Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Copenhagen Weekend --- off season with kids

Sitting pretty on the seaside in her pastels, the city of Copenhagen has been calling my name for a long time.  Click on read more for photos of our weekend and tips for the amazing restaurants we discovered...

Copenhagen's a classic story: too close, yet too far away to make a visit. It's a 7 hour drive by car from Stockholm, 5 1/2 hour train ride and 1 1/4 hour flight. Finally, with a long weekend in November free, we made it. I was a little hesitant about what to expect for the kids. I learned that Tivoli, their famous amusement park, would be closed that weekend and the weather forecast was nothing but rain.

It seemed other than Tivoli, Lego, and one restaurant, I was the only family member with a wish list and who was full of anticipation. With: 1. Danish design and furniture 2. Danish clothing design 3. Danish food, as my guiding lights, I decided to take the daring leap, find Henry's Dog Passport, book a hotel and prepared us for a Copenhagen visit.

Click below for more photos and list of favorites spots we found and places we'd love to return to ...

Denmark is often described as the "Provence of the North" and although one rainy weekend doesn't make me an expert, I will admit that it felt the most continental and laid back of Scandinavian cities, I've visited. There was just a certain "joie de vie" in the air.

1. Nyhavn, classic harbor
2. The Little Mermaid turns 100 this year. 
Hop on: Hop off -- City Tour is a great way to see both of these and more

3. Shopping:  Strøget is one of the world's longest shopping streets and has interesting cross streets with small boutiques, as well as department stores: Illium and Magasinet  High street and handicraft are at home with one another in Copenhagen with Marc Jacobs, Celine, Marlene Birger, side by side with Lego + Sostrene Grenes. The city's such a strolling city which took the pressure off with kids. Strøget, which I've read is the longest pedestrian street in the world, is an easy starting point. Although, we found a little more grit and graffiti than Stockholm, the city felt like it was bursting with creativity and creation. Here were a few favorites:

4. Food
My food experience up until the weekend, had been Danish bread (click here) ; home deliveries of organic vegetables from Danish entrepreneur called Årstiderna who were the first of their kind in Sweden; and then, of course, reading about Noma, Copenhagen's internationally acclaimed restaurant with influence beyond it's borders (and a 3 month waiting list.) All of this was evident when we arrived.  It felt as though every, single, restaurant we visited was organic and thinking beyond it's boundaries.  By luck and chance, we happened upon a newly converted area of the city (former meat packing district) with 3 amazing and different restaurants and were also tipped off to two amazing and charming brunch locations (all listed below.)

Granola for Brunch. I was so taken with the setting and beautiful florist next door, I almost hypnotically said yes to the one hour waiting list when I first gazed upon this charmer until I looked back at the gaunt, famished, expressions on my family's faces! Did you see the coffee and "gumball" style candy they sell from their store front to those who do wait? I've read it's a "Noma" staff favorite, too.
Kalaset: Kitchy setting with an extrodinary breakfast. Everything from my humble yogurt and granola to the pancakes were simply divine. It's billed as Swedish but had American classic.
Mother: Fire Roasted pizzas and relaxed Italian kitchen in the very cool meat packing district. Fresh ingredients flown in from Italy daily. Each of our pizzas were an experience on their own. Incredibly fresh variations on timeless favorite food. Call ahead for reservation. Family friendly.
Mio Bio: Family friendly, entirely organic restaurant are vegetable-loaded, simple and tasty.
Fiskebaren: Fish and seafood. Although relaxed, the atmosphere is more grown up less interesting for kids.

Activities within the city for Kids:
Tivoli: famous amusement park with seasonal special programs.
Guinness World Book of Records Museum

Castles:Kids who love castles, uniformed guards, kings, queens and princesses will love Copenhagen. The city is home to the world’s oldest monarchy. 

Enjoy the guards march through the streets of Copenhagen from Rosenborg Castle before taking up their positions outside the Queen’s Residence each day at noon.  The on-site museum provides a glimpse into Danish royal life and a chance to peek at Denmark’s crown jewels.  The King’s Gardens at Rosenborg is meant for strolling and is one of the loveliest places in the city to relax, throw a ball or take a picnic. 

Amalienborg Palace is the residence of the Danish monarch, Queen Margrethe II. The changing of the Royal Guard ceremony can be viewed here.

Kronborg Castle (the Hamlet Castle) just north of Copenhagen in Elsinore, is known around the world as Hamlet’s Castle.

Copenhagen's Museums (click here) If your are interested in Museums in Copenhagen, click on this link. I could post about this separately and will only add that if you have a chance to go out to Lousiana Museum is such a favourite spot and such a wonderful modern art collection, I could go there every day! It's so special and we all agree!

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  1. I loved this post and the beautiful shots of Copenhagen. We moved back to the States last January after 3 years in Denmark, and we definitely still miss it! Thanks for the wonderful reminders of our "second home". And thanks for such a lovely blog, overall :)

    1. Chelsea, thank you for such a thoughtful comment. I hesitated how to express my new found love for a city, I'd only known for 3 days but, I just can't wait to go back and although, our weekend, in many ways, was very simple, it filled us all to the brim with happiness. Your comment makes my day. I look forward to meeting you here again (and would be happy to share future glimpses again of your temporarily adopted homeland!)

  2. Lovely! Bookmarking this since Copenhagen is on the top of my list of places to see ASAP after we move. How did you end up getting there (plane)?

    1. I had the hardest time getting over my Copenhagen fever, after our visit. I can highly recommend all of these restaurants + shops. It's a very easy city to move around in. Transportation: We drove and made a stop along the way in a cute little town called Grana. Many, many people recommended taking the train, as it's so very convenient but, there are also regular flights, too. If you do drive, put the museum Louisiana on your itinerary, as well. This is just one of my all time favorites, outside of the city which I've visited several times --- just hadn't made it "downtown" until this lists and now, can't wait to return.


Thank you!