Aarhus is the second-largest city in Denmark, located along the eastern coast of the Jutland Peninsula along the coast of beautiful Aarhus Bay. As one of the 100 largest cities in the European Union, the urban area is known worldwide for its culture and economy, as well as rich jazz and rock music history.
1.Aarhus Botanical Gardens
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Aarhus Botanical Gardens is a 53-acre public botanical garden facility operated by Aarhus Municipality, located adjacent to the Old Town open-air historic museum. The garden was originally created as a botanical research facility for Aarhus University and was converted into a public open-air museum facility in 2012, overseen with the help of the Friends of the Botanical Gardens organization. As one of Aarhus' largest public parks, the gardens offer a variety of visitor attractions, including a greenhouse center constructed in 1970, a tropical hothouse, an open-air amphitheater, and a children's playground facility. Three lakes and streams run throughout the garden, which showcases thousands of plant species labeled in both Dutch and Latin.
Peter Holms Vej, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark, Phone: +45-87-15-54-15
© Kunsthal Aarhus
Kunsthal Aarhus is one of Denmark's oldest and most prominent contemporary arts centers, established in 1917 following the implementation of an 1847 Aarhus Art Association initiative to raise the city's public arts profile. The center strives to inspire the Northern European public through the promotion of the fine arts, located within a space constructed by architect Axel Høeg-Hansen that has been expanded and renovated throughout the past several decades to encompass more than 1,000 square meters of exhibition space. Solo, group, and thematic arts exhibitions are showcased periodically across a variety of genres, including painting, sculpture, photography, and multimedia works. The center is known for its cutting-edge exhibitions, providing a diverse, inclusive platform for artists and prioritizing diversity and cultural appreciation.
J. M. Mørks Gade 13, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark, Phone: +45-86-20-60-50
3.AQUA Aquarium and Wildlife Park
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AQUA Aquarium and Wildlife Park is a family-friendly nature center located in nearby Silkeborg that is home to the largest freshwater aquarium in the country of Denmark. Underwater experiences and informational exhibits abound, taking visitors through recreated natural habitats showcasing species such as pike, otters, and giant catfish. Outside, the facility's outdoor nature park is home to a variety of native Denmark wetland species, including beavers, raccoons, and storks. A wilderness trail is also offered for visitors, along with a giant water play area for young children featuring water cannons, a paddling pool, and a sandbox area. Next to the playground, families can enjoy food from the facility's cafe or bring their own picnic lunches to prepare at the facility's barbecue grills.
Vejlsøvej 55, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark, Phone: +45-89-21-21-89
4.City Bike Adventures
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City Bike Adventures is the Aarhus branch of the top European biking tour company, which also offers tours in top cities such as Copenhagen, Munich, and Berlin. The company offers two daily group biking tours during the morning and afternoon hours, embarking near the DOKK1 library and civic building and the city's Poseidon statue. Morning tours last approximately three and a half hours, while shorter afternoon tours last 90 minutes. Tours explore the city's top sights, including its Marselisborg Palace royal summer home complex and a number of historic buildings and canals, providing an eco-friendly alternative to bus and motor vehicle tours. Private tours may also be arranged for groups of up to 25 people, with customizable itineraries available.
Hack Kampmanns Pl, Aarhus 8000, Denmark, Phone: +45-71-99-91-50
5.The Danish Poster Museum
© The Danish Poster Museum
The Danish Poster Museum is an art museum dedicated to the history of poster art throughout Denmark and the world, located adjacent to the Old Town open-air historic museum. The museum was founded on the collections accumulated by Danish artist Peder Stougaard beginning in 1972, which featured notable poster art by Danish artists alongside seminal posters from around the world. In 1993, Stougaard's collections was transferred to the newly-founded Poster Museum, which was incorporated into the Old Town complex in 2006. Today, the modern two-story museum showcases more than 400,000 Danish and international posters, including influential commercial advertisements, wall art, and protest posters. A permanent collection of 19th and 20th-century classical Danish posters is showcased, alongside six to eight changing yearly exhibitions on poster art topics, with a focus on the use of posters in 20th century international art, advertising, and protest.
Viborgvej 2, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark, Phone: +45-86-15-33-45
6.ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum
© ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum
ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum is Denmark's oldest art museum located outside of the city of Copenhagen, originally opened to the public in 1859. Since its 2004 relocation into a new 10-story building designed by Danish architectural firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen, it has become one of Northern Europe's largest and most-visited art museums, attracting nearly one million annual visitors. Collections focus on works from the 17th-century Golden Age of Northern European painting through the present day, with exhibits for Danish artists and international luminaries such as Andy Warhol, Frank Gehry, and Roy Lichtenstein. A basement exhibit, The 9 Spaces, plays off the concept of Dante's nine circles of hell in the Divine Comedy, and a circular skywalk showcases an installation by Danish artist Ólafur Elíasson.
Aros Allé 2, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark, Phone: +45-87-30-66-00
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Den Permanente is Aarhus' most popular public beach, located less than 10 minutes by bike or car from the city's center, near the Riis Skov woodland park area. The beach consists of two public beach areas and a sea bathing club, which was incorporated under civic supervision in 1933. Prior to the construction of the permanent bath facility, a number of seasonal bath buildings were erected at the area yearly, which lent the name "the permanent" to the new facility. Lifeguards are staffed at the facility during the summer months, with restrooms, showers, and a concessions stand available. Barbecue and bonfire pits are also available for visitor day use.
Salonvejen 1, 8240 Risskov
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Dokk1 is a new cultural center and public library located along the Hack Kampmanns Plads waterfront within the Urban Mediaspace Aarhus development. The building's name was determined as part of a 2012 public naming contest, referring to the city's former Dock One industrial harbor area. It was opened to the public in June of 2015, designed by architectural firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen to emphasize sustainability and public accessibility. It houses the 650,000-square-foot Aarhus Main Library, which was named as the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions' Public Library of the Year in 2016. Two concert halls are also offered, along with children's playgrounds and public art installations. When fully completed, the structure will also house a city light rail station.
Hack Kampmanns Pl. 2, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark, Phone: +45-89-40-92-00
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Food Walk is a guided tour company providing walking restaurant tours of top restaurants in Danish cities such as Copenhagen, Aarhus, and Aalborg. The company strives to promote gastronomic tourism in Danish city centers, aiming to help put Denmark on the map as an international culinary destination. Two, three, and four-hour guided food walk packages allow participants to visit several restaurants within the city center of Aarhus and sample specially-selected dishes prepared by the establishments' executive chefs. Traditional Danish food and beverages are highlighted, along with hot new culinary trends. A minimum of two participants is required for each tour, with private and custom tours available for larger groups upon request.
Dansgade 2A, 8260 Viby, Denmark, Phone: +45-31-10-99-44
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Marselisborg Palace is one of the royal residences of the Danish Royal Family, constructed between 1899 and 1902 on the site of the former Marselisborg Manor. The palace was presented to the royal family as a gift from the nation in commemoration of the wedding of King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine. Since their rule, the palace has been the royal family's summer home and holiday residence, occupied since 1967 by Queen Margrethe II. It is located within the 32-acre Slotshaven Palace Park, which was constructed to mimic traditional English landscapes by designer L. Christian Diedrichsen. Its bordering Mindeparken Memorial Park also serves as a popular recreational facility for Aarhus citizens and visitors throughout the summer months.
Kongevejen 100, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark, Phone: +45-33-40-10-10
© Moesgaard Museum
Moesgaard Museum is a regional Danish museum located within Aarhus suburb Højbjerg that is dedicated to preserving Denmark and Northern Europe's archaeological and ethnographic history. The open-air museum complex consists of a main museum building that showcases important archaeological collections from Denmark and around the world, maintained in cooperation with Aarhus University's archaeological and anthropological divisions. Interactive exhibits showcase important archaeological findings such as the Grauballe Man, considered to be the best bog-preserved human body specimen in the world, and significant findings related to Iron Age warfare. Below the museum, a reconstructed Danish stave church is showcased, along with a number of reconstructed historic buildings located on the museum's grounds dating back to the Iron and Bronze Ages.
Moesgård Allé 15, 8270 Højbjerg, Denmark, Phone: +45-87-39-40-00
© Museum Ovartaci
Museum Ovartaci is an art and history museum in Aarhus that explores the history of the psychiatry industry at Risskov Psychiatric Hospital. The museum is operated as part of the Aarhus University Hospital facility within the Psychiatric Hospital, which was originally opened in 1852 as the Jutish Asylum. Exhibits at the museum detail the history of psychiatric treatment in Denmark throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, including displays of tools used for lobotomies and electric shock treatments. The historic disparity of treatment between upper class and lower class patients at the institution is examined, along with the history of changing cultural attitudes toward psychiatric care. More than 12,000 works produced by hospital patients are also held in the museum's collections, with over 850 displayed in exhibits. Prominent holdings include a collection of works by 20th-century artist Louis Marcussen, whose pen name Ovartaci gives the museum its name.
Skovagervej 2, 8240 Risskov, Denmark, Phone: +45-78-47-04-00
13.The Natural History Museum
© The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is an independent natural history museum located in Aarhus that is maintained in conjunction with the Danish Ministry of Culture and Aarhus University. The museum is located on the university's campus in the Midtbyen district and strives to educate the public on a variety of natural history and science topics, contributing to university funding and research for natural science initiatives. It has been in operation since 1838, when it was housed within the Aarhus Cathedral School, though it officially opened to the public in its current incarnation at the university in 1941. Museum collections include extensive repositories of mammal, bird, and aquatic life skeletons, tracks, and fossils, which are displayed in four permanent exhibitions and a number of rotating temporary special exhibits.
Wilhelm Meyers Allé 10, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark, Phone: +45-86-12-97-77
14.Ole Rømer Observatory
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Ole Rømer Observatory is a Danish astronomical observatory that is operated as part of Aarhus University, offering laboratory facilities for the university's Institute for Physics and Astronomy along with public museum and observatory facilities. The observatory is named for famed Danish astronomer Ole Rømer and was opened the public in 1911 in a facility constructed by architect Anton Rosen. It houses a public museum facility located within the former personal residence of German astronomer Friedrich Krüger, along with public observatory facilities offering two 11-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes available for visitor use. Periodic public presentations and lectures are held on clear evenings, along with guided tours of the facility offered by university docents.
Observatorievejen 1, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark, Phone: +45-87-15-54-15
15.Ree Park - Ebeltoft Safari
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Ree Park – Ebeltoft Safari is a private zoo and safari park located in Djursland, across the Aarhus Bay and Kattegat Sea from the city of Aarhus. The park was originally opened in 1991 by Frans Kilde Hansen as Ebeltoft Dyrepark, changing hands several times throughout the next two decades before its 2006 purchase by Karsten Ree, which led to its current branding. It is a member organization of the Denmark Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums, working with the European Endangered Species Programme to protect and reintroduce endangered and threatened species such as the European bison, sand cat, and African wild dog. More than 800 animals are housed at the park, representing more than 80 species native to the continents of Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Asia.
Stubbe Søvej 15, 8400 Ebeltoft, Denmark, Phone: +45-86-33-61-50
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Salling ROOFTOP is the casual rooftop cafe and cocktail lounge located atop the Aarhus branch of Danish retailer Salling, a popular department store chain. The restaurant is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner service, offering a light fare menu of homemade sandwiches, charcuterie boards, and gourmet salads. A selection of craft cocktails is also offered, including the restaurant's signature Rooftop cocktail, which is crafted from organic gin, cucumber juice, apple, lemon, and thyme. Majestic 360-degree panoramic views of the city's skyline are offered from its open-air dining and lounge space, which hosts public special events such as yoga classes and DJ sets. For adventurous diners, the Salling SKYWALK allows visitors to ascend 27 meters above the city on a glass floor catwalk.
Soendergade 27, Aarhus 8000, Denmark, Phone: +87-78-60-00
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© Steno Museet
Steno Museet is a family science museum that is named in honor of famed 17th-century Danish scientist Nicolas Steno. The museum is operated by Aarhus University as part of the Science Museums umbrella, an organization that also oversees the Ole Rømer Observatory, the Aarhus Botanical Gardens, and the university's herbarium. As an interactive family museum, the museum presents a variety of permanent and rotating natural, biological, and technological science exhibits, with a focus on contemporary science topics such as modern medicine that affect visitors' everyday lives. A museum planetarium offers presentations on weekend afternoons, and a gift shop sells a variety of science and education-related toys and gifts.
C. F. Møllers Allé 2, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark, Phone: +45-87-15-54-15
18.The Old Town
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The Old Town, also known as Den Gamle By, is an open-air museum within Aarhus Botanical Gardens that opened to the public in 1914 as the first open-air historic town museum in the world. The facility is one of Denmark's most-visited museums and has been the inspiration for several other town-style museums throughout Europe, including facilities in Bergen and Turku. 75 relocated and recreated historic buildings are showcased throughout the complex, which date between the 16th and late 19th centuries and have been transported from more than 20 townships throughout the country. Structures that may be explored by visitors include artisan workshops, groceries, post and customs offices, schools, and theaters. Demonstrations are conducted daily by actors portraying typical historic townspeople such as blacksmiths, merchants, and store owners. Five public gardens also showcase period-typical plantings, including pharmacy gardens and spice market plantings.
Viborgvej 2, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark, Phone: +45-86-12-31-88
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Tivoli Friheden is a major amusement park located in Aarhus, offering more than 40 rides and attractions for visitors of all ages. The park was originally opened as a community pavilion and gathering space in 1904, designed by S.F. Kühnel. Throughout the mid-20th century, family amusement rides and attractions were added prior to the park's civic takeover in 1984. Today, it is home to a variety of high, mild, and family thrill rides, including the exhilarating Cobra and Eye of the Storm roller coasters and the Pegasus giant claw pendulum ride. For young visitors, the Bille By children's park section offers a number of introductory thrill rides, many of which may be ridden together by children and guardians. Other park facilities include a haunted house, a 5D cinema, and a variety of casual dining restaurants.
Skovbrynet 5, 8000 Aarhus C, Phone: +45-86-14-73-00
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20.The Viking Museum
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The Viking Museum is a small private museum that located underneath the Nordea Bank building in Aarhus' city center, within the Sankt Clemens Torv public square. The museum is administered in cooperation with the Moesgård Museum, with financial support provided by Aarhus Municipality, and was developed in situ on the site of important archaeological findings excavated in the 1960s that tie to the region's Viking Age history. A number of significant Viking structures and artifacts are showcased 10 feet below street level, including important Viking structures and parts of human skeletons connected to the historical period. Information and displays on the region's Viking history is showcased at the museum, including replicas of larger artifacts held at the nearby Moesgård Museum.
Sankt Clemens Torv 6, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark, Phone: +45-87-39-40-00
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21.The Women's Museum
© The Women's Museum
The Women's Museum, or Kvindemuseet i Danmark, is a history and culture museum located in Aarhus that specifically focuses on topics related to the women of Denmark. The museum was originally founded and opened to the public in 1982 within the city's former 1857 Aarhus City Hall building and is operated through a combination of municipal and private funding sources. Permanent and temporary exhibits showcase artifacts related to the cultural history of the country's women, from early eras through the present day, with a focus on women's liberation struggles and women's participation in major cultural events.
Domkirkepladsen 5, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark, Phone: +45-25-45-45-10
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Aarhus Cathedral is the tallest church in the country of Denmark, standing 315 feet high and spanning more than 300 feet in length. The church's construction dates back to the 12th century, dedicated to Roman Catholic Pope and martyr Saint Clemens. It was enlarged and renovated to its present Gothic-style structure during the 15th and 16th centuries and contains a variety of historic architecture and design elements, including an altarpiece crafted by famed Lübeck painter Bernt Notke. Visitors may ascend the cathedral's tower on Tuesday mornings throughout the summer months free of charge. The facility is still used for Sunday masses, along with a variety of special concert performances throughout the year.
Store Torv, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark
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23.Aarhus Free Walking Tours
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Aarhus Free Walking Tours allow visitors to explore the rich history and culture of the city of Aarhus on foot with a variety of free walking tour options. All tours meet at the Aarhus Theater on Saturday mornings and last approximately two hours, led by a professional tour guide elaborating on the history of various civic and cultural attractions. Tours include an "All You Need To Know About Aarhus" experience, which explores sites such as the Aarhus Cathedral, Møllestien, Mølleparke, and the city's historic town hall building. A Viking-focused tour is also available, along with a tour of hidden gems of the city's Latin Quarter. Tours are available in a variety of languages, including English, Danish, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Chinese.
Teatergaden, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
24.Aarhus International Pub Crawl
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Aarhus International Pub Crawl is operated by tour company Aarhus Experience, the group behind the city's popular free Saturday morning walking tours. Pub crawls embark Thursday and Saturday evenings from the city's Tir Na Nog bar and last approximately four to five hours, offering free entry to up to five bars in an evening. All participants receive a free beer or shot from all five establishments, with discounts available on additional drinks purchased at each bar. Crawls are led by experienced, entertaining guides who elaborate on the history and culture of the city during travels. Past tours have explored diverse city bars such as Irish pubs, cocktail bars, and rock music venues. All participants receive photos of their night out at the end of the tour.
Teatergaden, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
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Aarhus SeaRangers is a guided boat excursion company offering tours of the beautiful Aarhus Bay, which stretches 240 square miles off the city's coast into the Kattegat. Tours are available in Danish and English, navigated by skilled captains and led by experienced tour guides elaborating on the region's history and sights, with a focus on the urban development of Aarhus Island, the biology and ecology of the bay, and the viking history of the Aros region. Tours are conducted in RIB boats and designed to be accessible for visitors of all ages and ability levels. Excursion tours to Tunø Island are also offered, allowing participants to dock and explore the island before having a group picnic and tour of its historic lighthouse and church tower.
Toldkammeret, Hack Kampmanns Plads 1, 4. sal, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark, Phone: +45-72-16-19-95
25 Best Things to Do in Aarhus, Denmark
- Aarhus Botanical Gardens, Photo: Courtesy of HildaWeges - Fotolia.com
- Kunsthal Aarhus, Photo: Kunsthal Aarhus
- AQUA Aquarium and Wildlife Park, Photo: Courtesy of Lubo - Fotolia.com
- City Bike Adventures, Photo: Courtesy of korkeakoski - Fotolia.com
- The Danish Poster Museum, Photo: The Danish Poster Museum
- ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Photo: ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum
- Den Permanente, Photo: Courtesy of Alexander - Fotolia.com
- Dokk1, Photo: Courtesy of alessandro - Fotolia.com
- Food Walk, Photo: Courtesy of photo_fact - Fotolia.com
- Marselisborg Palace, Photo: Courtesy of Ricochet64 - Fotolia.com
- Moesgaard Museum, Photo: Moesgaard Museum
- Museum Ovartaci, Photo: Museum Ovartaci
- The Natural History Museum, Photo: The Natural History Museum
- Ole Rømer Observatory, Photo: Courtesy of Ricochet64 - Fotolia.com
- Ree Park - Ebeltoft Safari, Photo: Courtesy of Michael - Fotolia.com
- Salling ROOFTOP, Photo: Courtesy of Ricochet64 - Fotolia.com
- Steno Museet, Photo: Steno Museet
- The Old Town, Photo: Courtesy of Ricochet64 - Fotolia.com
- Tivoli Friheden, Photo: Courtesy of Ricochet64 - Fotolia.com
- The Viking Museum, Photo: Courtesy of pepebaeza - Fotolia.com
- The Women's Museum, Photo: The Women's Museum
- Aarhus Cathedral, Photo: Courtesy of Alexi Tauzin - Fotolia.com
- Aarhus Free Walking Tours, Photo: Courtesy of Craig - Fotolia.com
- Aarhus International Pub Crawl, Photo: Courtesy of Stuart Monk - Fotolia.com
- Aarhus SeaRangers, Photo: Courtesy of Arne Bramsen - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of balipadma - Fotolia.com