Helsinki (Finnish) or Helsingfors (Swedish)  is the capital of Finland. Founded in 1550, the "Daughter of the Baltic" has been the Finnish capital since 1812, when it was rebuilt by the tsars of Russia along the lines of a miniature St. Petersburg, a role it has played in many a Cold War movie. Today, Helsinki pulls off the trick of being something of an international metropolis while still retaining a small-town feel. The best time to visit is in summer, when Finns peel off their overcoats and flock to outdoor bars and cafes to enjoy the sunshine.
Helsinki's current population is about 575,000, but the Helsinki region including the neighboring suburban cities of Espoo and Vantaa has a population of over one million. The Greater Helsinki area contains 12 municipalities and has a population of over 1,300,000.
Helsinki was founded in A.D. 1550 by King Gustav Vasa of Sweden as a trading post to compete with Tallinn to the south in Estonia, which was Danish at that time. In 1809, Finland was annexed by Russia during a war of that period and the capital of Finland moved from Turku to Helsinki in 1812. The Czar felt the Grand Duchy of Finland needed a capital of grand proportions. The architects Johan Albrecht Ehrenström, a native Finn, and Carl Ludwig Engel, from Germany, were given the task of rebuilding the city in the Empire style. This can be seen today around the Lutheran Cathedral, which was completed in 1852. The same style, and even architects, is also a part of St. Petersburg's history; Helsinki has been used as a politically friendly set to represent St. Petersburg in American movies.
The county of Helsinki forms the core of Finland's largest urban area, known in Finnish as the "capital area" (pääkaupunkiseutu). The Gulf of Finland lies to the south, while the posh suburban municipality of Espoo, with the embedded tiny enclave of Kauniainen, is to the west. The more industrialized municipality of Vantaa is to the north. Beyond these three, the suburbs rapidly give way to farms and forests, most notably Nuuksio National Park at the intersection of Espoo, Vihti and Kirkkonummi.
Within Helsinki itself, the city center is on the southern peninsula at the end of the city's main thoroughfare Mannerheimintie (or just Mansku). Both the central railway station and the main bus terminal are in the city center. Shopping streets Aleksanterinkatu (or Aleksi for short) and Esplanadi (or Espa) connect to Senate Square (Senaatintori), the historical center of the city. See the Helsinki Guide Map  for an interactive searchable map of the city.
Helsinki is by far Finland's most cosmopolitan city and, while no London or New York, there is a fairly good cross section of people from around the world.
Roughly 90% of the residents in Helsinki are native Finnish speakers, with most of the rest being Swedish-speaking. Nearly everybody in Finland speaks English, and it is not unusual to meet people in Helsinki, particularly students, who speak four languages or more. Staff at some stores, such as the Stockmann department store, wear name tags with national flags representing the languages they speak.
Helsinki's celebrations are among the most exciting in the country.
- Vappu (Walpurgis Night), Apr 30-May 1. Originally a north European pagan carnival, Vappu is an excuse for students to wear brightly colored overalls and for everybody to drink vast amounts of alcohol. At 6PM on Apr 30, the statue of Havis Amanda at the Market Square is crowned with a student's cap and the revelry begins in the streets. Things can get a little ugly outside as the night wears on, so it's wiser to head indoors to the bars, clubs and restaurants, all of which have massive Vappu parties. The following morning, the party heads to the Kaivopuisto park for a champagne picnic, regardless of the weather. If the weather is good, up to 70,000 people will show up. The left-wing political May Day celebration is the same day. Events in Finland are more inclusive and all political parties participate in giving speeches.
- Helsinki-päivä (Helsinki Day), Jun 12. This is the birthday of the city. It traditionally starts with the mayor's morning coffee and is celebrated throughout the day with a variety of concerts, performances, exhibitions and guided tours around the city.
- Juhannus (Midsummer Festival), Friday between Jun 19 and Jun 25. Although a large bonfire is lit in Seurasaari, the celebration is low key as the tradition is to celebrate "the nightless night" at summer cottages in the countryside.
- Taiteiden Yö (Night of the Arts), near the end of Aug. The peak of the multi-week Helsinki Festival [, called "little vappu" by many as the streets are full of revelers. The official event is marked by performing arts through the night. The Night of the Arts was originally organized by local bookstores in the 1990s. It's now organized by the city.
- Joulu (Christmas). In the weeks before Christmas, Aleksanterinkatu is festively lit up and the Esplanadi hosts an open-air Christmas market. But Christmas itself is a family event, so on the 24th, everything shuts down and stays closed until December 26th.
Helsinki is among the world's northernmost capitals and the lengthy winter, from October all the way up to April, is dark and freezing. Winter temperatures average -5°C, but the wind chill makes it feel even colder and the mercury can plunge below -30°C on a particularly cold day. Snow falls only intermittently and, until January, often melts into gray slush.
The brief summer, on the other hand, can be extraordinarily pleasant. Temperatures climb above 25°C, parks burst into green and sunbathing blonde pixies dot the city's beaches.
All international and domestic flights land at the compact, modern and airy Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport  (IATA: HEL, ICAO: EFHK), which is 15 kilometers to the north of the city. There are two adjacent terminals, connected by a short walkway.
The cheapest public transport option to the city center is the regional bus 615, which takes about 40 minutes and costs €4 to the Central Railway Station in the heart of Helsinki. The national airline Finnair operates its own bus, for €6.00, which also offers service to the city center after making one stop behind the Scandic Continental Hotel. This is slightly faster (and more comfortable) than the regional bus. Other options include bus 61 to Tikkurila, the center of Vantaa, which is the closest railway station for train connections and all north and east-bound trains stop here. Finally, bus 519 goes to Itäkeskus, for convenient connections to the metro and eastern Helsinki.
Taxis to the center cost €30-40,. The shared Airport Taxi  (tel. 0600 555 555 for bookings) mini-vans start from €22.
If you need a place to sleep between flights, there are three reasonable hotels in or very near the airport:
- Cumulus Airport Hotel, Robert Huberin tie 4, ☎ +358-9-41577100, . Mid-range Finnish chain hotel, 10 min away by free shuttle bus. Renovated in 2007.€120.
- Hilton Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, ☎ +358-9-73220, . Full-service hotel right next to the airport, opened in late 2007. Soundproof windows, bar, restaurant, sauna.€150.
- Scandic Gateway-Helsinki Airport, ☎ +358-9-8183600, . This rather unique transit hotel is located under the runway, so all rooms are small and windowless, but it's located airside (Schengen area) and directly accessible from the international terminal. Free wifi. Fairly expensive for what you get.€150.
Copterline  halted their scheduled flights between Helsinki and Tallinn in December 2008.
All long-distance trains throughout Finland and the Russian cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg terminate in the heart of the city at the Rautatieasema (Central Railway Station). This station also provides easy interchange to the metro and tram lines.
Long-distance buses terminate at the new underground Central Bus Station (Linja-autoasema) in the Kamppi Center  (Kampin Keskus). The station is adjacent to Mannerheimintie, directly connected to the Kamppi metro station and within a short walking distance from the Central Railway Station.
Helsinki is well connected with ferry services to Tallinn (Estonia) and Stockholm (Sweden), and there are limited services to northern Germany. Scheduled services to St. Petersburg (Russia) are, as of 2008, no longer running.
Ferries arrive at three harbours with six terminals:
- West Harbour (Länsisatama)  - Hietasaarenkuja 8 - Tallink ships M/S Star, M/S Galaxy and M/S Superstar to Tallinn; M/S Superfast VII, VIII and IX to Tallinn and Rostock and Eckerö Line ship M/S Nordlandia use the West Terminal. The terminal has luggage lockers, café, a trolley rental, kiosk, a restaurant, public transport ticket machine, bank, an ATM and the Eckerö Line and Tallink Silja Oy service points. Bus no. 15 goes from the terminal to Ruoholahti metro station and bus no. 15A to Helsinki Central railway station.
- South Harbour (Eteläsatama) - Olympia Terminal  - Olympiaranta 1 - West shore of the bay. Tallink Silja cruise ferries M/S Silja Serenade and M/S Silja Symphony dock at Olympia Terminal. The terminal has a money exchange, an ATM, luggage lockers, a trolley rental, a restaurant, kiosk, and the Silja Line service point. Trams no. 1A, 3B and 3T provide connection with the city centre, tram no. 3T is also Tourist Tram, as it passes some of the important sightseeings.
- South Harbour (Eteläsatama) - Makasiini Terminal  - Eteläranta 7 - West shore of the bay. Express ships from Tallinn (Linda Line) arrive to Makasiini Terminal during open water season. The terminal has a kiosk, currency exchange, luggage lockers and Linda Line and Silja Line service points.
- South Harbour (Eteläsatama) - Kanava Terminal  - Katajanokanlaituri 2 - Right shore of the bay. Nordic Jet Line express ships Nordic Jet and Baltic Jet arrive to Kanava Terminal. The terminal has luggage lockers, a café, a kiosk and the Nordic Jet Line service point. Trams 4 and 4T stop "Katajanokan puisto" is located about 150 metres NE from the terminal.
- South Harbour (Eteläsatama) - Katajanokka Terminal  - Katajanokanlaituri 8 - Right shore of the bay. Viking Line ships (M/S Rosella, M/S Gabriella, M/S Mariella, M/S Viking XPRS) arrive at Katajanokan Terminal. The terminal has a restaurant, kiosk, an ATM, a currency exchange, luggage lockers, and the Viking Line service point. The terminus of tram 4T is located in front of the terminal. Trams only depart from the terminal at 10-12 AM, 3-5 and 8-9 PM.
- Sörnäinen Harbour or North Harbour (Sörnäisten satama) - Hansa Terminal  - Parrukatu 4 - Mainly, it's a cargo port, but some Finnlines ships to Travemünde, Lübeck and Århus depart from Hansa Terminal. The terminal is open only when ships are in port. Nordic Ferry Center service point is located in the terminal. Buses 16 and 68 stop "Käenkuja" (on Sörnäisten rantatie after Esso service point).
See the Port of Helsinki  for the latest details.
All public transportation, with the exception of suburban trains, operate under the aegis of HKL . Regional transportation connecting Helsinki to the neighboring counties of Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen are operated by YTV  (Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council). The following basic ticket types are available:
- Tram ticket (raitiovaunulippu) (€2 from the driver, travel card button "0" €1.35) — valid for one hour on trams only
- City ticket (kertalippu) (€2 by mobile phone or in ticket machines, €2.20 from the driver, travel card button "1" €1.80) — valid on all HKL services within city limits for one hour
- Regional ticket (seutulippu) (€3.80, travel card button "2" €3.20) — valid for 80 mins within and between Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen
- Full region ticket (€6, travel card button "3") — a regional ticket that also covers Kerava and Kirkkonummi
The City ticket allows you to travel by almost any local public transportation method (buses, trains, trams, metro, Suomenlinna ferry) within the boundaries of Helsinki. The Regional ticket covers almost any public transportation method within the boundaries of Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen. However, if you purchase a specific Tram or Train ticket, you are allowed to travel only by tram or train respectively. All tickets allow unlimited transfers within their validity periods and regions. Tickets for children under 16 are half price.
Fares can be paid by cash when boarding, by sending a text message to 16355 (requires a Finnish SIM card) or by Travel Card (matkakortti), a reloadable smartcard sold at the R-kiosks and HKL offices, very similar to London's Oyster card. The Travel Card costs €9 (nonrefundable) and gives a 15% discount on fares. Using it is slightly cumbersome, as you must hold your card against the reader and simultaneously press the numbered button corresponding to the desired ticket type. Wave the card without pressing anything to see the remaining value or to register a transfer.
Alternatively, you can opt for the Helsinki Card (1 day €32 to 3 days €52) or HKL Tourist Ticket (matkailijalippu) (1 day €6, 3 days €12 or 5 days €22), both of which offer unlimited travel within the city. The Tourist Tickets are sold at HKL offices, R-Kiosks located in the city center, ticket vending machines or by the driver (1-day ticket only). The Helsinki Card also offers free admission to a number of museums and attractions.
The YTV Journey Planner  will get you from a street address, place or sight to another by suggesting possible public transport connections, covering the entire metropolitan Helsinki region. Try eg. "Airport" or "Railway station" for place names.
Getting around by night can be a bit tricky (or expensive), as the metro trains stop before midnight and the buses at 1.30. A limited night bus network, all leaving from either Elielinaukio or Rautatientori next to the railway station, runs on weekends and public holidays after 2 am, charging approximately twice the price of a daytime ticket.
For tourists the most convenient and scenic means of travel is the extensive tram network, especially line 3T which does a figure-eight circuit around the city — you could say that the "T" stands for "tourist" and it usually stocks an informative leaflet listing attractions along the way. For a slightly offbeat experience, take the line 3B which is essentially 3T in the opposite direction.
While the trams operate in the city center, buses cover the rest of the city. The main stations for northbound and eastbound buses are on the two squares adjacent to the Central Railway Station: Eliel Square (Elielinaukio) and Railway Square (Rautatientori). Westbound buses operate from the underground bus station in the Kamppi Center which is adjacent to the Kamppi metro station.
A metro line runs from the center to the eastern suburbs, but few places along the line are of interest to tourists. After Itäkeskus, the line splits in two, with one line going to Mellunmäki and the other to Vuosaari. Travelling between Ruoholahti and Mellunmäki or Vuosaari usually takes about 21-22 minutes.
VR's suburban trains operate north from the Central Railway Station, branching out in three directions. HKL tickets are valid within city limits, YTV (regional) tickets on suburban trains to Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen.
The HKL ferry to Suomenlinna from the Market Square (Kauppatori) is a cheap and popular summer getaway. Another HKL operated ferry, mostly used only by the island's residents, leaves from the eastern end of Katajanokka. In addition, private operators provide ferries to Suomenlinna and various other islands during the summer; however, schedules can be sparse. HKL's Tourist Ticket and mobile-phone ticket are both valid also on Suomenlinna ferry.
Taxis in Helsinki are expensive. Cab fares are regulated by the government and getting into a taxi is €5.00 (€7.70 at night and on Sun). The meter ticks at €1.30/km. The rate increases if there are over two people. There are also surcharges for large bags and leaving from Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport.
During weekend nights and some popular events or holidays, it can be a bit difficult to find a taxi. Walk to the nearest taxi stand or try to book by phone (Tel. 01000700). If it's a very busy night try call Taksione at +358-50-5455454 or Kajon at 01007070. Drivers are not required to pick up a person hailing them on the street, and they usually don't, but it's worth a try if you see one cruising by.
Yellow Line  is a good, cost-effective option for getting from the airport to the city center. Minivans carry up to seven or eight passengers and drop passengers off at their individual destinations. The shuttles can be found at their bright yellow desks in arrivals lounges 1 and 2. The cost is €20 for one or two passengers and varies based on the number of people in the van.
Citybikes can be rented through HKL  during the summer.
Bike rentals require a refundable deposit of €2. There are 26 Citybike stands throughout the city center. Bicycle helmets can be borrowed from Jugendsali (Pohjoisesplanadi 19). You are required to remain within the boundaries of the city center. Guided bike trips are available through Biketours .
If you bring your own bike, there is an extensive network of bike routes within the city. Downtown bike lanes are typically on the sidewalks (instead of next to car lanes on the street) so be aware of pedestrians. Don't be afraid to ring your bell! Review your bike map carefully, as some bike routes will stop and require you to walk your bike. . There is also a journey planner for cycling . Once you get out of the city centre, cycling is less complicated.
Car rental is not a particularly good way of getting around Helsinki, since parking is limited and expensive. Most street-side parking in the city center is in "Zone 1" and costs €3/hour during working hours, although Saturdays (mostly) and Sundays (always) are free. There are also several large underground parking garages at Kamppi and Forum.
Surrounded by sea and a vast archipelago, Helsinki is at its best in the summer when the dialogue between the city and nature is at its fullest. Classical Helsinki's sights can be divided into an eclectic set of churches and a wide variety of museums.
A beautiful archipelago (saaristo) surrounds the Helsinki city center. In addition to the major islands listed below, there are scheduled services to many smaller islands, and you can also tour them by sightseeing cruise. Most of the cruises depart from the Western corner of the Market Square and last from one to several hours. Note most ferries and cruises operate only in the summer high season.
- Suomenlinna, . The greatest sea fortress on the Baltic, which Sweden ignominiously surrendered without a fight to Russia, ceding Finland as a result. Still living in its own time with only old buildings, few cars, fewer than a thousand inhabitants and lots of old fortifications, catacombs and cast iron cannons, today the sprawling complex houses restaurants, cafes, theaters and museums, and is a very popular place for a picnic on a fine summer day, watching the vast passenger ferries drift by on their way to Estonia and St Petersburg. It was included in Unesco’s World Heritage List in 1991 as a unique monument to European military architecture. Accessible by ferry from Market Square, the HKL ferry is the cheapest and most convenient at €3.80 for a 12-hour tourist return.
- Seurasaari, . A pleasant little island to the north of the center, filled with walking trails and authentic old Finnish houses collected from all over the country. An excellent half-day trip, especially in the summer. Entry to the park free, entry into the museum buildings 5€. Take bus 24 from Erottaja at the northern end of Esplanadi to the terminus (20-30 minutes), then walk across the bridge.
- Korkeasaari, . A large island in the central Helsinki, connected to dry land. On Korkeasaari lies the Helsinki Zoo with approximately 200 different animal species. A 15-minute ferry connection from Hakaniemi and Market Square; for land access, take bus 11 from the Central Railway Station or Herttoniemi metro station to the zoo gate. Entry to the zoo 5€/3€ adult/child.
- Esplanadin puisto – It's really hard to miss this park situated between Kauppatori and the Swedish theatre. In the summer time it is full of people sitting on the lawn, meeting their friends and quite often also having sa must for all budget travellers). In the summer there are often free concerts given by local artists on the stage close to Kauppatori, facing restaurant Kappeli.
- Kaivopuisto – A beautiful park by the sea in the southmost part of the city. In summer you might want to sit down for a cup of coffee in one of the seaside cafes and enjoy the view of sailboats and the people on the promenade. Housing surrounding this area are the most expensive in Helsinki.
- Töölönlahti – Located northwest from the central railway station, this is a bay surrounded by a nice park that is dotted with attractions such as the Finlandia Concert Hall and the National Opera. Töölönlahti is partly in a natural state which is quite rare in major cities. Walking and jogging around the bay is a popular outdoor activity.
- Sinebrychoffin puisto – Also known as "Koffin puisto", located in Punavuori district next to the Sinebrychoff art museum. Popular with young people, in the summer it is full of people having picnics or just drinking pussikalja (literally: "beer in a bag"), in the winter kids ride sleds down the snowy slope.
- Keskuspuisto (Central Park) – This is a huge park starting just north of the Olympic Stadium and extending for 10 km north. It encompasses an area of over 1,000 hectares. The park is mostly in a natural state.
- Lutheran Cathedral (Tuomiokirkko). Aleksanterinkatu, . The unofficial symbol of the city, this striking white cathedral dominates the central Senate Square. Based on designs by Carl Ludvig Engel and completed in 1852, the cathedral has recently been refurbished and looks better than ever, with the 12 apostles on the roof once again looking down at the world below. Open 9AM-6PM daily. Free.
- The Church in the Rock (Temppeliaukion kirkko, literally "Temple Square Church"). Lutherinkatu 3 (tram 3B/T), +358 9-494698. An atmospheric if minimalistic church, this church was literally dug out of solid rock. From above, it resembles a crashed UFO. The roof is made of 22 kms of copper strips. Completed in 1969, this has become one of Helsinki's most popular attractions. Concerts are often held here thanks to the excellent acoustics. 10AM-5PM daily. Free.
- Uspenski Cathedral. Kanavakatu 1, +358 9-634267, . A classical onion-domed Russian church prominently located near the Market Square, Uspenski Cathedral serves Finland's small Orthodox minority and is the largest Orthodox church in Western Europe. The name comes from the Russian uspenie, from the Dormition (death) of the Virgin Mary. The five domes are topped with 22-carat gold, and some of the icons within are held to be miraculous. Open Tue-Fri 9:30AM-4PM, Sat 9:30AM-2PM, Sun 12PM-3PM. May-Sep Mon,Wed, Sat 9:30AM-4PM, Tue 9:30AM-6PM, Sun 12PM-3PM. Free.
- St. John's Church (Johanneksenkirkko). Korkeavuorenkatu 12, +358 9-7092370. The largest church in Helsinki and a fine example of Gothic Revival architecture. Mon-Fri 12-15PM. Free.
- Church of Kallio (Kallion kirkko). On top of the hill at the end of Siltasaarenkatu. The church is built of grey granite (1912) and its massive looks dominate the view from Hakaniemi. It was designed by Finnish architect Lars Sonck. The church has both baroque and French romantic organs and concerts are organized frequently. Tue-Fri 12AM-6PM, Sat-Sun 10AM-6PM. Free.
Museums and galleries
Many of Helsinki's museums are as interesting from the outside as from the inside. Architecture buffs will get a kick out of Helsinki's Neo-Classical center, centered around Senate Square (Senaatintori). Aleksanterinkatu and the Railway Station square also have some beautiful neo-classical buildings — look out for the Romantic Kalevala-esque themes — but unfortunately these areas also have many concrete monstrosities mixed in.
- Ateneum Art Museum, Kaivokatu 2, tel. +358 9 173361 (+358 9 17336228 for tickets), . Ateneum can be considered the most nationally significant art museum, and it has the largest collection of paintings and sculptures in Finland. Particularly notable is the collection of works by major Finnish artists. Works include renowned interpretations of the national epic Kalevala. Entrance fee €6 / €4, or during special exhibitions €8 / €6.5. Free admission for visitors under 18. First Wednesday of the month 5PM-8PM free admission. Open Tue-Fri 9AM-6PM, Wed-Thu 9AM-8PM, Sat-Sun 11AM-5PM. Closed Mon.
- Design Museum. Korkeavuorenkatu 23, +358 9 622 0540, . Exhibitions of modern commercial and industrial design and modern art. The permanent exhibit in the basement showcases the history of consumer-goods design over the course of the 20th century, with a particular focus on the contributions of Finnish designers. Admission is €7 for adults, €3 for students, and free for children. Open Tue 11AM-8PM, Wed-Sun 11AM-6PM. Closed Mondays.
- Helsinki City Museum, Sofiankatu 4 (and elsewhere), +358 9 3103 6630, . The museum actually covers a whole series of old buildings around Helsinki, but the centerpiece is the (short) street of Sofiankatu itself, carefully restored as a replica of the 1930s. All museums and exhibitions are free of charge.
- Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art. Mannerheiminaukio 2, tel. +358 9 1733 6501, . Located near Ateneum, Kiasma is everything Ateneum isn't. The sometimes unusual collections mostly include works by contemporary Finnish artists and artists from nearby countries. There are also periodical exhibitions. The building itself is arguably a work of art. Entrance fee €7 for adults, €5 for students (though not postgraduates - only undergraduates qualify for the discounted price), senior citizens, visual artists, and groups with at least 7 people. Free admission for visitors under 18. First Wed of the month is free from 5PM-8PM. Tue 10AM-5PM, Wed-Sun 10AM-8:30PM. Closed Mondays.
- National Museum of Finland (Kansallismuseo), Mannerheimintie 34, . A beautiful classical building houses this old museum, which has recently been renovated. The exhibit includes displays of artifacts and items relating to Finland's history. Admission is €6/4 adult/child. Free admission for visitors under 18. Tuesday has free admission from 5:30PM-8PM. Tue-Wed 11AM-8PM, Thu-Sun 11AM-6PM, Closed Mon.
- Museum of Cultures (Kulttuurien museo), Tennispalatsi 2nd floor, Eteläinen Rautatiekatu 8, . One of Helsinki's quirkier museums, concentrates on changing exhibitions of cultures outside Finland. Admission €5/4 adult/child. Tuesdays 5PM-8PM and Fridays 11AM-6PM free admission. Open Tue-Thu 11AM-8PM, Fri-Sun 11AM-6PM, Closed Mon.
- Heureka Science Centre, Tikkurila (near Tikkurila train station), Vantaa, . If you have children, this is a great place for a day trip. Hands-on science tests and exhibitions plus Verne super-cinema. There's also a Heureka Shop, where you can buy interesting science-related memorabilia. Open Mon-Wed, Thu 10AM-8PM, Fri 10AM-5PM, Sat-Sun 10AM-6PM. Admission (exhibitions and one super-movie) for adult costs €19, for children (6-15) €12.50.
Helsinki is an Olympic city, the host of the 1952 Olympic Games.
- Olympic Stadium, . Originally built for the Olympics and renovated for the 2005 World Athletic Championships. Next to the stadium are soccer fields. There is Museum of Sport in the stadium building. Another stadium called Finnair stadium is not far from the Olympic site. The most popular building in the complex, though, is the Uimastadion, Helsinki's largest outdoor pool (open May-Sep), whose three pools and water slides draw around 5,000 visitors a day in the summer. After the war, the pool was used to store herring and potatoes! Open Mon-Fri 9AM-8PM, Sat-Sun 9AM-6PM.
- Olympic Tower. The stadium features 72m high tower that offers a great view over the city. €2 (adults) / €1 (children).
- Sibelius Monument, Sibelius Park, . The world-famous composer Jean Sibelius' monument was designed by sculptress Eila Hiltunen and unveiled in 1967. It is one of the most well-known tourist attractions in Helsinki as nearly every guided tourist tour is brought to Sibelius Park to marvel at this unique work of art resembling organ pipes, welded together from 600 pipes and weighing over 24 metric tons.
- Parliament House (Eduskunta), Mannerheimintie 30, . The House of the 200-seat Parliament of Finland was designed by J.S. Sirén in the classic style of the 1920s and officially inaugurated in 1931. The interior is classical with a touch of functionalism and art deco. Tours in English at 11AM and 12PM on Satm 12PM and 1PM on Sun. During the months of Jul and Aug English tours are at 1PM on weekdays. Free.
- Finlandia Hall, Mannerheimintie 13, . Designed by Finland's best known architect Alvar Aalto and located across the street from the National Museum, the marble Finlandia Hall is a popular congress and concert venue in Helsinki. The building itself is worth a visit particularly for architecture buffs, with guided tours available (€6 / €4, check website for schedule). Be sure to view the building also from across the Töölönlahti bay in the evening when it is floodlit. Mon-Fri 9AM-4PM. Free.
- Hohtogolf West Coast, Tasetie 8, Vantaa(at Flamingo shopping center), ☎ +358-9-42890112, . Noon-midnight. Glow in the dark 15-hole miniature golf course with over-the-top mechanized special effects and a special "horror" section. Cheesy but fun, especially after a few drinks from the bar. Sunday is family day: entry is €4 cheaper, but no alcohol served.€19.
- Linnanmäki . The oldest amusement park in Finland, famous for its wooden roller coaster. Entrance to the park is free of charge, all-day passes €28 (adults) and €18 (children). Open only during the summer, however the adjacent Sea Life  aquarium at Tivolikuja 1 is open throughout the year. Tram 3T, 3B or 8 and bus 23.
- Serena Water Amusement Park , Tornimäentie 10, Espoo (bus 339), tel. +358 9 88705555. Open 11PM-8PM daily. This is the largest water park in the Nordic countries with some 2,000 sq.m. of heated pools indoors. The buildings have seen their best days, but kids love the water slides. An extra 1,000 m² of outdoor area is open in the summer. Serena is at its best in winter when you can kick back in a jacuzzi and watch people ski on the other side of the glass windows. All-day pass €20.5, evening pass (from 4PM) €16.
- Classical music and Finnish jazz. Kansallisooppera (National Opera), Kansallisbaletti (National Ballet) and classical orchestras of the city (e.g. Helsinki City Orchesta, RSO, Avanti!) are of high qualify and tickets are inexpensive due to heavy government subsidization. Helsinki's UMO Jazz Orchestra is an important part of Finnish jazz life and it is known for performing new Finnish music alongside interesting shows, such as with new circus.
- Hietaniemi Beach, Hietaniemenkatu. It's safe to say that most people don't come to Helsinki for the beaches, but on a hot summer day Hietsu (as it is known among the locals) is a good place to be. Beach volleyball, swimming and various events are popular. Bus 55A from Kamppi/Rautatientori, or just walk (15-20 min from the centre).
- Härmälä Farm, Mäntykummuntie 6, Vantaa, tel. +358 9 876 7339, +358 (0)400 880 539. Open by arrangement around the year. A typical Finnish farm located in the village of Sotunki and surrounded by a picturesque landscape. On the farm you can meet animals representing the traditional Finnish stock: cows, sheep, goats, pigs, horses and pets. Admission €3, families €10.
- Kotiharjun sauna , Harjutorinkatu 1. This is one of the few wood burning public saunas in Helsinki. Separate saunas for men and women. Washing service also available. There's a good chance you'll find a top level chess match in the dressing room. Don't miss cooling off outside, especially in winter. On Saturdays you'll find bachelor partiers (Kotiharju is pretty near to Kallio's nightlife). €10 for adults, students €7,5.
- Arlan sauna , Kaarlenkatu 15. Old public sauna in Kallio. Separate saunas for men and women. Washing service and traditional bloodletting (kuppaus) also available. €9 for adults, students €7.
- Hartwall Areena, Areenankuja 1(7 min walk from Pasila station, 10 min walk from Tram 7 stop at Kyllikinportti), . The largest indoor arena in Finland, the home of ice hockey team Jokerit  and also a popular venue for concerts.
- Helsingin Jäähalli, Nordenskiöldinkatu 11-13(1 block from Tram 3B/T, 4, 7, and 10, stop at Kansaneläkelaitos), . The home of ice hockey team HIFK . Tickets for matches start from €10.
Most of Finland's exchange students end up in Helsinki's universities. The Helsinki University of Technology, the Helsinki School of Economics and the University of Art and Design Helsinki are currently in the process of being merged into one large "innovation university" called Aalto University.
- University of Helsinki. . With over 40,000 students, this is Finland's largest university and its alumni include Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel.
- Helsinki University of Technology. . Considered "Finland's MIT", this university is located in Otaniemi, Espoo, just across the municipality border.
- University of Art and Design Helsinki. . The biggest art university in Scandinavia. Has the highest rate of exchange students of all Finnish universities.
- Helsinki School of Economics. .
- Hanken, Swedish School of Economics and Business Administration. .
- Sibelius Academy. . The only music university in Finland and one of the largest in Europe.
As elsewhere in the country, obtaining work in Helsinki may be difficult. See the main Finland article for details.
Shopping in Helsinki is generally expensive, but fans of Finnish and Nordic design will find plenty of things of interest. Most large shops and department stores are open weekdays from 9AM-9PM. As in the rest of Finland, most shops close by 6PM on Sat and are closed entirely on Sun (except in summer and before Christmas, when they typically open at noon). A notable exception is the Asematunneli complex, located underground adjacent to the Central Railway Station, most shops here are open until 10PM almost every day of the year. A supermarket in Kamppi Center (see below) is also open until 10PM. Small grocery stores and the R-Kioski convenience store chain are open on Sun year-round, too. In the Punavuori area there is a Delish convenience store open 24 hours a day year round.
Department stores and shopping malls
Helsinki's main shopping drag is Aleksanterinkatu (Aleksi), which runs from Senate Square to Mannerheimintie and is packed with large stores. The parallel Esplanadi boulevards have specialist (and generally very expensive) boutiques. Access to the area is easy, as trams 3B/3T, 4/4T and 7A/7B all run down Aleksanterinkatu, and the area is just a stone's throw from Central Railway Station and Kaisaniemi metro stations.
- Academic Bookstore (Akateeminen Kirjakauppa). Keskuskatu (opposite Stockmann), . The largest bookstore in Northern Europe, with extensive selections in English too. An underground passage connects the bookstore to Stockmann. Tram: 3, 6, 7.
- Stockmann. Corner of Aleksanterinkatu and Mannerheimintie, . Helsinki's (and Finland's) premier department store. When Helsinkians meet "under the clock" (kellon alla), they mean the one rotating under the main entrance to Stockmann. Large selection of souvenirs and Finnish goods, and the Herkku supermarket in the basement offers an amazing range of gourmet food from all over Europe. There are also smaller branches of Stockmann at Itäkeskus, Jumbo, Tapiola and the airport. Tram: 3, 6, 7, 4, 10. Not open on Sundays.
- Itäkeskus. . The largest shopping mall in the Nordic countries with some 240 shops. Metro: Itäkeskus, about 16 minutes from the center.
- Kämp Galleria. Between Mikonkatu and Kluuvikatu, . Helsinki's fanciest shopping mall, with brands like Marimekko, Aarikka, and Iittala goods. Tram: 6, 7.
- Kampin Keskus.  New shopping mall in the center of Helsinki. Plenty of international brands and restaurants. Long-distance bus terminal in the basement. Metro: Kamppi.
- Kauppakeskus Ruoholahti. . Compared to others, a B-category shopping mall, mainly notable for the Verkkokauppa store, the best in Helsinki. There's a very cheap brand outlet Warehouse, too. It sells very low-priced international brand-name clothes. Metro: Ruoholahti. Tram: 8.
- Sokos. A large department store conveniently located right next to the railway station. Tram: 1, 3B/T, 4, 6, 10, Metro: Central Railway Station.
In the suburban cities of Vantaa and Espoo you can also find big shopping malls. Vantaa has Jumbo  and Myyrmanni , while Espoo has the centers of Iso Omena  and Sello . All of these are easily accessible by commuter transport or by car.
There are high-end design stores around Aleksanterinkatu and Etelä-Esplanadi. The Design District Helsinki area around Uudenmaankatu and Iso Roobertinkatu is full of design and antique shops, fashion stores, museums, art galleries, restaurants and showrooms. Here you can find the most interesting names, classics, trend-setters and so much more. Visit Design Forum Finland  at Erottajankatu 7 to get a map of shops and galleries, or download it here: .
- Aero, Yrjönkatu 8, . New and vintage design furniture, lighting, textiles, jewelery, glass. Finnish designers represented include Eero Aarnio, Alvar Aalto, Tapio Wirkkala, Timo Sarpaneva and Ilmari Tapiovaara. Not for the budget traveller.
- Arabia Factory Shop. Hämeentie 135 (Tram 6 terminus), . Factory outlet for Arabia ceramics and Iittala glassware, best known for selling slightly defective goods at modestly discounted prices. Open Mon-Fri 10AM-8PM, Sat-Sun 10AM-4PM.
- Helsinki 10, Eerikinkatu 3, tel. +358 (0)10 5489801, . This bright-white "lifestyle department store" sells both international and Finnish (designer) labels such as Raf Simons, Wood Wood, Acne and April77 as well as second-hand clothes, accessories, records, magazines etc. Open Mon-Fri 11AM-8PM, Sat 11AM-6PM.
- Iittala Shop. Pohjoisesplanadi 25, . An airy concept store for the Iittala brand of Finnish glassware, pans, kitchen utensil et al. Personal service by the friendly staff. Open Mon-Fri 10AM-7PM, Sat 10AM-4PM.
- Ivana Helsinki, Uudenmaankatu 15, tel. +358 9 6224422, . Internationally recognized designer clothes, handmade in Finland.
- My o My, Erottajankatu 9 A (courtyard), . Unique multi-brand shopping lounge for 30+ women. High quality fashion, design, art and sweets. Only international designers, e.g. 3.1 Phillip Lim, Erotokritos, Fornesetti, Oliver People, Belle by Sigerson Morisson, Faliero Sarti. Source of Inspiration! Tel. +358 (0) 407750770
- Myymälä2, Uudenmaankatu 23, . Gallery and shop for young designers, artists and musicians. And while you are there, check out Lux shop on the opposite side of the street.
- Wunder, Laivurinrinne 1, . A small clothes shop with a sparse yet exclusive selection of designer labels such as Daniel Palillo (one of the owners), Marjan Pejoski, Gaspard Yurkievich and Stephan Schneider. Affordable vintage sunglasses for sale, too. Open Mon-Fri 12PM-7pm, Sat 12PM-6pm.
- TOKYO22zakka, Fredrikinkatu 60, tel. +358 (0) 50 406 5171, . TOKYO22zakka features Japanese Designer Fashion and lifestyle items for men and women. Kiminori Morishita, HAlb, SIVA, Tsumori Chisato, NDEUR, Hana & Guitar. Open Mon-Fri 10AM-6PM, Sat 11AM-4PM.
- Marimekko. Pohjoisesplanadi 2, tel. +358(09) 622 2317, . Innovative and unique Finnish interior design, bags, and fabrics. This is the flagship store, but items can also be found at the Kämp Gallery, Hakaniemi Market Hall, or their factory shop (Kirvesmiehenkatu 7, tel. +358 (09) 758 7244).
- Hakaniemi Market Hall (Hakaniemen kauppahalli) and Hakaniemi Open-Air Market (Hakaniemen tori). A busy market frequented by locals, this is where you can find specialities at affordable prices. The first floor of the market hall is largely food. Head to the second floor for handicrafts and souvenirs. The open-air market offers fresh vegetables and seasonal products. Walking up Hämeentie from Hakaniemi market, you'll find most of Helsinki's African, Middle Eastern, Indian and Asian grocery stores. Metro: Hakaniemi. Tram: 1, 3B/3T, 6, 7.
- Hietalahti Antique and Art Hall , Hietalahdentori (tram 6), tel. +358 9 670145. Here you can find many antique shops in one place, just few kilometers west from the city centre. Open Mon-Fri 10AM-5PM, Sat 10AM-3PM.
- Hietalahti Open Air Flea market. Next to Hietalahti Antique and Art Hall, this is the most popular flea market in Helsinki. Open year round. Its busiest season is from May to Aug.
- Market Square (Kauppatori). At the end of Esplanadi facing the sea, this open-air market sells fresh fish and produce from all over Finland. Open year round. Its busiest in summer, although the Christmas Market in December is also worth a look. One section of the market is devoted to souvenirs, but best buys here are the fresh berries and other produce. In summer, try the sweet green peas (herne). Just pop open the pod and eat as is.
- Old Market Hall (Vanha kauppahalli), . Right next to Market Square, this old brick building houses Finland's best collection of gourmet food boutiques. Try to find the stall which sells beaver sausage!
- Valtteri Flea Market, . An indoor flea market popular among locals. Located in an old industrial building in Vallila district. Trams 1, 1A, 3B, 3T and buses 17 and 70T. Open Wed-Sat, Sun 9AM-3PM.
Helsinki has a selection of great record stores, unfortunately they are located off the center so that a random visitor rarely stumbles upon them. That's why there's a list of the underground stores with a greatly varying selection of both Finnish and international music with different weightings. Most of them also sell vinyl (12"/10"/7"). Prices aren't cheap, but the selection may be worth it.
If you have only a limited amount of time, check out the Viiskulma record store concentration. It has the most record stores in a small area so you can walk through in ten minutes.
Viiskulma record store concentration:
- Eronen, , Laivurinrinne 2. Dub/jazz/salsa.
- Ah Records, . Used rock/Finnish/funk.
- Lifesaver, . Electronic/soul/disco/funk/hip-hop/jazz.
- Popparienkeli, . Rock/pop.
- Digelius, . Jazz/classical.
- Levylaivuri, Laivurinkatu 41.
Close to Viiskulma:
- Darkside records, Albertinkatu 12.
- Fennica records, .
- Stupido, . Rock/indie/misc.
- Green Grass, Fredrikinkatu 60.
Close to the center:
A bit further:
- The Funkiest, . Hip-hop/Funk & Jazz reissues.
- Compact Records (Dark Side of the), Lönnrotinkatu 23.
- Music Hunter,  Rock.
- Black & White, . Rock.
- Hippie Shake records, .
- Jazz & Soul Records, , Toinen Linja (Hakaniemi district).
Helsinki has by far the best cosmopolitan restaurants in Finland, and is a good place to escape the usual diet of meat and potatoes... if you can foot the bill, that is. As usual in Finland the best time to eat out is lunch, when most restaurants offer lunch sets for around €6-10. Lunch sets are typically served from 10:30AM to 2PM, but the times vary between venues. In the evening, only budget places are less than €10, while splurges cost well over €30 per head.
Budget choices are largely limited to fast food, although there are a couple of workaday Finnish eateries in the mix. In addition to McDonalds (around 30 outlets, as a price reference, a Big Mac meal is ~7€) and its Finnish imitators Hesburger/Carrols (around 50 outlets), Helsinki is also full of pizza and kebab places, where a meal typically costs around €7-8 (sometimes as low as €4-5, especially in Kallio). A more healthy option is Unicafe , a chain of restaurants owned by the Helsinki University student union, which has around 10 outlets in central Helsinki and offers full meals from €5.70, including vegetarian options.
- Bar No 9, Uudenmaankatu 9, . Popular bar that also serves a variety of dishes with a twist of cross-kitchen style, priced from €4.90-15.90, most main courses under €10. Tends to be packed at lunch and dinner time.
- Chilli, Keskuskatu 6 (and other outlets around time). Cheap kebab, shawarma, and falafel. Large portions, though be warned that this isn't your traditional Middle Eastern fare. Pitas come with something akin to spaghetti sauce inside. Filling choice, especially on a budget.
- Golden Rax, Forum second floor, Mannerheimintie 20 / Mikonkatu 8, . Cheap and greasy, all-you-can-eat pizza buffet. Includes soggy pasta, wilted salad, and drinks. €7.99 per person, €8.99 with ice-cream.
- Kahvila Suomi, Pursimiehenkatu 12, tel. +358 9 657422. Huge portions of no-nonsense Finnish food like meatballs and mashed potatoes, which explains the dock workers that crowd here at lunchtime. The Japanese tourists, on the other hand, come because the cult hit movie Kamome Shokudo was filmed here! Most mains under €10, priced sandwiches available.
- VPK, Albertinkatu 29, . Mon-Fri 11AM-3PM. Run by the Volunteer Fire Brigade, this restaurant serves a daily changing buffet of hearty Finnish fare in a cafeteria straight from the 1950s, complete with grim portraits of moustached Hosemasters staring down at you. Pea soup and pancakes on Thursday are particularly popular. €7.70 per head.
- Sky Express, Annankatu 31. A pizza spot very close to the city center. It's a relatively small place, but the service is very fast and the place is open late at night. Opens around 11AM, and closes at 11PM (10PM on Sundays). Try the Päivän jättipizza ("Daily giant pizza"), which is a large, thin pizza with a varying selection of fillings plus a 0.4 liter soft drink for €6, which is almost unbeatably cheap.
- La Famiglia, Keskuskatu 3, tel. +358 9 85685680, . 11AM-midnight daily. Unpretentious Italian food even for under €10, although the most of the items on the menu should be listed under the Mid-price section. The weekday lunch buffet of soup, salad and two kinds of pasta (€7-10) is still a particularly good value.
- Pelmenit, Kustaankatu 7 (close to Sörnäinen metro station). Serves pelmeny (Russian dumplings), blini (Russian crepes), soups and salads. The menu depends on the mood of the Russian owner. Prices around 6 euros for a dish.
- Unicafe Ylioppilasaukio, Mannerheimintie 3 B, . Open Mon-Fri 11AM-7PM, Sat 11AM-5PM. The biggest and most centrally located student restaurant and cafeteria is only a two-minute walk away from the main railway station. The lunch price is only €4-6 including drink, bread and the salad buffet, and €2.35 if you happen to own a Finnish student card.
- Juuri, Korkeavuorenkatu 27, +358 9 635 732, . Tiny restaurant known for its special Finnish entrées called sapakset (a play on tapas), with roots in Finnish food tradition. Try the cabbage roll with crayfish or the egg cheese with marjoram. All sapakset €2.7, main dishes €22. Lunch sets €9.50-11.60. Open Mon-Sat 11AM-midnight, Sun 4PM-10PM. (weekdays 11AM-3PM only).
- Konstan Möljä, Hietalahdenkatu 14, +358 9 694 7504, . Traditional Finnish food. Lunch buffet €7.90, main dishes €15+.
- Kosmos, Kalevankatu 3, +358 9 647 255, . A Helsinki institution dating to 1924, proudly serving "Helsinkian" food — a melange of Russian, French and Swedish influences. Try one of the three classics: Vorschmack with duchess potatoes, the Sylvester Sandwich au Gratin and Baltic herrings with mashed potatoes. Mains €15-25. Trams: 3B/T, 4, 6, 10
- Kynsilaukka (Garlic), Fredrikinkatu 22, +358 9 651939, . Good Finnish-influenced food from people truly dedicated to garlic. From the wonderfully intense garlic butter served with the bread to the sometimes subtle, sometimes not so subtle overtones in most of the dishes, this place is a delight for the garlic lover. Portion sizes are large, so if you're saving room for dessert (and you should), either skip the starters or else order the smaller size of both starter and main dish. The cinnamon pie dessert is particularly recommended. Main dishes €12-28. Trams: 3B/T. Open Mon-Fri 11AM-11PM, Sat Sun 1PM-11PM.
- Manala, Dagmarinkatu 2, +358 9 5807 7707, . Tasty, no-nonsense Finnish food from 12PM-4AM. Main dishes €10-18. Trams: 3B/T, 4, 7A/B, 10.
- Messenius, Messeniuksenkatu 7, tel. +358 9 2414950, . This fine neighbourhood place outside the city centre is famed for the "catch of the day", often caught by the fishing enthusiast owners themselves. Also fairly good steaks for the carnivores amongst us.
- Sea Horse, Kapteeninkatu 11, +358 9 628 169, . The former low-boozer was established in 1933 and the functional interior and the menu have been preserved from that time. Try the famous herring dishes. Helsinkians usually call Seahorse sikala, which means a pigsty. Meals between €10-30.
- Weeruska, Porvoonkatu 18, +358 (0)20 7424 270, . Serves simple, but tasty, home-made style food. The clientele at lunch is primarily blue-collar workers and the portions are sized accordingly. Meals between €8-17.
- Zetor, Kaivopiha, Mannerheimintie 3-5, +358 9 666 966, . Tourist restaurant with lots of character and great quality Finnish food. Plenty of old tractors and Finnish memorabilia. Main meals between €10-20.
Central Helsinki is dominated by restaurants dedicated to international cuisine, and these are particularly useful for vegetarian visitors (Finnish food being meat-centered). A particular touch is provided by a bunch of "Nepalese" restaurants, which actually serve generic north Indian food, but almost any of which you are guaranteed to leave happy and full. Localized Chinese and Italian cuisines are also well represented.
- Belge, Kluuvikatu 5, +358 9 6229620, . A reasonable selection of Belgian beers, a nice range of bistro fare, and a good location for people watching. The dining room upstairs is non-smoking. Main dishes €12-17.
- Benjam's Bistro, Dagmarinkatu 5, tel: +358 9 492 322. Run by Italians, for Italians. You want home made Italian cooking in Helsinki? Here it is. Benjam's is run by an Italian family. Atmosphere is cozy, but some of the food comes directly from the supermarket, tortellini and many desserts, for example. Main dishes €10-15.
- Everest, Luotsikatu 12 A, +358 9 6942563. Good Nepalese food. Main dishes €10-20.
- Gastone, Korkeavuorenkatu 45, +358 9 666116. . Nice restaurant with an Italian flavor. Reservations suggested, particularly on the weekend.
- Mai Thai, Annankatu 31-33, +358 9 685 6850, . One of the best Thai restaurants in Helsinki - simply incredible! Make sure to reserve a table in advance.
- Mandarin Court, Lönnrotinkatu 2, +358 9 278 2700. Has a nice selection of dim sum. Main dishes €11-15.
- Mesta, Postikuja 2(Sanomatalo, 2nd floor), ☎ +358-9-68121450, . Lunch 11 AM-3 PM Mon-Fri, dinner 5-10 PM Mon-Sat. Cheeky, stylish "modern Russian" eatery, serving up reasonable fare at reasonable prices. €9 lunch sets of pelmeny or blinis and the €12/22 "Zapuska" buffet table for dinner are great value.
- Meze Point, Mikonkatu 8, +358 9 6222 625. Mediterranean meze plates, several vegetarian dishes. Excellent vegetarian moussaka. Main dishes €15-20.
- Mt. Everest, Lapinlahdenkatu 17, +358 9 6831 5450, . Good Nepalese food. Main dishes €10-20.
- New Bamboo Center, Annankatu 29, +358 9 6943117. Well-known and popular downtown Malaysian-Chinese restaurant. Cheap lunch/dinner. Vegan-friendly with several vegan dishes. If you like elbow room you might want to pass on this restaurant, since the seating is somewhere between "intimate" and "cramped". The food is very good, though.
- Prego, Fabianinkatu 16. Fresh Italian fare, fast but delicious. Half-salads start around €5 (full around €8) and main dishes around €11. Wine by the glass or bottle.
- Sawat Dee, Alppikatu 5, +358 9 773 2745. Serves very tasty Thai food in a milieu resembling backwoods gas station bar. Main dishes €10-12, lunch set €7.5.
- Silvoplee, Toinen linja 3, +358 9 726 0900, . Vegetarian restaurant specializing in living and raw foods but also serves warm dishes. Buffet, pay per weight. Closed on Sun.
- Vegemesta, Vaasankatu 6, +358 44 9385 212, . This take out restaurant has the best vegetarian burgers you could imagine. Ask for your burger with dark bread. Cash only. You can get there by taking metro to Sörnäinen.
- Zucchini, Fabianinkatu 4. Good lunch restaurant for around 8 euros. It is possible to get both vegetarian and vegan food.
Two classes of fine dining stand out in Helsinki: fresh seafood and Russian. During the dark days of the Soviet Union, it was sometimes said that the best Russian restaurants in the world were across the border in Helsinki. For something authentically Finnish and uniquely Helsinki, try Vorschmack, an unusual but surprisingly tasty mix of minced lamb and herring, served with chopped pickles and sour cream (smetana).
- Carelia, Mannerheimintie 56, tel. +358 9 27090976 – Finnish-French with a strong fish and seafood emphasis. Oysters and other seafood in winter, local fish in the summer season. Located in the premises of an old pharmacy with some of the pharmacy interior still intact. One of the best (if not the best) wine cellars in town: there are 37 different champagnes alone on the wine list.
- Chez Dominique. Rikhardinkatu 4, tel. +358 9 612 7393, . Finland's only Michelin two-star restaurant, run by famed Finnish chef Hans Välimäki. Set dinner courses of innovative French food with fresh Finnish ingredients and modern twists start at €79 per head, not including drinks. Those wishing to sample the full range of delights in this restaurant should expect to pay €250 or more. Reservations essential. Trams 3B and 10.
- Fish Market, Pohjoisesplanadi 17, tel. +358 9 13456220, . Another high quality seafood restaurant with relaxed atmosphere. Trams 1 and 1A.
- Havis, Eteläranta 16, tel. +358 9 68695660, . The successor of the legendary Havis Amanda ("Daughter of the Baltic") and still the best upscale seafood restaurant in town. Trams 1 and 1A.
- Karljohan, Yrjönkatu 21, tel. +358 9 6121121. Very nice restaurant opposite the Hotel Torni with Swedish and Finnish traditional cooking and keeping high standards. It's worthwhile to try the Scandinavian mushy pea soup (and pancake dessert) at Thur lunches.
- Postres, Eteläesplanadi 8, ☎ +358-9-663300, . Tue-Fri 11:30AM-2PM, 6PM-midnight, Sat 6PM-midnight. Airy restaurant with one Michelin star and great views of Esplanadi park, serving elaborate modern cuisine, but with plenty of Finnish ingredients like local fish, dill, liquorice, cloudberries, etc. Despite the name, there's nothing Spanish about the place, and the desserts are perhaps the weakest point of the menu. Reservations essential for dinner, but for their great value three-course lunches you may be able to sneak in without one.Lunch from €29, dinner from €53.
- Rivoli, Albertinkatu 38, tel. +358 9 643455. Traditional fine dining restaurant quite close to the SAS Royal and Scandic Simonkentta hotels. Specialities include oysters, shellfish and mussels in season (this was the first place to import them at all) and Zander in an onion and cream sauce (traditional style).
- Saaga, Bulevardi 34 B, tel. +358 9 74255544, . Traditional Lapp food in kitschy Lapp surroundings — reindeer horn chandeliers and the lot — but unlike some of the competition, they don't compromise on food quality. The octolingual menu runs the gamut from smoked elk to bear meatballs. Don't miss the buttermilk pancakes (äkäset) for dessert. €50 for a full meal.
- Savoy, Eteläesplanadi 14, +358 9 684 4020, tel. . A luxurious restaurant with a magnificent view of downtown Helsinki's rooftops. Savoy is decorated just as Alvar Aalto designed it in the 30's, and they still serve some of the dishes that Field Marshal Mannerheim used to order, such as the famous Vorschmack (a comparatively cheap €18). Other mains from €40, while the opulent "Menu Savoy" will set you back €102.
- Bellevue, Rahapajankatu 3, tel. +358 9 179560, . The oldest Russian restaurant in Helsinki was founded by emigrants from the Rodina in the turbulent year of 1917. Fitting location in the shadow of the Orthodox Uspensky Cathedral and a professional kitchen dishing out Russian traditional favorites with a French twist.
- Kasakka, Meritullinkatu 13, tel. +358 9 135 6288, . Less well-known thanks to its location slightly out of the way and on top of a steep hill to boot, this restaurant must be doing something right to have stayed in business since 1969. Indeed, Joseph Raff from Fielding's Europe names it as his favourite of Helsinki's Russian restaurants. Mains €20-30, set menus €38-55.
- Saslik, Neitsytpolku 12, +358 9 74255500, . Traditional Russian delicacies. Russian music and decor of old samovars, stained-glass windows and paintings. Try traditional blinis or Saslik's bear specialities. Meals €20-35, bear dishes €66-76.
- Wellamo, Vyökatu 9, tel. +358 9 663139. Not strictly Russian, but a longtime favorite of both bohemians and the Orthodox community from nearby Uspensky Cathedral. Apart from the wonderful Russian dishes lighter Mediterranean fare is also available.
- Farouge, Yrjönkatu 6, +358 9 6123455. Probably the only Lebanese restaurant in Finland. Friendly service and excellent food. The hand made baklava might be the best this side of the Mediterranean. Main dishes €14-38. Lunch Mon-Sat 11AM-3PM Closed Sun.
- Kabuki, Lapinlahdenkatu 12, +358 9 694 9446, . Helsinki's best-known Japanese restaurant and a favorite of Finnish celebrities, which explains the signed ice hockey jerseys and Star Wars memorabilia scattered throughout. Alas, while the food is decent, it's not quite the real thing. Reservations recommended for dinner. Closed Sat.
- La Petite Maison, Huvilakatu 28, +358 (0)10 270 1704, . Classic French cuisine on one of the most idyllic streets in Helsinki. Only 22 seats. Bib Gourmand recognition in the 2006 Michelin guide. Menus (three to six courses) €61-89.
- Tokyo55, Runeberginkatu 55, ☎ +358 10 841 1111, . Tue-Fri 4 PM-midnight, Sat 2 PM-midnight. The speciality here is sushi, served up by Japanese chefs, but there are also Finnish-styled options like maki rolls with smoked salmon and dill. Good selection of sake and Japanese beers.€30.
Helsinki has plenty of hip places for a drink, but they are uniformly expensive. If intent on getting plastered, follow the Finns and drink up a good "base" at home or hotel before going out on town. Note that, while entry to bars and clubs is often (but not always) free, you must use and pay for the coat check (narikka), usually around €2, if you're wearing anything more than a T-shirt. In many places you must pay even if you don't leave anything at the cloakroom. If a ticket price is advertised, it usually does not cover the coat check.
The drinking age is 18, and this is strictly enforced. Many bars and clubs additionally apply house limits of 20 or 22 years, but these are enforced less strictly, especially on weekdays.
If you're not interested in the more trendy downtown nightclubs/bars, or are on a budget, you might want to head over to Kallio district where you will find bars with relatively inexpensive beer and an offbeat atmosphere. Popular places include Heinähattu, Roskapankki, Kola and Tauko but there are lots more to choose from. Walking along Helsinginkatu or Vaasankatu will get you past many of them. The sometimes "decadent" bar culture here might not be everyone's cup of tea, though. You can reach Kallio from the center by walking, by tram (lines 1, 3B, 6 or 7B) or by metro (get off at Hakaniemi and walk uphill, or Sörnäinen, and head west). Bars in Kallio usually close at 2AM, whereas in city centre there are many that are open until 4AM.
In city centre, a cluster of bars for convenient bar-hopping can be found around Iso-Roobertinkatu (trams 3B/T, 6 and 10). You'll find many other options stretching between the city centre and the Central Railway Station.
Information on clubs and live performances can be found in free, Finnish-language tabloids such as City, which can be picked up at many bars, cafes and shops.
- Ateljee Baari, Hotel Torni (14th floor), Kalevankatu 5. Despite the name it's more like a cafe, located on top of Hotel Torni, Finland's first high-rise. Excellent views over Helsinki's downtown. You even have a view from the (famous) toilets. Highly recommended. Find the elevator close to the lobby to get there, but be prepared for expensive drinks. If you're on a tight budget, you can just enjoy the view on the elevator level.
- Café & Eepos, Runeberginkatu 29. A hidden gem near Temppeliaukion kirkko. Delicious pastries, pies and buns - and it's full of books you can read. There are even glasses available for those with poor eyesight.
- Café Ekberg, Bulevardi 9, ☎ (09) 6811 860, . One of the classic Helsinki cafés.
- Cafe Engel, Aleksanterinkatu 26 (opposite the Lutheran cathedral). Where the locals go for tea and snacks. Very relaxed, lovely courtyard out the back with films projected late into summer evenings.
- Café Kafka, Pohjoisesplanadi 2 (Swedish Theatre). A lovely building with a relaxed atmosphere. Here you can find one of the best espressos in town.
- Cafe Succès, Korkeavuorenkatu 2, tel. +358 9 633414. This traditional cafe serves excellent delicacies. Famous for their enormous cinnamon rolls (korvapuusti), also available in Cafe Esplanad .
- Café Tin Tin Tango, Töölöntorinkatu 7(tram 3B/3T, 8), ☎ +358-9-27090972, . Mon-Fri 7 AM-midnight, Sat-Sun 9 AM-2 AM. A uniquely Helsinki combination of cafe, restaurant, bar, laundromat and sauna, Tin Tin Tango serves up all-day breakfast, soups, salads and sandwiches, but stays open late with wine and occasional live music. Laundry/dryer €4/2. Sauna rental €22-32/hour (1-10 people), reservations required.
- Fazer, Kluuvikatu 3, . Famous for its decor, architecture, ice-creams, pastries and coffees, this 110-year old café, run by Finland's largest chocolate maker, has been an institution since its birth. There's also the Fazer Bakery shop next to the café. If you are visiting, pay attention to the round room topped with a dome. People say that if you tell secrets here, the other customers will hear them across the room due to the acoustics of the dome.
- Kakkugalleria, Erottaja 7, . French type cafe in Design Forum. Try the lovely Sacher cake. Take away is cheaper.
- Kipsari, Hämeentie 135 E, . Student cafe at the University of Art and Industrial Design in Arabia. Relaxed atmosphere with live music and DJs at times.
- Sinisen huvilan kahvila, Linnunlauluntie 11(Töölönlahti, up the hill). 10-22 during summertime. The "Cafe of the Blue Villa" is an outdoors café with fantastic views over the Töölönlahti bay and very few tourists.Small coffee €1.5.
- Strindberg, Pohjoisesplanadi 33, . One of the oldest and most historic cafés of Helsinki. Great terrace on the posh Pohjoisesplanadi with views of the Esplanadi park. Very popular among locals.
Bars and pubs
- Ahjo, Bulevardi 2 (Klaus K), tel. +358-20-7704711, . Named after the forge where the mythical Sampo of the Kalevala was made, this is a slick modern bar-lounge with two sides to it: a pure white space as you enter, with a bar counter and sofas, and a darker back room with nooks and crannies for a quieter chat. Drinks €6-8, try the Ahjotonic. Closed Sundays.
- Arctic Icebar, Yliopistonkatu 5, enter through La Bodega restaurant. €10 for entry and one vodka cocktail. Inside the icebar the temperature is a constant -5C. Open daily 4-11.30PM.
- Baarikärpänen, Mikonkatu, right next to the Main Railway Station. Offers R & B and Top 40 hits in a nice lounge-type bar with big comfortable sofas and a dance floor. Advertised for the (relatively) cheap prices.
- Baker's, Mannerheimintie 12, . A great place to start up your party. From Tues to Sat they have a sparkling wine happy hour from 5PM. For 100 minutes, a glass of cava costs 100 cents (that's one euro). The service might be somewhat rough. Also lots of young people there on weekends. Has a bar, nightclub, pub and serves also food.
- Corona Bar & Billiards, Eerikinkatu 11, ☎ (+358-9) 751 75611, . A bar and billiard hall owned by the film director brothers Aki and Mika Kaurismäki, echoing the melancholic mood of their films. Also check out the affiliated Kafe Moskva  bar next door for authentic Soviet style experience, complete with Russian music played on dusty vinyls and Russian vodka and champagne. Downstairs is Dubrovnik , a small club-cum-movie theater that can be rented for private events and host occasionally live gigs or clubs. Film buffs might also want to check out Bossa  (Annankatu 21), the Brazilian restaurant owned by Mika.
- Erottaja Bar, Erottajankatu 15-17, tel. +358 9 611 196. A small, consciously crude bar with a young trendy clientele, many working in the media industry. You'll have trouble finding a free chair after around eight o'clock in the evening, but unless it gets really packed, you can still stand next to the DJ table.
- Foxy Wine House, Iso Roobertinkatu 3-5 (inner court), tel. +358 9 644956, . Mon-Thu 4PM-midnight, Fri Sat 4PM-2AM. Closed Sun. Wine houses haven't really caught on in Finland, but this new privately-owned spot is determined to have a go at it. The cozy venue is run by two wine enthusiasts. The wines are reasonably priced and the place easily approachable. Small tapas style dishes also served. Wines €5-8.
- Molly Malone's, Kaisaniemenkatu 1, . An Irish pub/nightclub near the Central Railway Station. Popular among Finns and tourists alike. Live music every night.
- Loose, Frederikinkatu 34, . A very street-credible rock bar, it is highly popular among Finnish rock musicians.
- On The Rocks, Mikonkatu, visible right from the Helsinki railway station. Located next to Baarikärpänen and Texas, this is a rock-oriented bar with occasional live bands and stand up comedy acts.
- Mbar, Lasipalatsi, Mannerheimintie 22-24, . A pleasant and popular living room-ish space in the heart of the city with local Dj's playing Drum&Bass, House and Chilly beats. Computers with Internet access (subject to fee). Free wi-fi for laptop owners. Drinks €4-5.
- Sports Academy, Kaivokatu 8, . One of the best sports bars in Helsinki, and definitely the place for you if you are keen about football (soccer) or ice-hockey. A two-story building just opposite the railway station, filled to the rim with TV sets and several giant projectors. A variety of pub food also served - try the crayfish pasta or the ribs. There can be long queues before popular events - get in early!
- Toveri, Castreninkatu 3, 00530 Helsinki, ☎ +358 9 753 3862. Mon-Thu 17-01, Fri-Sat 17-02. You'll find various types of beer in this little bar. It's been here in various forms since 1937, and after its most recent transformation it is one of the prettiest bars in Kallio.
- Vanha ylioppilastalo (usually just Vanha), Mannerheimintie 3, . A bar/café just opposite Stockmann, owned by University of Helsinki's filthy rich students' union. Not very special in the winter, but the rooftop patio in the summer is nice. In the evenings, the club attracts a slighly-over-18 audience.
- Vinyl, Yliopistonkatu 8, . An interesting combination of cocktail bar and DJ record store. Drinks are prepared from fresh fruits and juices as well as from herbs and berries. Records played by DJ's vary from downtempo to house. Drinks €6.5.
- The Club, Simonkatu 6. A very popular venue offering three separate bar/club areas with a varying theme. The Club tries to profile itself as a nightclub for trendy young crowd. Music varies from Finnish to mainstream hits and R & B, depending on the area.
- DTM, Iso Roobertinkatu 28, . Open Mon-Sat 9AM-4AM, Sun 12PM-4AM. Formerly "Don't Tell Mama", DTM is the largest combination of gay cafe, bar, disco and nightclub in Scandinavia. Saturdays the second floor of the club is ladies only. Popular among many celebrities. Entrance €7-10 (Sat and special nights only).
- Fever, Annankatu 32 – Mostly popular with 20-something crowd, this club plays the current Top 40 list. As a rather unusual feature in the Helsinki scene, this club is open every day of the week.
- Helsinki Club, Yliopistonkatu 8 – An old party venue that keeps discovering itself again and again. Hesari has offered its services for party goers since 1971 and still hosts some of the hottest parties in Helsinki. Recently renovated.
- Kaarle XII, Kasarmikatu 40, tel. +358 9 6129990, . A Helsinki institution better known as Kalle, this former church hasn't had a renovation in years but still continues to pack in a hard-partying thirtysomething crowd, especially on Thursdays. No less than six different bars/dancefloors (all small), playing top 40 tunes, rock and Finnish pop — The last of the bars gets particularly packed and people dance on the tables every night. Minimum age 24. Open Thu-Sat 10PM-4AM.
- Kuudes linja, Hämeentie 13 (entrance from the inner court at Kaikukatu 4), . A live music oriented nightclub for the somewhat artsy crowd. Located a 10 min tram/bus ride away in the Kallio district, Kuudes linja usually offers more experimental/alternative music than the mainstream downtown clubs and also hosts electronic music parties. Arrive early to avoid queues on popular nights — admittance is not guaranteed once the place gets full. The weatherproof terrace in the courtyard is open during the summer from 5PM daily and is especially popular on Sun with live DJ's. You can also bring your own food to the terrace and prepare it on their gas grill. Wed-Thu 9PM-3AM, Fri-Sat 10PM-4AM.
- Lost & Found, Annankatu 6, . Formerly a hetero-friendly gay club and nowadays more likely vice-versa, this nightclub is open every day till 4 AM. Mysteriously popular despite the sweaty atmosphere. In the somewhat cheesy disco downstairs, there's always action here on late nights (even on weekdays). One of the best places for celebrity-spotting in Helsinki. Sun especially good.
- The Tiger, Urho Kekkosen katu 1 (Kamppi Center), . Open Wed-Sat 10PM-4AM. Formerly Lux, this is arguably Helsinki's classiest nightclub, with its dress code, relatively high prices and an age limit of 24. Five bars, two spacious terraces, a VIP lounge and six luxurious booths that can be reserved. Live music on Thur. Cover charge €4-8, free entrance before midnight.
- Redrum, Vuorikatu 2, . Open daily (except Tuesdays) 10PM-4AM. Music here includes house, techno, indie rock, hip hop, reggae, and plenty more. Run by the same people as Kuudes Linja. Exclusive sound by Funktion One , whose other reference locations include Space in Ibiza and Berghain in Berlin. Expect a crowd during weekends and popular events. Cover charge €4-10, includes a free beer, cider or soft drink from Sun to Thur.
- Rose Garden, Iso Roobertinkatu 10, . Entrance to this, literally, underground spot is easy to miss as it is unmarked and hidden in an inner court. With a maze-like setup, Rose Garden hosts some of the best electronic music clubs in town although it's not quite as popular as it used to be after the former proprietors left and opened up their new club Redrum (see above). Drinks €5-8.
- Royal Onnela, Fredrikinkatu 48, .Open Wed-Sat 10PM-4AM, Sun Mon 11PM-4AM (bars at the street level open at 4PM). Onnela (a Finnish word meaning the place of happiness) is popular amongst the mainstream twenty-something crowd. The nightclub consists of two floors and eight different bars (Lapland-themed street bar, karaoke bar, club, disco, retro, rock, Finnhits and 99 shots bar). Cover charge ranged from €0-7.
- Tavastia/Semifinal, Urho Kekkosen katu 4-6, . One of the most prominent rock clubs in Scandinavia, a must see for fans of live rock of any kind. Semifinal has smaller indie/alternative bands for a young crowd. On special nights the two clubs are joined, but usually they host separate gigs.
- Teatteri, Pohjoisesplanadi 2, . A complex featuring a deli, a restaurant, a bar and a night club, all of them trendy and popular among the well-dressed crowd. Check out the aptly named Clock Bar (Kellobaari) downstairs. Closed Sun.
Accommodation is generally quite expensive, but of a high standard. Hotels are usually cheaper on weekends, when business travelers are away.
There are quite a few budget hotels in Helsinki, the cheapest being youth hostels. Many student dormitories turn into youth hostels during the July-August school break, which happily coincides with peak season for tourists. The Finnish Youth Hostel Association  can provide further information.
- Eurohostel, Linnankatu 9(Tram 4), . Helsinki's best-located hostel, very close to the dock for the Viking Line ferry and the Uspenski Cathedral.''IYHF members'' €19.50/night.
- Hostel Erottajanpuisto, Uudenmaankatu 9, . A small, clean, and friendly hostel with a central location.€22.5 for a dorm bed.
- Hostel Suomenlinna, Suomenlinna C 9(ferry connection from Market Square), . All year open hostel located at the Suomenlinna sea fortress.
- Rastila Camping, Vuosaari(M Rastila), . The only camping site inside Helsinki borders. Seventeen minute metro ride from the Central Railway Station.
- Stadion Hostel, Pohjoinen Stadiontie 3 B(Trams 3B, 3T, 7A and 7B), . In the Olympic Stadium building to the north of the center, but quite easily accessed by tram.Dorms from €15.
- Summer Hostel Academica, Hietaniemenkatu 14(M Kamppi, Trams 3B and 3T), . Summer hostel in the heart of Helsinki. Open June-August only.
- Summer Hostel Satakuntatalo, Lapinrinne 1 A(M Kamppi), . It's not exactly a palace, but reasonably priced and the location is great. Prepare to queue for the showers and try to avoid the rooms next to the bus tunnel - although, as of summer 2007, the park side is directly facing a construction site. No membership required. Open Jun-Aug only.€19.50.
- Travellers Home, Lönnrotinkatu 16 D, . Central location, clean, and good amenities. Wi-fi €5/day.Fully-furnished flat from €85/night.
- Best Western Premier Hotel Katajanokka, Vyökatu 1, ☎ +358 9 686 450. Housed in what was the Nokka prison until 2002, this classy hotel has retained the original exterior and the internal corridor, but the rooms themselves, built by combining two to three cells, retain no trace of their past. Walking distance to city center.From €99.
- Cumulus Kaisaalt, Kaisaniemenkatu 7(M Kaisaniemi). A centrally located but minimally equipped business hotel.From €83 for a double in the low season.
- Finn, Kalevankatu 3B, ☎ +358 9 6844360(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +358 9 68443610), . A clean hotel near the main railway station. Even though the rooms are small and fairly no-frills, the hotel is comfortable and cheap. There are 27 rooms, which can accommodate from one to four people per room. Rooms include telephone and TV.€55-115.
- Helka, Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 23(near M Kamppi), . A dependable old standby within walking distance of the city center.Generally €~100.
- Hotel Room, Helsinginkatu 12, ☎ +358 40 833 6696(email@example.com), . Hotel Room is actually not a hotel, but a furnished 30 m^2 flat with a unique interior. Kallio, popular with students, artists and drunks, offers the best alternative party and drinking scene in Helsinki.€~100.
- Omenahotelli, Eerikinkatu 24(M Kamppi), . A self-service hotel with no front desk. Book and pay on the Internet and let yourself in with a passcode. Prices start at €36/person for four people and €87 for a single room.
- Scandic Continental Helsinki, Mannerheimintie 46, ☎ +358 (0)9 4737 1(firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +358 (0)9 4737 2211), . A large, modern hotel catering to families, leisure travelers, and business travelers. Over 500 rooms, sauna, exercise facilities, wireless Internet access, restaurant and bar. Excellent breakfast included with all rooms. Good location near Tram 4, 7, and 10 for convenient transport to city center (3 min by tram, or a 10 min walk). Finnair bus from airport makes a stop directly behind the hotel, providing convenient transport to/from airport. Rooms from €89 with two single beds. Look for holiday specials that reduce these rooms to €~55 in late December.(60.179556,24.927978)
- StayAt Parliament, Museokatu 18, ☎ +358 9 2511 050(email@example.com, fax: +358 9 2511 0600), . A modern hotel in an old apartment building in the elegant residential district of Töölö, formerly Accome Töölö. Rooms are modern, spacious and have nice views to the park across the street and to the others architectually beautiful buildings. A twin room goes for €77–128, a one bedroom room €96–176 and the biggest two bedroom apartment with a sauna and a balcony €110–184.
- Crowne Plaza, Mannerheimintie 50, . Formerly the Hotel Hesperia. Rooms offer comfy beds, modern furniture and up-to-date electronics. The hotel also has a sparkling new gym with a pool.From €255.
- Hotel Hilton Strand, (M Hakaniemi). A hotel quite far from the city centre. Usual Hilton-style hotel.From €100.
- Klaus K, Bulevardi 2, ☎ +358 20 7704700, . Helsinki's first boutique hotel, although they prefer the term "personal contemporary hotel". Rooms range from the small Passion & Mystical types to the aptly named Envy Plus. Central location, funky styling and reasonable prices make this a winner.From €115.
- Hotel Kämp, Pohjoisesplanadi 29, ☎ +358 9 576111, . This historic hotel claims to be the only true 5-star in Scandinavia, with prices to match. The eight-room Mannerheim Suite can be yours for only €3300 per night. The only Finnish hotel in Travel & Leisure magazine's "Top 100 Hotels Worldwide" list. Kämp is also the only Scandinavian hotel on the Conde Nast Traveler magazine's "Best of the Best '07" list.
- Palace Hotel, Eteläranta 10, ☎ +358 9 13456660, . Four-star hotel located in the centre of Helsinki.From €120.
- Radisson SAS Plaza, Mikonkatu 23, ☎ +358 20 123 4700, . Classy, newly-opened hotel in a protected 1917 building. This hotel is located near the railway station within easy walking distance of Aleksanterinkatu. Excellent breakfast buffet.From €150.
Internet cafes are rather few and far between in Helsinki, as most people have Internet access at home. If you have your own laptop, wi-fi (or wlan as it is called in Finland) is available in some cafes and most Hesburger hamburger joints too. The major operators being Sonera Homerun  and DNA . The City of Helsinki is also in the process of installing hotspots to selected locations downtown and cultural centres around the city, so you can look for those too. In 2007, a program for introducing wi-fi access in some trams and buses was started. Unfortunately there is no comprehensive listing for all hotspot locations, and it's doubtful there ever can be. However, Helsinki City has a service  that lists known hotspots (known to them, that is).
- Open Espa. Open wi-fi network called Open Espa covers the Esplanadi park and Kauppatori market square.
- Library 10, Elielinaukio 2 G, tel. +358 9 3108 5000, . A public Internet and music library located in the main post office building at the western side of the central railway station. You can surf the Internet for free for 30 minutes on the library's computers, but you're going to have to queue. Also wi-fi, but you need a library card to access the network.
- Johto Café, Kamppi Shopping Center, . Located on the fifth floor of the Kamppi Shopping Center, Johto Café is a lounge-style cafeteria that offers free wi-fi for all laptop owners. They don't have plugs under every table, so if you need to charge your battery, choose wisely. Attracts mainly younger crowd. Popular also among the business students of the nearby Helsinki School of Economics and somewhat oddly, young mothers. Offers a -30% student discount on all food and drinks.
- Meetingpoint, Mannerheimintie 22-24, tel. +358 9 3108 5900, . Located upstairs of Lasipalatsi, Meetingpoint is another project of the Helsinki City Library and collaborators. A branch of the city library called Kirjakaapeli (Cable Book Library) used to be here but evolved to Library 10 across the street. Open wi-fi network is offered as a public service at Meetingpoint.
- Mbar, Mannerheimintie 22-24, tel. +358 9 612 4542, . A pleasant and popular living room-ish space in the heart of the city, the acoustics make the place quite noisy though. Computers with Internet access (€5 per hour; €2 minimum charge), free wi-fi for laptop owners. Drinks €4-5.
- Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Mannerheiminaukio 2, . The museum cafe has public wi-fi.
- Sanomatalo, the large glass cube next to Kiasma, has an open and free wi-fi hotspot.
- Teerenpeli, Vuorikatu 16, tel. +358 42 492 5200. A cozy bar with free wi-fi.
- Soihtu, Aurorankatu 13 B 16, tel. +358 45 652 0787, . A small youth-friendly café. It is volunteer-run in the evenings and free wi-fi is available. Customers can borrow GNU/Linux laptops.
- Korjaamo, Töölönkatu 51 b, . A trendy wine bar/café with free wi-fi. Also hosts a gallery and different culture events.
- Kauppakeskus Ruoholahti, Itämerenkatu 21. Public wi-fi at the shopping mall next to metro stop Ruoholahti.
- Rytmi, Toinen Linja 2, . A café/bar with free wi-fi.
- Wayne's Coffee, Bulevardi 6, Kaisaniemenkatu 3, Aleksanterinkatu 11, Yrjönkatu 30, . Cafés with free wi-fi.
The crime rate in Helsinki is generally low. Occasional pickpockets target summer crowds and bicycles are prone to petty theft. Walking in the streets after dark is generally safe and the city center is indeed quite lively until the early hours of the morning. However, it's best to steer clear of obviously drunk people looking to pick a fight, the traditional trouble spots being the frustratingly long queues for late night snack food or taxis. The Kaisaniemi park behind the main Railway Station is possibly best avoided at night, and the area of Kallio and Sörnäinen (northeast from the center, after the Pitkäsilta bridge) may be somewhat rougher than other parts of the downtown. Recently, due to free movement of people in the European Union, Helsinki has been a destination for beggars and petty criminals from poorer parts of the Union.
A common problem in the center of the city are aggressive birds. They will try to take your ice cream cone or sandwich from you, so try to avoid eating where you see a lot of bigger birds. Tourists feeding the birds are a main cause of the problem, and feeding birds is prohibited.
In theory cars should allow you to cross the street when you approach the zebra painted zone, but in practise don't really count on that - always watch before crossing the street.
In winter, try to keep a steady footing: despite the use of vast quantities of gravel and salt, pavements can be quite slippery when the temperature hovers around zero and near-invisible black ice forms.
Helsinki's bedrock is close to the surface, so new building works invariably involve some dynamite to build foundations, and it's thus quite common to hear explosions around the center. Blasting is often preceded by a loud sequence of warning beeps, which speed up as they count down. There is no danger to anyone, as the builders are experts (and the solid granite bedrock is very, very strong), but now you know where that "BOOM!" came from.
In Finland itself the following make good day trips:
- Nuuksio National Park, a piece of untamed wilderness within easy striking distance.
- Porvoo, a charming old town of wooden houses is just 60 km away.
- Tampere, the third-largest city in Finland, and the birthplace of Finnish industry, boasting one of the last Lenin museums left in the world as well as a spy museum. 180 km north of Helsinki, one hour 30 min to two hours by train.
- Turku, the fifth-largest city in Finland and the historic capital. The cathedral and the medieval castle are well worth visiting. Two hours by train.
- Hanko, the southernmost spot in Finland, 140 km west of Helsinki. This town of less than 10,000 people is famous for its summer activities, including sailing, tennis, art, theater, etc.
If you're looking for an organised day trip from Helsinki you have two tour operators to choose from:
- Helsinki Expert, Pohjoisesplanadi 19, +358-(0)9-2288 1500, .
- Rudolf's City Experience, +358 (0)50 307 5000, (email: firstname.lastname@example.org), .
As a coastal city, Helsinki has good connections to some fine international destinations nearby:
- In Russia, Saint Petersburg, "the Venice of the North", is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
- Stockholm, the Swedish capital, is much like Helsinki, only bigger.
- Tallinn in Estonia is known for its medieval city center and is easily accessible even as a day trip.
This page was last edited at 03:10, on 20 March 2009 by Jani Patokallio. Based on work by cz and janelle p., Wikitravel user(s) Daf, Cozmine and Aude, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.