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Icy winters don’t prevent Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital city, from being one of Scandinavia’s hottest destinations in Northern Europe.
A fishing village until the mid-12th century, Copenhagen is now a bustling metropolis heavily influenced by jazz, architecture and design, and the arts. Among the city’s major industries are electronics, pharmaceuticals, and textiles.
As for the people: “Danes are really laid-back,” says Kenneth Smith, a former coach with the Denmark Basketball Federation. “The lifestyle here is not a rat race.” Originally from Dallas, Smith headed overseas to play ball in 1977. He’s lived in Copenhagen off and on for nearly a decade and now coaches youth basketball leagues. Here are a few of his suggestions off the court.
AROUND TOWN : Copenhagen
- The Radisson SAS Scandinavia, sister to the Royal, is the city’s largest hotel. Located about half a mile outside downtown Copenhagen, its amenities include themed rooms, four restaurants, and a casino. (Amager Boulevard 70; 011-45-33-96-50-00)
Designed by Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, the Radisson SAS Royal is a Copenhagen landmark. A central location with modern conference facilities and views overlooking the Tivoli Gardens, the Royal is a favorite with tourists and business travelers, says Smith. (Hammerichsgade 1; 011-45-33-42-60-00)
- Hotel Skt. Petri is Copenhagen’s newest luxury hotel. Formerly a department store,this trendy boutique hotel features guest rooms outfitted with contemporary furniture and monochromatic color schemes. (Krystalgade 22; 011-45-33-45-91-00)
- For a culinary feast and comfy ambience, head over to Peder Oxe. A cozy hearth anchors this bistro’s main dining room, which features hanging lights that patrons can use to call servers. The chocolate nougat cake made with Belgian chocolate is a must have. (GrÃ¤brÃ¸dretorv 11; 011-45-33-11-00-77)oo The Restaurant Wiinblad, located in the renowned Hotel D’Angleterre, offers one of the city’s more opulent dining experiences. Decorative tiles adorn the walls, which are decked out in rich shades of blue. “The food is excellent,” says Smith. (Kongens Nytorv 34; 011-45-33-37-06-45)
- Saturday nights, Konrad is the place to be seen. It’s a restaurant during the day, but after dining hours the staff put up the tables and chairs to prepare for the crowd. American music stays in heavy rotation. (PilestrÃ¦de 12-14; 011-45-33-93-29-29)
- From the hundreds of newspaper clippings lining the walls of JazzHouse, it’s clear that Danes are passionate about jazz. The club features local and famous acts year-round. But the real party doesn’t start until after hours, when JazzHouse opens up its lower level as a nightclub. “It’s a place where you may see people from all walks of life,” says Smith. (Niels Hemmingsens Gade 10; 011-45-33-15-47-00)
This city is made for walking, but bikes are the transportation of choice. Subways and buses connect Copenhagen to its suburbs; a cab ride is ideal for shorter journeys around the city.
Danish is the official language of Denmark, but English is widely spoken. If you’re traveling from the U.S., only a passport is required. The U.S. Embassy is located at Dag HammarskjÃ¶lds AllÃ¨ 24 (011-45-35-55-31-44).
Denmark’s currency is the Krone. As of press date, US$1 equaled $6.17 Krone.