New Year's Eve in Copenhagen is filled with revelers from near and far, all looking for that special spot before the clock strikes midnight. Whether you want to ring in the New Year at a bustling nightclub in Denmark's capital or a low-key parade at the Royal Palace seems more your style, there are plenty of places around town to keep you entertained on this festive night.
Celebrations in the Square
Locals and tourists alike will be gathered at Town Hall Square, as they have every December 31 for decades. There's a clock tower here in the heart of the city and when it strikes midnight, Danes will be handing out smooches and jumping off chairs—this is an old superstition that's meant to bring luck in the new year.
Other gathering places include Queen Louise's Bridge and Amalienborg, the Royal Palace, where the royal guards—dressed in their gala uniforms—hold a parade every year.
Before you head over to your midnight post, wherever that may be, join in on the local tradition of filling your belly at a Copenhagen buffet. The city's diverse array of restaurants remain open to serve up the traditional boiled cod with mustard sauce and Kransekage, a cornucopia-shaped cake. The customary meal isn't a hit with everyone (much like sauerkraut in the U.S.), so you can be sure that whatever restaurant you'll be dining in will serve more popular options as well. Many hotels offer buffets and dinner galas just the same. As with any holiday, it's wise to reserve your seat early.
While it is common for families and friends to spend New Year's Eve with each other, younger Danes in Copenhagen almost always go to local clubs and have parties of their own. The clubs in Copenhagen are packed to the brim on New Year's Eve. Watering holes of every kind pull out all the stops: special drinks, cocktails, and deals (a bottle of bubbly with entry, for instance). Try Vega if you're looking for a themed party or Emma (near Kongens Nytorv) if you'd rather sip champagne, eat caviar, and dance to DJ acts.
For several nights leading up to New Year's Eve, the night skies above Copenhagen are treated to world-class fireworks displays as part of the annual Tivoli Fireworks Festival. Even the famous Tivoli Gardens amusement park stays open so visitors can ride the roller coasters during the light show. The park's many restaurants offer special New Year's Eve meals, too.
Shops in Copenhagen may stay open until the afternoon on December 31. Museums and other attractions are mostly closed on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
If you're planning a bigger trip of Scandinavia around New Year's, you'll probably be making your rounds to Sweden, Norway, Finland, or Iceland. In that case, you might want to check out the New Year's Eve traditions in other Nordic countries and Scandinavia (they can be quite different, in fact). There are plenty of New Year's Eve shenanigans to get into. Consider celebrating the tolling of midnight in two different cities, twice in one night.