Copenhagen was one of those cities I’d wanted to visit for years and years before we actually made it. I’d heard just so many good things about it, but I didn’t know if it would be really conducive to taking kids along. I mean, it’s all about fancy restaurants and palaces and famous art, right?
Turns out, Copenhagen, like the rest of Scandinavia, is excellent for taking kids. I really think Scandinavia is such a great intro to traveling with kids, because it tends to be very easy, and there are lots of kid-friendly accommodations. Here are 7 reasons I think Copenhagen fits the bill!
1. SMALL, WALKABLE CITY. London and Paris are amazing, there’s no doubt about it. But they’re BIG. They’re spread out with attractions all over the city, and there’s tons of walking and switching metro or bus lines, which can be fun but also a bit stressful if it’s unfamiliar. Copenhagen is very much a great city, but it’s also small and very accessible. It’s fairly easy to walk between most of the main attractions, and others are just a short metro ride away. It’s easy for even little ones to walk around, and is also very stroller-friendly! There’s also no reason to rent a car in Copenhagen, so no dealing with car seats and boosters and such.
2. SUPER SIMPLE PUBLIC TRANSPORT. Along the lines of accessibility, there are only two metro lines in Copenhagen, so it’s difficult to get lost. Plus, google maps seemed to have a very good handle on timetables and routes when we were there, so it was easy to catch the right transit at the right time.
Public transit in Copenhagen is free for kids under TWELVE when traveling with an adult. Way better than paying for 4 year olds (like in Paris)!
It’s also very close to the airport. Have you ever flown 8 million hours and then had to debate between spending 2 hours on public transit to get to the actual city or hundreds of dollars on a taxi? Especially one large enough to fit 2 adults and 6 children? No? Us, neither… Seriously, though, it took us 12 minutes to get from the airport to our Airbnb on the metro and it felt like magic. This is also convenient for early or late flights, or even for maximizing a longer layover.
3. INDOOR AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES. We love cities – the history, the culture, the art, the food. But we also love open space and nature and having room to run and play. Copenhagen has some terrific indoor sites that are actually fascinating for kids, but is also in very close proximity to lots of nature. There’s a great beach close to downtown that’s easily accessible via the metro. There are also plenty of beautiful outdoor spaces – parks, castle grounds, gardens, and even fun play features and playgrounds right outside museums. Our kids loved the chairs in the reflecting pool outside the national gallery!
Speaking of indoors, we also found accommodations to be really nice. Lots of options for clean, open, fresh spaces – perfect with kids in tow.
4. KID-FRIENDLY MUSEUMS AND SITES. I haven’t met many kids who aren’t fascinated by castles and palaces, and Copenhagen has both. Often, you have to go well outside a city to see even one of these, but it’s fun that there are several right in the middle of town.
Plus, there are terrific museums for kids, and activities geared toward children. The Experimentarium was one of our kids’ favorite activities of the whole summer, and of course Tivoli Gardens is just so charming for kids and grown ups alike. Plus, there are tons of castles to explore – perfect for those little ones who love imaginary play. (HERE’s a great list of castles near Copenhagen!)
I didn’t feel the city went quite as out of its way to provide kid-specific entertainment as, say, Sweden or Norway, but that’s because it doesn’t really have to. The activities there are naturally very interesting to kids. It’s very well established and fun as it is, and our kids had a blast.
5. FOOD. As you likely already know, the food in Copenhagen is terrific. Obviously some of the best and most expensive restaurants in the world are there, but there’s also an amazing street food scene, which is PERFECT for kids. Lots of outdoor eating with room to run around, and casual, varied eateries. You won’t run out of options for a bunch of different cuisines in Copenhagen, so even if you have a picky eater, you’ll find lots of different options.
6. VIBRANT STREET PERFORMANCE SCENE. There is always something going on in the streets of Copenhagen. We happened upon a BMX competition that fascinated our kids, and there are tons of musicians and other performers milling about. Frankly, Copenhagen just has lots of interesting people in general, so there’s always something to capture little ones’ attention and keep them entertained. Just walking around will provide so many things to see and experience – and if nothing else, there are a million opportunities for I Spy with all the different colors!
7. WATER. If your kids are anything like mine, they just love boats and canals and anything having to do with the water. Add in the beach and it’s a dream come true. We loved going on a canal tour, seeing all the tiny boats dotting the water, walking the canals, and just experiencing the water-centered culture in Copenhagen.
BONUS 8: LEGOS. I mean, do you even need another reason? We didn’t even go out to the original Legoland (too much to do in Copenhagen itself!), but we loved stopping into the LEGO store downtown. Also, Vikings. Seriously, CPH is so fun for kids!