17 non-touristy things to do in Copenhagen, Denmark

Logan Ly | Live the World

June 1, 2023

Dabble into the Danish capital of cool like true Copenhageners

While the Danish capital may be known for its iconic sights and bustling tourist spots, we're here to unveil a hidden realm of offbeat wonders and non-touristy delights for your visit to Copenhagen. Get ready to ditch the guidebooks and embark on a journey that will tickle your senses and leave you grinning like the Cheshire Cat in the heart of the city. In this quirky escapade, we'll whisk you away to Nørrebro District, where vibrant street art dances alongside trendy cafes, and the locals know all the best spots for a scrumptious bite.

Feel like a true Copenhagenite as you explore Christianshavn, a canal-laden neighbourhood oozing with charm in this great city, where colourful houses stand as a testament to Copenhagen's artistic spirit. No clichéd itineraries here! We'll dive deep into the heart of Copenhagen's soul, where Assistens Cemetery offers a peaceful retreat, inviting you to wander among the final resting places of Danish luminaries like Hans Christian Andersen. So put on your curious hats, my fellow explorers, because we're about to uncover the secret treasures and non-touristy gems of Copenhagen, Denmark that will leave you spellbound and grinning from ear to ear.

Skyline of Copenhagen

Non-touristy things to do in Copenhagen, Denmark

Go for a bike ride along the Lakes (Søerne)

Prepare to pedal your way through a whimsical tale as we unveil a two-wheeled adventure along the captivating Copenhagen Lakes, or as the locals call them, Søerne. Buckle up, or rather, buckle in your bike helmet, and get ready to embark on a journey that combines leisure, beauty, and a touch of two-wheeled magic.

This isn't your typical touristy sightseeing, oh no! We're diving headfirst into the heart and soul of Copenhagen's cycling culture. So, grab your handlebars and let the lakes be your guide as you immerse yourself in the stunning scenery, the vibrant energy, and the sheer joy that comes with exploring Copenhagen like a true local.

Explore non-touristy local flea markets

Calling all treasure hunters and vintage aficionados! Copenhagen is known for fashion and its sleek Nordic style. So prepare to wander through the cobblestone streets of Copenhagen as we delve into the wonders of Ravnsborggade Antiques Market and Nørrebro Flea Market. Step into a world where time stands still, and hidden treasures await your discovery. Stroll through rows of eclectic stalls, where antique furniture, vintage clothing, and quirky collectibles beckon you to take a closer look.

Feel the thrill of bargaining and the excitement of unearthing unique finds that tell stories of their own. Whether you're a seasoned antiquer or a curious explorer, these non-touristy markets are your gateway to a world of vintage delights and unexpected gems.

Discover a different view of Copenhagen at Superkilen

Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of Copenhagen's cultural diversity as you step into the mesmerising world of Superkilen. This urban park is not your ordinary green space; it's a celebration of cultures from around the globe (swing sets from Iraq! A slide from Chernobyl! A boxing ring from Thailand!) Explore its winding paths, each section representing a different country, and marvel at the eclectic mix of art installations, vibrant design elements, and inviting recreational areas including a climbing frame from India and benches from Brasil.

Discover hidden pockets of serenity, join locals in outdoor activities, and soak up the energetic atmosphere that pulsates through the park. Superkilen is where the world comes together, where boundaries blur, and where you can embark on a non-touristy adventure that will leave you with memories of cultural immersion and a newfound appreciation for the beauty of diversity.

Experience a jazzy hidden gem at La Fontaine

Jazz enthusiasts, rejoice! Let the soulful tunes and smooth melodies guide you to La Fontaine, Copenhagen central's haven for lovers of this timeless genre. Nestled in an intimate and cozy setting, this jazz club will transport you to a world where music takes centre stage and the atmosphere is excited. Sink into plush seating, sip on your preferred libation, and let the rhythmic sounds wash over you like a soothing embrace.

Whether you're a seasoned jazz aficionado or simply looking to immerse yourself in the rich world of live music, La Fontaine offers an experience that is both non-touristy and undeniably enchanting. So, let the jazz notes carry you away, tap your feet to the beat, and let the magic of La Fontaine ignite your passion for this timeless art form as non-touristy things to do in Copenhagen.

Take a boat ride to Trekroner Fort for a day trip from Copenhagen

Prepare to set sail on a thrilling voyage to Trekroner Fort, a hidden gem in the waters of Copenhagen out in the Øresund Strait. Leave the touristy trails behind as you hop aboard a boat and venture out to this historic sea fortress. This is one of my favourite activities in Copenhagen, if only for the salty breeze caressing your face as you sail towards a bygone era.

Explore the historic fort's rugged walls, where history whispers in every nook and cranny. Marvel at the panoramic views of the sparkling Øresund Strait as you stand amidst the remnants of a time long past. This is no ordinary boat trip, my friends. It's an adventure that will transport you to a world where history and beauty merge on the shimmering waves - right in the Danish capital.

Go for a swim at Islands Brygge Harbor Bath

Are you here between the months of late May to early September? Then grab your swimming suit and dive into a refreshing tale of fun and relaxation at Islands Brygge Harbor Bath. As the sun smiles upon Copenhagen during these wonderful warm months, join the locals in a delightful swim at this urban oasis. Immerse yourself in the cool, crystal-clear waters and let your cares drift away. Take a dip with the city's skyline as your backdrop, and let the joy of the moment wash over you amongst the beautiful Danes. This isn't just a swim; it's an experience that blends urban charm and nature's embrace like a true local.

Visit the Copenhagen Street Food Market at Papirøen

Embark on a culinary odyssey at the Copenhagen Street Food Market, located at the vibrant Papirøen for one of the best non-touristy things to do while visiting Copenhagen. Leave the ordinary behind as you step into a world of aromatic delights, global flavours, and a bustling atmosphere that will make your stomach growl with anticipation. Settle in at communal tables, rub elbows with fellow foodies, and let the tantalising scents guide your journey by the glistening waterfront of Copenhagen. From sizzling street tacos to mouthwatering desserts, this is a gastronomic paradise where the world's flavours collide. So loosen your belts, prepare for a feast of epic proportions, and let the Copenhagen Street Food Market be your passport to a non-touristy dining adventure that will make your taste buds dance with joy.

Visit the Cisternerne

Are you ready for an underground adventure that will awaken your senses and ignite your imagination? One of the best places to experience Copenhagen is the mystical Cisternerne. Venture into this hidden wonderland, where the former cisterns of Frederiksberg have been transformed into a captivating exhibition space. Here, you can marvel at the contemporary art installations that seem to come alive in the dimly lit chambers, surrounded by the eerie echoes of the past. Prepare to be mesmerised as you traverse through this subterranean realm, where creativity knows no bounds. With each step, you'll feel like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole into a world of artistry and enchantment. So, get ready to explore the depths of wonder and let your imagination run wild!

Go cycling in Dyrehaven, Denmark and experience Copenhagen on wheels

Gear up, my fellow adventurers, for a cycling escapade around the city and through the enchanting nature reserve of Dyrehaven. Pedal through this sprawling nature reserve just outside Copenhagen, where lush greenery and majestic deer await your arrival. Feel the thrill of the wind on your face as you cycle along the scenic trails, surrounded by tranquil forests and open meadows. It’s easy to see how you can lose yourself in the serenity of nature as you encounter these graceful creatures in their natural habitat as non-touristy things to do in Copenhagen.

No matter what season it is in Copenhagen, you can enjoy this leisure pathway. Having said that, this isn't your average bike ride; it's an immersion into the beauty of the Danish wilderness, a journey that blends exercise, tranquillity, and the sheer joy of exploration.

Enjoy a picnic in Frederiksberg Gardens

Let's whisk you away to a land of lush greenery and peaceful moments, where the scent of blooming flowers mingles with the laughter of fellow picnickers. Welcome to Frederiksberg Gardens, a verdant oasis in the heart of Copenhagen.

Picture this: you spread out your blanket on a perfectly manicured lawn, surrounded by majestic trees and the gentle whispers of nature. The birds sing their melodious tunes as you savour delectable treats and soak up the sun. This isn't just any picnic, my friends; this is an escape from the hustle and bustle, a moment of bliss. It's a way to see the city in another perspective. Frederiksberg Gardens beckons you to unwind, connect with nature, and embrace the simple joys of life.

Local’s tip: Netto, a budget-friendly supermarket are dotted around the gardens, with yummy Danish pastries that you can stock up on for your picnic like a local.

Visit Assistens Cemetery like a local

Explore the city with one of the most unique things to do in Denmark's capital. This isn't your average cemetery visit, my curious friends. No, no! Here at Assistens Cemetery lies a place where the final resting places of Danish legends, including the beloved Hans Christian Andersen, offer a glimpse into the artistic tapestry of the nation. Meander through the pathways, letting the serenity wash over you, as you discover a peaceful haven where life and art intertwine. Assistens Cemetery is not a sombre affair; it's a celebration of life, a poetic ode to the past, and an invitation to wander through the stories of those who have left their mark on Denmark's cultural heritage. Ask any Copenhagener, and many will let you know that this is a must-not-miss-out place in Copenhagen.

Visit Reffen Street Food Market for a yummy food scene

This isn't your typical run-of-the-mill food market experience; oh no, it's a feast for the senses that will send your taste buds into a frenzy of delight. Imagine a vibrant melting pot of flavours and aromas from around the world, all gathered in one buzzing location. You can savour mouthwatering bites from food stalls brimming with international culinary creations during your trip to Copenhagen.

From tantalising tacos to decadent desserts, Reffen Street Food Market will take your taste buds on a globetrotting adventure without ever leaving Copenhagen's shores. Our favourite picks? Authentic bites from Everest Nepalese Food, and Thai bowls from Holy Krapow. So grab your fork, unleash your appetite, and prepare to embark on a gastronomic journey that will leave you craving more.

More free things to do in Copenhagen? Explore the Botanical Garden

Not many people know that Copenhagen is one of the most greenest city in the world. While this place may be one of the top attractions in Copenhagen, it's still worth it to step into the Copenhagen Botanical Garden. This is where vibrant colours and intoxicating scents dance in perfect harmony. With each step, you'll encounter a tapestry of plants and flowers from every corner of the globe, as if Mother Nature herself decided to put on a grand performance. This isn't just a garden visit, it's an immersive experience that will transport you to lush rainforests, arid deserts, and tranquil meadows - really a delightful takeaway from the concrete cobblestones of the urban spaces to love Copenhagen.

Do your own walking tour in Copenhagen: explore the Vesterbro District

This is another one of my top favourite neighbourhoods where my friends and I always hang out during our time in Copenhagen. Vesterbro District is your playground of creativity, quirkiness, and all things delightfully offbeat. Anyone can get lost in the vibrant street art that adorns the walls, showcasing the rebellious spirit of this trendy neighbourhood. On any given day, you can take a stroll along its bustling streets - where vintage boutiques, trendy bars, and cosy cafes beckon with open doors and inviting coffee and Danish pastries. If you want to rub shoulders with the cool kids of Copenhagen, you’re welcome to join the local scene here. From fashion-forward locals to bohemian havens, Vesterbro has it all.

Roam the hidden courtyards of Frederiksberg: one of the best things to see in Copenhagen

Prepare to step into a world of hidden treasures and cosy havens nestled within the charming courtyards of Frederiksberg - after all, you're in the city of nobility and royal heritage.

A local’s tip: Don’t confuse Frederiksberg the neighbourhood (or known to most like a city within a city) to Frederiksberg Gardens or Frederiksberg Palace. As you wander through these enchanting passageways of Frederiksberg the neighbourhood, you'll feel like you've stumbled upon a secret corner of delights. Discover small cafes serving aromatic brews, browse through quaint boutiques boasting unique finds, and marvel at the tranquil gardens that invite you to take a moment of respite. It’s a corner of the city with tucked-away gems, rift with courtyards unveiling its own charm and character.

Explore Nørrebro District in the heart of Copenhagen

Is this one of the best neighbourhoods in Copenhagen city center? Now, I don’t want to make up your mind before you get a chance to go - but you should definitely embark on a journey to the vibrant Nørrebro District, where the beating heart of Copenhagen's local scene awaits. This is where you can leave the tourist maps behind and dive headfirst into the colourful streets, where street art blooms on every corner and trendy cafes (I recommend Café Arrebo for coffee lovers).

This isn't your typical district; it's an artistic haven where creativity knows no bounds. When you’re here, you’ll feel the immersion into the Danish creative atmosphere as you wander through eclectic boutiques, discover hidden gems, and mingle with the diverse community that calls Nørrebro home.

Explore Freetown Christiania: the epitome of non touristy things to see in the city

This is where individuality and Creativity Reign Supreme! Welcome to Freetown Christiania, where the norm is anything but ordinary! Part-neighbourhood within Copenhagen, but actually a self-governed community - this is a place that embraces the vibrant spirit of freedom, creativity, and alternative living. Here, you'll find a unique blend of colourful ramshackle houses, bustling street markets, and a sense of camaraderie that is palpable in the air. It'll definitely give you different views of the city. Take a leisurely stroll through Pusher Street, where creativity thrives and artistic expression knows no bounds. You can easily engage with the locals, sample organic treats from the market stalls, and immerse yourself in the bohemian atmosphere that makes Freetown Christiania an unforgettable experience.

Local’s tip: Be on the lookout if you’re taking photos or have a visible camera on you, as some areas of Freetown Christiania forbid photography. You’ll see the signs around - but where there isn’t any signs, you’re of course welcome to take photos.

Where to Stay in Copenhagen

Budget - Copenhagen Downtown Hostel

Calling all budget-conscious explorers! Copenhagen Downtown Hostel is your ticket to an economical stay and cosy experience in Copenhagen. You'll feel right at home with a communal kitchen to cook up some travel tales, comfy lounge areas for mingling with fellow travellers, and a helpful 24-hour front desk. Plus, its central location means you'll be steps away from awesome restaurants in Copenhagen and allow you to experience Copenhagen's best without breaking the bank! Bonus: this hostel is close to Copenhagen Central Station too!

Mid-range - Hotel SP34

Seeking that sweet spot between style and comfort to explore the city like a local? Look no further than Hotel SP34, nestled in Copenhagen's hip Latin Quarter. This stylish gem knows how to cater to your mid-range dreams. Head to the rooftop terrace for stunning views and relaxation. Fitness enthusiasts, they've got you covered too, with a fitness centre to keep you on your toes. And did we mention the convenient location?

Luxury - CPH Hotel

Nestled in Vesterbro, this 4-star paradise is where luxury meets grandeur in the centre of Copenhagen. Prepare to be dazzled by the elegant rooms and suites, meticulously designed to make you feel like royalty. Indulge your senses with the Scandinavian design and stunning outdoor terraces at this hotel.

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