10 Best Free Things to Do in Aarhus

How to Experience Aarhus on a Small Budget

    Aarhus has a charming seaside location and over 40 gorgeous parks, so there are many great things to do around the city that doesn’t require spending any krone. As an up-and-coming city, Aarhus displays Scandinavia’s famous culture and arts scene and it was named the European Cultural Capital of 2017.

    The charm of Aarhus radiates through its streets and through its locals. You can roam the picturesque streets of the Latin Quarter or take in Danish history at De Gamle By. Below is a list of free things to do around the city, which reflects Aarhus’ flourishing creative scene and its immense natural beauty.

    1

    Kunsthal Aarhus

    Browse contemporary art for free

    Kunsthal Aarhus is said to be one of Denmark’s most beautiful and spacious exhibition spaces for contemporary art. The contemporary art centre is found in the centre of city, not far from the famous ARoS museum. The understated exterior of the building provides a stark contrast to its sleek, modern interior. Exhibitions are usually eccentric and thought-provoking, looking at social and political issues through mediums such as sculptures and paintings. The exhibitions change every 3 months and often feature local artists.

    Location: J. M. Mørks Gade 13, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark

    Open: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10am to 5pm, Wednesday from 10am to 9pm, Saturday - Sunday from 12pm to 5pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +45 86 20 60 50

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    photo by RhinoMind (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    2

    Den Gamle By: The Old Town Museum

    A must-see in the heart of Aarhus

    Den Gamle By really should be a compulsory attraction for first-timers to Aarhus. First of all, it’s undeniably charming and oozing with history. Second of all, it’s completely free-of-charge. The open-air museum hosts some of the oldest buildings in the city, dating back to the mid-1500s. Organised into 3 time periods – the 1700s, 1900s and the 1970s – each section keeps to the styles and architectures of their time. Staff walk around in character and in dress from their assigned time period, making it a truly immersive experience. It’s a fantastic place to learn about different generations of Danish history.

    Location: Viborgvej 2, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

    Open: Daily from 10am to 6pm

    Phone: +45 86 12 31 88

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    photo by Zairon (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    3

    Marselis Forest to Moesgård Museum

    Follow footpaths parallel to the coast

    The walk from Marselis Forest to Moesgård Manor House will take you through forest trails lined with enchanting beech and oak trees. Start your route south of Aarhus and make your way down towards Moesgård Forest, where you’ll be surrounded by clusters of 200- to 300-year-old trees. Make sure you visit Skovmøllen, an old, restored water mill, which also houses a popular restaurant. Since the forests are near the beach, a lot of the trails can be taken down to the water.

    Location: Marselis Skoven, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark

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    photo by Gardar Rurak (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    4

    Wander around the Latin Quarter

    Take in its charming atmosphere

    The Latin Quarter is best seen in the morning or in the evenings, when the crowds are smaller and you can really enjoy the charm of the quarter. As one of the oldest areas in the city, the Latin Quarter’s buildings exude history, which can be seen in its ageing paint and old-style architecture. Some of the buildings date back to the 16th century but still radiate colour as if they were built yesterday. Dotted around the area are many hygge cafés and shops and the famous Møllestien lane – an exquisitely picturesque Danish street – is nearby.

    Location: Latinerkvarteret, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark

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    photo by Sten (CC BY 3.0) modified

    5

    Catch a free event at Aarhus Concert Hall

    The largest concert hall in Scandinavia

    The Aarhus Concert Hall is home to the Aarhus Royal Academy of Music, the Danish National Opera, the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra and a children’s theatre. The building is impressive in nature, with its 200 sq m open, glass foyer full of palm trees, olive trees and artwork exhibited on the walls. The concert hall holds an air of sophistication, mirrored in its stylish staff and superbly curated performances. Events normally include Danish and international artists, who perform everything from opera to dancing. Free events are held every week, so check the website for dates and times.

    Open: Daily from 12pm to 11pm

    Phone: +45 89 40 40 40

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    photo by RhinoMind (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    6

    Walk along the Infinite Bridge

    A walkway with no end

    The Infinite Bridge, also known as Den Uendelige Bro, is a circular wooden walkway jutting out into the sapphire waters of Aarhus Bay. Located near Marselisborg Palace, this peaceful place boasts beautiful views of the sea and is pleasant at any time of the day. Walk to your hearts content, taking in the sounds of the waters and the smells of the nearby forest. In summer months, head down to the beach and cool off in the water.

    Location: Bugt, Aarhus, Denmark

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    photo by Design Milk (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    7

    Summer at the Havnebadet

    The world’s largest seawater baths

    Havnebadet, or the Harbour Baths, contains a 50-metre-long pool, a circular diving pool, a children’s area and 2 saunas. Found in Aarhus Ø, by Bassin 7, the baths are an oasis in the centre of the city and many come here to cool off in the summer heat. Here, you’ll find crowds of all ages enjoying the crisp waters of the pools and basking in the Danish sun. Made completely out of sustainable materials, the triangular complex points out to sea and so offers superb views of Aarhus Bay. When the baths have reached capacity, a red light switches on and newcomers can wait at one of the neighbouring pop-up cafés. The baths open every day during summer, but check their website for specific dates.

    Location: Havnebadet, Bassin 7, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

    Open: Daily from 11am to 7pm

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    photo by RhinoMind (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    8

    The changing of the guard at Marselisborg Palace

    A popular attraction when the Danish Royals are in town

    Marselisborg Palace is the summer and Christmas residence of the Danish Royal family. Surrounded by immaculately manicured gardens, the palace looks like part of a quintessential Danish fairy tale. The gardens are closed off if the Queen or her family are in residence but are free to roam when they are away. The Queen’s guard is famously adorned in distinctive bearskins – an icon of the Danish monarchy. Watch the changing of the Royal Life Guards every day at noon when the royal family is present. Stroll around the vast, green Marselisborg Memorial Park afterwards.

    Location: Kongevejen 100, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark

    Phone: +45 33 40 10 10

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    9

    Aarhus Botanical Gardens

    Flora from different climate zones

    The outdoor spaces of the Aarhus Botanical Gardens display typical Danish scenery while greenhouses containing flora from 4 different climate zones. Found in the middle of the city, this green space offers a tranquil escape from the city. For a scenic afternoon, enter the gardens from the ancient streets of Dem Gamle By. The greenhouses are large, with very well maintained and labelled ecosystems. The tropical greenhouse is filled with flurries of pretty butterflies and exotic plants. The gardens are an ideal place to come for a break from sightseeing in the city.

    Location: Peter Holms Vej, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark

    Open: Monday – Friday from 9am to 5pm, Saturday – Sunday from 10am to 5pm

    Phone: +45 87 15 54 15

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    10

    Verner Bryders Givisme Aa-ase

    A terraced hang-out on an old industrial site

    Verner Bryders Givisme Aa-ase is a large, stylish terrace where music performances, festivals, exhibitions and film showings take place. The riverside event space was built in just 1 month by a bunch of the city’s most creative artists and visionaries. The space runs on the principle of Givisme – the idea of ‘giving something to others without expecting something back’. Because of this, visitors looking to hold events can use the site for free, under the condition that everyone attending is welcome and that no illegal trading or dealing takes place. Make sure to check the website for any events during your stay. If no events are on, pop by with a picnic and relax by the serene waters of the river. The space is only open from April to October.

    Location: Søren Frichs Vej 20, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark

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    Sophia Macpherson | Contributing Writer

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