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Signs on Jægersborggade (Image: Visit Copenhagen)

Exploring the “bros” – Copenhagen’s hippest districts

Signs on Jægersborggade (Image: Visit Copenhagen)
U.K. Executive Editor
Adam Coulter

Last updated
Nov 29, 2023

Read time
10 min read

Sponsored by Cruise Copenhagen

It’s hard to know how to top the accolade of “World’s Coolest Neighbourhood,” from hipster handbook Time Out, but Nørrebro – one of the three so-called “bros” that comprise Copenhagen’s coolest neighbourhoods – hasn’t let that affect its essential character.

Time Out gave the coveted award to Nørrebro for its diverse history, ultramodern architecture, flourishing foodie scene and cool initiatives like Car Free Sunday where traffic gives way to live music and open-air markets.

Meanwhile neighbouring bro, Vesterbro is not far behind in the cool stakes, winning the “5th Coolest Street in the World” award for Vaernedamsvej, for retaining its neighbourhood feel and independent shops.

Which leaves Østerbro, which may not be quite as hip and happening as its neighbours, but makes an ideal spot for families, with parks, waterfront strolls and bike paths.

The bros are not so much about castles, museums and famous sights (although there are many beautiful places to visit), but more for the people, the shops, the dining – and just enjoying a coffee and watching the world walk by.

And the best thing about them? – all three border the city centre and are easy to get to – just a short taxi or metro ride from your cruise terminal.

In this article, we take a deep dive into what the bros can offer the cruise passenger – whether that’s in the form of top-notch dining, cool designer gear or gorgeous parks and waterfronts.

Nørrebro: Copenhagen’s most culturally diverse (and tasty) neighbourhood

How to get there: Take the 25 bus from outside the cruise terminal (Oceankaj) to Orientkaj Metro Station. From here, take the M4 line two stops to Østerport, then switch to the M3.

Where to eat in Nørrebro

Cafe scene in Nørrebro Copenhagen (Image: Visit Copenhagen)

Hungry? You’re in the right place. Nørrebro’s cultural diversity has lent itself to a vast amount of varied cuisine, whether that’s ramen, tacos, shwarma, Thai, local seafood – or even pan-African in the form of Sasaa (rated 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor), which takes you on a cultural journey across the continent, from Morocco to Mozambique.

Other standout Kiin Kiin is Copenhagen’s first Michelin-starred Asian restaurant and the only Thai restaurant outside Thailand with a Michelin star – which it has had for 10 consecutive years. But if you want to try the city’s newest Michelin-starred restaurant, check out JATAK, an eclectic fusion of New Nordic, Cantonese and Vietnamese from a former noma chef.

Pompette Restaurant in Copenhagen (Image: Giuseppe Liverino, @tourbillondelavie)

If you are looking for delicious seafood at reasonable prices, try Oysters & Grill, which serves up a wide selection of local catches – cooked how you like. Pompette (French for "tipsy") is a wine bar which specialises in natural wines at reasonable prices.
Pro tip: If you’re peckish, try the restaurant’s tasty Danish-made burrata cheese.

Did someone mention shwarma? The dish is so popular there is even an annual competition, which takes place in the heart of the district on Nørrebrogade.

What to do in Nørrebro

Superkilen Urban Park Copenhagen (Image: Giuseppe Liverino)

Apart from wonderful food, Nørrebro is also known for its excellent shopping. Take a stroll along Ravnsborggade, once known solely for antique shops, but today you’ll find vintage fashion shops, independent retailers and of course plenty of cafes and restaurants.

One of the hippest streets in Nørrebro right now is Jægersborggade, which like much of the rest of this neighbourhood, has gone from sketchy to happening in the space of just a few years. This small residential street is home to more than 40 art galleries, boutique shops, vintage stores, designers and plenty of restaurants and cafes, including The Coffee Collective, a micro-roastery and coffee consultancy. And don’t miss Terroiristen, an underground wine bar specialising in organic grape varietals.

The area is also home to a series of man-made rectangular lakes, which separate Nørrebro from the centre and are perfect for a stroll, a run, a bike ride or taking out a pedalo.

Superkilen (pictured) is an urban park with a difference, made by Bjarne Ingels Group, also behind Copenhill, the Danish Maritime Museum and many more well-known buildings. Reflecting the area’s diversity, the park is divided up into three distinct, colour-coded spaces – Red Square, Black Market and Green Park – each with its own character; Red has an urban vibe with a café, music and sports; black is a classic park, with fountains and benches, while green is for strolling and dog walking. All three are designed to bring communities together.

Where to go out in Nørrebro

Bar in Nørrebro Copenhagen (Image: Daniel Rasmussen)

For drinks there’s a vast choice of venues, but some of the best include Nørrebro Bryghus, a brewery, restaurant and bar located in the heart of the district which serves 100% organic beer and Scandinavian cuisine; BRUS, which has a great selection of craft brews and pub grub and Gaarden & Gaden, a vast wine bar with at 500 different wines to try, as well as specialty beers and a wide selection of farm-to-table produce.

Vesterbro: From red-light district to Copenhagen’s hippest district

How to get there: Take the 25 bus from outside the cruise terminal (Oceankaj) to Orientkaj Metro Station. From here, take the M4 line two stops to Østerport, then switch to the M3.

Jægersborggade one of the hippest streets in Copenhagen (Image: Visit Copenhagen)

Funny how fortunes change. Not long ago, Vesterbro was only known as the red-light district, and there was only one reason to visit here. However, in recent years this district has enjoyed a huge renaissance, with whole areas given significant facelifts including Sønder Boulevard, which as well as adding green spaces is now lined with great cafes and restaurants.

Today, Vesterbro can now lay claim to being the hippest district in the city.

Yes, there are still sex shops and a red light district, but they sit comfortably alongside hipster restaurants, tattoo parlours, eclectic fashion, family living and some of the best nightlife in the city (it’s worth adding a day or two on at the beginning or end of your cruise to enjoy the sights and sounds of this bro).

It even has its own meatpacking district (Kødbyen), which adds an extra layer of hip, with warehouses turned into cultural spaces, bars and restaurants, attracting some of the city’s most stylish crowds.

Where to go out in Vesterbro

Mikeller Bar Copenhagen (Image: @kennethkulaursen/Instagram)

One such space has been given over to Warpigs, a vast brew pub, which has a restaurant serving authentic Texas bbq with a brewery attached serving up an astonishing 22 American-Danish style craft beers.

Another well-known brewery is Mikeller, where you’ll find taps from Mikeller and a selection of top beers from around the world (there is another Mikkeler bar, Mikeller and Friends in the Nørrebro district).

Home of Carlsberg Copenhagen (Image: Daniel Rasmussen)

Speaking of breweries, the most famous local brew is of course Carlsberg. Probably. On December 1st, the Home of Carlsberg (as it will be known) opens its doors to the public for the first time – in the site of the original Carlsberg brewery and in a new area called Carlsberg City District. This completely new attraction (the original, Visit Carlsberg has been shut since 2018), will include an expanded exhibition space from 1,000 sq m to 3,000 sq m, an historic protected area including a restaurant and bar, a horse stable, beer tastings, guided tours and a vast bottle collection!

What to do in Vesterbro

Sønder Boulevard in Copenhagen (Image: Visit Copenhagen)

The renaissance of this area is encapsulated by the sheer number of independent shops that have sprung up selling everything from vintage fashion, contemporary design, and independent jewellery stores. Check out Designer Zoo, where you can see the designers fashioning jewellery, crafts and ceramics in their workshops.

If you want a break from shopping then head to Enghaveparken, a beautiful park in the heart of the district which was given a massive refresh and re-opening in 2019. This park is designed to face the climate emergency head on: you won’t see them, but there are 600 reservoirs just under the surface, which are used for everything from street cleaning to providing fresh water to the neighbourhood.

Or Sønder Boulevard, pictured, which got a major facelift in 2007, which added green spaces and play areas for families.

Østerbro: Upmarket shopping, family friendly and a city beach

How to get there: Take the 25 bus from outside the cruise terminal (Oceankaj) to Orientkaj Metro station. From here, take the M4 line two stops to Østerport, then switch to the M3.

What to do in Østerbro

Children's Traffic Playground Faelledparken (Image: Visit Copenhagen)

Østerbro is the nearest of the three bros to get to from the cruise terminal, just a 12-minute cab ride to the heart of the neighbourhood or just over 20 minutes by public transport.

The district is one of the city’s more upmarket neighbourhoods, and has a wide choice of high-end shopping options, as well as some wonderful restaurants and cafes.

Østerbro is also the greenest of the three bros, and boasts the largest park in Copenhagen, Fælledparken, perfect for a stroll, a picnic or a bike ride, and if you’re coming with kids, head to the Children’s Traffic Playground, located within the park. Aimed at two- to eight-year-olds (bike and helmet rental is free), the space is designed like a typical urban street scene (without the cars, of course), complete with traffic lights, road signs, road markings, bike paths and even petrol stations.

Svanemølle urban beach Copenhagen (Image: Visit Copenhagen)

Østerbro also has a 4,000 square metre sandy beach, created in June 2010: Svanemølle, which has a 130m-long pier and is just a 9-minute cab ride from the cruise terminal – in fact you can probably see it from your ship.

And you ought not to miss The Citadel, built by King Christian 4 in 1626, and marking the border with inner Copenhagen, it’s used as a military barracks, but is open to the public.

Shopping in Østerbro

Østerbro is known for upscale shopping and has a number of shops and boutiques scattered across the district, with the greatest concentration in Østerbrogade and Nordre Frihavnsgade. Check out Bahne for refined, understated fashion for men, women and children; Wauw, specialising in exquisite hand-made ceramics; and Vintage 199 for retro fashion.

Where to eat

Østergro Rooftop Garden Østerbro (Image: Giuseppe Liverino)

Guide Michelin Nordic Cities 2022 has awarded a total of 24 stars to 14 restaurants in Copenhagen –Geranium tops the list (as does noma, but it closes next year); the only two restaurant in Denmark with three stars, and located in Østerbro (in fact it’s atop an eight-storey building in the middle of the Fælledparken) and won Best Restaurant in the World in 2022 (so you might struggle to get a reservation unless you book several months in advance), with chef Rasmus Kofoed (Best Chef in the World in 2011) at the helm.

You might have better luck snagging a table at ØsterGRO, another rooftop restaurant – but this time with a farm attached to it (yes, a farm). Dinner is served in the greenhouse in the grounds and all food is naturally organic. For a more down to earth experience, try out the Laundromat Café, which does exactly what it suggests in the name, as well as serving breakfast and lunch at very reasonable prices.

Where to go out in Østerbro

Bar in Østerbro Copenhagen (Image:

Try Juno the Bakery for the best cardamom buns you’ve ever tasted (but be prepared to queue); and Kafferiet Copenhagen, a wonderful neighbourhood café for possibly the best coffee in town, and great sandwiches. Østerbro doesn’t lay claim to be the most happening of the bros when it comes to nightlife, but you will find a few neighbourhood bars worth exploring, among them Kompasset Olbar, a cosy maritime-themed bar with 10 changing beers on tap and 70 bottled beers and Soernes Olbar, a pub with 20 beers on tap.

Publish date November 29, 2023
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