If you’re like other families with young children and the means to travel, you might scour the internet trying to find the perfect destination for your much-anticipated family trip to Europe. Well, parents, look no further. Equal parts kid-friendly and culturally rich, visiting Copenhagen with a baby or toddler is your sure bet for a truly exceptional family trip.
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Please excuse the cliché, but there really is ‘something for everyone’ in Copenhagen—as a centuries old city bursting with innovation, it represents the optimal balance of modernity and history. Denmark’s capital city is interwoven with monuments dating all the way back from before the Middle Ages and arresting contemporary architecture is seamlessly incorporated within and around its historical centers.
Beyond the city’s exceptional urban appeal, Copenhagen is also special because it is baby-friendly to a degree that you likely won’t find anywhere else. To both natives and tourists alike, the city goes out of its way to accommodate young children. Here are only some of the reasons why:
13 Best Things to do in Copenhagen with Kids
1. Copenhagen Zoo
Every city that calls itself kid-friendly must have a zoo. The Copenhagen Zoo opened its gates in 1859 and has since grown to house over 3,000 animals. The Copenhagen Zoo has everything you’d expect from a zoo plus an array of special children’s events at any given time. Check the Copenhagen Zoo website to see what’s in store for your visit.
Tip: The zoo’s map shows the locations of restrooms with baby changing tables as well as designated quiet areas for breastfeeding if you prefer a private place.
2. The National Aquarium
Den Blå Planet (The National Aquarium) is only one metro stop away from the Copenhagen airport, so it is a great choice if you have a few hours to fill before flying home. The National Aquarium building itself is a manageable size while still maintaining Copenhagen’s archetypal clever aesthetic sensibilities. With 53 aquariums and installations, a water playground, and a beautiful cafeteria surrounded by water views, there is more than enough to keep every family member engaged, making for a memorable last outing in Copenhagen.
A visit to the National Aquarium is an especially fun thing to do in Copenhagen with a baby. It’s so fun and fulfilling to watch your baby staring in endless wonderment at the fish swimming by in each tank.
If your kids love animals and you’d like an easy outing to a kid-friendly Copenhagen attraction, Byoasen is an ideal (and free!) alternative. Literally translated as “city oasis,” Byoasen is a small petting-zoo style park located in the trendy Nørrebro section of the city.
At Byoasen, your kids will love interacting with have goats, chickens, guinea pigs, and my personal favorite, rabbits. There is also a staffed-playground and picnic tables so you can be sure your kids play safe while you enjoy a cup of coffee. Just a few steps outside Byoasen you will find boutiques, antique shops, and cafes.
4. Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens is a Copenhagen icon, and the world’s oldest amusement park. Families can enjoy the lush Tivoli Gardens during the summer and marvel at the festive atmospheres during the Christmas and Halloween seasons. At night the Tivoli Gardens park becomes even more lively with lightshows, live music, fireworks and seasonal performances.
Even if your baby or toddler are too small for the rides, they will still love a visit to Tivoli Gardens. There are lawns for relaxing, a variety of restaurants and candy shops, playground areas, and if you’re lucky you might even come across a free-roaming peacock!
A visit to one of the many beautiful city parks will be a fun outing in Copenhagen with kids. Copenhagen’s parks are a defining factor of the city’s green vibe. Deliberately and creatively designed playgrounds have been carved out within the bounds of many of these parks, adding to the overall kid-friendliness of Copenhagen. There are over 120 playgrounds throughout the city, and 26 of them are staffed with childcare specialists.
One of the best parks for kids in Copenhagen is Ørstedsparken, where you will find sculptures, monuments, gardens, a gorgeous lake, and of course playgrounds. Some reviewers have called it “the Central Park of Copenhagen.”
As a New Yorker myself, I can confirm this characterization. Like Central Park, Ørstedsparken is a place you’ll experience the vibe of its home city spread out over impeccably designed landscape architecture, with special features that you’ll discover only by roaming its grounds. The Ørstedsparken park itself is small but perfectly proportionate to the size and population of Copenhagen.
Just steps away from Ørstedsparken is Torvehallerne, a must visit spot for foodies, coffee lovers, and chocolate fanatics. This Copenhagen food market opened in 2011 and is comprised of two covered buildings with a courtyard in the center for fresh produce, a flower market, and outdoor seating. A fun family outing in Copenhagen would be to shop for supplies at Torvehallerne, then head back to Ørstedsparken and sit down for a family picnic.
The spirit of royalty presides all throughout Copenhagen, but nowhere is it stronger than around its castles, moats, and palaces. The family can experience this ethos in its most potent form by visiting Kongens Have (The King’s Garden).
Kongens Have is a sprawling kid-friendly Copenhagen park with meticulously planned gardens, lawns, and monuments. There is a playground with nearby bathrooms and changing tables, a kid’s marionette theater, and a charming café with outdoor seating.
Tip: The puppet theater season at Kongens Have is from June-August. Puppet shows are free and performed twice daily (except Mondays) and run about a half-hour long. Check the website for exact puppet show times and directions.
Other than taking in the natural beauty of the park, you can also see Denmark’s collection of crown jewels which are housed inside the Rosenborg Castle in the center of Kongens Have. Admission to Rosenborg Castle is 110 Danish crowns, (approximately 16 USD), but children up to 17 years are free!
Just outside Rosenborg Castle is a rose garden enclosed by tall shrubs, and a mote with enormous fish and friendly ducks that are happy to watch the visitors passing by. Make sure you don’t miss the garden on the northeast wall of the park—it is a sight worth seeing.
Perhaps the most iconic Danish landmark, Nyhavn is a must see attraction for any family visiting Copenhagen with kids. The brightly colored townhouses around Nyhavn retain their magical feeling from the time of their construction centuries ago.
The backdrop of slanted houses and boats anchored in the harbor make Nyhavn the perfect spot for taking photos of the kids. Hans Christian Andersen, the author of famous fairy tales and favorites such as The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid, and The Princess and the Pea resided in three buildings in Nyhavn throughout his lifetime.
Nyhavn is lined with cozy cafes that offer traditional Danish cuisine like smørrebrod (open-face sandwiches) and liver pâté, and most of them also have some kid-friendly items on the menu for the less adventurous little travelers.
If you’re visiting Copenhagen with a baby or toddler during one of the colder months, you can try gløgg, (the Danish take on mulled wine) as a consolation prize while the children sip hot chocolate. For the summer you can treat the kids to a waffle cone from the ice cream parlors and stands that can be found on just about every corner.
9. Canal Tour
Going on a canal tour is a wonderful thing to do with kids in Copenhagen during the first few days of your visit. It gives a fantastic overview of Copenhagen’s landmarks, but is also short enough so that is doesn’t try the patience of toddlers. Save time and buy your canal tickets online in advance.
10. Changing of the Guards
A really fun thing to do in Copenhagen with kids is just a short walk from Nyhavn. Your family can experience the oldest monarchy in the world by watching the changing of the guards at the Amalienborg Palace Square. Every day at noon there is a procession through the city as the uniformed guards march from the barracks to the palace. Often they are accompanied by their marching band making it feel like you’re part of a daily parade.
Best Things to Do in Copenhagen with Kids on a Rainy Day
The weather can be quite unpredictable in Denmark. Luckily there is more than enough to see and do inside while you wait out the rain.
The Experimentarium is an interactive science and technology center for kids and families. The Experimentarium just moved to a new space in January 2017, located only 10 minutes outside of Copenhagen.
This kid-friendly Copenhagen museum boasts 16 exhibitions for the ultimate hands-on learning experience. Some highlights include a “bubbelarium,” an interactive film theater, the labyrinth of light, and the tunnel of senses. The exhibits are targeted toward different age ranges, but they are each visually and tactilely enticing to minds young and old.
12. Remisen Indendørs Legeplads (Indoor Playground)
A really fun thing to do on a rainy day in Copenhagen with a toddler or baby is Remisen, a free indoor play space with cool features you probably won’t find at your average playground. A zipline, fireman’s pole, and separate spaces for legos and crafts makes playing in this space a memorable experience for the kids no matter the weather.
Tip: There are designated times where the Remisen indoor playground is reserved for small children only, from newborns to three years old: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00-12:30
The outside of the National Art Gallery’s building is telling about what you’ll find inside—both contemporary and classic works of art. The architectural beauty of the National Art Gallery building is twofold: Its original street facing façade is grand and ornamental while the newer building is clean and geometric, quintessential of modern Danish design.
The new part of the National Art Gallery building faces yet another one of Copenhagen’s parks, which is great for playing and bird-watching for after your museum visit. Children under eighteen years can enter this Copenhagen museum for free, and there are guided tours that are especially designed for children!
Tip: Every weekend there are art workshops at the National Art Gallery for kids ages three years and up. (The price for workshops are 30 DKK, about $5.00 USD)
Final Tips for Visiting Copenhagen with Kids
The Copenhagen Card might save you lots of money and time when it comes to waiting in lines and buying transport and event tickets. For the single price of the Copenhagen Card you get admission to 79 museums and attractions, and train, bus, harbor and metro transportation. It also gives you discounts on many restaurants and entertainment. Do some calculations and estimations to figure out if buying the card will end up saving money on your family’s trip.
Check for Special Events
Where quaintness and bustle occupy their distinct neighborhoods and corners of the city, they also coexist comfortably during city-wide events like culture nights and festivals. When you start planning your family trip, check out Copenhagen’s official tourist website to keep updated on the gatherings and events that coincide with your stay.
Watch out for Bikes!
Bikes are a main mode of transportation in Copenhagen. Be careful not to mistake bike lanes for sidewalks, and of course always follow the rules of the road (jay walking is frowned upon here!)
There is seemingly an endless list of excursions and attractions that are especially fun for little-ones and their grown-up counterparts in Copenhagen. The above outlined only a few, so be sure to continue your research and follow the links provided throughout the guide to make the most of your trip. Happy travels!
As a traveling parent, renting baby equipment makes it easier to see the world with your kids. Baby Golightly lets parents travel without the burden of extra luggage or having to pay special baggage fees by providing clean and high quality baby equipment rentals.
Tourists and their little ones from all over the world rely on us to help make their trips go as smoothly as possible when they come to visit our home city of Copenhagen, Denmark. Parents can easily book the baby equipment they need through our online booking system, where they can choose to rent anything from strollers to toy packages.
There are many family-friendly Copenhagen hotels and vacation home rentals.
This is a guest post written by our friends at Baby Golightly, who are proud to call Copenhagen home.