Copenhagen’s best free attractions
While capital cities are often expensive, Copenhagen offers many free activities and won’t have you constantly reaching for your wallet. Here are some of the best things to do in Copenhagen, and they don’t cost a thing. That way you have money left over for other fun activities. Or you can opt for a more luxurious hotel in the center of Copenhagen!
The Strøget, Copenhagen’s famous pedestrian shopping area is an experience not to be missed, as long as you can resist temptation and stick to window shopping! It’s possibly the longest shopping street in Europe and it’s fascinating to observe the change in character as you progress down the street.
- Start your walk at Rådhuspladsen where shops and food outlets are priced for the more budget-minded, and stroll all the way to Kongens Nytorv at the other end. A very expensive area, numerous exclusive designer stores such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Chanel are located here.
- The atmosphere is lively in the Strøget with street performers taking advantage of the high pedestrian traffic to display their talents, and you can expect to be entertained with plenty of music and performing arts as you wander.
Free City Guided Tour
A free, three hour guided walking tour of the city is led daily by enthusiastic volunteers during the summer season. As you walk, you’ll learn about Tivoli, the Danish Royal family, Danish wartime resistance and more. Join the tour at the steps of City Hall at 11am.
Copenhagen’s magnificent Botanical Gardens cover 10 hectares in the center of town and contain more than 13,000 species. Started in 1600 the gardens were originally located elsewhere. After moving twice, they finally settled on their current location in 1870. The gardens feature a complex arrangement of 27 glasshouses, the oldest of which is Palm House (1874). There is also an air-conditioned greenhouse which creates a suitable environment for Arctic plants.
Free Festivals and Events
Copenhagen hosts a number of free festivals. In July, music abounds all over the city during the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2023 takes place from June 30 – July 9. The festival has no particular location, and live jazz events occur in the smallest cafes, parks, on the streets, in clubs and event centers, and most are free. Other notable festivals are Midsummer’s Eve, and the Copenhagen Architecture and Design Days when buildings not normally open to the public are made available.
The National Museum
Many of Copenhagen’s museums have free entry, including the National Museum. Located in the impressive Prince’s Palace, it features exhibits of the Stone Age, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Modern Danish History.
- The permanent collections contain national treasures including a 3,000 year old Sun Chariot and artifacts from the Viking era. Try the one hour self-guided History of Denmark or Family Tour.
- The museum also hosts special exhibitions, such as the traveling Viking exhibition centered around a Viking ship discovered in 1997.
- Families can enjoy the Children’s Museum designed to engage the imagination of younger visitors, with activities such as visiting a Viking House or a Knight’s fortress or raiding in a Viking ship.
The World’s Oldest Amusement Park
Dyrehavsbakken (Bakken) is approximately 12 km north of Copenhagen, beside the beautiful Dyrehaven woods. Before visiting Bakken, spend time amongst these 400 year old trees where thousands of deer roam.
- Wander through Bakken and enjoy a picnic and free entertainment. There are daily clown performances, an open-air stage, and a Circus Review, as well as the cabaret singers of the Bakkens Hvile music hall.
- Roller-coasters, rides, and games are available for a fee and there are numerous restaurants and food shacks.