In the last post I showed you around Nørrebro, the affordable hipster neighborhood of Copenhagen. But today’s we’re going somewhere with a completely different vibe: Vesterbro. For the sake of simple comparison, if Nørrebro was in NYC it would be Williamsburg and Vesterbro would be the West Village. Vesterbro is Copenhagen’s red light district, once known primarily for its sleazy side: sex, drugs and crime. Although some of that still exists today (there were sex toy shops and a strip club on the same street as our hotel), the neighborhood has undergone an extreme makeover and today is filled with trendy restaurants, bars, and boutiques. This post practically turned into a novel because there is so much to see and do in Vesterbro, so I chopped it into three parts. Here is part one!
We stayed at the Andersen Hotel (Helgolandsgade 12), a boutique design hotel with 73 rooms and suites featuring wallpaper, cushions and curtains by the Designers Guild. When researching hotels online, I knew I’d found my match when I came across the Andersen’s website, which says “Do you love to sleep late and eat breakfast when you want?”. This amazing nontraditional hotel attitude combined with the fact that it was a design-focused hotel in Copenhagen’s most fashionable neighborhood instantly won me over. The Andersen Hotel was also very conveniently located just a couple blocks away from Copenhagen’s Central Station, which made my trip to the airport on the final day quite simple (although sad!).
We arrived in the Andersen Hotel’s chic, colorful lobby conveniently during the free wine hour, which apparently happens nightly from 5 to 6. Here’s a tip for those traveling to the pricey land of Denmark: when something is free, you take it, no questions asked!
Our room was compact yet fully equipped, with a dreamy king size bed, a little desk and a sofa perfect for tossing our clothes all over as we decided what to wear on our very last night in Denmark (big decisions here, people!). We were starving after a long drive that day and were pleasantly surprised to find snacks in the mini bar that were not only affordable, but healthy! We devoured these raw food bars in about 15 seconds.
One of the things I loved about the Andersen Hotel was their flexible check out policy and included breakfast. When we asked when check out was, we were told they were flexible and they asked us what time we wanted to check out. How cool is that? I had to leave for the airport around 10:30 the next morning but I know my sister appreciated the extra time to sleep in, relax and pack before her later flight. It’s really the perfect place to stay if you’re planning a big night out in Copenhagen, and even though it was a bit of a splurge I always emphasize that you should squeeze a little bit of luxury into all your travels. After all, what’s a vacation worth if you’re just exhausted by the end?
Anyways, on to exploring Vesterbro. The biggest attraction nearby for tourists is Tivoli (Vesterbrogade 3), Copenhagen’s famous amusement park. It’s the second oldest amusement park in the world and was one of my favorite things in the city. It’s almost like walking around a fairy tale, with thousands of lights strung up, charming old school rides and pretty gardens. I’m completely terrified of roller coasters so we skipped the rides altogether and just wandered around people watching. There are a decent amount of restaurants inside Tivoli as well as junk food stands (we couldn’t resist ice cream cones), and in the summer you can come for outdoor live concerts. I imagine it gets packed during the busy season, but in the last week of April, Tivoli was not overly crowded.
Another attraction that we ended up at by accident but turned out to be cool was the Museum of Copenhagen (Vesterbrogade 59). It started raining and we didn’t have our umbrellas so we dashed inside and decided to check it out. It shows a lot of the history of Copenhagen, mainly focusing on immigrants – why they came and how they fit in. The museum took a unique approach to this, telling lots of personal stories that I found very interesting (as opposed to just historical facts and figures).
Later that night we ventured out to explore Vesterbro again by dark, seeking dinner and cocktails. There are two areas that seemed to have the most options for dining and drinking: the main street of Vesterbrogade and Kødbyen, or the Meatpacking District, which in Copenhagen is actually a cool place to hang out (as opposed to NYC’s Meatpacking District, which these days is more of a hot mess). In the next part of this 3-part post (tomorrow!) I’ll tell you about our adventures on Vesterbrogade.
Sometimes you can stop in a city or region for a couple days and see all there is too see....