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October 4, 2008
From journal Copenhagen - a Vibrant, Confident City
Charlotte, North Carolina
May 3, 2005
Walking down the cobblestone stone streets of Stroget, you seem to travel back to the time of Hans Christian Anderson. But upon seeing McDonald’s, designer names such as Prada and Dior, and people talking endlessly on their cell phones, you quickly remember exactly what century you are in.
Stroget is the longest pedestrian street in the world. This mile-long street runs east at, Kongens Nyterr (Kings Square), to west, at Radhuspladsen (City Hall Square). The area is several centuries old, once being used for pretty much the same thing it still is. This is where Danes once brought produce, clothing, and household items, and grabbed a bite to eat. A couple of centuries later, it is still the main shopping area. Today, there are more than 100 stores offering everything from designer threads (names like Prada and Claiborn are among the many) to local designers to crafts, jewelry shops, exclusive boutiques, bookstores, candle shops, and household items. Illum is the top department store, which has six floors of designer shops, and the top floor houses nine restaurants. They have a wonderful fabric store that Tine had to show me. TIP: If you plan on going fabric shopping, then make sure you bring a tape measure with you that measures at least 1 yard. Fabric here is measured in meters.
They have an amber museum and shop here. Amber seems to be the big thing since I saw it all over the place. They have a branch of the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum along these antique streets. You will find a number of pubs and restaurants here. There is a huge three-story McDonald’s here. While it still serves the typical burgers and fries, the restaurants itself is quite sleek and sophisticated looking on the inside. The tables and chairs looked more like something out of a chic coffeehouse instead of a Mickey D’s. They have curved shapes and forms to them - very nice. I even found a shop with Elvis and Marilyn Monroe merchandise.
While Tine and I were in the fabric shop, we heard a ruckus going on. Everyone stopped to see what was going on. It just turned out that a major soccer match was being held that day between Denmark and Germany. There were some very loud but otherwise harmless German soccer fans. We later saw them in mass down at King's Square. We were here during the Christmas holiday season, and there were beautiful holiday decorations everywhere. It was like something you would see in a postcard.
Most shops are open from 10am to 6pm Monday through Thursday, 9am to 7pm on Friday, and 9am to 2pm on Saturday. Some stores are open on Sunday. You are entitled to a VAT refund, so save your receipts. Restaurants and pubs do have longer hours.
From journal Enjoying Copenhagen
April 12, 2005
From journal 2 Days in Copenhagen
Jarrow, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom
September 4, 2004
Starting at Kongens Nytorv, home to the regal facades of Charlottenburg Palace and the Royal Theatre and with the famous statue of Christian V at its centre, Østergade is the most exclusive part of Strøget, overlooked by the red brick tower and green copper spire of the Nikolaj Kirke its slight, designer shop lined curve ends at Illums Department Store, a Copenhagen institution with one of Reinh van Hauen’s bakery outlets at its ground floor entrance.
Amagertorv takes over at the junction with Købmagergade, the outdoor tables of The Dubliner pub spilling onto the mosaic covered square near the 400 year old Royal Copenhagen building and the heron adorned Storkespringvandet (Stork Fountain). Look south for a great view of historic Slotsholmen, founded by Bishop Absalon – the subject of the nearby equestrian statue – in 1167. The wide street narrows as you pass the benches and hot dog vans near Helligåndskirken, squeezing through the hectic Vimmelskaftet, which in turn curves into Nygade, the shortest of Strøget’s thoroughfares.
Nygade intersects the wide rectangle formed by Gammeltorv and Nytorv (literally ‘old’ and ‘new’ squares), twin squares on the site of the city’s first marketplace, held when it was no more than a strategically located fishing village. The market has since shrunk into a few stalls selling cheap trinkets, clothes and fruit & veg. Of greater interest is the Domhus (Law Courts) and the risqué Caritas Fountain. Look closely and you’ll see water spurting out of Charity’s breasts while the small boy at her feet relieves himself into the pool of water below.
Frederiksberggade is the youngest and tackiest part of Strøget, a straight line of neon lights advertising fast food, glass shop fronts and souvenir shops with matching piles of t-shirts, Little Mermaid figures, postcards and key rings, opening into Rådhuspladsen, the City Hall towering over the wide square to the left and Tivoli and Central Station just a few minutes away across the busy road junction straight ahead.
From journal Northern Lights: Copenhagen
Ayr, Scotland, United Kingdom
July 31, 2003
Strøget forms the spine of the city. At one end of Strøget is the exclusive square, Kongens Nytorv, with the Royal Theatre, the Magasin Department Store and the city's prestigious Hotel d'Angleterre. At the other end is the large bustling Rådhuspladsen, where the huge City Hall acts as a monumental landmark.
We entered from the Rådhuspladsen . The first 250 metres covered the area where the original hamlet of Havn stood - also known as Kobenhavn. Strøget immediately took on its character – shops galore with the hustle and bustle of people from all walks of life. Buskers sang and at the many pavement cafés local street musicians were busy.
Soon we came to Gammeltorv and Nytorv (old and new square), the first open space. In the centre of Gammeltorv stands Karitasbrøden (well of charity), which has been elevated into a glorious fountain. Further on at Amagertorv we found the Stork fountain and some of the best but most expensive shops in the city. Down towards the right stood Christiansborg (parliament building).
Turning left two blocks further on we entered a passage called Pistolstraede - resembles a pistol. A former slum area it is now downright chic. We had our lunch at the bakery Konditoriet there. At the square where the pistol handle starts we followed a passage leading out into Grønnegade. Here we found a shop selling copies of jewellery made during the Bronze, Iron and Viking ages.
At the end of Strøget, Kongens Nytorv, we came to the area referred to in the guide as the 'Royal' end - apparently because of its nearness to the Royal Palace and because the shops in the area contain exclusive goods. The areas of Østergade and Amagertorv form one of the most attractive shopping areas in Scandinavia. The shops and boutiques specialise in top quality goods from all over the world.
Besides the special shops, the cities three department stores, Illum, Magasin, and Daells Varehus cater to all needs. One of the larger stores, Illum Bolighus, is the centre for the latest Scandinavian designs. It maintains high quality in furniture, textiles, and handicraft products. Other shops with an international reputation for excellent quality and design are those that specialise in furs.
The key to Danish design is its simplicity, with a high standard of quality, craftsmanship and elegance. In the technical area of hi-fi-, radio and TV, Danish designs have achieved worldwide recognition. Copenhagen is also famous for its porcelain, especially for hand painted Christmas plates and the luxurious Flora Danica dinner service.
From journal Copenhagen – City of Fun, Freedom and Shopping
May 8, 2002
Along its length it has ample, cafes, shops, and boutiques, and is a haven for street performers, buskers and unfortunately beggars. It is a great place to stroll and people watch, as well as to shop. The north-east end has many little closes, running off the main street, which form lovely intimate little shopping, malls for swish boutiques.
The South-west end is more tourist focussed with many souvenir stores.
Apart from the Squares at either end, it open up into two wide squares along it's length both of which are home to impressive fountains.
From journal Copenhagen in Three Days
April 2, 2002
Strøget is a mecca full of souvenir stores, fast and take-out food, pubs, bars, clubs, museums of all kinds of stores way too expensive to shop in like Hermes or Bang & Olufsen. But Strøget is more than just a walking street, it's also a place of history. A large square, Kongens Nytorv is located near its middle which happens to be the location of the Royal Theater. Also located nearby is the Copenhagen Cathedral (Vor Frue Kirke), a beautiful neo-classical church rebuilt in the 1800's by one of Denmark's most famous architects, C.F. Hansen.
Back at the Strøget, among the lousy pizza restaurants we can find some great dining as well. Restaurant Lurblæseren and Peder Oxe offer some of the best Danish fare I had in Copenhagen.
Plenty of strange museums are located nearby as well. Museum Erotica, Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum and Guinness World of Records Museum are just some of the more interesting (or unusual) ones to see. And of course there is the nightlife: Club Absalon offers titillating fun and the world famous Copenhagen JazzHouse, located in one of the side streets, offers a relaxing, albeit a bit smoky atmosphere, where you can just kick back, relax and have a Tuborg.
If there is a downside to Strøget, it's its overexposure and touristy feel. Thousands swarm here during the days and nights. And although it is so centrally located and a big draw to tourists, everything closes early here with the exceptions of clubs, pubs and restaurants. So in a nutshell: Strøget is fun for a couple hours while soaking in the local atmosphere (or for sightseeing), but don't linger. There is so much more in Copenhagen to see.
From journal The Charms of Copenhagen
by Lauren T
January 22, 2002
It is a beautiful, charming area, situated directly in the center of the medieval city and complete with cobblestone paths, green copper roofs, and architecture that looks straight out of a fairy tale. Yet despite the cute quaintness of central Copenhagen, you never forget that you are in middle of a modern, and thriving, twenty-first century city.
While the Stroget is beautiful and bustling with activity, I can't whole-heartedly recommend it as a shopping venue. As elsewhere in Denmark, it is very expensive. Pick up souvenirs or local specialties, such as Royal Copenhagen crystal and porcelain (visit the store, even if you don't buy anything), but I wouldn't do serious shopping in Copenhagen if you are only passing through. (However I do hear that you can get very good deals here on mink coats if you are into that sort of thing). Even if you don't buy a whole lot, plan to spend several hours here window shopping, watching street performers, and generally "hanging out".
Because sit down restaurants are so expensive, your best bet is usually to buy from street vendors. You won't even feel like a cheapskate--nearly everybody does this. Traditional sit down eateries are actually remarkably few when you consider what a major pedestrian and tourist thoroughfare this is. Highlights of street vendor eating in Copenhagen include sausages and pastries. You should also probably pick up some smorrobrod, the open-faced sandwiches which may be THE definitive Danish food (I don't personally think they are anything special but you should try one while in Copenhagen nonetheless). Bars are also expensive, so it is common to avoid this by buying your beers (Carlsburg and Tuborg) at one of the many seven-elevens along the Stroget and drinking them in the street.
If you still want to sit down in a restaurant, a great fast food option are the many falafel houses run by members of Copenhagen's significant Turkish minority. You should have no problems finding one on the Stroget, as they are EVERYWHERE (like maybe one every fifty yards). It doesn't matter which one you wander into since they are indistinguishable from each other. You can get a lamb (or chicken) sandwich on a pita, a soda, and fries for about $7 USD (not bad for this city). French fries in Copenhagen are a bit different than other places and are universally excellent. Try them with remoulade sauce.
One warning though, DO NOT BUY CHINESE FOOD IN COPENHAGEN, whether from a street vendor of a restaurant. I have yet to find any that wasn't absolutely disgusting.
Try to visit to La Glace for dessert. Denmark is famous for it's layer cakes, and La Glace is the most famous layer cake establishment in Copenhagen, and I must say that it mostly lives up to the hype. Expect it to be crowded though.
From journal Christmas in Copenhagen
September 26, 2001
From journal Wonderful Copenhagen
May 11, 2001
But there is much more to Stroget than shopping. Stroget has the festive street-fair atmosphere with its numerous street performers and its bustling cafes and restaurants.
From journal Visiting Copenhagen on a cruise