What’s the deal with Nørrebro?
This music and food mecca has a colourful, riotous history – so it perhaps isn’t surprising that still today, Nørrebro is Copenhagen’s buzziest district. And also: that it came top in our annual ranking of the world’s coolest neighbourhoods in 2021. Congrats, guys!
So why, exactly? Sure, you can find traditional Danish cuisine like smørrebrod here with ease (definitely hit up Selma). But the real draw of Nørrebro is its wide-ranging diversity, bolstered by a generous dose of community spirit. This, after all, is where the city’s huge Pride march took place this summer, and it’s also where any notable (peaceful) political protests tend to kick off.
Throughout the neighbourhood, a diverse range of shops, bars and restaurants sit side by side – creating a feel reminiscent of a tidier, prettier Dalston or maybe Neukölln. You’ll find award-winning Thai restaurants, the city’s finest schwarma and falafel and African fusion menus of all stripes (Sasaa’s Ghanaian peanut curry slays).
Fabulous, kitschy vintage lighting from across Scandinavia can be found at Europe’s premier lamp emporium, while bars range from charming dives to upmarket natural wine lounges. One of the city’s most revered new music venues, meanwhile, will impress with its ever-eclectic programme. Whoever said the Danes were a quiet bunch?
If you only do one thing
Pig the eff out. As you may well know, Copenhagen is all about long, leisurely, candelit meals. Try the moreish chicken burger and silky, eye-wateringly hot fried mapo tofu at Poulette, the sister kitchen to natural wine bar Pompette next door. Exquisite yet unpretentious all-round. If you’re looking for more natural wine, Bar Vivant is also good (and only a five-minute walk away).
Rent a swan pedalo (or ice skate)
Head to Queen Louise’s Bridge, which you pass as you enter and leave Nørrebro, and you’ll find one of those classic swan pedalo rentals you’ll find in cities the world over. Here, it’s definitely worth it – you’ll get properly amazing views of the lakes and the old apartment building that line them. Note, also, that in winter the city gives the go-ahead for ice skating on the lakes’ frozen surface.
Picnic next to Danish royalty
Take in the evergreen firs of Assistens Kirkegård cemetery, the final resting place of fairytale boss Hans Christian Andersen and philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. You’re allowed to picnic here, so stock up on wraps, salads and sauces from Dürüm Symfoni or Ahaaa – or sustainable sushi from Selfish – and bring along a new purchase from Ark Books on nearby Møllegade.
Shelter from the Nordic chill
If it’s nippy out (which it definitely will be in autumn and winter), we’d suggest hiding out in aforementioned lamp emporium Hot Kotyr on Nørrebrogade. Next, browse Prag and other second-hand shops on the same street and nearby Elmegade. Come evening, you’ll want to check out music venue Alice, where you’ll catch everything from jazz to noise rock.
Meet the locals at a dive bar
Since you’re in Copenhagen, you should probably try to get to know some Danes – and there are few places better than Nørrebro’s many dive bars, where the regs will greet you loudly amid the jukeboxes and billiards tables. We’d recommend Esrom Kro, Props or Harbo.
How to get there
From the airport, take the yellow-line metro to Nørreport (around 15 minutes) and then walk for five to ten minutes. Alternatively, switch to the ring metro at Kongens Nytorv and take it to Nørrebros Runddel. You can also get buses 5C and 6A, but as almost anyone will tell you: Copenhagen is cheapest, funnest and easiest to get around on bike. Hire one along Nørrebrogade.