colorful houses in Copenhagen

Whether it’s Mid-Century Modern’s celebutante Arne Jacobsen and his renowned Egg Chairs or Noma’s René Redzepi and his plates of edible art, design savvy Copenhagen and its denizens embody graceful cutting edge style. Even the two thousand year old bog mummy, Huldremose Woman, displayed at the Danish National Museum was discovered with an au courant-looking, extant wardrobe I’d wear today. Revered for its historical ability to fuse function with sophistication in work and play, Copenhagen reigns as a design buff’s hygge haven. If you’re looking for things to do in Copenhagen, you should plan a trip now before the city takes over the title of UNESCO’s World Capital of Architecture.

Get Educated

Credit: Kim Wyon  Photo: Wonderful Copenhagen

Pegged to reopen in June 2022, the Designmuseum Danmark has been refurbished and re-polished with new and improved experiences, exhibitions, and audience spaces. The connoisseur’s starting point on a design jaunt since 1926, it has held space in an 18th-century Rococo building since 1927. In the redo, architects turned to the drawings and papers of renowned designer Kaare Klint, who helmed the museum’s original opening.

 Pro tip: Don’t miss the museum shop, a trove of design-centric souvenirs.

Room to Book

At least once in their lives, most architects from around the globe make a pilgrimage to Room 606 in the Radisson Collection Royal Hotel. Opened in 1960 as Copenhagen’s first skyscraper, then called SAS Royal Hotel, the building was envisioned down to the last detail by Arne Jacobsen. For it, he designed his classic Egg, Swan, and Drop chairs. At last receiving a much needed, but respectful revamp in 2018 by Space Copenhagen, the hotel keeps Room 606 in tact with Jacobsen’s original design as an homage to him.

Other Design-riffic Stays

Credit: Mellanie GandÃ

Check into Hotel Alexandra , where the owners have collected a vault of world-famous Danish mid-century vintage furniture. Choose the Q Suite, created as a sleek tribute to Danish female designers. Ensconced in the re-imagined historic former Central Post and Telegraph Company building near Tivoli Gardens, new Villa Copenhagen has a regal feel and vaunts Scandi-chic rooms by London-based Universal Design Studio. Centrally located Nobis Hotel re-enlivens one of Copenhagen’s first concrete structures, once the home of the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Cozily cool, its interiors hail from work by Swedish firm Wingårdh Architects.

Coolest Shops

Oliver Gustav  Photo: PR photo

Once the eyewear kings, Han Kjøbenhavn has grown to include mod apparel for men and women in an eye-catching venue. Housed in a former apothecary Frama Studios presents furniture, kitchen gadgets, books, lighting, and apparel. Don’t leave without a snack from their in-store eatery, Apotek 57. Elegant Studio Oliver Gustav, located in the 1920s Museum Building, gobsmacks with its exquisite collection of art and curiosities. And Paustian, in a former bank in the city center, holds an array of classic Danish design objects.

The Street

Allow enough time to wander Bredgade, aka Broad Street, awash in mansions, up-and-coming furniture designers, established icons, eccentric antique shops, up market art galleries, and a variety of other stores, including legendary Carl Hansen & Son. Be transfixed at the immenseness of the Danish Sotheby’s Bruun Rasmussen, an impressive fine art and the luxury good auction house.

Epicurean Design

Try the newest in aesthetic dining at Esmée, designed by Space Copenhagen with the goal to bring optimism back to Danish kitchens as the hospitality industry recovers. Chef Andreas Bagh serves up classic French brasserie dishes with a twist. At Studio x Kitchen, an all day cafe, the mood, and seasonal menu metaphorically mirrors the attention to detail and obsession with handmade objects shoppers can find at parent company, Studio X, Copenhagen’s beloved design laboratory.

Playful Design

Credit: Ethan Hu

Dubbed the world’s first amusement park, Tivoli Gardens acts as  Copenhagen’s unofficial living room, with restaurants, rides, boutiques, colorful flower beds, artistic nooks, fountains, and more. Nearly two centuries old, the playful fantasyland conjures drama with eye-popping structures, such as a red pagoda and a Moroccan facade, follies, gild, gazebos, and wide sidewalks full of enjoyers. Don’t leave without a ride on the world’s oldest wooden roller coaster, an architectural highlight in itself.