The Black Diamond, as the Royal Library is known, is one of Copenhagen's many newer iconic buildings, which include a playhouse, an opera house and a concert hall.
The Glass Concert Hall at Tivoli Gardens was destroyed by Nazi sympathizers during World War II and resurrected by renowned Danish modern architect Poul Henningsen in 1946.
In Copenhagen, the past and the present peacefully coexist. Two of the majestic buildings gracing the skyline are the turn-of-the-century Kobenhavns Radhus (Town Hall) and the vor Frelsers Kirke (Our Savior's Church).
Much of the most interesting architecture was built by King Christian IV. Notable legacies from this time include Rosenborg Castle and the Round Tower.
Hidden in dense greenery lies Christiania, the famous Copenhagen quarter that declared itself a free state in the 1970s and exists to this day as a social experiment in anarchy. "It's a completely functional city in the city. It's like the Vatican," says Elbaek. Christiania has few rules of its own design and makes decisions collectively. The area has a wild, ramshackle vibe, with sprawling outdoor patios, spontaneous music and performances and makeshift DIY buildings covered in colourful graffiti. It's a breezy contrast to the rest of the city's tendency to tidy or sleek architecture and it exemplifies the Danes' preoccupation with freedom and innovation and their corollary distaste for the normal.
Besides the many Turkish doner kebab shops, there's a home-grown alternative to the American fast food joints. The first polsevogn (sausage stand) appeared in Denmark around 1910, and today more than 130 million red polser are consumed annually. Just watching people eat them can spark the imagination. Restaurants of assorted ethnicities offer varied food options, and many buffets and smorrebrod at lunchtime offer good value for the price.
Popular gay beach 8 miles from the center of town. Take the Klampenborg train to Bellevue Strandpark and look for the hard-to-miss crowd at the north end.
Another gay beach is at Tisvilde Strand, 25 miles away. Walk a mile to the west from the parking lot to find the gay area. This beautiful and secluded beach has clear water, and picturesque dunes with cruising action aplenty.
Twelve miles from Copenhagen, Ishøj Strand has a gay following too. From Arken Museum turn right along the water until you see the naked men just past the stone breakwater.
Amager Strandpark at the old Helgoland salt-water pool location (Metro station Øresund) is also popular on hot days in the summertime. The 2 kilometer island of sand and dunes is reached by three footbridges. There are also swimming areas, playing fields and a promenade. Access from Metro station Islands Brygge.
A stroll on the lengthy boardwalk along the inner harbour takes you past an assortment of places of interest. Amalienborg Palace, the Vestindisk Pakhus, the Friheds Museum, and the National Museum are located between the Citadel and downtown.
At the end of the boardwalk alongside the Citadel you'll find the famous Little Mermaid statue, and the Gefion Fountain, an impressive depiction of the mythical Norse goddess Gefjun harnessing oxen to plow the land. According to myth, when Gefjun was promised as much land as she could plow in one night, she turned her four sons into oxen. The displaced earth was plowed into the sea, forming the island Zealand, where Copenhagen is located.
The Statens Museum for Kunst / National Gallery of Denmark, and the Hirschsprung with it's collection of Danish art, are just to the west, beyond Rosenborg Castle Gardens by the Botanical Garden complex that also houses the Natural History Museum.
If you like good theatre, this is a must, presenting many performances of gay interest.
Ørsteds Park is the most popular outdoor cruising location, mostly at night, but also in daylight hours when guys go to get some sun (at the Teglgårdstræde entrance). It's been a cruising area for over a century, maybe inspired by bronze replicas of classic Greek male nudes that adorn the paths circling the central lake. Many of these were donated by the Carlsberg (beer) company. Be a little careful not to be stalked by gay-bashers who occasionally roam dark places here.
Europe's longest pedestrian shopping street, Stroget begins modestly at the Town Hall Square. About 10 minutes along, the shops become more interesting and soon the street transforms into a design district anchored by Danish design houses Georg Jensen, Royal Copenhagen and the department store Illums Bolighus.
The Tivoli Gardens amusement park contains rides, an aquarium, gardens, bars, restaurants and numerous performance venues. The site has the feel of an old-fashioned, leafy park and it was cleverly designed to feel intimate and quiet in most areas. The Tivoli's outdoor stages host everything from puppet shows to big rock concerts. Its indoor venues include the Glass Concert Hall, destroyed by Nazi sympathizers during the second world war and resurrected by renowned Danish modern designer and architect Poul Henningsen in 1946, and the Tivoli Concert Hall, a mid-century modern masterpiece.
The Tivoli Boys Guard was founded in 1844 as an honorary guard to watch over Tivoli on festive occasions. About 100 boys, between 9 and 16 in age, dress in red and white uniforms and bear skin hats, to march and play their instruments throughout the grounds. At 16 boys resign, but with an extensive musical education, many go on to become professional musicians. In earlier days the boys were paid in sandwiches and beer!
Located on the lengthy boardwalk along the inner harbour, Vestindisk Pakhus is the home of the Royal Danish cast collection housing thousands of plaster casts dating back to antiquity. A full-size replica of Michelangelo's David stands out front.