Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park | Copenhagen Denmark
ONE OF THE WORLD’S OLDEST AND MOST SUSTAINABLE AMUSEMENT PARKS
Tivoli! Tivoli! Tivoli! What do you think of when you hear the word? A tiny town in Italy? No, I live in Denmark. I’m talking about Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park right here in the Danish capital of Copenhagen. What? You don’t know Tivoli? You should come visit! You should come visit Copenhagen AND visit Tivoli. When it’s open. Alas, it’s not always open. But if your travels allow, it is so worth it when it is.
Tivoli is the second oldest amusement park in the world and has been in operation since August 1843. Oldest in the world peeps! That is cool. And old. And cool! Bakken, only 20 kilometers up the road in Klampenborg, Denmark is actually the oldest, but my heart lies in Tivoli.
Give a nod to your inner child along the winding lanes and historic rides, knowing that much of it is powered by alternative energy. With a family that works in wind, this makes me happy. Twinkly lit charm stays green with LED lighting. Beautiful gardens and trees that feed the city’s honey bees contribute to biodiversity and keep the air clean. A deposit system for cups keeps single-use plastic in place. All this helps Tivoli keeps it positive for the city and makes it super fantastic fun for you.
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TIVOLI IS SEASONAL
That’s because Tivoli is all sorts of charming in every season. And seasonal it is. Tivoli is not open all year round like some of those other world-famous amusement parks you may know. Say maybe like… Disneyland. But did you know that ol’ Walt himself visited Copenhagen multiple times and drew more than a little inspiration for many of his own attractions? And he may have even co-opted a bit of Disneyworld’s pristine, fairy-tale-like atmosphere from a certain darling Danish theme park. Where else? Ding, ding, ding. Yep, you got it. TIVOLI.
Tivoli’s most popular season begins in early April with spring into summer. This used to mean that the park was shuttered after the twinkly lights of the Christmas were packed away. Lucky for you, in honor of the 175th anniversary of the park, Tivoli added a special new winter season in 2017 and it helped us bridge the gap during dark Danish February. Each season sees a new theme and attractions in tune. So let’s begin. This is a perfect time to walk you through the unique seasons at Tivoli Gardens. There is always time for Tivoli. I’ll start now in with:
Spring | Forår
Easter Activities | 4 April – 22 April 2019
Spring is especially sweet at Tivoli as people rush in for the first scenes of the season. After months of dark Danish winter, the days are longer and the park covered in flowers. If your trip here falls in Spring, it is truly a fantastisk (that’s Danish for fantastic) time to explore the park. Flowers, those traditional trumpeters of spring, play an important role in creating the coveted atmosphere at Tivoli. Already hyacinths and daffodils and pansies will be perking up the park. But the big show will be 24,000 Dutch tulips in a grand display outside the park’s Pantomime Theater.
This year Tivoli kicks off spring with special Easter-themed activities. Besides extra fresh flowers in pots around the park, baby lambs will be on display. Yes. I said baby lambs. I’m sold. You can also meet the park’s mascot Petzi the Bear and his friend Flora (are you sensing a pattern?).
Besides flowers, springtime affords the added bonus of smaller crowds. Thank Denmark’s unpredictable spring weather. Case in point – even gobs of rain didn’t stop those in the know from getting a head start on the season at last year’s Lysfest, or soft opening. We didn’t stay long, just enough to hug friends and whet our appetite on a ride or two. If you can brave the potentially crazy weather and come during a weekday, right when the park opens at 11:00 am, you will be rewarded with relatively shorter lines for most rides. Danish school children are tucked away in classes until late June.
On most spring days, repeats on your soon-to-be favorite rides are easily possible. Try the newest attraction – Fatamagora – which opened April 28th, 2016 – adding another beautiful tower to the Tivoli skyline. Will it become one of your family favorites?
TIVOLI TIP: Spring affords the added bonus that crowds will be smaller during this time of year. But keep note of Danish public holidays, as a visit to Tivoli is always popular with the many locals who purchase annual passes.
Summer | Sommer
4 April – 22 September 2019
Most people who visit Tivoli know it from the fragrant flower-filled fun of summer, which runs through most of September. During the summer season, you can enjoy tons of live music, marching parades and fireworks shows. The park can also be chock full of tourists from every corner of the world in the summer. Holding an annual pass card becomes a small luxury for those who do, as they can hop in and out as often as they please when the lines get too long. Don’t have that freedom? Don’t worry. Tivoli is a perfect size. In fact, much smaller than an average American amusement park – facilitating your ability to check that line again later. No fast track or line wait apps necessary. And there is plenty to do here with or without waiting for the rides.
Just chilling on the center lawn while the children dart in and out is truly a lovely way to spend the sunny afternoon in the summertime. Grab some takeaway food, a glass of wine or a cold Carlsberg and if you are lucky enough to nab one of the loungers about the lawn – sit back and soak up the atmosphere. Unlike other amusement parks around the world, the food offerings are very good here.
WHAT TO EAT
We haven’t tried all of the restaurants, but do like the BBQ ribs at Promenaden and there is always a line for Wagamama. Don’t want a full sit down meal? Try the traditionally Danish meatball sandwich at Frikadellen – a small take away window near the lawn area. For sweet treats there are yummy is vafler (ice cream cones), candy floss (cotton candy, not edible underwear) or try the Scandi favorite – the fancy lakrids (licorice) from Johan Bülow. Just try some, it’s super lækker! Delicious! For a fancier taste, try the smørrebrød at Fru Nimb or an afternoon tea at Nimb Hotel bar.
Tivoli offers a myriad of entertainment options if rollercoasters and losing your delicious lunch isn’t really your thing. Try to make time for marveling at the prestigious Tivoli Guard marching through the park in their red and blue regalia. The guard is made up of mostly boys (only recently girls) starting at age 8 up to 16 years old. They are part of what I love about Tivoli – the many historic traditions that still endure today.
ENTERTAINMENT AT TIVOLI
You could take in a theater show, but remember that they will all be in Danish. That could be entertaining in and of itself! Need a more universal language? There are tons of musical performances – both modern and classical for your listening pleasure. Many Friday evenings in the summer – there are free concerts (after you pay admission) from the main lawn stage. Known as Fredagsrock in Danish, there are as many options as there are musical tastes. From Tom Jones to Jason Derulo to Lauryn Hill and MØ. Want more local flavor? Top Danish acts like Phlake, Mads Langer and Suspekt are here to hjælp (help.) Find all the current events listings here.
If you fancy fireworks, plan your visit for a Saturday from May to September and stay up late. The world famous displays don’t go on until 23:45. The light stays long come midsummer, which we all love, so plan accordingly, they are worth the wait! If you can make it until the end of the park day!
TIVOLI TIP: Crowds shrink again in September when kids are back in school – a perfect time to visit Tivoli with potentially great weather.
Halloween | Efterår
11 October – 3 November 2019
Because operations at Tivoli are only seasonal in nature – there is plenty of downtime to prepare, making the most of each season in truly unique and special ways. Autumn brings Halloween to Tivoli. This festive time has only been part of the Tivoli repertoire since 2006. For a holiday that isn’t widely celebrated in Denmark, the jack-0-lanterned decorations are a welcome treat this time of year.
The gardens shift into fall shades and provide the backdrop for harvest-themed displays full of gourds and friendly ghouls. In Denmark, Halloween is the “spooky” holiday, in contrast to the traditional Danish kid-costumed Fastelavn celebrated in February. But don’t worry, no zombies will be on the loose and the park keeps their charm safe for all ages. A word of caution that some of the shops will be selling supremely creepy and somewhat gory costumes and accessories, so if that is not your family’s thing – steer clear.
The weekend closest to Halloween will offer pumpkin carving if you need your lantern jacked as there is nary a pumpkin patch to pluck your own in Denmark. You only have three weeks to get your fall on at Tivoli this year, so plan accordingly. (Looking for more reasons to visit Denmark in Fall? I’ve got you covered here.)
TIVOLI TIP: Closer to October 31st, Tivoli offers pumpkin carving if you need your lantern jacked as there is nary a pumpkin patch to pluck your own in Denmark.
CHRISTMAS – JUL
16 November 2019 – 5 January 2020
God Jul! Merry Christmas from Tivoli – truly the pinnacle of the year! A perfect magical wonderful fairy tale of all the seasons. Christmas at Tivoli. Oooh. Ahh. The winter solstice may darken our days here, but Tivoli lights up our hearts. As cheesy as that sounds, once you see the million and one sparkly fantastisk twinkly lights flocking the festivities, you will agree. Lights bedeck the rides, hang in the trees and illuminate the lanes. Summer’s lazy lawn gets covered with little chalets and Christmas trees and love. No, really. There is a huge tree near the center that drips with giant glowing red hearts, that oh so Danish of holiday decorations.
Bundle up, it can be cold, especially on the rides! But braziers burn around the grounds and can afford you a few minutes’ hand warming while you ogle the lights and take in the sights. Don’t have the nerve to try one of the world’s tallest swing rides? At Christmas, the fountains close up and make space for a tamer version that I adore. I miss those swings in other seasons.
Try the gløgg – Denmark’s answer to warm mulled wine. Go ahead – take the extra snaps. It’s very Danish. When in Denmark? Plan ahead and book dinner at one of the restaurants for a chance to warm up before one of the amazing themed fireworks displays to end your festive evening in Tivoli! It has become a special Copenhagen tradition for our family. Want more things to love about Danish Jul time? Read my post here. Christmas at Tivoli begins November 16th and runs into early January, so there is plenty of time to enjoy the Jul time bliss.
TIVOLI TIP: Try the gløgg – Denmark’s answer to warm mulled wine. Go ahead – take the extra snaps. It’s very Danish. God Jul!
NEW YEAR’S EVE IN TIVOLI
This Tivoli takes the fun into the New Year. And New Year’s Eve is a great time to visit, during the day crowds are low and they start pouring in the afternoon as it gets dark to last until the fireworks show later.
Winter | Vinter
1 FEBRUARY – 22 FEBRUARY 2020
2020 will mark the third year of Tivoli Garden’s newest and sparkliest season. That’s a thing. Launched in 2018 in honor of the 175th Anniversary of the park, a winter wonderland kept guests charmed during the dark days of a Danish February. 2019 saw coordinated events with the Copenhagen Light Festival and special timed displays that illuminated the iconic Nimb Hotel and other structures around the park. Maybe the most idyllic of all was ice skating until the twinkliest canopy of lights. Bundle up, it’s not exactly warm. But winter is adorable in Tivoli. We loved it so much, I wrote a whole post about it. Read it here:
Good to Know
Everyone over three years old needs to buy a ticket to enter Tivoli Gardens, even if you don’t want to ride the rides.
Adults 8+ | 130 DKK
Children 3-7 | 60 DKK
Unlimited Ride Bracelets | 240 DKK
Check website for online offers, group rates and multiple day passes.
HOURS OF OPERATION
Opening hours shift from season to season and weekday to weekend, but doors always open at 11.00.
CURRENT SUMMER OPENING HOURS:
Sunday – Thursday 11.00 – 23.00
Friday – Saturday 11.00 – 24.00
Check website for other seasons here.
Where to Stay
A LITTLE LUXURY NEARBY
Bernstorffsgade 5, 1577 København
Historic Danish hotel with an entrance directly onto the park with several delicious restaurants and beautiful bars, plus rooftop pool.
Radisson Collection, Royal Copenhagen Hotel
Hammerichsgade 1, 1611 København
4-Star Stays near Tivoli
Rådhuspladsen 57, 1550 København
Scandinavian Hotel chain Scandic Palace sits in the middle of it all right at the City Hall Square across the street from Tivoli.
Vester Voldgade 89, 1552 København
Tucked a little further away from the busy City Hall Square (Rådhusplads), Hotel Danmark has had a redo under the Brochner Hotel chain. Lively and fun with rooftop bar and great views of the city.
Helgolandsgade 15, 1653 København
Locally run and popular hotel in energetic Vesterbro neighborhood. Walkable to hip meatpacking restaurant full of restaurants.
Steel House Copenhagen
Herholdtsgade 6, 1605 København
A new modern upscale hostel (yes, that is a thing) located a 6-minute walk to Tivoli. Near Vesterport Station.
Danhostel Copenhagen City
H. C. Andersens Blvd. 50, 1553 København
Denmark’s hostels for all. These are clean, efficient and fun. Not your regular backpacker’s hostel. Fine for families. Views of the harbor.
A year’s worth of fun and memories at Tivoli Gardens Amusement Park in Copenhagen. Been to Tivoli? What time of year did you come? What did you like best? What is your favorite ride? PS – mine is the Demon – love it! Share in the comments below and tell me where you’re reading from, I’d love to know.
Cheers from Copenhagen! Har en go’weekend! Have a great weekend! – Erin