The Best Things to Do in Copenhagen with Kids
A guide to keeping the little ones entertained in the Danish capital
In Denmark, children are welcome pretty much everywhere. Yet sometimes parents prefer to leave the small ones in their pushchairs on the street outside shops, supermarkets and cafés. We're not condoning it, but the reality is – even in the capital – Danes trust their fellow humans enough to leave their kids unattended. (But please don't worry, they're actually never far away at all).
And as it turns out, because it's such a child-friendly city, there are many, many things to do in Copenhagen with kids that are fun for both them and you. From design-focused libraries with slides and climbing walls, and art that they can clamber over – as can you – to family-friendly bike rides, we here at Plum Guide have done excessive hard work (as usual) and put together all of the best things to do with kids in Copenhagen. We are experts on this kind of thing, after all. And please note, we have a whole host of design-conscious family homes in some of Copenhagen’s best locations – personally vetted by our meticulous home critics – to choose from too.
Take a family trip to Tivoli Gardens
When it comes to things to do in Copenhagen with kids, this one's a valuable opportunity to teach them how to give and take. For them, there’s child-friendly theatre, pantomime, and death-defying rollercoasters with eye-widening names like ‘Vertigo’ and ‘The Demon’. For you, there’s globally inspired architecture, a relaxed spin-off of Michelin-star restaurant Kiin Kiin, neatly curated rose gardens and ballet and jazz performances. Either way, with its vintage fairground rides and leafy setting, it’s one of the most beautiful theme parks in the world – especially when the fairy lights come on in the evenings.
Visit the Children’s Museum at The National Museum
Assuming your kids inherited the same high standards as you, the Children’s Museum’s high-bar entertainment should just about work. They’ll gain new appreciation for their own playtime arsenal as they explore the basic array of toys that were on offer to kids in the 1920s, have the opportunity to climb aboard a boat and meet a Viking, dress up like a Danish grandma or sailor and cook dinner in a kitchen from the Middle Ages. And if your kids are still unimpressed by it all, they can press the ‘boredom button’ to amp up the fun – it could be tucked away anywhere in the museum and conjures up surprises from talking paintings to fire-breathing dragons.
Visit one of Copenhagen’s many child-friendly galleries
While gallery staff in most capital cities take a dim view of kids clambering on the art, you’d be hard-pressed to find a gallery in child-friendly Copenhagen that’s too cool to let kids in. In fact, the situation’s quite the opposite: at Copenhagen Contemporary, the large-scale exhibits are often designed for interaction, with everyone actively encouraged to climb on some of the art (yes, even you). At the National Gallery of Denmark, kids can draw, sketch, paint and sculpt with experienced artists. While at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, kids can see how artists and architects work in the daily workshops (while you admire Henry Moore and Alexander Calder sculptures and views of the Øresund strait in peace).
Explore the Six Forgotten Giants
Art and sculpture that kids can climb on (as can adults, if they’re so inclined), is a running theme in Denmark. The Six Forgotten Giants are made out of recycled wood that artist Thomas Dambo found in dumpsters (though don’t worry – he’s made them safe to touch and sit on). They’re strategically scattered around the scenic meadows and forests on the edge of the city, and they make a welcome excuse to get away from tourist hotspots to explore nature.
Encourage activity at KU.BE
Nothing says Scandinavian community cohesion like a well-designed public space that has both a library and a slide. There are also climbing walls, mazes and fireman’s poles. And don’t think you’ll get to skulk off to flick through design magazines that easily – KU.BE’s aim for its Frederiksberg community space was to encourage both kids and adults to keep active, with parkour on the interiors encouraged. And don’t worry – there are Zen rooms for meditation and yoga too. It turns out Danish architects have all the fun.
Spend a day at Experimentarium
This all-bells-and-whistles science museum is generally a hit with curious young minds, making it an obvious addition to our list of things to do in Copenhagen with kids. In The Port they’ll ship pork and Scandi design objects to Asia, and receive rice and tech goods, as they learn about carbon emissions from world trade. The Tunnel of Senses is an immersive experience from birth to death – you see your senses heighten and then fade as you walk through. Stave off any existential meltdowns with a swift exit from here to the Bubblearium.
Grab a bike and see the city
If you’re doing Copenhagen properly, you’ll want to arrange a bicycle – with a little carriage for small kids – to see the main sights. (It really is the done thing: 62 percent of people in Copenhagen get to work by bike, and 28 percent of families with two kids have a cargo bike). Copenhagen Family Tours show you all the city’s highlights, secret spots and playgrounds. Disclaimer: you will have to pedal hard with kids in the trailer, but look at the upside – you can now justify the extra calories from all that New Nordic dining you’ll be doing.
Take the kids to the park
Copenhagen has plenty of great outdoor spaces, each with their own USP: go to The Botanical Garden for a cornucopia of exotic plant life, or The King’s Garden for pretty flowerbeds. The latter also has a playground and puppet shows – they’re in Danish, but perhaps your kids won’t even care (or if they’re anything like you, they’ll love the challenge). Other parks, like Skydebanehaven in Vesterbro, are staffed – so they can take part in activities like treasure hunts and sports while you quaff the local coffee.