Are you looking for the best things to do in Aarhus? I’m a local so this guide has you covered – keep reading for more!
Plan your trip to Aarhus
👩🏻 Best guided tours in Aarhus
- Aarhus Like a Local: Customized Private Tour (⭐️ 5/5)
- The most Instaworthy Spots of Aarhus with a Local (⭐ 4.5/5)
- Aarhus: GoBoat Self-drive Boat Tour (⭐ 4.5/5)
🏡 Where to stay in Aarhus
Aarhus – the city of smiles. I’ve lived here for years, and it’s my favorite town in Denmark.
Aarhus is the second largest city in Denmark. It’s charming and has a young, lively atmosphere because of the many students from all over Denmark and the rest of the world.
We have tons of restaurants, historic buildings, and great nightlife on the weekends.
If you are looking for what to do in Aarhus, Denmark… this guide is here to help you plan!
Let’s dig in!
Read next: 14 magical things to do in Aarhus in winter
Things to do in Aarhus
How many days in Aarhus?
If you’ve got just one day in Aarhus, you can see the main spots. But honestly, if you really want to soak it all in, give it 2-3 days.
Aarhus travel guide 2023
The best things to do in Aarhus
1. Aarhus canal
The canal by Magasin shopping center is the most popular place in Aarhus.
On sunny days, it’s always crowded with people hanging out at the cafes, but it’s also busy the rest of the year.
By night, it transforms into the city’s trendiest nightlife spot.
The Pedestrianised high street is an 850-meter-long walking street with lots of small shops.
During Christmas, the street is lit up by lights and decorations – it’s so pretty!
Mejlgade is Aarhus’ buzzing street, and it’s brimming with life. Lined with colorful houses, this is where to find eco-shops, cool cafes, and unique boutiques.
Try the Mexican restaurant – they also have take-away.
Whether you’re grabbing a coffee, shopping for sustainable finds, or just strolling, this vibrant lane embodies the city’s soul.
4. Aarhus Cathedral
At the end of Mejlgade, you’ll find Aarhus Cathedral.
The cathedral is a historic city landmark, dedicated to St. Clemens, a martyred pope from the year 100.
Inside, you can see a mix of Romanesque and Gothic designs. If you’re keen on panoramic views, ask the staff if you can visit the church tower.
5. Play pool at Sharks
Sharks is a cozy hidden gem in Aarhus that only Danes know about.
I’ve been here many times and it’s a fun place to hang out over a game of pool and a beer.
6. Salling Rooftop
Want the best view of Aarhus?
Head to Salling’s Rooftop. There’s an elevator near the entrance.
Beyond just an excellent café, this viewpoint has cozy nooks, charming greenhouses, and a breathtaking city view.
If you dare, step onto a platform overlooking the main street – although I have to warn you: it’s not for the faint-hearted. Visiting is free, but always respect the paying customers if you drop by.
7. Go shopping in Bruuns Gallery, Magasin or Salling
There are many places to shop in Aarhus, but the main malls are Magasin by the river, Salling on the main pedestrian street, and Bruuns Galleri right by the train station.
One of my favorite places in Aarhus is Jægergårdsgade.
We lived here when we just got married, and it’s one of the most relaxed, cozy places in Aarhus because of the many cafes and restaurants.
Near Jægergårdsgade, you’ll find SchweizerBageriet, which is the oldest bakery in Aarhus.
Established in 1898, this iconic bakery has been crowned the best bakery in town multiple times, so make sure to stop by for bread and cake.
10. Torvet på Ingerslevs Boulevard
Every Wednesday and Saturday, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., a vibrant market with around 60 stalls springs to life on Ingerslevs Boulevard.
Here, you can find fresh fruits, vegetables, homemade goods, cheese, fish, fragrant flowers, and meats, with a notable selection of organic products!
11. Aarhus town hall
Aarhus Townhall is a hallmark of Aarhus.
It was designed by the globally renowned architects Arne Jacobsen and Erik Møller between 1937 and 1941 and earned protected status in 1995.
You can sometimes enter the tower on a guided tour.
Møllestien is this quaint street in the heart of Aarhus – the most beautiful in town if you ask me.
Think cobbled paths, bikes everywhere, vines, hollyhocks, and half-timbered, vibrant houses.
Most houses date back to the 1700s, but the street’s history?
That’s Viking-era old! Just a heads-up, people live here, so be respectful when taking photos.
13. ARoS museum – the main art museum
ARoS Aarhus Art Museum is the go-to art museum in Aarhus, a must-visit when you’re in town.
Fun fact: Aarhus was called Aros back in the Viking days, so the museum’s name gives a nod to history.
Each year, ARoS rolls out 6-8 diverse exhibitions across its vast 20,000-square-meter space, blending both modern and classic art.
While there, make sure to see the impressive 5-meter tall sculpture “Boy” and the rooftop rainbow panorama where you’ll get a 360-degree view of the city.
14. The Old Town Museum
Just a short walk from Aarhus city center is The Old Town, known in Danish as “Den Gamle By”.
It’s like time-traveling, and it shows 400 years of Danish history. As one of the main tourist attractions – definitely go here!
In this open-air world-class museum, you can walk on 1800s lanes, grab a pastry, or dive deep into the 1974 “Aarhus Stories” exhibit.
And in December, you’ll see horse-drawn carriages, Christmas decorations, and taste traditional Danish Christmas goods.
15. Godsbanen – The old railway station
Godsbanen is a creative place, near Aros. It hosts a variety of exhibitions, theater performances, readings, and concerts.
There’s also a restaurant on-site, workshops, and project spaces for collaborative work.
You’ll find over 400 events annually at Godsbanen. But the place to hang out at night is on the rooftop!
16. Aarhus K
Godsbanen is part of Aarhus K – a vibrant district made from old freight buildings and containers with lots of street art and graffiti.
The atmosphere is like a blend of the free spirit of Christiania in Copenhagen and the entrepreneurial vibe of Berlin.
17. Bazar Vest
Bazar Vest is like visiting the Middle East without leaving Aarhus.
It’s an 18,000 m² indoor bazaar where you can buy fresh produce, spices, and unique oriental items.
Plus, if you’re into Turkish, Iranian, Persian, or other Middle Eastern cuisines, this place is a culinary haven.
It’s open every Tuesday – Sunday.
- Shops are open from 10 pm – 6 pm.
- Eateries are open from 10 – 9 pm.
18. Aarhus Ø + The Iceberg
I love Aarhus Ø.
It’s so different from the rest of Aarhus, so it gives you a completely different experience.
While there, visit the Iceberg, which has been designed in a way that allows natural lighting and waterfront views into as many apartments as possible.
Also on Aarhus Ø is Havnebadet, which you can’t miss on your right when you just arrive.
Havnebadet is a fantastic harbor bath: a triangular floating spot with a 50-meter pool, a diving platform, a children’s pool, and two saunas.
Plus, there’s this walkway up top with great views of the pools and harbor.
The best time for swimming and sun is in July and August. Although it’s also a popular place for winter dips.
20. Rent kayaks at the harbor
Another fun thing to do in Aarhus is renting a kayak or canoe.
I once rented a kayak and wetsuit with a friend, and we paddled around and enjoyed the city views from the water. So much fun.
I had never tried it before but it was super easy and safe, so not to worry if you’re a beginner.
21. Aarhus Streetfood
Drop by Aarhus Street Food and soak in the vibe.
Trust me, it’s every bit the foodie paradise you’d hope for, complete with twinkle lights, picnic tables, and cool signage – the works!
Nestled under umbrellas and lights, the outdoor seating feels magical at night. Inside, it’s a bustling hub with 24 diverse food stalls. There’s something for everyone: from carnivores to vegans to the gluten-free crew.
My favorite is the Mexican food stall on the left, just at the entrance.
22. The Viking Museum
The Viking Museum is the perfect place to bolster your Viking knowledge.
You’ll discover stories about Harald Bluetooth’s fortification, the Snaptun stone with the god Loki, and the skeleton that was found in the middle of the floor.
Though it’s a small museum, it has a lot to offer.
23. KØN – The Gender Museum
Another interesting museum in Aarhus is the Gender Museum – KØN.
It stands out as one of the rare gender museums globally as it delves deep into gender’s historical and modern roles over three intriguing floors.
24. Steno Museum
At the Steno Museum, you can dive deep into the wonders of astronomy and natural science.
And if you want to know more about stars and go stargazing, don’t miss out on the Ole Rømer Observatory just south of the city center. It’s a great museum.
Read next: 12 mind-blowing places for nature in Denmark
25. The oldest crypt in Aarhus – Church of Our Lady
If you’re in Aarhus, don’t miss the Church of Our Lady.
It’s got Denmark’s longest nave and the oldest crypt in Aarhus. It can tracked back to the year 1000 based on the discovery of the crypt in the 1950s.
Contact the church office for a guided tour.
26. The Latin Quarter
In the Latin Quarter, you’ll see old houses from the 16th century. It’s the oldest district in Aarhus.
I’ve come here a lot because the cafes are some of the best in town. Plus, you’ll find White Elephant here (my favorite Thai restaurant in Aarhus), quaint houses, and distinctive boutiques.
27. Løve’s Book and Wine Bar
Løve’s Bog og VinCafé in Aarhus is a local gem. You can find heaps of books, while you grab a brownie or maybe try one of their 130 wines.
It’s a popular spot for students, and with events like ‘open poetic scene’, it’s always buzzing. Definitely worth a visit!
28. Botanical Garden
Inside the garden is Væksthusene where you can explore plants from four climate zones – all for free.
Starting with the Mediterranean house, you’ll move through desert, mountain forest, and tropical settings with free-flying butterflies.
Trøjborg is like a quaint little town inside Aarhus and it’s my favorite place.
I’ve lived here for many years.
Trøjborg is one of those neighborhoods you can’t help but love. It has a cool vibe, lots of cafes, a cinema, a forest and a beach nearby. If you’re looking for homemade haydari from the local Turkish shop, or organic foods and great sushi, it’s literally just around the corner.
Trøjborg is close to the University so there are lots of young people living here, plus the atmosphere is so relaxed.
30. Riis Forest
Riis Forest in Aarhus is right next to Trøjborg and there are great walking paths, mountain bike trails, and more here. If you’re lucky, you might even spot owls and other wildlife.
You can find the best trails on All Trails.
31. Head to the beach
In the Danish summer, you should visit one of the many beaches in Aarhus. Among the most popular beaches are: Den Permanente, Bellevue Beach, and Moesgaard Beach.
Den Permanente is a beach close to the city center. You can opt to visit the fenced section with lifeguards, restrooms, and other facilities.
While this part is quite popular, the areas outside the fence tend to be less crowded and, in my opinion, are just as good. From Den Permanente, you can easily walk to Aarhus Lystbådshavn.
32. Marselisborg Marina and Tangkroen
Marselisborg Marina is a fantastic place for seafood restaurants. This summer, there was an exhibition all the way along the beach to Marselisborg forest.
Right next to the marina is Tangkroen, which is a hub for events like the circus, Sculptures by the Sea, Classic Race Aarhus, and other happenings.
33. Tivoli Friheden
Tivoli Friheden, just a 2 km walk from Aarhus train station, is the city’s amusement park nestled in Marselisborg forest. While it’s open year-round, it’s not daily, so check their opening hours (Danish).
You’ll find four large roller coasters, 40 attractions, rivers, play areas, and “Hjertekig” – the famed 65-meter free-fall tower, which is the highest in Denmark.
You can also meet the mascots, Pjerrot and Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit, and enjoy various year-long events and shows in the amusement park Tivoli Friheden.
For a budget-friendly experience, buy an All-inclusive wristband online or at the entrance. It covers entry, rides, food, and more.
34. Marselisborg Castle and Memorial Park
Marselisborg Palace, completed in 1902, was a wedding gift to King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine from the Danish people.
Today, it serves as the Danish monarch’s summer and Christmas residence in Aarhus. When the royal family is in residence, there’s a guard change at 12:00 daily.
When they’re away, the Memorial Park and Queen’s rose garden are open to visitors.
35. The Infinite Bridge
The Infinite Bridge is a circular bridge, that lets you walk endlessly. It’s great fun for both kids and adults.
In summer, it doubles as a swimming pier, while on other days, it offers a serene walk over the water.
The Infinity Bridge opening hours:
- Open from April to the end of October
- 24 hours daily
Moesgaard Museum is just outside Aarhus and it’s a must-visit!
It features exhibits from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages, including the famous Grauballe Man.
Designed by Henning Larsen Architects, you can walk on its grassy roof and get panoramic views of Aarhus Bay and the landscape.
How to get to Aarhus
There are several ways to get to Aarhus even though it may look a bit remote on the map!
You can fly there and arrive at Tirstrup Airport (also known as Aarhus Airport). It is easy to get from Tirstrup Airport to the city center by bus and it is usually fairly cheap to fly there from within Europe or Copenhagen.
The train ride from Copenhagen is the most popular, although NOT the cheapest. I always take the bus.
Where to stay in Aarhus
If you are looking for some of the best accommodation options in Aarhus, here are my top picks!
- Hotel GUESTapart (great apartment in the city center)
- Hotel Oasia Aarhus City (3-star gorgeous hotel by the train station)
- Hotel Royal (Art Nouveau luxury hotel at a great price)
Did I miss any of the best things to do in Aarhus Denmark for a first-time visitor?
Let me know what to do in Aarhus in the comments. Thanks!
FAQ – Things to do in Aarhus
Is it worth visiting Aarhus Denmark?
Yes, absolutely! Aarhus is the best city in Denmark, yet largely overlooked by most tourists. There’s much to do here and you can easily spend 2-3 days in Aarhus.
What is Aarhus best known for?
Aarhus, often dubbed the “City of Smiles,” is Denmark’s second-largest city.
It’s celebrated for its historic charm, exemplified by the open-air museum Aarhus Old Town.
Aarhus is also known for the ARoS Art Museum, particularly the “Your Rainbow Panorama.”
Is Aarhus better than Copenhagen?
I think so, yes. But I’m biased, Aarhus is my soul city. Aarhus is smaller so it has more charm, while Copenhagen is more edgy.
Is one day enough for Aarhus?
One day in Aarhus allows you to visit key spots like Den Gamle By and ARoS Art Museum.
However, to explore the city’s full charm and other attractions, I recommend 2-4 days.
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