We’ve had such a run of lovely weather this week, that you must be tired of going to the beach! (and if you are, I don’t know you – we’ve decamped to Bellevue beach nearly permanently this week and I have no intention of leaving unless is starts pouring rain or there are gale force winds…) But sunshine in Copenhagen inevitably always runs out so I thought I would share my list of little cultural visits that I’ve found that are open either this summer or generally in summer time only.
Copenhagen isn’t always the easiest city to figure out from a “what’s on” perspective – I think I’ve mentioned this before but there isn’t always a central listing of what’s open or what’s happening like there would be in cities that have a Time Out or more active news sites that chronicle these things. Or at least, maybe that information is always a bit of a mystery to me since it’s often out there in Danish, and well, I haven’t made much progress on that front. (I know, I know…)
Here are a few things I’ve learned about over the years – and ps, for everything “ultimate” to do with summer here, check out our Summer Guide!
The Lapidarium is where all the statues of Copenhagen go to die…or to go on living, depending on how you see it. This is a bit of a retirement center so to speak for the many stone figures that have dotted the roofs and parks and alleys of the city, once they fall out of commission for one reason or another. The Lapidarium is only open periodically, we were supposed to go in the wintertime when it abruptly closed the day we went unexpectedly. In any case, it’s open now again through August 31st and makes a nice pairing for a visit for other things on Slotsholmen, like the Christiansborg Palace (or the Folketinget – see below!)
The Folketinget is the Danish Parliament and technically open year round, though there is greater availability and number of tours in the summer time. People made a little bit of fun of me when I recently took my daughter here for a “mommy and me” day, but we had a wonderful visit and paired it with a number of things down town on our day out. I’m a big believer in Democratic institutions and instilling respect for them at an early age, so while the visit is not intended for children specifically, our five year old did great on it. Also, if you have visited political institutions in other parts of the world, a visit here will make you appreciate just how open and approachable the system is here in Denmark. As a bonus, make a reservation at the Taarnet restaurant in the Tower which is right next door and will give you express line access to one of the best views in the city. The restaurant does a smorrebrod style lunch, which I had and enjoyed, or coffee/cake, which my daughter did and enjoyed. Service wise, it could be a tad better if you have a lot of expectations for that but we had a lovely meal and like any place with a great view, typically that’s a nice side benefit to the view itself.
The finally did something with that wonderful piece of waterfront harbor property – in general the harbor is looking good these days but the construction site next to the Royal Theater was such an eyesore for the longest time here. The recently finished and opened Ofelia Plads, which debuted the last weekend in July, will remain open but is in full swing in the summertime. Yoga…tango…poetry jams….ballets…even some guy name Mikael Simpson….in short, no shortage of activities for all to enjoy on the cool water breezes. The website keeps tabs on the updated calendars, but even if there is nothing on, it’s a great place to take a walk around on and dip your feet in.
Just north of the city in the Dyrehaven park is the Royal Hunting Lodge, the Eremitageslottet. It’s normally closed year round but open on select days in the summer times as part of a guided tour. The lodge is actually pretty petite inside (did you know it was built to basically be a lunch shed for those hunting on the grounds back in the day? Fancy lunch shed…) but as the tours are only in Danish, I was there more to look rather than to learn though I still learned a ton from another kindly patron on the tour who translated a few of the most interesting bits (like the table that would raise from the floor to serve guests on its own elevator). The thing to know about this tour is that is a pretty healthy walk from the station so budget lots of time to get there, or have the foresight to take a bike which I did not. I was under the impression that you could not drive at all yet arrived to find a makeshift parking full of cars there – apparently, you can drive up on Wednesdays.
If we were Royals, a jaunt to Fredensborg would be in our regular rotation for things like weddings and baptisms and visiting heads of state….If we are not Royals, then we can only visit Fredensborg for a brief window in the summertime as part of a guided tour (two of them in English, rest in Danish). I’ll shoot straight on this one – I had two kids in tow for this one and I was on the Danish one and we lasted about three rooms before my toddler wanted to redecorate so we snuck out to take refuge in the gardens, where they had free reign to run and jump as much as they please. The gardens themselves are a lovely walk too, and open year round.