In our 5 Shops series, we’ll point you in the direction of our favorite independent shops across some of the world's best cities. From food markets to bookshops, vintage and homegrown design, we’ve found a diverse and exciting mix of local retailers where you can pick up one-of-a-kind pieces.
Happily hygge Copenhagen is a global center of cool. Famous for its design retailers, the Danish capital has also become a major culinary destination in recent years. With so much to see, taste and peruse, where do you begin? Writer and street-style expert Verona Farrell offers five places to start.
Best vintage/second-hand shop
The fashion capital of Scandinavia brims with great vintage and secondhand stores. My most recent discovery is Restore, a tiny gem just off main shopping street Strøget that has a particularly good selection of good denim and vintage sportswear.
What called my name most on my most recent trip was a brown-and-orange Gola messenger bag. Commonly associated with teenage skateboarders, this accessory is perfect for dressing down my outfits enough to be mistaken for a Copenhagener (I hope!). While the prices here are a little higher than at the bigger, more established secondhand stores like Episode and Prag, Restore caters to the sometime thrifter who might feel overwhelmed by a huge inventory, and who appreciates a carefully curated range of finds.
Paludan Bog & Café
In every city I live, I am always on the hunt for the perfect cafe-bookstore – somewhere with wi-fi if I need to switch on and a big selection of books if I’m in the mood to switch off. In Copenhagen, Paludan Bog & Café ticks all those boxes.
An institution since 1951, Paludan was originally a publisher, adding the cafe part in the ’90s – “to pay the rent,” in the words of one witty clerk at work among the bookshelves. Expect a good cup of coffee, a mean cheesecake and the company of chatty students and busy writers.
When I last visited, I picked up a copy of Everything I Know about Love by Dolly Alderton (120 DKK /€16) for a Danish friend. Alderton is always my go-to present for the women in my life.
Best food market
Torvehallerne is a year-round alternative to Reffen, the popular street-food destination in Copenhagen that closes its doors for most of the winter. At this indoor food hall, you’ll find fresh delicatessens, Danish smørrebrød, a takeaway-porridge cafe as well as bakeries, florists and wine shops. Smack in the middle of the city center and full of variety, it’s the perfect spot for the traveler who doesn’t know what they’re craving – yet.My favorite spot in Torvehallerne for a quick and tasty lunch is Laboca, where you can pick up empanadas and a side salad for 100 DKK (€13). I ate there five days in a row after first discovering it. Having successfully tested every filling available, I can wholly recommend the classic ham and cheese, or the spicy BBQ pulled beef.
Best place to pick up a souvenir
Put Studio Arhoj on your list if you plan on bringing back a souvenir worth holding onto for years. Everything here is made in-house by a bunch of happy potters who work on site, molding, blowing and glazing nearly every item in the store.
I’ve taken home their classic Chug Mug (299 DKK/€40) to bring some Copenhagen flair to my kitchen. On my wish list is the Loop, a handy tool for protecting your table from hot dishes that’s as pretty as it is practical.
Because the boutique can get a little crowded, the best time to have a good browse is in the mornings and during the weekdays.
Best local design shop
Wood Wood Museum
If you’re interested in exploring Danish fashion, Wood Wood is a great place to start. Alongside its own designs, this retailer boasts a mix of well-established and up-and-coming brands, including personal favorites By Far, OpéraSPORT and Maryam Nassir Zedah. Since the Wood Wood team has its finger on the pulse of what’s new, this is a great place to discover new designers and get inspired.
I suggest visiting Wood Wood Museum, which offers reduced prices for off-season items. While the stock here is consistently updated, of the current selection I have my eyes on a pair of Adidas Campus 80s, going for the bargain price of 300 DKK (€40).