Copenhagen is a fantastic city to visit with kids. It’s laid-back, family-friendly, historically rich, and more culturally diverse than you’d think. Not to mention, it’s a gastronomic paradise! If you want to take your family somewhere new this year, go check out Denmark’s very cool (yet unfussy) capital. Here’s 5-day family travel itinerary for Copenhagen with kids.
We scored an amazing deal during the SAS, or Scandinavian Airlines, annual “kids fly free” sale. It cost a total of $2,000 for our entire family of four to fly premium economy round-trip from Newark, NJ! (Join their email list so you’ll be notified of the next big sale. This particular sale happens once or twice a year.) Flying SAS Plus also gave us access to their fabulously designed lounge at Newark, which was such a great perk. Since we flew out in the late afternoon, the lounge was pretty crowded, but worth the short wait for a table. They served hot food like lasagna and soup, generous selections of cold appetizers and snacks, and plenty of beer and wine. The flight itself went well, with casual but friendly service, and tons of legroom. I sat in the bulkhead row and when I stretched my legs out, my feet couldn’t even touch the wall in front of me.
We’re typically more of a luxury hotel family, but for this trip we booked an Airbnb, and I’m so glad we did! It really gave us the feeling of living in Copenhagen, rather than just visiting. Plus, it was really relaxing to be able to cook breakfast and dinner at home, instead of eating every meal out. We found an amazing pad in the up-and-coming Ørestad district. It was a modern condo in the VM Houses with a beautiful terrace and double-height windows that let lots of light in. The girls shared the bed in the loft area, while Serge and I slept in the lowest level. (Fun fact: The building was actually designed by the internationally renowned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, which I learned after our trip, while watching the Netflix documentary “Abstract: The Art of Design.” The building complex makes an appearance in episode 4, if you’re interested in learning more about the design.) Our apartment was a short walk to the train station, and from there, it was just a few stops to any of the main attractions in Copenhagen. Click here to save on your next Airbnb booking!
Our flight arrived at 7:00 a.m., so we took a long nap before we ventured out to explore. Our first stop was to Gasoline Grill, known for its American-style, fresh, organic burgers cooked on order. Founder Klaus Wittrup spent time working in Jackson Hole, Wyoming where he fell in love with American burgers, and decided Copenhagen needed a quality burger joint. If you go, be sure to try the Butter Burger, where instead of cheese, you get a big dollop of butter. It sounds weird, but trust me, it’s amazing!
Then, we walked over to the famous Nyhavn canal to take a one-hour tour. If you go, you’ll see The Copenhagen Opera House, Amalienborg Palace, Christiansborg Palace, the Black Diamond Library, and, of course, the Little Mermaid. It’s a great way to take in the gorgeous architecture of the city. I highly recommend you purchase a Copenhagen Card. Not only does the card give you free access to just about all of Copenhagen’s main attractions (like the canal tour), it also gives you free access to public transportation! After the tour we headed back to our apartment, bought some groceries at the supermarket down the block, and cooked some dinner.
On our second day, we headed to Experimentarium, which can only be described as a children’s science museum on steroids! There are three indoor floors with 18 interactive exhibitions about science and technology, an interactive rooftop, and lots of science shows. We were planning to start by eating lunch at the restaurant in Experimentarium, but weirdly they had run out of sandwiches, and told us it would take “at least 30 minutes” to make more. Luckily, there’s a mall right next door, where we discovered the fantastic Wulff & Konstali. We ordered a variety of small plates like grilled sausage, avocado toast, hummus, and grilled salmon.
Afterward, we returned to Experimentarium and the girls had a blast there. The bubbles area was definitely their favorite, but they also had fun playing on the outdoor roof deck, building structures with large foam blocks and toy construction cranes. You can easily spend a whole day in here with kids, so be sure to allocate enough time.
Our next stop was DØP, an organic hot dog stand that puts a modern spin on the traditional Danish hot dog. DØP has a wide variety of hot dogs, including the classic, garlic, vegetarian dog, chicken, spicy beef with spicy ketchup, pork with cheese, and goat sausage with bacon. Our favorite was the classic, but the goat sausage was fantastic, too. Why go to a hot dog place while in Copenhagen? Well, we wanted to try as many of the spots featured on the Netflix show “Somebody Feed Phil” as possible! (If you haven’t seen it, in the show, Phil Rosenthal travels the world in search of great food. It’s perfect for compiling a foodie bucket list!)
DØP is right next door to the famous Rundetaarn, or round tower. Built in the 17th century as an observatory for astronomers, the tower is encircled by an outdoor platform from which you have a gorgeous view of some of Copenhagen’s older districts. To get to the top, you walk up a spiral. Even though the tower is only 118 feet tall, you have to walk over 200 yards to get there. It’s quite a trek for younger kids, but luckily there are some fun rooms along the way to check out.
On the third day of our Copenhagen adventure, we went to Amalienborg Palace to watch the changing of the guards, which happens every day at 12:00 p.m. It was fun for the girls to see the guards in their classic costumes, but there was definitely a lot of waiting around. Without a tour guide, we weren’t quite sure exactly what was happening or what the significance of each formation was.
After the changing of the guards, we headed inside the palace to tour the museum portion. It was interesting to see the ornate furniture and decor of different generations of the royal family. While we were there, they also had a special exhibit called “The Fairy-Tale Queen.” This was absolutely the girls’ favorite part! Denmark’s current queen, Queen Margrethe II, is an avid costume designer. The exhibit shows some of the costumes she has designed for ballet productions, but also some of the fun costumes she and her peers would wear for parties and balls. The final room of the exhibit was a large creative workshop, where kids could make their own paper hats and masks. The friendly and helpful staff was very engaged with the kids.
After the palace, we were ready for lunch! Denmark is known for its smørrebrød, or open-face sandwiches, so we wanted to be sure to try some while we were there. We went to Restaurant Under Uret, a fairly traditional smørrebrød spot in the Østerbro neighborhood. We ordered an assortment of sandwiches including smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, fried meat balls with red cabbage and cucumber salad, warm pork rib roast, and chicken salad with bacon. They were all delicious, and it was fun to wash them down with a shot of schnapps, distilled in-house at the restaurant.
We had a few more hours to fill, so we decided to add something more overtly kid-oriented to our day, which meant taking a trip to the Guinness World Records Museum. The girls enjoyed it, but it’s an attraction I’d recommend only if you have free admission via your Copenhagen Card. It’s very small, half the interactive exhibits are broken or don’t work, and overall, it feels like it’s seen better days. If I’d paid out-of-pocket, I would not have been a happy customer.
On the fourth day of the trip, we checked out Superkilen Park in Nørrebro, also designed by Bjarke Ingles (who designed our Airbnb building). It’s in one of the most ethnically diverse areas of Copenhagen and incorporates pop artifacts and cultural mementos that represent the 60 nationalities living in the neighborhood. You’ll see everything from manhole covers from Paris, to Islamic-tiled fountains from Morocco, to neon Communist signage from Moscow, to curvy benches from Brazil.
For lunch, we headed over to Grød, which specializes in all types of porridge. The restaurant is on Jægersborggade, which used to be one of the more sketchy blocks in this neighborhood, but is now flourishing with a slew of well-reviewed restaurants and trendy boutiques. It reminds me a bit of Nolita in Manhattan. The four of us shared two different porridges, one sweet and one savory. The first was the Buckthorn Chia Special, made of chia seed pudding topped with sea buckthorn compote, roasted coconut flakes, banana, peanut butter, almonds, and freeze-dried raspberries. The second was Chicken Congee, made of rice porridge with chicken, peanuts, soya, spring onions, coriander and sesame oil. They were both delicious!
If there’s one place you must visit in Copenhagen, it’s the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. That’s where we went after lunch. It’s located 25 miles north of Copenhagen, and the museum is quite a hike from the train station, but it’s so worth it! From the outside, it looks like an ordinary residential home, but once you enter, you see it’s actually an incredibly expansive modern glass building that does an incredible job of merging the indoor and outdoor. The art is amazing, of course, but the main attraction for kids is the children’s wing, which spans three stories. There are a wide variety of art-making stations for the kids, from collages to drawing, from sculpture to painting, from clay to Legos. You can’t leave without eating either lunch or dinner at the cafe. This glass-enclosed area has panoramic views of the Øresund, the strait that separates Denmark from Sweden. Not only are the views beautiful, but the food is fresh, local and seasonal.
In our final hours in Copenhagen, we randomly decided to go to an indoor trampoline arena called BOUNCE that had only opened its doors a few days earlier. It was located in a mall that was walking-distance from our Airbnb, in the Ørestad district. I didn’t know much about it, but thought the girls would enjoy getting some energy out of their systems before getting on the plane, so we went. When we got there, I was amazed at how much it had to offer. In addition to trampoline areas, there was a parkour course, and even an entire Ninja Warrior course! Sean absolutely loves that show, so she was thrilled to be able to try the warped wall, spider climb, and even a zip line! The facility was seriously world-class. I definitely recommend taking the kids there.
Good to Know
Most people visit Copenhagen in the summer, but we went in the first week of October. It’s a great time of year to go because it’s less crowded, and the weather is still mild. For most of the trip, I was comfortable in just a long-sleeve top and a leather jacket. Public transport is fantastic in Copenhagen, so take advantage of it. There are lots of cobblestones everywhere, so don’t bother with heels, even low heels. Sneakers and sturdy boots like Doc Martens are the way to go. The only disadvantage of visiting Copenhagen in the fall is that Tivoli Gardens (the amusement park purported to have inspired Walt Disney to open Disneyland) won’t be open. They close at the end of summer and re-open for a week or two at Christmas. If your heart is set on seeing it, summer is the way to go, but for us it wasn’t a great loss since there were so many other great attractions!
Remember, the best way to see everything the city has to offer is by getting a Copenhagen Card. Be on the lookout for SAS’ sensational sales and don’t be afraid to skip the hotel in favor of Airbnb. There’s no shortage of fun things for kids to do and delicious restaurants to try, but take notes from our family’s itinerary to ensure you have a fabulous five days in Copenhagen!
Have you been to Copenhagen with kids? What would you add to my list?
About Carmen Sognonvi
Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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