Copenhagen was the first place I was on my own during my six-month-long trip, following on the heels of a Trans-Siberian adventure with my sister. It was where I first had to learn the balance of exploration, working-from-abroad, and relaxation — not to mention, laundry and even exercising. It was a tough adjustment for me as the first wave of homesickness hit, certainly not the last, but possibly the most jarring.
But conversely, it was also the location where I was most easily able to mingle with people my age, as I stayed in the home of a young couple who were happy to invite me along to dinners and drinks with their friends, all of whom spoke impeccable English. I also had my first interview with a Badass Lady — fellow redhead and mega-impressive bookbinder Malene Lerager.
I spent ten days exploring this beautiful city, and here are some of the images I have to share from the more contemporary aspects of Copenhagen, sorted by neighborhood. Please also read through this article focused the older aesthetics of the city!
In a city that feels inaccessibly cool, Nørrebro might be the trendiest neighborhood of all — or at least the most hipster. It felt to me like an adultified, Scandinavian version of a college town, where you can feel a youthful student exuberance of the under-35 set drinking coffee all the day and beers all night. Only the coffee is single-origin and made by-the-cup, the brews are craft, and there are Michelin-starred restaurants scattered throughout the blocks and blocks of expensive shops.
(Featured) Queen Louise's Bridge Dronning Louises Bro, a central cycling pathway into the city
(Below) On Jægersborggade: Meyer's Bageri bakery, bookstore Rubæks Bøger, the Coffee Collective, and Mikkeller and Friends brewery
City / Center
You can't miss going to the City Center, though admittedly more for the history than contemporary institutions. There's a bit of street art, fashionable restaurants, and shopping in the area — and a great place to get a view, whether from above in one of the historical buildings rising above the skyline, or the waterfront, where you can view the contemporary architecture.
(Featured) Dance Crew on Strøget, the main shopping street downtown
(Below, clockwise) Happy Wall by Thomas Dambo, Contemporary Nordic restaurant Höst, a Danish Hot Dog Stand with signature fried onions, and various scenes from around the city center
Frederiksberg AND Vesterbro
This dueling pair abut one another, split down the center by the boulevard Vesterbrogade . A little farther from the city center, Frederiksburg is the more royal of a the two and is filled with wide streets, large parks, and a magnificent palace. As you move in a bit closer to the center, this part of town is classic, chic, and shoppable. Its increasingly gentrified neighbor is Vesterbro — this edgy part of town used to be part Red Light and part Warehouse District, but is now Copenhagen's West Village, filled with converted buildings.
(Above) Kødbyen, or the Meatpacking District
(Below) Stores Playtype and Blomsterskoret at popular shopping street Værnedamsvej between Vesterbro and Frederiksburg
Christianshavn is another fascinating part of Copenhagen — separated from the rest of the city by the harbor. Part quiet Dutch Renaissance neighborhood dotted with intellectual institutions, part the "free city" Christiania. The latter, a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood now seemingly more embraced by the tourism industry than the Danish government has a fascinating history that you should read up on, here.
(Above) The Danish Architecture Center
(Below) The Black Diamond building of the Royal Library, which is technically on the City side but is seen here from Christianhavn // Knippelsbro Bridge // The free town of Christiania
Finally we have Østerbro, my temporary Danish home. This family-oriented neighborhood is a bit more residential and farther from the city center — home to well-groomed parks and outdoor spaces (as well as the famous Little Mermaid statue on the waterfront), but spread out and seemed to me more diverse in architecture and cultural populations than the other locations I visited in the city.
(Above) Public salsa dance gathering at a Fælledparken Park
(Below) Scenes from my home-stay in Østerbro