Vesterbro ,


Stretching to the west of central Copenhagen's picturesque cobblestones and church steeples, Vesterbro's 19th-century apartment blocks and storefronts have never lacked for color. The area has been, by turns, a working-class enclave, a hub for noth African immigrants in the 70's and 80's, and, in the 90's, a nexus for university students seeking cheap housing and a lively nightlife. Throughout, it has maintained a reputation as Copenhagan's to Amsterdam's Red Light District - sometimes not inaccurately. But consider Versterbro today: sparked a decade ago by a trickle, and then a flood, of young professionals, fashion designers, and artists, the neighborhood's evolution has turned it into a cleaned-up, dressed-up, downright chic destination for the city's - and increasingly, the world's - dedicated followers of cool. But in typically Danish fashion, Vesterbro has retained undertones of its previous lives: Istedgade is still dotted with halal markets and denlike student bars; and at Ricco's, a doorway-wide coffeehouse, you might sip your faultless caffe corretto while squeezed in between a retired bricklayer and a fashion major from Seoul. Granted there's not proliferation of cobblestones and steeples here; but as truly authentic neighborhoods go, it doesn't get any better.