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50 things to do before you leave Copenhagen

The University Post asked Danish and international students to give their tips for unforgettable Copenhagen experiences. Check out this bucket list of their best recommendations

Article updated June 2019, originally from 2015

Leave Copenhagen with no regrets. This is what it is all about.

So we asked Danish and international students at the University of Copenhagen to contribute to this, the ultimate bucket list of must-have experiences in Copenhagen!

1. Buy a bike

The city’s hidden cafés, perfect picnic spots and other treasures can be best found on two wheels. Not only is it the most common form of transportation, but it is also the cheapest and often the fastest way to get around. Bikes can be purchased in bike shops across the city, police auctions or in the Facebook group ‘Buy a Bike Copenhagen’.

2. Attend the Stella Polaris Music Festival

At the end of July and beginning of August, thousands of music fans flock to these free concerts throughout Denmark that host both up-and-coming and established artists. Purchasing beer and cider at the event helps support the free event , but many also bring their own beverages.

3. Stay out past the sunrise

Take advantage of the long, Nordic summer sun and end the evening with a kebab (or falafel): a staple in student drinking culture.

4. Visit the markets in Copenhagen

The food market at Israel Plads, Torvehallerne , can be visited throughout the year, and flea markets (called ”loppemarkeder” in Danish) are open during the summer months. Studenterhuset regularly houses an indoor student market.

5. Attend the matriculation ceremony

It’s a great opportunity to begin the academic year by meeting other students and university staff over free drinks and food. See the University Post’s photo series from the 2018 matriculation .

6. Attend your department’s introduction trip or ”rustur”

The trip often takes place the weekend before your classes start as a way to bond with other new students in your field. But beware: the trips are notorious for non-stop drinking and occasional hazing.

7. Live in a student dormitory (kollegium/kollegiet) or shared apartment for at least one semester

Having other students around provides you with a wider social network and the opportunity for unexpected friendships. See the University Post’s series Dorms Disclosed to help you find which dorm might suit you best.

8. Participate in a sports team

The student sports association KSI offers everything from climbing and kayaking, to yoga and burlesque or handball and water polo.

9. Sign up for a class that has nothing to do with your study area

At a university that offers classes about topics ranging from beer brewing to terrorism, you can’t afford not to.

10. Skip your 8:00 class at least once and still manage to get a good grade

Sometimes more important things, like concerts, midnight movies, or unexpected nights out, require your attention instead.

11. Take a foreign language course

If you’re an international student, learning a bit of Danish will give you a more enriched and easier experience living in Denmark. If you’re a Danish student, you should take advantage of the many language opportunities. For example, through Åbent Universitet and brush up on your Spanish or Arabic to make you a more competitive hire and a savvy traveler.

12. Go dumpster diving

A student budget can often use a little boost, and with people finding everything from olives to marzipan, to blueberries, it wouldn’t hurt to save a couple kroner and try it out. Join this facebook group . But don’t forget about proper dumpster diving etiquette .

13. Get a student job

Even students on non-EU visas can work up to 15 hours a week, so find something to supplement your income. If you enjoy writing, you could even apply to the University Post or our Danish counterpart, Uniavisen.

14. Experience Culture Night

People can, for one night a year , take part in cultural events from watching a drag show to checking out the university’s normally closed-off laboratories, as well as gaining access into many of the city’s museums for free.

15. Watch a movie (or two) at Copenhagen Dox

The documentary festival shows documentaries from all over the world and made on an endless number of subjects, so you’re bound to find something you enjoy. If you don’t have the time or money and are lucky, they will show some of the movies for free online at the end of the series.

16. Spend all day at a café

Studying, reading, catching up with a friend, anything.

17. Get out of Copenhagen

Exchange students need to remember that Denmark isn’t just Copenhagen, and Danes need to remember there are beautiful places between their parents’ home and school. For a smaller commitment: a day trip to Dyrehaven (the deer park) or Roskilde. For the ambitious: Skagen, Bornholm, or Møns Klint.

18. Check out the view from the Church of our Saviour (Vor Frelsers Kirke)

This church in Christianshavn offers an unbeatable view of the city on a sunny day.

19. Watch a football game at Parken

Denmark’s largest stadium which is just around the corner for many students at the University of Copenhagen’s North Campus. Even if you’re not a sports fan, you can still enjoy the beer, hotdogs, crowd, and, likely, even some fireworks.

20. Volunteer

Volunteering is a great opportunity to meet other people with similar interests and values. Some examples throughout the city are volunteering with asylum seekers, supporting local, organic farms in Copenhagen, or being a barista or bartender. Try Trampoline House , Copenhagen’s Food Co-operative , or at Studenterhuset .

21. Take part in a student protest or cause

Students are traditionally loud voices in protests, whether it be for animal rights, anti-racism or against education cuts, so join the cause and make your opinion heard. A few years ago for example, tens of thousands of students protested cuts to education.

22. Walk in the botanical gardens

The gardens are open for a large part of the year, and while you’re sitting at the Social Science Library stressing out about finals, a quick walk in the calm, beautiful nature right in the city centre can be a great stress reliever.

23. Study in the Royal Library (Det Kongelige Bibliotek)

Not only is the exercise to the the library good for you, but the library is a study haven. With a café, public computers, room for groups and a silent, beautiful study room with antique green lamps and blankets, you’ll be inspired to come back and finish that paper.

24. Take advantage of half off drink nights

Buying a delicious whiskey sour or a cucumber ginger collins is that much easier when they are the same price as a beer.

25. Attend a lecture at the university

Whether you want to listen to a former Prime Minister speak or hear about the power of sexuality, the university hosts hundreds of talks a year. If you’re lucky, you may even find an advisor or inspiration for your thesis.

26. Host or attend a Tour de Chambre (TDC) Party

Despite the French name, TDC parties are extremely popular among Danish students, so begin planning the theme and drink for your room now.

27. Go to Christiania

An autonomous largely self-sustaining community constructed in an abandoned military barracks, Christiania is a huge cultural hub in the city. They have free concerts, science and cocktails, a tasty vegetarian restaurant, and a beautiful waterfront.

28. Attend Friday bar

Each campus hosts a Friday bar with different perks. Here is the great University of Copenhagen Friday Bar guide.

29. Visit Tivoli

It’s a given, as one of the most popular attractions in the city-centre , but remember to go before it closes, as Tivoli is only open summer, Christmas, and Halloween. The University Post recommends either the friday night concerts or the Christmas themed Tivoli, full of gløgg and æbleskiver.

30. Experience a Danish julefrokost (or ”Christmas lunch”)

For the internationals that have never experienced one, they have very specific food and customs, like eating herring and rye bread, and drinking lots and lots of snaps. Be sure to also play a round or two of pakkeleg!

31. Pull an all-nighter finishing a project or term paper

24-hour access to libraries during exam periods ensures that you wont fall asleep on your computer as easily. Some libraries at the University of Copenhagen have access 24/7 with a library card.

32. Experience a Copenhagen New Year

With easy accessibility to fireworks and champagne, the night can get a little bit crazy, but the views are amazing. The University Post recommends standing near the lakes, near Dronning Louise’s Bro as it offers a 365-degree view of the city’s fireworks. Remember your protective goggles!

33. Celebrate Fastelavn

This, a Danish festival mostly for kids, but more and more for grown ups too, lets you get dressed up in weird costumes, bash a barrel with a bat, and eat candy.

34. Take advantage of the Copenhagen music scene

While the city attracts world-renowned artists, it’s also a great opportunity to learn about popular Danish artists such as , Rasmus Seebach or Nephew. Popular venues include Falconer Salen and Vega .

35. Take advantage of small Danish holidays, especially in the spring

Is it Saint Martin’s Day (Mortensaften)? Have some duck or goose. Great Prayer Day (Store Bededag)? Try some traditional Danish hvede buns. If it’s a public holiday with no school, it may also be the perfect opportunity to take a day trip.

36. Get published in the University Post or Uniavisen

Have a strong opinion about the university, student culture, or something else related? Did you take a great photo at a protest or social event? Submit your work and get yourself seen and heard.

37. Visit the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

It is well worth the 45-minute trip out to the museum. Louisiana is secluded, surrounded by a garden, and overlooks the Øresund straights. Leave enough time to see the exhibitions as well as a picnic outdoors or a meal in their deluxe cafeteria.

38. Have a drink on Dronning Louises Bro

It’s a a bridge crossing the lakes just north of the city-centre. Definitely go on the first sunny day of spring. You’ll be far from the only person enjoying the sun and the atmosphere.

39. Go to Distortion Festival

The city’s biggest street party takes place every June and is packed with people, crowded around parks and music stages. Best of all, it’s free.

40. Run around the lakes

Or walk. As a popular destination for many people, it’s worth it to make the whole loop, which brings you along the edges of Vesterbro, Frederiksberg, Nørrebro, Østerbro and City Center, and reminds you to get out of the neighbourhoods you live and study in.

41. Take a weekend trip to Stockholm or Berlin

It’s easy to travel to these two European capitals on the cheap. Train tickets to Stockholm, if bought far enough in advance, can be as little as 300 DKK round trip. Roundtrip to Berlin is closer to 350 DKK. Both destinations are also frequented by budget airlines.

42. Give yourself long-weekends

When setting your university timetable, try to pick classes which will allow you to have Fridays and Mondays off, giving you the long-weekends you need to take trips to the above cities!

43. Visit Parliament (Folketinget)

The parliamentary building is is open for visitors and the ambitious are welcome to come and listen to parliamentary discussions.

44. Get on Tinder

The dating app has been a a favourite among Copenhagen students so checking out this social experiment, even just to browse, is worth the download.

45. Attend Roskilde Music Festival

A world-famous eight-day music festival in the nearby city of Roskilde. While crowded, sticky tents pitched on beer-soaked fields and drunk people running around might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s an unforgettable and wonderful experience. At least consider a day pass to see artists such as the Rolling Stones or Pharrell Williams.

46. Swim in the ocean

Or even skinny dip if you dare. Yes, in the ocean that surrounds Copenhagen. Both Amager Strandpark and Bellevue Strand are worth the bike ride, but harbours throughout the city itself also provide quick and easy access to the water.

47. Try a local brewery

It’s easy to get sucked into the beers as pervasive as Carlsbergs and Tuborg, but also be sure to check out microbreweries in the city, like Mikkeller , Hancock or Nørrebro Bryghus that serve more than just a standard pilsner.

48. Participate in graduation

This varies from department to department, so whether that means a party for defending your thesis or a reception with fellow graduates, enjoy the company and free refreshments.

49. Spend the summer in Copenhagen

With school out, you’ll have more time to embrace the city for what it is and if you’re lucky, good weather will mean more time to spend outside during those white summer nights.

50. Study abroad

Unfortunately the city and university can’t offer everything, and getting away will make you appreciate all the amazing things they can actually offer.

Finishing off all 50 of these certainly makes for a fully-packed UCPH student experience. How many of these can you check off your list? Are there any crucial must-do’s that we missed? Comment below, or email and let us know!

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