that hygge feeling

Over the past 2 months I’ve had my first official visitors to Copenhagen. And as a woman with a passion for planning, I was so excited to plan out a perfect itinerary for my guests. But it was hard for me to come up with a ‘must see’ list because to me, Copenhagen isn’t about any particular sight or landmark, it’s all about “hygge”.

Hygge is one of those Danish words that isn’t fully translatable to English. It’s a feeling, like cozy, it’s candles in the winter, low lighting, warm tea, friends and dinner parties, ice cream in the sunshine and picnics in the park. Hygge is Copenhagen.

That’s why when trying to plan a ‘must-see’ list for Copenhagen I could only think of my favorite coffee shops and neighborhoods. So let this list take you on a tour of Copenhagen’s most hygge-ist spots.

Jægersborggade 

Located across from Assistens Cemetery, let Jægersborggade be your starting point for exploring the Nørrebro neighborhood. Jægersborggade is filled with Danish favorites like Meyer’s Bageri, The Coffee Collective, and Grød.  When you’ve eaten your way down the street wander through the cemetery and find the graves of Niels Bohr and Hans Christen Andersen.

Nørrebro (Sankt Hans Torv Area)

A short walk from Assistens Cemetery is Sankt Hans Torv, a small square in the heart of Nørrebro.  The square is a starting point to get you off the busy Nørrebrogade and on to the smaller surrounding streets. There are plenty of shops, bars and picture perfect buildings.  Nearby you’ll find the trifecta of Bæst (pizza to die for), Mirabelle (pasta to die for) and Brus (beer to die for).

The Lakes

Just south of Sankt Hans Torv and down Nørrebrogade are the “the lakes”. In summer time you’ll find the main bridge (Dronning Louises Bro) littered with people drinking beer in the sunshine. Pick up a to-go bottle of wine from nearby Vinhanen and find a spot on the bridge to people watch. Even in the winter there is something magical and romantic about the lakes, you may just want to trade the wine for some hot coco.

Torvehallerne

*Voted place most likely to find me*

Once a vegetable market, Torvehallerne keeps close to its roots as a modern food hall and farmers market. You can’t go wrong with anything you choose from Torvehallerne, the smorrebrod are pieces of art and the cardamom buns are addictive. But if I had to recommend one place it would be Hija de Sanchez, how can you go wrong with tacos from a former Noma chef? Find a picnic table to enjoy your finds or wander across the street through Israel Plads and ørstedsparken.

Cycling

The most hygge way to see the city is of course by bike. Copenhagen takes on a whole new feel when you experience it like a true local. Cycling will allow you to explore and find your own hygge spots in Copenhagen.

For new bikers, avoid rush hour in the morning and late afternoon, it’ll make exploring the city more relaxing. It’s easy to find bike shops that rent all over the city but recently rented recently from Donkey Bikes. They’ve got bikes all over the city and it’s easy to lock and unlock the bike straight from an app on your phone.

Find all of my hygge places on this Google Map.

 

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12 hours in aarhus

A little spontaneity is a great thing. With a few days of freedom left before school started back up we decided to buy a train ticket and head to Aarhus for the day.

Aarhus is the second largest city in Denmark and is located on the east coast of Jutland. You’re asking, “What’s Jutland?”. I like to say it’s the part of Denmark that “jutes” out of Germany. It’s a quick and easy 3 hour train ride from Copenhagen, complete with lovely Danish scenery. And if you’re not into quaint scenes of Danish countryside there is also free WiFi on the train.
Train Views
If I had done some research before our trip I would have found out that Aarhus is #13 on New York Times “52 Places to Go in 2016”.
The playground at Dokk1
One of the sights listed in the New York Times article is Dokk1. It’s a new library and cultural center located in the old industrial harbor. Though calling it a library does not do it justice. Dokk1 has an expansive balcony that includes multiple playgrounds, each based off a different continent. Inside there is a cafe, vintage arcade games, playrooms, games and oh yeah, books. Head down the escalator and outside to watch the cars get parked. Seriously, the parking garage has car elevators that whisk the cars away, we weren’t the only ones standing around to watch.
THE Gong
But by far my favorite part was The Gong. The Gong, is well a gong, hanging in one corner of the library. Besides the fact that its quite beautiful hanging in front of the windows over looking the harbor, the gong rings when a baby is born in Aarhus. Apparently, new born parents have the opportunity to activate the gong from the hospital. Needless to say if I ever have children I will be giving birth in Aarhus.

The quiet streets of The Old Town
From the futuristic library we headed to Den Gamle By or The Old Town. Den Gamle By is an open air museum and it feels a bit like you are on a field trip in the 5th grade, learning how people lived in centuries past. The highlight of the museum is the newest addition, a recreation of a building from the 1970’s. It includes a family apartment, gynecologist office and a collective. The 1970’s portion of the museum is a big upgrade from the rest of the museum. The exhibits are hands on and interactive with working phones, videos and a mirror where you can try on clothes from the 70s.
What I’d look like in 1974. Damn Good.

We ended our day in Aarhus at our friends collective. A collective is just a group of people living together, but actually living together. They have meetings, clean, cook dinner and eat together almost every night. This communal way of living is far different than anything I’ve experienced in America, where every inch of fridge space is divided up. Our friends collective has been around the 1970’s and you could tell it was old and lived in, in all the best ways. It was the perfect way to end a chilly day in Aarhus, champagne soup (it’s a thing!) in a warm, old, friendly Danish house.
The run down on Aarhus:
Get there: Around 3 hours from Copenhagen, easy and cheap by bus or train
Eat there: Il Mercatino, Mejlgade 18. Great for lunch, delicious paninis to go. 
 
See there: Dokk1, Free
                  Den Gamle By, prices vary by season