Copenhagen: Cool with Kids

Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen Denmark
Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen Denmark // Photo by danefromspain/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

d’Angleterre opened in 1755 and has just been refurbished as a palace hotel.

d’ANGLETERRE opened in 1755 and has just been refurbished as a palace hotel.

 

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The Danish capital may be known to adults for its rich history, avant-garde design, art and architecture, and a celebrated dining scene where everything from a cup of coffee to memorable multi-course meals is given “best in the world” status; but let’s face it: For kids, Copenhagen is a city built around a theme park—the historic Tivoli Gardens. The Danes have a reputation for being friendly, tolerant and allegedly the happiest nationality on earth—making their capital a great choice for families.

Thrill the kids at Tivoli Gardens, which opened in 1843, and operates seasonally, with events all summer, and then transforming into a delightful Christmas wonderland with fireworks and live music daily. Choose from calm, classic train rides to the superfast, upside-down Aquila ride that was added this year. Skip dining inside the park to enjoy our pick for the best hot dog in the world at Andersen Bakery on-site at the Hotel Nimb. It’s organic and comes topped with fried onions, pickles, ketchup and mustard. Heavenly!

With Tivoli done, and happy children, get a sense of the city by boat, or like the natives, by bike. If you’re too tired to cycle yourself, hire a rickshaw for a custom family safari. By boat, we suggest opting for a private hire to tour Old City Center and the famous Little Mermaid, then head to the new Blue Planet aquarium, which is the largest in northern Europe. Let the boat leave you in the colorful Nyhavn port and head to Stroget for shops that are uniquely Danish—design emporium Illums Bolighus, and for the kids the very large Lego shop. Grab a bite at the Royal Smushi Café, where they’ve combined classic open-faced Danish smorrebrod and sushi into seafood sandwiches beautifully molded into delicate rolls. After lunch, head further along to the chic Osterbro neighborhood for more high-design at the flagship shop of Normann.

 

d’angleterre’s Themed Suite has plenty of room for kids to spread out in and a media hub for easy connectivity of music, videos or games.

d’ANGLETERRE’s Themed Suite has plenty of room for kids to spread out in and a media hub for easy connectivity of music, videos or games.

 

Just outside the city are a few attractions not to be missed. Fifteen minutes away is the best science museum ever. The Experimentarium boasts over 300 different science or technology things to try. Everything from a surfing simulator to electrical orbs that can measure your brain’s ability to concentrate; we stayed over five hours without even breaking for food. About a half-hour drive is the spectacular Louisiana Museum of contemporary art, perched above the Oresund (or The Sound, separating Denmark from Sweden), with a breathtaking sculpture garden, and most importantly, a three story art activity center just for kids. Staffed with artists that help create masterpieces based on current exhibits, the museum is worth a full day, or can be partnered with a visit to the nearby UNESCO World Heritage Site Kronborg Castle, the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Copenhagen is home to Noma, named “best restaurant in the world” for a good part of the last decade, but the set menu of 20 courses may tire even most well-behaved mini-gourmands. Fortunately, disciples of Head Chef René Redzepi are scattered all over the city, offering deliciousness at all price points. Start your day on Jaegersborggade street at The Coffee Collective for the best coffee in the world (literally—the barista holds the title), take the kids across the street for yummy cinnamon buns from Meyers Bageri, and browse the funky shops on your way to a gritty—but fun—playground at the end of the block. For lunch, head to the new food market Torvehallerne with more than 80 stalls to choose from—don’t miss a dreamy marshmallow stuffed flodeboller at organic chocolatier Summerbird. Finish at Kodbyens Fiskebar for inventive cocktails and fresh fish in the trendy Vesterbro neighborhood. Bonus: A large fish tank to keep the kids happy. Another slick dinner option is Restaurant Geist—an open kitchen surrounded by a 30-seat bar, plus loads of cocktail height tables. Sounds like it would not be good for kids, but it’s so energetic, and the innovative cuisine by Chef Bo Bech is truly remarkable. Food is served in small sharing plates; be sure to sample earthy brown butter crab and the killer dessert that combines black olive, liquorice and vanilla ice cream.

The elegant historic hotel d’Angleterre has reopened after being shut for two years for a gut renovation. The results are spectacular and particularly exciting for families as the hotel has gone from 123 small rooms to just 90 spacious suites, 40 of which are connecting. As you would expect from a five-star Leading Hotel, they make it special for the kids by outfitting rooms with Legos and Danish candies. A brand new 36-foot indoor pool will open in December. Contact for agents is Director of Sales Pia Rosenkilde ([email protected]).The Themed Suite  also has a roomy tub for bath time, a good way for kids to unwind after a day of sightseeing.

Though not as plush as the hotel d’Angleterre, we loved the four-star Tivoli Hotel, which sits on the edge of the trendy Vesterbro neighborhood. As the official partner hotel of Tivoli Gardens, they have characters from the park in the hotel throughout the summer, as well as bouncy castles and treasure hunts. The hotel has a large indoor pool and a play room with foosball and a climbing wall. Atop the hotel is Sticks and Sushi—just voted the best sushi in Copenhagen—with a rocking scene, great cocktails, even better sushi, and a kids menu. Travel agents can reach out to General Manager Jakob Ellermann ([email protected]).

Hot Tip: Skip lines at museums. Buy a Copenhagen Card. This gets you various discounts, free admission to over 75 museums and attractions, including those mentioned here, free public transport, and even includes a canal boat tour. Two kids under 10 are included with each adult.

Picture: The Themed Suite  also has a roomy tub for bath time, a good way for kids to unwind after a day of sightseeing.

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