vesterbro: a guide to copenhagen best neighborhoods
Vesterbro’s popularity has taken Copenhagen by storm.
This vibrant and trendy Copenhagen neighborhood; arguably best suited for the younger hipster crowd.
But don’t let that put you off! Vesterbro’s a must-see for anyone visiting the city.
And has topped many lists of “Best Neighborhoods in the World.”
What Makes Vesterbro Special?
Vesterbro’s teeming with hip hostels, crowded markets and restaurants, hole in the wall bars, bustling cafes, and art galleries.
And the area is known for its gritty and stylish atmosphere and nightlife.
There are hundreds of things to do in Vesterbro! So we better not waste any time.
Vesterbro Neighborhood Guide
A Quick History of Vesterbro
Vesterbro’s history is strange, yet entertaining.
Let’s start with the name. “Vesterbro” translates the Danish word to “paved country road”.
And for a long time, that sums up Vesterbro. It was once a minor road that led to Copenhagen’s city center.
Throughout history, much of this area was grazing land for animals, and part of a “no-build” zone.
This all changed in the 1750s.
Vesterbro’s biggest claim to fame was that it was once Copenhagen’s “Red-Light District”, especially on Istedgage Street.
For many years Vesterbro was fueled by drugs and prostitution.
However, those days are long gone.
And the entire neighborhood has undergone a radical change.
Today, Vesterbro’s been transformed from the infamous working-class district into one of the coolest areas of Copenhagen.
Now Vesterbro is filled to the brim with local shops, good food, and bars.
Where to Go in Vesterbro
Istedgade’s the “go-to street” in Vesterbro.
Its major draw are the trendy shops, eateries, and cafes.
Remnants from “the old Red-Light District days”, still linger on Istedgade.
And a handful of strip clubs and adult shops sit, nestled, in-between chic shops, and cool cafes. It’s an odd mix.
But let’s talk about some popular places to visit when exploring Istedgade Vesterbro.
For a casual drink, there is Melbeck Vinbar.
If you want a budget-friendly burger, then head to JAGGER Vesterbro.
Or spend a little more and try the gourmet pizza with a cocktail at Neighborhood.
If those don’t fit your fancy, not to worry, there are dozens of awesome places on Istedgade.
Take some time to wander and discover them for yourself.
The Meatpacking District is a kaleidoscope of some of the best things to do in Copenhagen.
And it’s my personal favorite area of Vesterbro.
As the name suggests, at one time this was the center of the meat industry in Copenhagen.
Today this popular area’s home to one of the best food markets in Copenhagen.
And showcases some of my favorite things about Scandinavia.
There are dozens of places to choose from to eat, drink, or check out contemporary art.
A few famous places to eat and drink at the Meatpacking District are Kødbyens Fiskebar, Fleisch, and War Pigs.
Oh, let’s forget Johns Hot dog Deli.
(For some strange reason Danes are obsessed with hot dogs; there’s your fun fact about Denmark for the day).
For drinks, you have NOHO and a handful of other bars.
Want to explore Danish culture?
The Meatpacking District has you covered. Head to the Centre of Photography, the Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, or the V1 Gallery.
Sønder Boulevard’s a cool concept and one that transformed this area of Vesterbro.
What is Sønder Boulevard?
Sønder Boulevard is a massive green, parkesque area stretching through the middle of Vesterbro.
It’s like a long garden, flanked by two streets. This iconic Blvd’s a popular spot among both locals and travelers.
There are park benches to relax, little fields perfect for budget travelers looking for a spot to picnic, and bike paths.
There’re various playgrounds, flower gardens, and ball fields.
What started as an experiment, to liven up the area, has turned into one of the most successful face-lifts in Copenhagen
Speaking of parks, Skydebanehaven’s one more noteworthy place to visit in Vesterbro.
This park stays hidden from most tourists, making it an easy place to wander off the beaten path in Copenhagen.
Skydebanehaven has a playground, making it ideal for those traveling with a family.
The park also has a toddler pool.
Another cool perk of this park is that Skydebanehaven’s a staffed playground.
The staff plans certain activities such as treasure hunts.
Note: they don’t babysit, they only arrange little adventures and group activities.
Many people refer to Værnedamsvej as the Paris of Copenhagen.
This makes Værnedamsvej’s a little fancier than the other areas of Vesterbro we’ve talked about.
But don’t worry, it’s not overly fancy. Værnedamsvej’s known for being a small and cozy street.
The street is famed for its French atmosphere and charm.
The streets filled with Delis, wine bars, cafes, and specialty shops.
The area is great for food, grabbing a casual drink with friends, or shopping.
Where to Eat in Vesterbro
Vesterbro Originale Burger Restaurant
Vesterbro Originale Burger Restaurant has a great menu, fresh ingredients, and homemade recipes.
For budget travelers, this is a great place to grab one of the best burgers in the city.
Meander to the basement while waiting on your order to grab a pre-dinner drink at Die Strafbar. This little bar whips up some mean cocktails.
I mentioned this restaurant earlier when talking about the Meatpacking District.
Fleisch is a restaurant/butcher.
In fact, the word “Fleisch” is German for meat.
And meat is the focus of this restaurant. you have the option of picking your own menu, or letting the chef choose a seven-course menu for you!
There’s also a bar that specializes in wild drinks like bacon-infused bourbon.
This unique restaurant isn’t the cheapest, but it is one of a kind.
John’s Hotdog Deli
Have you ever asked yourself, “What is Denmark famous for?”.
If someone answered that question by saying “hotdogs”, you’d be left scratching your head.
But it is true. Hotdogs are almost a cultural cornerstone of Denmark!
In fact, Copenhagen has been hailed as the Hot Dog Capital of the World.
Hotdog stands are peppered throughout the city on street corners, city squares, and permanent stands.
And the best spot to experience Copenhagen dogs in Vesterbro is at John’s Hotdog Deli.
John’s Hotdog Deli takes a slightly fresh approach. They sell the hot dogs on Durum bread and feature delicious homemade sauces.
You can choose from one of their many styles of dogs, or try your hand at making your own style of hotdog.
John’s has made a name for itself in Copenhagen as one of the best hot dog spots. And have won awards like the “Best Takeaway Spot of the Year”.
Neighbourhood’s another restaurant I’ve already touched on briefly.
This pizza joint is always packed. However, it’s worth waiting for a spot!
This popular spot has shared tables and has a great community atmosphere. The sound of old school tunes fills the air as people strangers chat.
What’s cool about this budget-friendly restaurants is that every pizza, and every drink, every cocktail is organic.
The style of pizza’s are special.
There’s the potato brie pizza or the Fig Ham, or maybe you want to try a slice of the Squashed Lamb.
Prices for food and drinks start at around 13 USD. Which for Copenhagen is very reasonable.
Madklubben is another one of the best restaurants in Vesterbro.
It serves a variety of food styles from all around the world. You can find anything from one of the best burgers in Copenhagen to Yellowfin Tuna.
In 2014 Madklubben was the “most-visited” restaurant in Denmark. And it served almost a million people in 2018 alone.
Madklubben also won awards for being the best inexpensive restaurant in the city.
Madklubben is delicious, affordable, and presents a wide variety of options.
It’s, without a doubt, one of the best places to eat in Vesterbro.
Other places to eat in Vesterbro.
- BioMio – Organic Restaurant.
- NiceCream – Vegan Ice cream.
Where to Stay in Vesterbro
Ok, so you’re sold on Vesterbro! But now where to stay? Here are the best 3 hostels and 3 best hotels in Copenhagen.
3 Best Hostels in Vesterbro
URBAN HOUSE COPENHAGEN
Urban House Copenhagen has made a name for itself in the city.
This healthy hostel has daily bike rides, yoga classes, a quiet room, as well as a movie and game room.
And guess what, it’s also budget-friendly, making it one of the best hostels in Copenhagen.
Book Here before arriving and save!
Annex Copenhagen has a great location for exploring Vesterbro.
The meatpacking district is easily within reach. The hostel has a nice, welcoming atmosphere and a funky vibe.
It’s worth checking out when planning your Copenhagen Itinerary.
Book Here and save!
Woodah hostel is special. And I don’t say that lightly.
The hostel focuses on sustainable travel, and organic living.
They also offer yoga equipment, and sometimes free yoga classes.
The hostel provides an awesome organic breakfast for free. Ah, free; the favorite word of backpackers.
As an added bonus there is a craft brewery next door.
Book Here before arriving!
3 Best Hotels in Vesterbro
Scandic Kødbyen is a prime choice for hotels in Vesterbro.
The hotel is located just a few minutes walk from the train station.
The restaurant features an open grill and wine bar. And serves traditional Danish meals.
The rooms are beautiful, the staff is friendly, the breakfast great, and the beds comfortable.
What more do you need?
Book Here and save!
Technically Nimb Hotel isn’t in Vesterbro, but sits on the edge of the neighborhood.
This hotel is located in the iconic Tivoli Gardens (one of the best things to do in Copenhagen).
The hotel set in a Moorish style building.
The rooms are decorated elegant, and old style. Vesterbro is within walking distance and this is a great option for couples!
Book Here before arriving!
This homely 3-star hotel makes for a comfortable base for conquering your Copenhagen itinerary.
Located in an iconic part of Vesterbro, this hotel is within walking distance of the train station.
It’s a comfortable base and a great option for those looking for where to stay in Vesterbro.
The hotel has a boutique-style, friendly staff, and you can even get your breakfast delivered.
Book Here before arriving and save!
Where to Shop in Vesterbro
Edison & Co.
Edison & Co. is a fantastic place to grab a retro trinket to take home. This store features vintage danish designs such as lamps, furniture, or even glasses. If you want an unique gift to take home, then this is the place!
Other places to shop
Where to Shop for Food in Vesterbro
From the outside, Helge’s might seem like a simple shop.
However, step inside and you’ll soon discover that this is one of the best places to sample cheeses in all of Denmark.
Helge’s has cheeses from all over the world.
You can also grab a take away snacks or sandwiches. If you get hungry while exploring Vesterbro then Helge’s Ost is a great pit stop.
Soulland is the brainchild of two award-winning designers. Together they have started one of the most popular brands in Copenhagen for menswear.
Handcraftedcph – This store has handcrafted jewelry. They have a vintage style that people love. This shop is located on Sønder Boulevard.
Summerbird is a great place to satisfy your sweet tooth or bring home a special souvenir. The shop specializes in handmade organic chocolates.
They are delicious and worth every calorie, carb, and gram of sugar!
Where to Drink in Vesterbro
Curfew’s one of the top cocktails bars in Copenhagen.
The bar is home to the world-famous bartender Humberto Saravia Marques.
The bar has the perfect mix of a classy, and retro]. And has a relaxed and funky interior.
This bar has an amazing story. It started with two home-brewers who skyrocketed to international beer fame in just a few short years.
Today, Mikkeller’s known as one of the world’s best breweries.
Vinbaren Vesterbro Torv
This is a cozy wine bar with a good selection of red and white wines.
As well as Champagnes from all over the world including Italy, the United States, and even Africa.
Located in the meatpacking market, WarPigs is a must when visiting Copenhagen. The bar doubles as a brewery.
And they offer some great beer tastings, as well as some of the best barbecues you can find in the city.
Other Bars to Check Out
- Ideal Bar
Things to do in Copenhagen
Touched on before. The most popular street in Vesterbro.
Located in Kongens Enghave district of Copenhagen this large park. And the biggest cemetery in Denmark.
Here visitors find monuments and graves. Cemeteries aren’t deary places in Denmark. People hang out in them.
We’ve mentioned Sønder Boulevard a few times now!
Simply put you can’t wander Vesterbro without at least taking a small stroll on Sønder Boulevard.
Other things to do in Vesterbro.
- Enghave Plads
- The Planetarium