The Cultivist Guide to Copenhagen

The art world’s exclusive concierge shares its shortlist of what to see and do in the dynamic city

Copenhagen's historic Nyhavn district.
Photo: Thomas Høyrup Christensen

No wonder Copenhagen gets routinely rated as one of the happiest places on earth. Denmark’s capital boasts a colorful waterfront, bike-friendly streets (electric Bycyklen bicycles are available 24/7), and a devotion to the arts—from museums exhibiting blue-chip Old Masters to cutting-edge shops filled with inventive design. Add to that 15 restaurants with at least one Michelin star and a patriotic duty, extended to visitors, to celebrate the Danish notion of hygge—the pursuit of cozy.

Marlies Verhoeven Reijtenbagh, of the Cultivist—a members-only global arts club that provides insider info and special access to museums, fairs, and art-world events—shares tips on what to see, where to eat and sleep, and how best to embrace hygge in this dynamic city. 

Where to Stay 

Opening this fall, Hotel Sanders is already creating buzz as the new place to stay for luxury-seeking travelers. Photo: Courtesy of Hotel Sanders
The Nimb Hotel, a Moorish confection in Tivoli Gardens, is notable not only for its unique location, but also for its serene Scandinavian interiors. Photo: Courtesy of the Nimb Hotel
A major renovation of the 260-year-old Hotel d’Angleterre, an iconic palace appealing to rock stars and royalty, is made even more attractive by its Michelin-starred restaurant, Marchal. Photo: Courtesy of Hotel d’Angleterre

Where to Eat 

Butcher, baker, farmer, florist—the best place to get a picture of the Copenhagen food scene is at the buzzing Torvehallerne food hall. Photo: Courtesy of Torvehallerne
One of the oldest restaurants in Copenhagen, Schønnemann is the perfect lunch spot for a beloved Scandinavian tradition: pickled herring and a beer. Photo: Courtesy of Schønnemann
Some of the capital’s best smørrebrød is found at the superchic Royal Smushi Café, named for its clever (and tasty) classic Danish cuisine presented to look like bite-size pieces of sushi. Photo: Courtesy of the Royal Smushi Café

What to See 

A survey of the legendary performances of artist Marina Abramović is on exhibit at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art through October. The waterside museum and sculpture park, on the outskirts of Copenhagen, is a marvel of Danish architecture, lauded for its seamless transitions between art, architecture, and the landscape. Photo: Courtesy of the Louisiana Museum
A pilgrimage to the home of Finn Juhl should be on any design aficionado’s itinerary. A 20-minute drive from the city center, the charming residence of the furniture designer is now part of the Ordrupgaard Museum, which also features a striking addition by Zaha Hadid. Photo: Courtesy of the Ordrupgaard Museum