Boats on a canal in front of a sidewalk full of people in front of colorful buildings.

Top 10 Tourist Things to Do in Copenhagen

Last Updated on February 20, 2024 by Kathryn

Discover the top ten tourist things to do in Copenhagen with your family. 

Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, is vibrant, kid-friendly, history-filled, and seamlessly integrates nature into its urban structure (which we love!). This guide has detailed, practical advice not only on things to do, helping you to enjoy your stay.

We spent a week here last summer exploring sunup to sundown (which happens to last a long 17 hours during the summer!). It was so much fun!

Despite our jam-packed days, we never ran out of things to do and are looking forward to returning next summer to check out some of the things we missed.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

Finding Nature in Copenhagen

We’re big believers in the benefits of spending time outside, and while we love being immersed in nature, we also appreciate when cities incorporate nature.

Copenhagen is dotted with gorgeous parks and interspersed with vibrant canals. It is also located at the edge of the sea. 

Copanhagen has invested heavily into active transport infrastructure, including a huge system of protected bike lanes, fast and easy subways and buses, and easy access to sidewalks and walking paths.

These environmental systems make it a breeze to get outside, kids and all, and enjoy the fresh air. The city is also super easy to navigate, even for us English speakers!

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things to do with kids in Copenhagen, but first, a tip:

Get the Copenhagen Card

Get a Copenhagen Card and you’ll save tons of money. It covers 80+ attractions (including most of the activities on this list). 

 Wondering where to buy the Copenhagen Card? Simply purchase it online using the above link and then use the app to access your digital card.

 In addition to activities, you can use the Copenhagen Card for transport. It also covers public transportation including the subway and buses, which are super convenient!

There are many pricing options depending on how long you’ll be there. We bought the 96 hour Discover card for adults for $149 and definitely got our moneys’ worth. Note that kids under 12 are free(!) but will still need to order a free card to access the attractions. 

There’s a handy calculator on the website where you can select the activities that you’d like to do and see if you’ll save money buying the Copenhagen Card. (We saved well over $300.)

Alright…drumroll…here’s the details on how to enjoy the top ten tourist things to do in Copenhagen with your family:

Top 10 Tourist Things to Do in Copenhagen

1. Be Enchanted at Tivoli Gardens

A colorful photo of the swings at Tivoli Gardens with roses in the foreground.
A perfect evening at Tivoli

Tivoli is NOT to be missed. Walt Disney got his inspiration from its quaint, fairy-tale atmosphere. The gardens are gorgeous and people visit to just see the gardens without riding any rides.

Note that the Copenhagen Card will get you into Tivoli to view the gardens and attend concerts. 

Even though the Copenhagen Card will get you into Tivoli, if you want to ride the rides you’ll have to purchase a pass at an additional cost. We purchased our ride tickets for Tivoli Gardens at the entrance booth.

From little toddler rides to more thrilling ones like rollercoasters (including a rollercoaster with a conductor aboard each car), concerts, and lush gardens (you might see peacocks wandering around), there’s something for everyone. 

The ambiance truly was magical, but keep in mind that lines tend to be inefficient and slooow. (I recently took an operations class in my MBA program, and wow, do I have some suggestions for them!)

There are tons of restaurants within the park, with tasty yet overpriced food (as to be expected at an amusement park). Be sure to make a reservation if you want to eat at one of the sit-down restaurants.

How long should you spend at Tivoli Gardens? You could easily spend a full day, or even two days if you’re riding rides. Between the gardens, rides, and concerts, you can really do a lot at Copenhagen’s amusement park Tivoli Gardens.

Pro tip: Check the concert schedule to see what’s playing. Macklemore was performing the day we went and crowds of people filled the park in the late afternoon making it difficult to access different parts of the park.

If you’re excited to see a particular artist, you can plan your visit for that day. However, if a popular artist is performing, the crowds will descend upon the park in the hours before the show. 

Be advised that smoking and drinking is allowed within the park in certain areas.

2. Relax on a Canal Tour

A boat full of people floats on a canal in Copenhagen on a sunny day.
Copenhagen canal tour on a gorgeous day

Take a relaxing canal tour through Copenhagen (if you have a toddler, it will be anything but relaxing as you keep them from climbing out…). Pass the Little Mermaid statue, the Nyhavn Harbor, and other landmarks.

A tour guide will provide details about the history of the various sight that you’ll pass, and if you want to be able to hear the guide, don’t sit in the back of the boat like we did.

The Copenhagen Card covers one tour per person. You can pre-book same-day tickets at the box office at Ved Stranden. You’ll also board here – make sure not to board at the Nyhavn stop or you’ll need to pay an additional fee.

3. Little Mermaid Statue at the Water’s Edge

Yep, there’s a mermaid in Copenhagen, Denmark, just sitting at the water’s edge. This iconic statue inspired Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale. 

Since the Little Mermaid statue is on the outskirts of the city, getting to it from the city center via public transportation typically includes about a 20-minute walk each way. A fun way to see it is by boat. The Copenhagen Card (Discover) covers a free canal tour that goes past the statue. 

If you choose to see the statue by boat, you won’t be able to get as close as you would on foot, but you’ll hear about its history from the boat guide.

When you think of Copenhagen, you probably think of the row of brightly colored buildings along the waterfront. That is called Nyhavn Harbor, and dates back to the 17th century when it was a busy commercial port. Hans Christian Andersen even lived here for a while!

4. Check out Colorful Nyhavn

Copenhagen's iconic Nyhavn street with colorful houses in front of a canal.
Colorful Nyhavn at the edge of a canal

Today, Nyhavn in Copenhagen it’s full of busy restaurants and cafes lining the canal. Grab a bite to eat, or simply go for a stroll and soak it all in. 

We had to keep a close eye on our toddler since the canal runs through it.

Another benefit of the canal tour accessed with the Copenhagen Card is that it will take you past Nyhavn, offering a unique perspective from the water. 

In December, Nyhavn has a big, festive Christmas market full of yummy goodies. My husband was able to visit and said the treats were amazing!

5. Explore the Experimentarium

Kid-sized bubbles at the Experimentarium

This science museum was a hit with my kids. Several floors full of hands-on activities made for a fun afternoon. It’s also covered with the Copenhagen Card!

The museum was a breeze to get to on taking two buses from the city center.

The Experimentarium is divided into different sections for older and younger kids, but both my older and younger kids all had fun in every part of it. 

It is worth mentioning that it was packed with kids on the day we went, and I’m not sure if this is standard during the summer. 

There were also some exhibits that required understanding written Danish instructions, so we had to skip those. But, if you read Danish, then good for you! There was plenty to do that didn’t require understanding Danish.

There’s a decent cafe if you need a snack or a meal.

Finally, don’t skip the rooftop! Season permitting, let your kids use the play structures and games while you enjoy the fresh air. Climb up the stairs to the highest point and you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the city and water below.

6. Magic at Rosenborg Castle

The captivating Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen contains the Danish crown jewels and  you can learn about Danish royalty in the historic fortress.

Book a time slot on the website and use the Copenhagen Card to get into the castle free of charge. 

My kids were not interested in the castle itself (maybe yours are more cultured?!), but they loved the spacious gardens surrounding it. It’s one of the best parks in Copenhagen, Denmark.

There’s a fun little playground and great spots for enjoying a picnic. One of our favorite ways to eat a meal was picking something up from a nearby restaurant (the nearby Strangas restaurant was delish) and taking it to the park so my husband and I could eat in peace while our kids ran around.

7. Views and History at the Round Tower

A view from the top of Round Tower. Copenhagen is where it's easy to get lost and wander the winding streets.
A view from the top of the Round Tower

The Round Tower is one of the most well-known tourist things to do in Copenhagen.

Your kids will love walking up the circular ramp to get to the top of the Round Tower. An interesting history makes it even more fun.

The tower was built in the 17th century, in part to be used as an observatory. You can still walk around the top and peer down over the rooftops of the city. It’s quite a view!

This was a fairly quick stop for us. You can see everything in 30 or so minutes.

Entrance is covered by the Copenhagen Card and no reservations were necessary.

8. Find Your Happy at the Happiness Museum

Inside the post-it-note happy room at the Happiness Museum, one of the top tourist things to do in Copenhagen.
Notes with what makes people happy

This easy-to-miss museum is a gem. Use Google Maps to find it, and once you’re there, you’ll see a small yellow sign above the basement entrance to the museum.

You could probably skip this with young kids, but those around 8 and older will likely enjoy it. 

The museum explores the reasons why Denmark is routinely rated as one of the happiest countries on earth

The exhibits delve into the science of happiness. I was happy to see the exhibits showing the benefits of nature on physical and mental health!

Check out the room covered with yellow sticky notes where people from all over the world have written what makes them happy. What a joy to see! You can add your own note.

The Happiness Museum was one of our favorite stops during our trip to Copenhagen.

9. See Animals at the Copenhagen Zoo

The Copenhagen Zoo is also covered with the Copenhagen Card! The zoo is one of the oldest in Europe.

Well-designed and well maintained, the zoo has lovely architecture, and lots of animals.

It is a 20-30 minute train ride from the city center.

The Copenhagen Zoo is sure to be a hit with young kids. (Wish I could say the same about older kids but at this point my older kids have declared that they’re “over” zoos.)

10. Day Trip to Sweden

A colorful sign on the grass in front of some stately buildings in the heart of Lund, Sweden, which is a short train ride away from Copenhagen.
Lund city center

I know, I know, this is not in Copenhagen, but it was one of our favorite days that we spent during our week in Copenhagen, so I had to include it.

Sweden is just across the water from Copenhagen. 

If you have time and your kids get excited to visit another country, then Lund and Malmo are both fun destinations within an hour’s train ride from Copenhagen. 

It’s totally doable to visit both in one day. We spent the morning in Lund and the afternoon and evening in Malmo.

First up is Lund. Wander the cobblestone streets and take in the city which dates back to the 10th century. Don’t miss a quick stop in the Lund Cathedral.

Lund is also home to Lund University and Lund University Botanical Gardens (which is highly rated), both of which we passed up in favor of the playground Stadsparken.

Stadsparken is a sprawling landscaped park within walking distance of Lund’s city center. The playground is amazing and kids can easily be entertained for a couple of hours.

Malmo is a short 13-minute train ride away. Once you get off the train, you can rent a bike from Travelshop Malmo Bike and Experiences or one of the many other nearby bike rental shops.

We opted for electric bikes and it was a blast cruising around the city! The bike infrastructure is incredible with protected bike lanes and paths all over. 

You can head west from the train station to bike along the path that runs along the ocean. There are some fun playground stops and a tiny bakery to grab a snack.

If you’re brave, you could consider taking a swim in one of the many outdoor baths. We opted to skip this since our kids are a bit young for this!

When you’re ready, take a 40-minute train ride back to Copenhagen.

Get outside – far and wide!

There it is – our top ten tourist things to do in Copenhagen.

Is there anything you’d recommend that I add to the list?

I hope these ideas are helpful for you to get your family out and experience urban nature at its best in Copenhagen.

Get out there, far and wide!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *