classical luxury, but Nimb definitely tops my list. It is situated right in the beautiful amusement park, Tivoli. It is one of the only hotels in Copenhagen that also is frequented by local who head there for drinks, breakfast, afternoon tea or dinner. The rooms are beautiful and will leave you with wanting to redecorate your own bedroom. The accommodations are expensive, but the restaurants in the hotel are normal pricing for a Danish restaurant— not cheap, but not expensive either.
Hotel Guldsmeden -Located in Vesterbro, Hotel Guldsmeden is right next to the central station. This “green” hotel is a proud sustainable boutique hotel that is Green Globe and Gold-Ø-certified (the official Danish label for 90-100% organic produce). The prices are fair and they have four other sustainable hotels within Copenhagen.
Wake up Borgergade – A hotel that has a sublime location, and the prices are as low as they come. The rooms are comfortable and brand new. The place is clean and again, it has the best location right in the center (really!).
Bistro Boheme – One of my all time favorite restaurants for a good steak. The chef Per Thøstesen is amazing. The portions are large and the service is excellent. It is a little piece of Paris in Copenhagen – a real bistro. Pssst: they are open for lunch as well, not a normal thing for restaurants in Copenhagen – so if you ever feel like a restaurant lunch, pop by Bistro Boheme.
Geist – The Danish top chef Bo Bech opened his first restaurant Geist in 2011 and it received amazing reviews – for a reason. On the menu there are a lot of small dishes and simple plates, but they still pack a punch. The kitchen is open and placed in the middle of the restaurant. The décor is one of the coolest in all of Copenhagen. And bonus: the restaurant is located right in the center of the center of “kongens nytorv” (King’s New Square) across from the royal ballet.
Damindra – If you’re feeling like trying experimental Japanese cuisine, Damindra is the place to go! Damindra himself is from Sri Lanka and worked closely with the amazing chef Taka Nishimura at the Armani Nobu and Nobu Australia for several years before opening his own restaurant. The sizzling sashimis and the ginger cocktail are must-tries.
Beau Marché et Café à Vins – One of my favorite places to drop by for coffee or a simple breakfast is Beau Marché. The café is in a little backyard behind the Beau Marché décor store – it’s so cozy and relaxing, the atmosphere is French-inspired with French music playing. They have wonderful tartines on the menu and great wines. Most definitely a place to stop by when you’ve shopped ’til you’ve dropped.
Dyrehaven – A perfect place for breakfast – the vibe is urban, yet down to earth. The prices are fair and this is a typical Vesterbro hang out. Just around the corner is kødbyen (meatpacking district), an area with a lot of good restaurants and a lot of great take out places. This place is perfect for going out on weekends. Here are my fav spots in the kødbyen: Gorilla, Kul, Juicy Burger, Paté Pate, and Tommie’s Burger Joint. Go and have a look and let your gut and belly decide the place.
Strangas – for cake. Nicholas Strangas is a Greek pastry maker living in Denmark and his cakes are amazing, but very rich and will keep you full for a day or two!
Kaf Bar – A really good option for a nice breakfast in the city— I like going taking morning meetings here because of the coziness and unpretentious vibe. Their morning complete is amazing and for lunch and their black rye bread sandwiches are a must.
Central – A brand new bar/café perfect for drinks after dinner or dinner and drinks. Just around the corner from central is Balthazar, a gorgeous champagne bar that can be crowded, but it’s worth it.
The Danish fashion industry is blooming and we now have so many fantastic designers and brands – Copenhagen has its own fashion week in February and September that features some of the hottest Danish designers. Danish designs are wearable, practical, and excellent for every day wear. Some of my favorite places to shop are Designers Remix, Bruuns Bazaar, Ganni, and the well-known Danish designer Day Birger Mikkelsen.
Kassandra – If you are a shoe and bag maniac like myself, you have to stop by the multi brand store Kassandra located on Grønnegade, where they have three stores (two just for shoes and one for bags.) Psst: their sales are amazing, so if you’re visiting Copenhagen in January or September you will get lucky!
Glyptoteket – If you’re feeling like a little bit of culture, head to the Glyptoteket museum (its free on Sundays) and drink a cup of tea in the cafe inside beautiful garden and get taken away by the private collection of Carl Jacobsen (brewer and son to the famous brewer J.C. Jacobsen, founder of the brewery Carlsberg) who was a great collector of art and how in 1888 donated his collection to the Danish people.
Tivoli – In the eyes of the Danes, it is a huge amusement park, but most visitors see it as a cute little park. The story goes that when the legendary and amazing Michael Jackson was in Denmark in 1999, he visited the park and soon after, he tried to buy it. It’s a real piece of history for the Danes, so it was definitely not for sale!
Dyrhaven – Just north of Copenhagen is a gorgeous royal hunting ground and park (literally, “Deer Haven”). It’s about a 20-30 min train ride from the center of Copenhagen, but it’s a gorgeous place for a Sunday stroll with its fresh air, deer, ocean, and beautiful Eremitage Castle in the horizon. Dyrehaven is a great sanctuary for a beautiful day trip.
Roskilde Festival – I love Roskilde and I love festivals in general, but if you ever visit Copenhagen during the festival season (June and July) and wonder why the streets in the center are so empty except for tourists—Roskilde is the answer. The streets of Copenhagen are completely deserted while Roskilde festival is on the calendar. If you’re there during this incredible music and arts festival, you’ll definitely want to grab a ticket and head to the grounds for some sweet, sweet sounds (Pharrell and Muse are both on the performance calendar for 2015).
Images via: Christiane’s own, Bon Voyaging, Panoramio, Bertrams Hotel Guldsmeden, Flavor Flavor, Kassandra, Ganni, Grayline, Den Store, Panoramio