10 things to do in Aarhus in a day, Denmark

Weekend in Aarhus: What to do and where to go

With its combination of centuries-old traditions and new-school architecture and a decent selection of gastronomic delights, Aarhus, Denmark’s second city, has truly become the original option to take advantage of for a couple of days. If you’re not impressed by the 400-ton panoramic rainbow on the roof of the FYI building, when cool blues are replaced by warmer indigo and violets turn red… then you need to rethink your priorities.

Weekend in Aarhus

Olafur Eliasson’s rainbow panorama atop the AROS Art Museum is just one of the many reasons why Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city, earned the title of European Capital of Culture in 2017. The local Jutland cuisine is just as impressive, and it differs from Copenhagen cuisine. Aarhus also has a lot of experimental architecture (there are even iceberg-shaped apartment buildings) and its design prestige… all of which has attracted travelers to Aarhus for the past few years.

Like all things modern, this historic Viking city has many fascinating and sometimes tragic stories, if you are interested – all these stories are immortalized in local interactive museums, as well as in the appearance of many old buildings and cobbled streets. Especially in the Latin Quarter of Aarhus. The city itself exudes a kind of light Danish coolness. So if you are a fan of Scandinavian cities – do visit Aarhus!

Weekend in Aarhus

Aarhus is interesting in its entirety, but you should start with Aarhus Ø – it’s something new in the vein of Dokland Quarter, which is essentially an experimental site for architects. Over the past few years, new residential neighborhoods have sprung up here, from chic and student housing to iceberg houses with urban apartments. On the waterfront, there’s always someone playing volleyball or salsa dancing, and there are plenty of interesting live concerts, exhibitions, and club parties at the Dome of Visions.

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Weekend in Aarhus

Then check out Dokk1, home to the coolest library and community center. It has been named the best library in the world, and the beautifully lit interior is worth a look: the sheer number of interactive tech devices and the Scandi style design itself is impressive. The trumpet bell inside – the largest in the world – is a testament to the community-oriented unity of the Danish community: it rings every time a child is born in the city.

In the afternoon, it’s worth checking out the ARoS art museum. It’s a very conceptual place. Its design is based on Dante’s Divine Comedy, and the visit begins on the dark floor below, where there is an abandoned club space called “The Mirror” with neon lights, a fallen disco ball and abandoned beer bottles. Along several corridors you will see an opening in a metal balcony that is covered with mirrors that make the tiny space appear and disappear over and over again. As you keep going up…it feels like you’re traveling through purgatory, through ever-changing exhibitions, all the way up to the permanent Old Masters collection on the 8th floor.

This year, Aarhus and Central Denmark won the European Region of Gastronomy award, thanks to a surge of innovative cuisine in Aarhus that happened thanks to a trend to use exclusively local farm products surrounding the city. And so bravely head to Aarhus Street Food, a casual food truck market including Stegen & Dellen, which serves Danish meatballs with a bunch of all sorts of side dishes. In addition to independent privateers, there are also restaurants like Copenhagen’s Grød, which serves a delicious Scandinavian-style risotto of broccoli, raw apple, and wonderful parmesan.

The second day is worth seeing in the Old Town, the Latin Quarter and the museum

Day two: Old Town, Latin Quarter and Moesgaard Museum, and Kulbroen. There’s a fine line between today’s hipster culture and history, especially when you see bearded Danes, with kegs of ale, as if in the 1800s, at the Aarhus Den Gamle Museum in Old Town. At this museum, visitors can also get a glimpse of life in Denmark through the centuries, with colorful displays and even a porridge tasting in a reconstructed 19th-century merchant’s house.

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Weekend in Aarhus

Then stroll through town via Mollestein, a picturesque street with rather brightly colored houses, with lots of flowers and vintage bicycles chained outside – enough to wow friends on Instagram.

In the afternoon, stop by Langhoff & Juul, an organic restaurant whose motto is “the best things in life that make you fat, drunk or pregnant.” Lunch here is beautifully presented with salads and sandwiches, all based on local ingredients. From here you can walk out into the Latin Quarter, the oldest part of the city. It’s full of cobblestone streets, and overflowing with cafes, stores, boutiques, and tattoo parlors (Société G28, for example).

Don’t forget the Aarhus Cathedral, located in a beautiful square in the heart of the Latin Quarter. And if you are still hungry for culture, head to the edge of town for the Moesgaard Museum, where you get a virtual reality experience on the battlefield…of the Iron Age. You will see arrows flying at you and hear swords clanging along with other sounds of battle. The building itself is also quite interesting, the sloping roof opens from the ground on a hinge. It also doubles up in the winter.

In the evening, head to Sårt at Jægergårdsgade for an epic cheese and potatoes to start the evening, and a few glasses of wine. Continue to rebalance with the cultural program… with a Nuclear Daiquiri, made with absinthe and lemon juice, laced with Johnnie Walker gold label rum and whiskey, marshmallows and pure nettle syrup from Apothek St Paul’s. The cocktails here are as cool and unique as the rest of Aarhus!

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