see + do
Copenhagen see + do
Sightseeing in Copenhagen means falling in love with the city's high aestheticism—always clean and progressive, yet rooted in a love of domesticity and coziness that's summed up in the Danish word hygge. The result is a dual-faceted city. To sample the quaint, fairy-tale side, ride Tivoli Gardens' Viking ship carousel, admire the pastel canal houses that line Nyhavn inlet (Hans Christian Andersen lived in several of them), tour straight-out-of-the-Renaissance Rosenborg Castle, and survey the pearly landscape paintings in the Danish National Gallery. Copenhagen's other side is a trendsetting research lab where designers, chefs, architects, and artists sustain the city's status as a European style-setter. Multiethnic Nørrebro and fast-living Vesterbro are the current centers of arty, forward-thinking Copenhagen, but the city's stunning new landmarks, including the Royal Library's Black Diamond, are strewn across its inner harbor. Two of the city's most spectacular models of contemporary architecture—Henning Larsen's Opera House and Jean Nouvel's Copenhagen Concert Hall—are dramatic showcases for the musical heritage that buoys the city's busy nightlife.
For a taste of both Copenhagens, tour Christiania. Since radical hippie squatters took over a number of empty army barracks in 1971, this arts-happy enclave has sprouted several serious businesses, including a bakery, bike shop, and communal bathhouse, but the bong smoke–perfumed air still evokes the innocence of a hangout run by kids who don't want to grow up. Hans Christian Andersen would have understood completely.