Get your fill of the Danes’ characteristic style at these notable city boutiques.
Danes are known for the simplicity yet functionality of their design: it’s all clean lines and impeccable taste. Their hallmark minimalist style emulates hygge (a word that loosely translates to ‘comfort’) and appears effortlessly chic as they whizz past you on their bikes—the main mode of transport, which, too, commands a distinct look. In addition to being known as one of the world’s most livable cities, Copenhagen is a hub for practical yet fashionable home goods, clothing, jewelry, and design. Here’s where to go when you’re in town and on the hunt.
This car-free, main shopping thoroughfare stretches 3,000 feet from the center of the city, which means you are guaranteed to find a store you love. With mainstream brands from H&M to Gucci and Hermes to local retailers like Strøme, you’re likely to spend a full day weaving in and out of different storefronts. Dotted with street performers, the stretch also is home to historic sites like the Rundetårn, a large cylinder tower dating to the 1640s that combines a church, library, and observatory. Climb the whitewashed spiral staircase within the tower up to Europe’s oldest observatory.
Set aside some time to explore Hay, which will no doubt give you ample home design inspiration. There are three floors of showrooms featuring Danish modern design—bold silhouettes notable in the sofas, dining tables, and chairs. Magasin du Norde is the flagship location of Denmark's largest chain, stocked with housewares from gilded planters to wrought-iron light fixtures by Normann Copenhagen, Ferm Living, and Muuto.
Illum Bolighus is a little more refined, displaying Nordic designers like Finn Juhl and his famous Poet couch (at a significant markdown of $6,000) and pieces by Flos, Royal Copenhagen, and Le Klint artfully displayed throughout.
Luxury fashion can be found inside Birger Christensen, a city institution whose doors have been open since 1869. Here, you can snap up a carefully curated selection of Marni, Celine, Moncler, and Givenchy.
The more peaceful Gammel Mont is lined with boutiques Marc Jacobs and Christian Louboutin. Stop in Holly Golightly, which pairs Nordic high-end designers with international brands (think The Row and Marni), selling accessories, beauty (Aesop), clothing, and shoes. Acne and the infamous Storm are a short block away. Han Kjobenhavn, named after the traditional spelling of Copenhagen, is a primarily menswear designer that blurs the line of high-end and affordable streetware. Step in if only to drool at the handmade leather goods, like supple iPad cases (which also look great as a clutch) or the natural tanned leather shaving kit.
As you head toward Copenhagen University, keep an eye out for Sogreni bike shop, a tiny, tucked away shop that is easy to miss. An essential part of life in Copenhagen, the simple, retro-inspired designs of handcrafted bikes are beloved by locals. They come for the hand-made metal bike bells; the copper-coated one is a perennial pick for best gift.
The west Copenhagen neighborhood of Vesterbro is full of offbeat, quirky shops nestled among hip cocktail bars and restaurants. What was once the Red Light District is now the home of some of the hottest restaurants in the city, as well as the best bike shops and artisan food boutiques. On Istedgade, the main shopping street, shops like Designer Zoo, sell homewares, crafts, and jewelry. The two-story building houses seven workshops where you can see artisans at work.
A quaint lane filled with boutiques and some of the city's finest restaurants, Jægersborggade was once one of the more desolate parts of town. Stroll down Nørrebro-street and spend the day discovering gems tucked in the ground floors of apartment buildings, a stark contrast from the highly commercial Stroget.
Keramiker creates delicate, almost paper-like ceramics ideal for gifts—it also supplies the neighboring powerhouse restaurants with its plates and bowls. Grab a coffee from Denmark java institution The Coffee Collective and handmade caramels from Karamelleriat.
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is easily accessible on a picturesque 40-minute train ride from Norreport. The converted home is notable as a milestone in Danish architecture, and within is a large collection of impressionist and expressionist works, including many by Claude Monet.
Beyond the art and impressive grounds, the gift shop boasts local arts and crafts, clothing, books, home goods, and jewelry. Nab a Danish-designed alpaca throw, an oversized knit sweater, or a unique stone vase before getting lost amid the epic collection of books.
Before you go, know that Copenhagen Airport has some of the best shopping of all travel hubs. Grab a traditional loaf of Danish rye bread at Smorresbord; and Illium and Royal Copenhagen have outposts in the terminals, too.