A local’s guide to Copenhagen
- By Lisa Abend
- Photos by Ulf Svane
When Copenhagen’s urban planners realized that cyclists coming over the bridge from Norrebro were riding over the sidewalk to turn down a one-way street, they didn’t post police to stop them from making the illegal crossing; they installed a new bike lane to make it easier for the cyclists. It’s that kind of attention that makes the Danish capital the most livable of cities.
With ample green spaces, an inner-city harbor clean enough that anyone can — and does — swim in it, and laws that require all housing to be within 500 meters of public transportation, the municipal government takes its citizens’ well-being seriously. But so, it seems, does everyone else: Cafes brighten the long winter nights with candlelight; the summer is full of outdoor dance classes, movie screenings, and music festivals; and bars and cinemas hold “baby and me” happy hours, during which parents park their prams — and their infants, that’s how trusting everyone is — outside. And as Copenhagen consolidates its leadership in fields like cuisine, design and sustainability, it’s also becoming a more diverse and interesting place.
Meet Lisa Abend
Lisa has lived in Copenhagen since 2014 but still regularly gets asked by mystified Danes why she ever left her previous home in Madrid. The answer is complicated, but includes the thriving food scene, the extraordinarily high quality of life and a personal affinity for real weather.
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Explore more of Copenhagen
- The only people who use those electric scooters now crowding the bike lanes and sidewalks are tourists and teenage boys. Everyone else thinks they’re lazy and silly at best, a menace at worst.
- That said, if you’re going to ride a bike (and you should), please learn the proper hand signals and use them. And support local businesses by renting from a neighborhood shop.
- Smorrebrod is for lunch only.