For many visitors to Copenhagen, the area around the Tivoli Gardens and the Central Train Station will be the central point of their trip thanks to the multitude of hotels, a good deal of them at the budget end of the scale. While Tivoli itself may offer an aura of childish fun and innocence, the neighborhood it is located in certainly borders on the sleazy. Visitors should be especially guarded in the Central Train Station, as pickpockets operate here in teams.
On the north side of Tivoli, international bars like the Hard Rock Café and a number of movie theaters offer easy attractions for the foreign visitor. Crossing Vesterbrogade, Axeltorv square, with its fountains and sculptures, is not quite the busy meeting place it was a decade ago, when the pedestrian square was dominated by the Scala building, a turn-of-the century concert hall revamped in the late '90s as a mini shopping and entertainment mall. Scala has declined since 2001, as businesses have closed and stores stood empty, and plans are now underway to transform the building into a hotel.
The side exit of the Station, meanwhile, opens out onto the somewhat grubby Istegade, offering a very different view of the same area: once the city's red light district, efforts to clean up the area have partially succeeded, and the walk into the more residential Vesterbro neighborhood offers a chance to browse into an eclectic selection of Asian groceries, gay porn stores and Chinese supermarkets.
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