There are plenty of things to do on a family trip to Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark. My husband and I moved into our Copenhagen apartment around 2009 and we love living here.
We live in Nørrebro which is now one of the trendiest places to live. Lots of families have since moved to Nørrebro and the playgrounds and parks are swamped with life and joyful feelings. From here we are just 2.5 kilometers to the city center. We have a perfect base to go and enjoy the rest of Copenhagen on our weekends and holidays. Sometimes we rent our apartment on Airbnb. You are welcome to see if it matches your next trip to our capital city. Contact me via the comments for further info.
I want to share with you the best 8 things to see and do, that are both cultural, and fun, for a family trip to Copenhagen. And be sure to see the travel tips at the end of the article!
1: Changing of the guard at Amalienborg Castle
Amalienborg Castle is home to the Danish Royal Family. The Royal Life Guard stands watch at Amalienborg and the other royal castles and palaces. Our Royal Family have existed for over 1000 years. You can catch the changing of the guard at the Amalienborg Castle at 12 noon every day.
The parade from the Life Guard Barracks on Gothersgade, Copenhagen starts at 11.27am. The march to Amalienborg passes, among other places, the Round Tower and Kongens Nytorv. The parade consists of a band of 36 musicians, a drum-and-fife corps with 12 drummers, and 36 guards. Shortly before 12.00 noon, the parade marches onto the palace square, where the watch being relieved stands at attention with rifles.
Afterwards, there is a changeover march between the watch being relieved and the watch reporting for duty. The flag, which is the distinctive mark of the command, is handed over by the flag lieutenant to the adjutant coming on duty. During the changeover march, music is played by the Band of the Royal Life Guards. You can follow the march from the beginning to the end.
We normally go to Amalienborg castle shortly before noon and wait for the march to arrive. From a distance, you can hear the musicians and the marching steps well before you see them rounding the corner and making their way across the palace square. This is always a fun, easy activity for children and adults; it truly is a must on your family vacation in Copenhagen.
2: Rosenborg Castle
Rosenborg Castle was built by one of the most famous of all Scandinavian kings, Christian IV. Dating from the early 16th century this Renaissance pleasure castle is set in the King’s Garden in the heart of Copenhagen.
Beautifully preserved, Rosenborg Castle is the perfect place for a treasure hunt and a journey back through time. You can experience 400 years of excellence, royal art treasures, the Danish Crown Jewels and much more.
We took our daughter for a Saturday trip and she absolutely loved it. Sometimes kids can go treasure hunting in the halls of the castle. We were all well entertained. And with a Copenhagen Card you get free entrance to the castle.
3: Family picnic in Kongens Have – the King’s Garden
The Kings Garden “Kongens Have” is the perfect place for a picnic lunch after visiting the crowns of the kings and queens at Rosenborg Castle. Just settle down on a blanket with a lovely lunch and rest for a bit in the royal settings. The Kings Garden in Copenhagen is the oldest royal garden in Denmark and was founded by King Christian IV as the kitchen garden for Rosenborg Castle.
In the King’s Garden you will find an adventure playground, cafes, beautiful gardens, and in the months of June – August look for the Marionette Theatre situated in a corner of the park. The puppet shows are daily at 2 and 3pm, except Mondays. In summertime many families, students, and visitors come to enjoy the nice weather and have a drink. Look for the statue of Hans Christian Andersen as well. And if the Jazz festival is on there will be music in the air.
4: Canal tour
Sightseeing from a boat is a calm way to explore Copenhagen with kids. It is a nice relaxing break for everyone, and at the same time, it adds to the family experience.
If you’re looking for a smaller boat and a more personal touch, check out Hey Captain Boat Tours.
Otherwise, you can hop into the bigger canal boats. In summertime, the boats are open to the air and magnificent views. In winter the boats are covered and heated. There are different places you can start your canal tour. All of them will pass by Copenhagen’s more famous sights and attractions.
If you have your Copenhagen Card a canal tour is already included. Copenhagen Cardholders must depart from Ved Stranden. Other canal tours depart from Nyhavn or Gammel Strand.
5: Reffen Copenhagen – street food
This is the largest street food market in all of the Nordic countries, and without a doubt, there is something for everyone’s taste. Especially if you’re a foodie – you will want to take your time, and check their website for events.
At Reffen 6.000 m2 of gastronomy, entrepreneurship, passion, craftsmanship, culture, and community come together at the water’s edge. All stall owners and kitchen-concepts are carefully selected for three years at a time. “Reduce and reuse” are two important philosophies that everyone shares.
6: Tivoli Gardens amusement park
Every family trip to Copenhagen must include Tivoli Gardens! It is centrally located in front of the Central Station and a few minutes walking distance from City Hall. Founded in 1843 the park has been a Danish treasure and major attraction ever since. Fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen visited the park many times during his life, and Walt Disney found the inspiration to his own Disney World here. Tivoli has something for everyone.
Expect beautiful scenery, exotic gardens, historical buildings and rides. And at night it comes alive with thousands of colored lights which truly adds to the fairy tale atmosphere.
My daughter absolutely loves coming here!
With a Tivoli Pass we visit all year round since seasonal holidays are celebrated in its own way in Tivoli. Sometimes we come just to go on the playgrounds, watch the ballet and theater shows or for a pancake at the pancake house.
A Copenhagen Card will get you entrance to the park, but you will have to pay additional for rides, etc.
At the gates you can buy entrance to the park without tickets for the amusement’s rides, or entrance plus tickets for selected rides, or entrance plus a wristband which allows for everything including rollercoaster rides. Tivoli’s oldest and most popular ride is the wooden roller coaster from 1914.
During summertime, my husband and I sometimes go for the concerts. Every Friday evening Tivoli hosts a selected Danish or international artists. The concerts are included in the entrance fee. You can find all sort of restaurants with prices ranging from €€ to €€€. But you can also bring your own blanket and lunch pack.
Expect to spend 3-6 hours of your time in the park.
7: Bike your way around
Rent a family cargo bike and transport your kids in Copenhagen style. This is a really fun and easy way to go around the city. The kids will love it, and I promise that with separate bike lanes, you will too.
The city’s infrastructure and flat landscape is perfect for cycling.
Even though Copenhagen is a capital city you can easily explore the whole of it from a bike seat. At Be Copenhagen helmets, locks, lights, and maps are included in the price, but really the rental places are countless.
8: Relaxing in Dragør
There is an intimate and original feel to the village of Dragør. Located just 12 km from the city center of Copenhagen, the town has many beautiful historic houses. The oldest part of the town is especially picturesque with narrow cobblestone streets and colorful, painted houses built in traditional Danish style.
Dragør was originally founded in the 12th century. In the 16th century the King invited Dutch settlers to grow vegetables for the Royal Court and with that, the town quickly grew bigger. Fishing also played an important role. Today the settlements remain, and you can experience the special atmosphere.
During the summer the town hosts local festivals of art, food, and music, as well as markets. See their website for details on their events. Sometimes the locals dress up in regional costumes and relive the past. On the main street, you will find small shops and art galleries, and at the harbor you can enjoy nice sea views from the many excellent restaurants and cafés on the waterfront. Dragør also has child-friendly beaches and facilities for swimming in the sea. I often go there in the summertime with my daughter to swim and enjoy a day away from the busy life of living in our capital city.
Transportation: Bus 350S runs from Copenhagen City and bus 35 from the airport. You are allowed to bring strollers in the buses, and small children are free of charge. If you come by car there is free parking at the Dragør fortress close by the beach.
- With a Copenhagen Card you get free admission to Tivoli, Rosenborg Castle and over 80 attractions as well as free public transportation in the whole capital region.
- The currency in Denmark is the Danish Kroner (DKK). Most places will accept Euros but the exchange rate will not be in your favor.
- There are eight tourist offices around Copenhagen that will help you get the most out of your family trip.
- If you need to transport or leave your luggage somewhere safe in Copenhagen, check the options here.
For another great article by Christina see her itinerary of Gibraltar in 1 day with kids.