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Mother Hoods: Copenhagen

Written by James Kicinski-McCoy

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Photographed by Gemma Farrell

Heading to Denmark anytime soon? Or looking for an excuse to jet-set somewhere new with the family in tow? Then check out our kid-friendly guide to Copenhagen thanks to freelance writer, relocation consultant, and mama Melanie Haynes. This list of must-visit shops, eateries, and tourist stops in the capitol of what has been called “the happiest country on earth” is making us dream of a trip overseas stat!

What are you favorite places in Copenhagen to…
Eat with the kids?

“Sushi is very popular here. My son and I love to go to the homegrown chain of sushi restaurants, Sticks & Sushi, located in the neighborhoods of the city. They offer great children’s meals with an exciting selection of sushi and sticks. The concept of family restaurants isn’t really a thing in Copenhagen, but the closest to this is the Laundromat Cafe, with three locations in the city. The kids meals are well-made and nutritious, and there is a small play area in the cafe to keep younger kids entertained, with board games for older children.”

Eat with just adults?
“The food scene in Copenhagen has exploded over the last five years and there are many amazing, affordable places to eat in the city. I enjoy pizza and beer at Mother in the Kødbyen (the Meat Packing District), and also Manfreds in Nørrebro, which offers a chef-chosen seven course meal served family-style. It’s a mystery but always very exciting to try new things.”

Shop for kids?
H&M is the go-to place for affordable children’s clothes here, but there are lots of little shops all over the city that offer something a little different. A new boutique just opened in the leafy neighborhood of Frederiksberg called Rue 153 (Gammel Kongevej 153, 1850 Frederiksberg), aimed at the fashion-conscious pre-teen and teen. I wish most of the clothes there came in my size! For toys, I love Prik—this place is an Aladdin’s cave of nostalgic toys. It’s very affordable and the kind of shop that sells something a little different with things that really fire up a child’s imagination.”

Shop for yourself?
“Denmark is renowned for design and style. Copenhagen is well-known for its selection of little individual shops. My favorite streets for shops are Værnedamsvej in Frederksberg, Jægersborggade in Nørrebro, and Istedgade in Vesterbro. These streets offer a mix of shops selling everything from food, vintage, trendy clothes, and stylish interiors. They’re perfect places to wander and browse, whilst stopping in one of the many fab coffee shops for a pitstop.”

Play with your son?
“We are lucky to have so much open space in the city. Our favorite spots include the Traffic Playground in Fælledparken, an enclosed area of small roads with real traffic lights and road signs for kids to learn to cycle safely and have fun at the same time. We also love that we are so close to the sea and often spend a summer’s afternoon at one of the city beaches. For example, Amager Strandpark, which is only about fifteen minutes from the city center by public transportation.”

Play with your adult friends?
“I love to spend time with friends in a ceramic painting studio called Creative Space, where you get to choose different items to paint, and they glaze and fire them for you. There are two locations in the city, but the one in Frederiksberg holds a late night every first Thursday of the month. It’s great to chill out with friends over a glass of wine and get creative.”

Any good flea markets/thrift shops?
“Flea markets are a really big thing in Copenhagen from the start of spring until autumn. There are a number of great weekly markets, but my favorite is held every Saturday in Frederiksberg behind the town hall. It’s a great place for bargains on children’s clothing, toys, and Danish design—but get there early! Every weekend there are several private flea markets all over the city, just look out for signs for loppemarked.”

Any good museums/art installations?
“We are very lucky to have a number of museums in Copenhagen that have sections dedicated to children—many of which have free entry. Our favorites are the Worker’s Museum, the National Museum, and also the National Art Gallery, which runs fantastic workshops for children on weekends and around the holidays.”

Where do you take out-of-town visitors?
“If friends come to town with children, the obvious and best place to take them is to Tivoli Gardens, which is a very traditional and beloved pleasure garden that sits smack dab in the center of town. This place is a fantastic mix of nostalgia—beautiful flowers, gardens, and buildings. It has a fun fair with the oldest wooden roller coaster in the world and other wonderful rides for all ages.”

Any tourist-y places that are worth a visit?
“We always take visitors on a harbor and canal tour. It takes about an hour and you see all the major sights of the city, including the Little Mermaid, which gives visitors a real feel of the city. Then we like to take them for lunch in one of the more touristy areas, Nyhavn, which means New Harbor. This is probably the most photographed place in the city and you can eat very traditional smørrebrød (open sandwiches) here. For amazing views of the city and sea, the tower in the parliament building, Christiansborg is the best place. You may need to queue to get through security here, but the views are amazing and it’s free.”

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