Vesterbro

The Vesterbro district: A complete guide to Copenhagen’s hipster hood

Vesterbro is surprisingly close to Copenhagen’s city center, but it feels like a world away. After undergoing significant transformation, the Vesterbro district in Copenhagen has become one of the Danish capital’s most desirable areas to live. 

Despite being just behind the central train station, many tourists head the other way toward the waterfront. And that’s a shame because the district of Vesterbro has a lot to offer — even if you might find its first few streets a little unconvincing at first. 

In Vesterbro, you’ll find a surprising abundance of green spaces. But that’s not all; this part of the city is home to eateries featuring cuisines from around the world, along with a mixture of intriguing cocktail bars. 

And yet, despite its change in fortunes since the 1960s, the neighborhood maintains its down-to-earth vibe. 

Keep reading for a complete guide on things to do, where to eat, and places to stay in Vesterbro.

Before we start…

We’ll dive deeper into the district in a moment, but it’s first worth understanding how close Vesterbro is to the city center. 

The neighborhood starts behind Copenhagen Central Station and stretches down toward part of the waterway that separates the islands of Sjælland and Amager. After that, it comes back inland and runs along the border with the Sydhavnen district. 

Vesterbro then comes up beside the outer edges of Vestre Kirkegård, which borders Valby, before also lining itself right next to Frederiksberg. The district’s other borders line along one side of Gammel Kongevej and part of Tivoli.

To help you get a better understanding, you’ll find a map below.

What to see and visit in Vesterbro

Copenhagen’s inner city is primarily about sightseeing, but Vesterbro is a little different. It’s more residential, and the main focus is instead on experiences. 

Don’t mistake that for Vesterbro being boring, though — because that’s far from the truth. Below, you’ll find our four top recommendations for things to see and visit in this part of the city.

Sankt Jørgens Sø

Sankt Jørgens Sø is the southernmost of “The Lakes”, a group of lakes that run through Copenhagen’s city center. It’s split by Kampmannsgade, a street that runs through the middle and connects Frederiksberg with the city center. 

Sankt Jørgens Sø is popular with locals, especially during the summer. When the weather’s warm, you’ll see plenty of Copenhageners enjoying a beer on the stairs behind the planetarium or going for an after-work run. 

Even when the weather doesn’t play fair, Sankt Jørgens Sø—and the other lakes, for that matter—are well worth a walk or jog around to escape the bustle behind them.

Vestre Kirkegård

Cemeteries in many parts of the world are pretty gloomy and depressing, but Denmark has done an excellent job of making places that help you connect with nature. Copenhagen has several examples of this, and one of the best is Vestre Kirkegård. 

Vestre Kirkegård features interesting tree linings and offers tranquility in a quieter part of Vesterbro. The cemetery is right next to Sydhavn and Carlsberg stations, and Valby is also not far away. You can also cycle there from the city center in around 15 minutes.

Vesterbro

Kødbyen

The (relatively rough) jewel in Vesterbro’s crown is undoubtedly Kødbyen, also known as the Meatpacking District.  

Kødbyen used to be where cattle were held before slaughtering, while several businesses operated in the area. Nowadays, it has been transformed into a place with cutting-edge restaurants and arguably the most vibrant nightlife in Copenhagen. 

Kødbyen also has a selection of galleries and exhibitions and is a place where events are held throughout the year.

Things to do in Vesterbro

The Vesterbro district in Copenhagen has more than enough to keep you entertained for a week. You could easily spend a lot of time hopping in and out of its various restaurants, even if doing so means that you’d run up a high bill. 

In addition to food and drink, you’ll find galleries, shopping opportunities, and more. Below, we’ve listed the best things to do in Vesterbro.

Palads Teatret

If you look behind the Axel Towers, you’ll notice a pink-colored building that stands out from everything around it. That building is Palads Teatret, which is one of Nordisk Film’s various theaters dotted throughout Denmark.

At Palads, you can watch all of the best new films. A selection of movies in both Danish and English are offered.

WarPigs

WarPigs is one of the best-known restaurants and bars in Kødbyen. The Texas-themed establishment is a joint venture between the world-renowned Danish beer brand Mikkeller and 3 Floyds, a brewery originating in the US. 

At WarPigs, you’ll find dozens of Mikkeller craft beers on tap. The menu changes regularly, so it’s worth coming back several times. You can order plenty of mouth-watering dishes; try the mac and cheese, and you won’t be disappointed.

GRØD

If you’re wondering why you’d want to spend money on eating porridge out, that was what many people thought when GRØD first opened in 2011. But since then, the chain has grown into one of Copenhagen’s most popular places to grab some breakfast and a coffee. 

GRØD has stores throughout the Danish capital, as well as in Aarhus. Its Vesterbro cafe is on the main street and right next to a restaurant called WOK. You can enjoy various intriguing porridge dishes, and the “ALL IN!” one is especially worth trying. 

Besides porridge and coffee, GRØD also serves smoothies, savory dishes, and more.

Iki Sushi

Copenhagen has several sushi options, and one of the best chains is Iki Sushi. One of its most popular stores is on Vesterbrogade. 

Iki Sushi is quite expensive, but the quality is noticeable. You can eat inside the restaurant, but takeout is also possible if you’re feeling a little lazy. The restaurant sells several kinds of sushi, along with Dim Sum, salads, starters, and more.

Vesterbro
Credit: Lidkøb

Lidkøb

If you stayed on the main street in Vesterbro, you wouldn’t notice that the Lidkøb cocktail bar existed. And that’s a shame because it’s one of the best places to have a lowkey drink with a friend or partner. 

Lidkøb has a good selection of cocktails; if you’re more interested in drinking beer, you’ll also find something that matches your taste. The bartenders will also help you pick the right choice if you’re struggling to make a decision yourself.

Camping Kødbyen

Heading back to the Meatpacking District, Camping is a fun spot to hang out if you’re visiting Copenhagen with a group of friends — or if you struck lucky on Tinder and want to impress your date. 

This bar’s main pull is a mini golf course that stretches across various rooms; all you need to do is go up to the bar and order a game. 

Inside Camping, you can purchase a wide range of beers, wines, and cocktails. If you’re feeling peckish, you can also order burgers, fries, and more. 

On Friday and Saturday nights, Camping turns into a nightclub that is open until 5am. However, you must be 23 or older to enter those events.

Shopping

People visiting from more conservative cultures might be shocked to discover Vesterbro’s various sex stores. But if that’s not your vibe, don’t worry — this part of the city has plenty of other shopping opportunities. 

It’s impossible to come to Copenhagen and not find yourself wowed by Danish design, and you’ll find plenty of stores to enjoy walking around in all districts. One of the best in Vesterbro is DANSK Made for Rooms, which specializes in furniture to help you kit out your new apartment. 

Closer to the waterfront and next to the iconic Cykelslangen bridge, Fisketorvet is a large shopping center that has almost everything you could want. You can buy sports clothing, books, fashion brands and more — and you can quench your hunger in one of several restaurants and cafes. 

When in Copenhagen, it’s also impossible not to notice the locals’ excellent dress sense. One place worth checking out for new threads in Vesterbro is Kyoto, which stocks several famous brands like SAND Copenhagen and ACNE.

Vesterbro
Credit: Guldsmeden Hotels

Places to stay in Vesterbro

Finding a place to live in Vesterbro is tough if you’re coming to move, and rent prices are some of the highest in Copenhagen. However, hotels in Vesterbro are plentiful.

Most of the central hotels in Copenhagen are actually in the Vesterbro district. Unlike Indre By, you’ll find a more comprehensive selection of accommodation for mid-range and lower-end budgets. 

Below, you’ll find four hotels worth looking at for each price range.

Top-end budgets 

If you don’t mind paying a little more, Vesterbro will give you a lot of high-end choices. Scandic is Scandinavia’s largest hotel chain and has several options throughout Copenhagen. 

Scandic Kødbyen is an atmospheric choice; you can rent bikes to get out and explore the city and can bring your pet along if you stay in one of the pet-friendly rooms. 

One of the grandest hotels in Copenhagen is Tivoli Hotel and Congress Center, conveniently located right next to the central train station. This huge complex has several rooms and suites and is also an excellent place for hosting meetings. The hotel caters to several demographics, ranging from business travelers to families. 

If you want to detach yourself from Kødbyen a little, Scandic Copenhagen is a good alternative to Scandic Kødbyen. The hotel is across the street from the city’s planetarium and in a large, gray skyscraper. Scandic Copenhagen has single, double, and family rooms available — plus suites if you’re looking for more luxury. 

Arguably Copenhagen’s most lavish hotel is Manon Les Suites, which on the inside looks like something you’d expect to see in Bali. In addition to luxury rooms and suites, you can treat yourself in the hotel’s spa. The hotel also has what it claims is the best breakfast in Copenhagen for an additional price.

Mid-range budgets

If you don’t want to spend thousands of kroner per night on a hotel, Vesterbro has many mid-range options. Wakeup is a popular Danish chain that focuses on comfortable stays at low prices and has a wide selection of rooms. You can also use the hotel’s business center if you need to get some work done on the go. 

CABINN is another large hotel chain in Denmark; it has hotels in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Aalborg, and other cities. CABINN City is next to the main train station and has rooms starting from 499kr per night. There’s also a place to eat breakfast, and you can get discounts if you travel as a family. 

Savoy Hotel’s prices can sometimes hike into the thousands, but it also has several rooms available for much less. The hotel is on Vesterbrogade and has both single and double rooms, along with suites. Savoy has a bar and lounge area, while breakfast in bed is also an option.

Hotel Ansgar is another centrally-located hotel which is close to Copenhagen Central Station. It caters to families and solo travelers, as well as people visiting the city for business. You can rent both bikes and cars, and an extensive breakfast menu is available.

Lower-end budgets

While Vesterbro is closer to the city center than many Copenhagen districts, it still caters to the budget traveler. Steel House Copenhagen is in an intriguing metal structure near Sankt Jørgens Sø and brands itself as a luxury hostel. You can choose to stay in a four or six-bed dorm, with private rooms also a possibility. 

Another affordable Vesterbro hotel is Urban House Copenhagen. Pets are welcome here for an extra price, and you can also get lunch packed for you for an additional fee. Several room types are available, and the hotel also has a kitchen. 

Annex Copenhagen is another hostel located in Vesterbro. Its rooms are bright and welcoming, and it’s not far from Kødbyen. If you want to drink before your night out, you can also enjoy the hostel’s bar. 

Also in Vesterbro (but right next to Copenhagen Central Station) is City Hotel Nebo on Istedgade. You can get your breakfast here if you choose to stay, and the hotel donates its profits to help homeless people in the Danish capital.

Vesterbro
Credit: Songkran

Transport in Vesterbro

Vesterbro is well-connected to the rest of Denmark, let alone Copenhagen, by public transport. You can enter the central train station by one of its back entrances, and you use the metro from both here and Enghave Plads. 

Along Ingerslevsgade, you’ll find several long-distance bus stops. These companies will take you to other parts of Denmark, while you can also travel from Copenhagen to Oslo and Hamburg — plus other cities.

Vesterbro also has its own S train station: Vesterport. From here, you can go directly to the airport. Vesterport is also a handy train station if you want to travel elsewhere on Sjælland, such as Helsingør and Dyrehaven.

Vesterbro is Copenhagen’s foodie paradise

Copenhageners love Vesterbro, and despite being so close to the city center, you’ll find very few tourists in this part of town. While finding a place to live is challenging, this district has several fantastic hotels and hostels if you’re only staying for a weekend. 

You can easily dedicate a day to Vesterbro, and this guide only scratches the surface. Its streets next to the city’s main train station might feel a bit sketchy, but don’t let that put you off — there’s a whole world of experiences waiting for you. 

Before you come to Copenhagen, educating yourself about the city and its importance in Danish culture is a good idea. We’ve written a complete guide to Copenhagen, so why not check it out?

Scandification: Discovering Scandinavia.

Now read these:
Get to know Copenhagen’s neighborhoods
Nørrebro, Copenhagen’s intriguing melting pot
Indre By, Copenhagen’s central district
Østerbro, the paradise of Copenhagen
Frederiksberg, Copenhagen’s leafy enclave
Amager, explore nature in Copenhagen
Strandvejen, Copenhagen’s coastal suburbs
Valby, Copenhagen’s lesser-known district
Unpacking Copenhagen’s meatpacking district
Exploring the charms of Nyhavn, Copenhagen
Enjoy the sea and sunshine in Islands Brygge
Unearthing Copenhagen’s red light district

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