by Candyce H. Stapen
Copenhagen is a great city for walkers. Take advantage of fall’s crisp weather and lower airfares to explore this city known for its parks, plazas and sleek Danish modern design.
A good place to start is at the Radhuspladsen. The town hall square pulses with activity. Moms push strollers; locals line up to buy hot dogs, called pølse, from street vendors; children cross en route to school; petitioners finish their cigarettes before business inside the imposing edifice and a seemingly endless supply of cyclists and cars ride by.
Shoppers cut through the square to reach the Magasin du Nord, a branch of the popular department store, a good place to look for local fashions. Hans Christian Andersen lived in the building when it served as the Hotel du Nord.
On nearby Hans Christian Andersens Boulevard a statue of the beloved writer graces the sidewalk. A few doors away the Danish Design Center presents examples of the post-World War II design the Danes made famous. The permanent exhibit showcases period staples such as brightly colored Malamine kitchenware and sleek chairs as well as the clever twenty-first century toys, Lego Bionicles.
Cross the street to the Glyptoteket, an art museum founded by the owner of the Carlsberg Breweries. Often overlooked, the museum gains fame for its collection of Greek and Roman antiquities and French Impressionists as well as for its roomful of Rodin sculptures and lush, palm tree lined courtyard, a nice place for lunch.
From here it’s a few blocks to well-known Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park with moderate (not gut-wrenching) rides, numerous restaurants, pretty gardens and outdoor concerts. Although Tivoli closes from mid-September to mid-April, in 2010 the park reopens October 15-24 for Halloween and from November 12 to December 30 for Christmas.
For another walk, head back to the Radhuspladsen and cross to the Strøget, Copenhagen’s famous pedestrian street and shopping Mecca. Places to browse for Danish tabletop items include Royal Copenhagen for china and Georg Jensen for silver. Illums Bolighus, a multi-level store, features these designers plus other first-class makers of lamps, china and high-end kitchenwares and more.
For coffee, fruit drinks or snacks, stop by the Royal Café, down an alley between the George Jensen and Royal Copenhagen stores. Refreshes, continue on. A few blocks away Englebørn offers brightly striped children’s clothing designed by Danes.
In Copenhagen, spending time by the harbor is a must. Another walk starts at Nyhavn, or “New Harbor,” established as a series of canals in the late 17th century in order to create a safe haven from storms and a means of transporting goods to the city. The streets are lined with picture-book pretty buildings, many housing restaurants that are good places to sample the Danish staple smørrebrød, an open-faced sandwich.
The DFDS tour boats depart from Nyhavn. Touristy but pleasant and a nice pause for tired feet, the one-hour boat trip delivers scenic views of the Opera House, historic churches and the city’s skyline.
SAS Airlines flies non-stop to Copenhagen from Washington, D.C., New York City (Newark, N.J). and Chicago, IL. The airlines economy extra seats are one inch wider and pitched to have six more inches of leg room than seats in coach, plus outlets for laptops. Currently, SAS offers good deals on economy extra and business class seats.