Tivoli was said to inspire Walt Disney before he created his theme parks, and it is easy to see why. It is charming in every way. Its beautiful, a tad quirky, and suitable for adults and children alike. At Christmas, it turns into a spectacle of lights, snow, and elves. It’s a must visit in Copenhagen, particularly at Christmas.
Getting In: Tickets are required for admission – you can buy one day or get a slight discount for two days (I believe 2 days was approximately $40 per person). Rides are extra – we didn’t partake, but if you have kids or have a particular affinity for rides, they did look fun.
Tivoli has been through a lot – opened it 1843, a good chunk of it was also destroyed by the Nazis during WWII. Some of the rides are extremely old – like the oldest wooden roller coaster that requires an operator to break on the downhills – to the newer coaster with multiple inversions built in 2004.
The Park is open day and night: it’s fun to explore during the day, but with the snow and lights, it really is stunning at night. Key Tip: Just be ready for the crowds and be sure to buy your tickets in advance if you plan on visiting after dark. There were easily 100 people in line on a Friday evening around 7pm, but the line to get in if you already had a ticket was just a few people. Plus, Copenhagen’s northern bonus…it does get dark shortly after 3pm, so you don’t even have to wait that long to enjoy Tivoli’s lighted splendor!
Food: There are plenty of restaurants and food offerings in Tivoli, whether you feel like some fairy floss (cotton candy…I do wonder how that name got so changed in Europe versus the United States…I think I will start calling it fairy floss…), a candied apple, pizza, or a real meal. It also has a lovely food court with all kinds of options, from open-faced sandwiches to the international chain Vapiano. Lots of Glogg stations just in case you need some powerful mulled wine, too.
Shopping: There are plenty of Christmas shops and gift shops if you are so inclined. Fur hats, wool sweaters, elves. Elves. More elves. Plenty of Christmas ornaments. I got two lovely sketches (not Christmas related at all)! There is also plenty of George Jensen, Royal Copenhagen goods, and other Danish-designs. It’s definitely fun to browse. Or browse to warm-up from the cold!
There is so much to see at Tivoli, whether the cookie making elves, the rides, the pirate ship, the stores — there is also an aquarium and free concerts at Christmas. But I think one of the best things about Tivoli are the – what I would call – carnival games. It was so much fun to watch those! Tossing balls in holes to move old wooden race horses, to shooting guns at targets, to throwing wooden balls at ceramic plates. It is the carnival that both kids and adults dream of – and the carnival games that you certainly can no longer find here in the United States.
We explored the iconic Tivoli 3 times, and found something different each time. Verdict: It’s just so.much.fun, particularly with all of the decorations. Tivoli is located centrally in Copenhagen, right across from the main train station. We stayed at the Marriott which was just a few short blocks away; Nyhavn and other parts of Copenhagen are a really easy walk. And…everyone knows where Tivoli is and how to get there if you happen to find yourself turned around.