Hometown Debrief: The House that Lars Built
Brittany Watson Jepsen, an American living in Copenhagen and the brains behind the design blog The House That Lars Built, shares her favorite places and spaces in her adopted hometown.
Local coffee shop: Denmark is all about the bakeries and still has one on nearly every corner. We treat ourselves with a smörgåsbord of baked goods like breads topped with peppers, butter, or liver paste (it's normal here). Then we add sweet treats like spandauer and kanelsnegle from our local baker. When we feel like putting in more effort, we stop by Lagkagehuset.
Where you go when you need inspiration: One of my favorite things to do is look at houses. There's a charming neighborhood my husband and I pass every Sunday on our way to church. We like to pick out where we'd like to live one day. My favorite homes are along Breidablik Alle. I love the curved road and trees lining the street. It's amazing in the spring with luscious lilac bushes in different shades of purples and pinks.
Best spot for people-watching: Amagertorv. You'll find everything from well-dressed Danes to freaks. Side streets like Pilestræde and Ny Østergade are favorites for a hip local scene.
Your office is located: Downtown Copenhagen on Turesensgade 5. I just moved from my home to a shared studio space with a couple of brilliant photographers. We're using it as a shop to sell our goods. Feel free to drop by! It's next to one of the most beautiful parks in town, Ørstedsparken.
Your preferred mode of travel around the city: I should say by bike to feel like I've made a dent in becoming a true Dane, but I love the bus. You get to see things and hop on and off with no big escalator or stair action like the metro. I love the bike for little exchanges around town, except when it's windy.
The route for your favorite city joy ride? Driving by the beautiful houses along Strandvej, up the coast of the island Sjaelland. And biking along the lakes or Amager Fælled next to the nature preserve. It's close to the city yet seems far away. My favorite parks in the city are Ørstedsparken and Kongens Have.
Where do you go when you want to be in the middle of it all? Strøget, the city's main shopping street. You see an equal balance of well-dressed Danes and less well-dressed tourists. I go a lot because the post office is nearby and sometimes you just need a window-shopping break, you know?
Where do you go when you need an escape? The Deer Park north of Copenhagen is supremely elegant and allows you to get super close to deer. Plus, Bakken — the oldest amusement park in the world — is right there, as well as the old royal hunting lodge. So picturesque.
Most underrated thing in your city: I think Danes underrate Nyhavn, the iconic row of colorful houses along the harbor. You can't escape the charm — there's a reason it's touristy. Plus, you can catch the water boat. When you've been walking all day, there's nothing better than sitting and letting the sites come to you.
Best place for an afternoon coffee: I'm not a coffee drinker, but I LOVE varm chocolade (hot chocolate). Danes do desserts right: They smother their hot chocolate with cream. I've done an extensive search for the best and The Royal Café tops my list.
Favorite local shops: The most magical shop is Tage Andersen's flower boutique. He's created a beautiful world I'd love to inhabit. Erik Bendtsen has a lovely pottery store called Bøgebjerg Antik — he does great owl pitchers and handmade pots. Other home shops I like are Grønlykke, Stilleben, Hay, and Notre Dame. Tiger and Søstrene Grene are good for materials and supplies. For clothing I love Holly Golightly, Wood Wood, and all the vintage shops along Larslejsstræde and Pilestræde.
You dream about your meal at: Noma. It's been named best restaurant in the world three years in a row now. Between the price and waiting list, it looks like I'll never be able to confirm the title.
Favorite local monument: Near the Little Mermaid statue there's a beautiful sculpture of a girl named Christina. It memorializes the thousands of Mormons who left Denmark for America in the mid-nineteenth century, including my ancestors.
The best thing about your neighborhood, Sundby, are the charming summer houses and gardens.
Current local buzz word: Hyggligt (a word meaning being together with friends).
Best book or movie based in your fair city: I fail! I don't think I've ever read or seen one! When I first arrived, I made a point to read Hans Christian Andersen's stories, but I'm not sure any of them actually take place in Copenhagen.
Best way to pass an evening: Extended picnics at the park during the summer because it stays light until late. In the winter, inside hygge-ing.
No trip to Copenhagen is complete without: Eating a hot dog from a street stand. The best in the world.