This post provides the 25 best things to do in Copenhagen throughout the year, including ideas that are free, family-friendly, and fun after dark.
For even more ideas, make sure to read our posts covering the following tours, services, and historic sites.
- Free Walking Tours
- Hop on Hop off Bus Tours
- Canal Boat Tours
- Discount Passes
- Things to Do in Copenhagen
Copenhagen is a lovely city that is easy to navigate and explore. The city makes things easy for visitors with its well-developed tourist infrastructure.
Getting around this charming and colorful city is trouble-free thanks to a rather compact and walkable city center.
Going further distances is easy as well due to a clean and user-friendly transport system. Of course, you could always do what the locals do and find your way by bicycle (for rent here).
Below are a number of things to do in Copenhagen that will give you a good sense of what this historic, lively, and beautiful city has to offer.
1. Visit a Historic Castle/Palace
Some of the most interesting attractions in Copenhagen are its many castles and palaces.
If you want to see some of the most historic landmarks in the city, consider visiting one of the following locations:
One of the most well-known landmarks in Denmark, Amalienborg Palace serves as the official residence of the Danish Royal Family.
It sits along Copenhagen's inner harbor and includes a public park.
You can watch the changing of the guard our front and find royal artifacts in the Amailenborg Museum. Read more here.
While today is it a museum that showcases such things as the crown jewels, Rosenborg Castle was once a royal palace.
There are gardens, the Knight's Hall, and royal apartments that can be visited. Read more here.
Christiansborg Palace, also known as Borgen, sits in the heart of Copenhagen and is the seat of the Danish Parliament.
You'll also find the Prime Minister's Office there as well as the Supreme Court.
You can visit Royal Reception Rooms, Royal Stables, Palace Chapel, and the Royal Kitchen. Read more here.
If you're a fan of Shakespeare's Hamlet, you won't want to miss Kronborg Castle in Helsingør, about 40 minutes from Copenhagen.
Of course, it is much more than the setting for the play, as a UNESCO World Heritage site with a history dating back to the 1400s. Read more here.
Around 35 minutes north of Copenhagen is Frederiksberg Castle.
This Renaissance and Baroque architectural-style castle sits on three islands and holds the Natural History Museum. There is also a Knight's Hall and beautiful gardens.
Although each of these locations requires a ticket to enter, you can save money on admission by using a Copenhagen discount pass.
2. Attend a Sporting Event
When it comes to sports, Copenhagen is definitely a football (soccer for the Americans) town.
The Denmark National Football Team plays at Parken Stadion for notable events such as the European Football Championship each year.
Every now and then there will also be athletic activities hosted by the Royal Arena, such as the ATP Auckland Open Tennis competition.
Sadly, there aren’t many other teams or sports to enjoy in this city, but if you want to see everything going on during your visit, check out this list of Copenhagen sporting events.
3. Spend a Night at the Theatre
While Copenhagen doesn’t host a lot of Off-Broadway productions, there are some pretty historic and notable theatres in this city that provide a venue for many different types of theatrical performances.
In addition to musicals and plays, you can also expect to see operas and ballet at the following locations:
- The Royal Danish Theatre
- The Royal Danish Opera House
- The Royal Danish Playhouse
- Bellevue Theatre
- Det Ny Teater
If you’re a fan of the theatre, chances are you’ll be able to find a production to attend at one of these venues.
4. Go to a Concert
Depending on when you visit Copenhagen, you may find that one of your favorite musical artists is in town to perform a concert.
There are two venues that host more concerts than any other in the city, so you may want to check their event calendars to see what they have planned during your trip.
Of course, even if these are the most popular venues, that doesn’t mean they’re the only locations where you can catch a great show.
Check this list of concert venues in Copenhagen.
5. Take a Sightseeing Tour
There are several different types of sightseeing tours available in Copenhagen, so if you’re looking for a guide to help you learn about the city and see all the most historic landmarks, there are plenty of options.
If you’re trying to save some money, you can take a free pay-what-you-wish walking tour.
There are also affordable self-guided audio tours you may want to consider.
Alternatively, you may also want to consider a hop-on-hop-off bus tour to make transportation around the city much easier.
6. Save Money With a Tourist Pass
If you’re planning to visit more than one or two attractions or enjoy at least one tour and an additional activity while in this city, you might be able to save some money by using a discount pass.
You have options such as the Copenhagen Card, Copenhagen Pass, and Copenhagen City Pass. Read our post Which Copenhagen City Pass is Best? for a comparison of the three.
These services include admission to dozens of activities, tours, museums, and attractions.
Depending on how you use a tourist pass, you could save up to or around 50% off tickets.
Here are a handful of the most popular things these passes cover:
- Hop on Hop off Bus Tour
- Hop on Hop off Boat Tours
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not
- Christiansborg Palace
- Frederiksborg Castle
- CopenHill Ski Slope
- Rosenborg Castle
- Kronborg Castle
- Copenhagen Zoo
- And more!
For additional details about how these services work, which attractions are included with each pass, and more useful information, please read our post covering Copenhagen tourist passes.
7. Go to the Tivoli Gardens
If you’re looking for a family-friendly activity, there are few places in Copenhagen better than Tivoli Gardens, the world’s second-oldest amusement park.
In addition to a variety of amusement rides such as roller coasters and a Ferris Wheel, there is a garden with beautiful floral arrangements, fountains, and a variety of foliage, an open-air theatre with live performances, and a wide selection of dining options.
During major holidays such as Christmas, the park is lined with decorations, lighting displays, and other festive things to enjoy.
The best part of Tivoli Gardens is that you can get tickets at a discount using either a Copenhagen tourist pass or a combo package.
That said, even if you’re only interested in going to the park, you can purchase individual tickets to Tivoli Gardens online and skip the ticket line.
8. Go to the Copenhagen Zoo
Not to be outdone by Tivoli Gardens, the zoo is another fantastic attraction for families and there are a lot of fun things for both kids and adults to see and experience.
There are a variety of different animals at the Copenhagen Zoo including pandas, elephants, lions, tigers, rhinos, hippos, zebras, camels, bears, various primates, kangaroos, and many other beautiful species.
In addition to that, there is also a Children’s Zoo where kids can come and interact with some of the animals!
Tickets are included at no extra cost with at least one Copenhagen tourist pass, and that is probably the easiest way to save money on admission.
9. Visit a Museum
There are a variety of great museums in Copenhagen, including locations focused on science, history, works of art, culture, and more.
Copenhagen Music Museums
- Dansk Musikmuseum/Museum of Danish Music
- Det Kongelige Danske Musikkonservatorium Museum/ The Royal Danish Acadmu of Music Museum
Copenhagen Science Museums
- Tyche Brahe Planetarium
- The Round Tower Observatory
- Experimentarium (in Hellerup)
- Danish Museum of Science (in Helsingør)
Copenhagen Art Museums
- Statens Museum for Knust /SMK /The National Gallery of Denmark
- Nationalmuseet i København/ National Museum of Denmark
- Glyptotek/Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
- Louisana Museum of Modern Art
- ARKEN Museum of Modern Art (in Ishøj)
Copenhagen Miscellaneous Museums
- OpenAir Museum
- Guinness World Record Museum
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not
- Carlberg Brewery
Some of these museums are included at no extra cost with at least one Copenhagen tourist pass, so you don’t even have to pay full price for tickets!
10. Take a Food Tour
If you’re looking for delicious food to eat in Copenhagen, it might be difficult to find the best restaurants without a little help.
Thankfully, there are food tours you can take which cover some of the most popular dishes in the city.
There are a variety of different tours ranging in length from 2 - 4 hours depending on how far you want to dive into the culinary culture of Copenhagen.
If you’re interested in a shorter outing, Sandemans currently offers a 2-½ hour outing which includes 5 stops, 3 samples, a desert, and 2 local beers.
Alternatively, you may also want to consider a longer 4-hour Culinary Experience tour which provides samples of 3 organic cheeses, multiple sweets like licorice and toffee, 4 types of open-faced sandwiches, 3 beers, a Danish hot dogs, and more!
11. Visit the Blue Planet Aquarium
If your kids want to see even more animals than what they have at the zoo, you may want to consider a trip to the National Aquarium of Denmark, otherwise known as “The Blue Planet.”
This attraction is home to a variety of aquatic life including hammerhead sharks, octopuses, stingrays, sea otters, piranhas, arapaimas, and many more.
In addition to the fish and invertebrates, the Blue Planet is also home to a Tropical Rainforest exhibit with butterflies and other exotic animals.
Admission to the National Aquarium of Denmark is included with at least one Copenhagen tourist pass.
But, if you’re not interested in saving money with those services, you can also get skip-the-line tickets to the Blue Planet online.
12. Experience the Copenhill Ski Slope
Fans of skiing will be happy to hear about the unique 1,500-foot ski slope now sitting atop a power plant in Copenhagen.
This artificial slope is designed to remain open all year, so you can visit anytime!
Visitors can either bring their own skis/snowboard or rent them on-site.
There is also a hiking/climbing area for anyone who isn’t quite as interested in skiing.
No matter what kind of extreme sports or fitness activities interest you, chances are there is something fun for you to do at Copenhill.
Admission to this attraction is included with at least one major Copenhagen tourist pass, allowing you to save money on tickets.
13. Go on a Ghost Tour
In Copenhagen, tours covering the haunted and supernatural side of the city often also include information about some of the mythology and legends from throughout the history of this region.
If you’re interested in learning about the dark and mysterious tales from Copenhagen’s past, consider taking a ghost tour for a different perspective of the city.
These outings cover a wide range of subjects including epidemics, disasters, ghosts, guardian spirits, monsters, and other creatures from Danish folklore.
This means you can enjoy a unique look at Copenhagen whether you want to join a tour group or just explore the city at your own pace.
14. Take a Danish Market Tour
There are some great local marketplaces in Copenhagen where you can find a variety of foods and other goods.
If you’re looking for some help navigating these sites, consider taking a Danish Market tour.
This private tour is led by a local guide who specializes in Danish foods, and in addition to showing you the best markets, they’ll also provide information about delicious ingredients you can use to make authentic Danish cuisine.
During the outing, you’ll also have an opportunity to taste some of the best local dishes, so it’s basically part food tour as well!
Also, if you're interested in trying a street food market with a side of entertainment, you might try Reffen.
They have loads of food stalls and trucks, a craft market, and cultural events - all outdoors on the waterfront.
15. Visit a Vineyard
Copenhagen may not be the first name you think of when it comes to wine, but there is at least one winery just outside of the city which offers admission for small group tours.
The Vesterhavegaarden Vineyard produces a variety of different wines, and this tour will take you out to the winery to speak with the owner.
In addition to learning all about the process of making wine, you’ll also get to sample apple iced wine, apple-cider Amarone-style red wine, and chardonnay!
16. Go on a Pub Crawl
If wine isn’t your style, you may still want to consider visiting some of the local pubs and trying out some of the great local brews in Copenhagen.
Thankfully, there are some tour companies that offer pub crawls that cover some of the best bars in the city, providing free drinks at each location you’ll visit!
This is a great way to become acquainted not only with the nightlife in Copenhagen but also with the best pubs to visit.
Here are two well-rated ones:
17. Check out the Christiansborg Palace Tower
While the main palace is only open to tour groups who pay for tickets, there are some areas of this landmark that the public can visit for free at any time.
The tower at Christiansborg Palace is the largest in Copenhagen, and it offers one of the best views in the entire city.
Best of all, you can take an elevator to the top and enjoy the view at no cost!
Although it won’t cost anything to visit this attraction, there are often long lines for the elevator, so you should prepare to wait a while or get there when they first open at 11 am.
Don’t forget that tickets to Christiansborg Palace are included at no additional cost with some Copenhagen tourist passes.
Note that if you like to climb towers for great views, you might also visit the Church of Our Savior's iconic spiral tour, with 400 stops and 48 bells that ring out over the neighborhood.
18. Take the Kids to the Little Mermaid
Whether you’re visiting Copenhagen with children or you just love the story of Danish author Hans Christian Anderson, you owe it to yourself to see this beautiful statue by the water at the Langelinie Promenade.
This bronze statue, created by sculptor Edvard Eriksen in 1913, is one of the most iconic landmarks in Copenhagen.
The Little Mermaid sits on a rock in the harbor, not far from the shore.
From her spot, she can see the gorgeous Cherry Blossoms in the park in the springtime.
Sadly, she has been the target of vandals who have more than once beheaded her, blown her up, and covered her in paint.
She survives though, and will surely be returned to her spot should the same happen again, an icon of Copenhagen.
Note that if you want to see a statue of Hans Christain Andersen himself, you can find him on H.C. Andersen's Blvd, not from the Hans Christian Andersen Experience, part of Ripley's Believe It or Not.
19. Witness the Changing of the Guard
Much like in London, the changing of the guard at the Queen’s Palace is also quite popular to witness in Copenhagen.
This event takes place every day at noon at Amalienborg, the official residence of the royal family.
One thing that is definitely different about the Danish changing of the guards is just the way they dress, as they wear giant fuzzy hats which some consider funny and others just find interesting.
This is a great opportunity to see the routine of Danish guards as they trade places in defending and protecting the Queen and other members of royalty.
If you want to go inside, entrance is included for free with some Copenhagen tourist passes, allowing you to save some money on admission.
20. Spend Time in King’s Garden
While Rosenborg Castle itself requires tickets to enter, the surrounding gardens known as Kongens Have are entirely free to visit – and they’re stunningly beautiful!
Whether you’re just looking for a nice place to take a walk or you want a great place for taking some photos, this is an excellent landmark that you simply have to see if you’re visiting Copenhagen.
In addition to tree-lined paths perfectly cut and formed in straight lines to match Danish architecture, there is also a gorgeous rose garden which is especially nice to visit during the months of April - June.
Don’t forget that admission to Rosenborg Castle is included at no extra cost with some Copenhagen tourist passes!
21. Go to the Black Diamond Library
This royal library is not only the largest in all Nordic countries, but it’s also an excellent example of combining both modern and traditional architectural and technological design.
Even if you don’t feel like reading a book, this location typically hosts many concerts and other events throughout the year which could be of interest.
If you’re wondering where this library gets its name, make sure to take a good look from outside as the sun hits the water of the canal and casts a reflection that makes the building shine like a diamond.
The best thing about this attraction is that it’s entirely free to visit!
22. Take a Walk Through Nyhavn
Although you may not recognize this district by name, one look at the memorable architectural design of the buildings in this area will make it clear why this is one of the most popular destinations in Copenhagen.
This is an excellent location to take a few pictures, either of yourself or just of the architecture, as the colorful houses make an excellent background for photography.
In addition to all the interesting buildings in the area, this is also just a great place to walk around and grab a drink, especially when the weather is nice.
That said, you don’t really have to spend anything to visit Nyhavn, and it’s totally free to enjoy a walk around the district.
And if you want to get a view of the area from the water, there's a canal cruise that goes out from Nyhavn. Visit here for more information.
23. Enjoy a Free Ballet With Brunch
In addition to all the productions they put on each year, the Royal Danish Theatre also offers a free 1 ½-hour ballet rehearsal at least once a month.
While the performance won’t cost anything to attend, there is a small cost for the brunch.
Since you don’t have to pay for admission, seats tend to fill up fast, so it’s a good idea to show up as early as possible on the morning of this event.
Check the Royal Danish Theatre calendar for more details about this activity.
24. Head to a Free Museum
In addition to all the great museums that require a ticket to enter, there are also several locations that provide free admission either throughout the year or on certain days of the week.
The free entrance could be either free for everyone, free for people under a certain age, or free for people in certain categories (such as students).
Here are a few of the locations that at times offer entrance at no cost:
- Museum of Copenhagen
- Thorvaldsens Museum
- Danish Design Museum
- Danish Architecture Center
- The National Museum
As you can see, all of these locations provide free admission to kids and teenagers under the age of 18, and some even offer entrance to young adults under the age of 26.
Needless to say, these would be great attractions to visit with your kids if you’re trying to save some money!
25. Make a Short Trip Out of Town
If you’re looking for even more fun activities, there are several interesting things to see and do just outside of Copenhagen.
You’ll find Dyrehaven just 20 minutes from the city, and they have a giant forest garden where you can see a variety of wild animals that are native to the area.
Another option is to visit Bakken, roughly 30 minutes from Copenhagen, to see the oldest amusement park in Europe.
If Tivoli Gardens isn’t enough, this historic site will surely do the trick – and they offer free admission!
Amager Beach is even closer, and a great place to spend the day with your family.
You could head across the amazing Öresund Bridge and visit Malmö or Lund in Sweden. It isn't even a day trip as both are only 40-50 minutes away.
And as mentioned above, a trip to Helsingør with its amazing waterfront area which includes Hamlet's Castle, Kronborg, is one you don't want to miss.
Bonus: Self-Guided Exploration Game
If you're looking for an interesting way to discover Copenhagen, this self-guided game will give you the opportunity to solve a puzzle as you're exploring the city at your own pace.
This game puts you in the role of a young child who doesn't believe in fairy tales as you get drawn into the world of legends and stories that were born here.
Needless to say, this could be a good option for kids as well!