Western Helsinki comprises the parts Helsinki that are west of the railway, northwest of Baana and all the way past Munkkiniemi and Munkkivuori shopping mall up to the Haaga roundabout.
Choosing the right form of transportation very much depends on which part of this city district you want to visit. For the northern parts, many buses from central Helsinki to western Vantaa and northern Espoo travel along Mannerheimintie. So do the trams 4 which goes all the way to Munkkiniemi and 10 which goes to Pikku-Huopalahti. If you are going in the direction of Seurasaari or the Sibelius monument, bus 24 brings you there. Tram 2 takes you to Töölö. From the Inner East, trams 8 and 9 connect you with most of the central western and southwestern Helsinki and the circular lines 3 (changes to 2 on the way) and 7 connect Pasila with Töölö.
Freeway 1 and the older Highway 110 from Turku end in Western Helsinki, and Freeway 3 from Tampere turns into Mannerheimintie here. From the airport Finnair's airport bus stops at Scandic Continental on Mannerheimintie on its way to the city center.
If coming by train, Pasila Railway Station serves this part of the city and all trains to Helsinki, both local and long-distance, except the Allegro service from St. Petersburg, stop there too.
Töölö, both Etu-Töölö and Taka-Töölö districts are great places to see functionalist architecture.
Parks and outdoor sightsEdit
- 1 Seurasaari Open Air Museum. 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, when many buildings have guides practising crafts in traditional dress. There's a very pleasant if somewhat pricy summer cafe/restaurant atop a small hill at the center of the island. Entry to the park free, entry into the museum buildings costs €6 (€5 concession), buy tickets at entrance. Take bus 24 from Erottaja at the northern end of Esplanadi to the terminus (20–30 minutes), then walk across the bridge. Beware of mercenary squirrels that will raid your bags if you carry any food and gulls that take shares of your ice cream.
- 2 Töölönlahti (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.
- 3 [dead link] 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.
- 4 Eläintarha (between the Opera and Nordenskiöldinkatu, east of Mannerheimintie). Despite its name, which translates to "Animal Garden", there is no zoo in this park. Instead many of Helsinki's sport venues like the Olympic stadium, Swimming stadium, Sonera stadium, Töölön Kisahalli and Helsinki Ice Hall are either in the park or close to it.
- 5 Winter Garden (Talvipuutarha), Hammarskjöldintie 1. Tu 09:00-15:00, W-F 12:00-15:00, Sa Su 12:00-16:00. Tropical garden where you can see palms, cacti and flowers around the year. In the summer a nice cafe operates in the garden. free.
- 6 National Museum of Finland (Kansallismuseo), Mannerheimintie 34. Tu-W 11:00-20:00, Th-Su 11:00-18:00, Closed M. A beautiful classical building houses this old museum, which has been renovated. The exhibit includes displays of artifacts and items relating to Finland's history. €6/4 adult/child. Free admission for visitors under 18. Tuesday has free admission from 17:30-20:00..
- 7 Finnish Museum of Natural History (Luonnontieteen museo), Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 23 (near the Parliament). Daily 10:00-16:00. The museum of natural history is operated by Helsinki University and shows Finnish wildlife, dinosaur skeletons and everything in-between. adults €10, kids €5.
- 8 Urho Kekkonen Museum Tamminiemi (Ekudden), Seurasaarentie 15 (Bus 24, near the bridge to Seurasaari). W–Su 11:00-17:00. If you are visiting Seurasaari you can also take look into the daily life of Finland's long time president, Urho Kekkonen. His residence Tamminiemi was turned into a museum in the 1980s. admission €6.50.
- 9 Villa Gyllenberg, Kuusisaarenpolku 11 (Buses 194, 195). W 16:00-20:00, Su noon-16:00. A private art gallery on Kuusisaari island with sculptures and older and contemporary Finnish art. adults €10, concessions €8.
- 10 [dead link] Dirdrichsen Art Gallery (Didrichsenin taidemuseo), Kuusilahdenkuja 1, ☏ . Tu–Su 11:00–18:00. A collection of more than one thousand pieces of Finnish and modern international art, and artifacts from ancient Oriental and Pre-Columbian cultures. It is housed in a modernist building by famed Finnish architect Viljo Revell. Guided tours in English on the 1st Saturday of every month at 12:00. Adult €13, concession €10.
Churches and religious sightsEdit
- 11 The Church in the Rock (Temppeliaukion kirkko, literally "Temple Square Church"), Lutherinkatu 3 (Tram: 2), ☏ . Daily 10:00-17:00, but if services or other activities (e.g. weddings) take place the church has limited access for tourist visitors. Phone +358 (0)9 2340 5940 for a bulletin on current activities. English services on Sundays at 14:00, open to the public. An atmospheric of minimalistic church, this church was literally dug out of solid rock. From above, it resembles a crashed UFO. The roof is made of 22 km 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. €3.
- 12 Hietaniemi Cemetery (Hietaniemen hautausmaa) (between Mechelininkatu and the sea). Helsinki's equivalent to Arlington in Washington D.C., Hietaniemi is the final resting place for many Finns of importance during the last 200 years: politicians including almost all heads of state, artists and other cultural personalities, war heroes and so on. Some grave monuments are quite impressive.
- 13 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 Sa at 11:00 and 12:00, Su at 12:00 and 13:00. During Jul and Aug English tours are M-F at 13:00. Free.
- 14 Finlandia Hall, Mannerheimintie 13. M-F 09:00-16:00. Designed by Finland's best known architect Alvar Aalto. It is 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. Free.
Helsinki is an Olympic city, the host of the 1952 Olympic Games. The Games were planned for 1940, but due to the Second World War, they were postponed. Burdened by the post-war shortages and the war reparations that had to be paid, arranging the Olympic games just eight years after the war was quite a feat. In the same year 1952, a month before Helsinki Olympics Armi Kuusela won the very first Miss Universe pageant, another thing for Finns to be proud of.
- 15 Olympic Stadium. M-F 09:00-20:00, Sa Su 09:00-18:00. It was built for the Olympics and renovated for the 2005 World Athletic Championships. In the stadium building you can visit the Sports Museum with medals and other paraphernalia related to sport. Another stadium called Sonera stadium used for football (soccer) games is located north of the stadium. 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!
- 16 Olympic Tower. The stadium features 72-m-high tower (14 storeys) that offers a great view over the city. €5 for adults, €2 for children.
The stadium and the tower are closed for renovation and modernization, and are scheduled to reopen in summer 2020.
- 1 Hietaniemi Beach, Hietaniemenkatu (Buses 55A and 18 or tram 2 from Kamppi/Rautatientori, or just walk (15-20 min from the centre).). It's safe to say that most people don't come to Helsinki for the beaches, but on a hot summer day in July Hietsu (as it is known to locals) is a good place to be. Beach volleyball, swimming and various events are popular. It's wide city center sand beach and morover, surrounded with large park area, where people sunbathe and picnic in the summer time.
- 2 National Opera (Kansallisooppera), Helsinginkatu 58, ☏ . Lavishly subsidized, but it's still easy to get good seats. Tickets €14-84. Students can buy discount tickets for performances on the same day for €10 if there are still seats left, but these tickets have to be bought in person. An international student card is valid. Pensioners get €5 off, and children get their tickets at half regular price. Also runs the National Ballet (Kansallisbaletti).
- 3 Korjaamo Cultural Factory, Töölönkatu 51, ☏ . Situated in the old tram depot, Korjaamo is made up of galleries, a café, bar, club space, a theatre, shop, and even the Tram Museum is still here. Since the Vaunuhalli was opened in the summer of 2008, Korjaamo is now the biggest cultural centre in the country. While the work is diverse, you could say that the kind of art on offer at Korjaamo is independent, different, and worth keeping an eye on.
- 4 Telia 5G Areena (formerly Sonera Stadium and Finnair Stadium), Urheilukatu 5 (next to Olympic Stadium). The home of football (soccer) team HJK. Tickets for matches start from €12.
- 5 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.
- 6 Helsingin Jäähalli, Nordenskiöldinkatu 11-13 (1 block from Tram 2, 4, 7, and 10). The home of ice hockey team HIFK. Tickets for matches start from €10.
- 1 Levykauppa Äx, Fredrikinkatu 59. Possibly the most well-known record shop in Finland which does have plans to start a political party. Mostly new items.
- 2 Green Grass, Fredrikinkatu 60. Mostly second hand. Rock/pop. Old but good/cheap stuff. near Äx. Recommended.
- 3 [dead link] Flea market in Helsingin Jäähalli (Jäähallin kirpputori), Nordenskiöldinkatu 11-13. Sa Su 09:00-13:30. Besides sports events, the ice hall (or more precisely the corridors around the actual sports ground) is a venue of regular weekend flea markets.
- 1 Kuu Kuu, Museokatu 17. M-F 11:00-01:00, Sa 12:00-01:00, Su 12:00-22:00. A cosy modern bar/restaurant. Populated by local actors and artists, this newly renovated place offers easygoing, simple Finnish food. Serves food until midnight on weekdays (that is very late in Finland) and is also a nice place for drinks. Still relatively free from tourists so don't expect hearing anything else but Finnish and Swedish here (staff is still multilingual).
- 2 [dead link] Queen Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant, Mechelininkatu 8, ☏ . Enjoy Ethiopian cuisine, hot and spicy; injera as the heart of a meal, a large, soft, sourdough crepe. It is believed that coffee originates in the Kaffa province in Ethiopia. Ethiopian coffee is strong, rich and soft – just like good coffee should be. The Ethiopian coffee ceremony with its aroma and taste is worth experiencing. Table reservation recommended.
- 3 McDonalds, Mannerheimintie 53 (tram 2, 4, 7B, 10). 24/7. If you plan to have a meal in a McD, then consider the one in northern Töölö which is furnished with American diner paraphernalia. Also known as the "Rock n'roll McDonald's".
- 4 Benjam's Bistro, Dagmarinkatu 5, ☏ . 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.
- 5 Kuu, Töölönkatu 27. Restaurant Kuu has been offering Finnish specialities in the bohemian Töölö-district since 1966. Completely renovated. A really good and decently priced wine-list, from the dishes the smoked salmon soup (€9.50/€14.40) is a real classic.
- 6 Manala, Dagmarinkatu 2 (Trams: 2, 4, 7A/B, 10), ☏ . M-F 11:00-04:00, Sa Su 14:00-04:00, lunch menus M-F 11:00-14:00. The name may mean "Hell" and their motto "For devilish hunger and hellish thirst", but it's actually an understated white-linen-cloth restaurant serving traditional Finnish food and wood-fired pizzas. Main dishes €10-30.
- 7 Messenius, Messeniuksenkatu 7, ☏ . 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 among us.
- 8 Perho, Mechelininkatu 7, ☏ . Open M-Sa 11:00-23:00, Su 12:00-17:00. Run by a cooking school, the cooks and waiters are all enthusiastic students, so the quality of food and service are good. Serves traditional Finnish and Russian food, set menus €20 to €30 including wine.
- 9 Ravintola N:o 11 (Restaurant Nr. 11), Pihlajatie 34, ☏ . This classic neighbourhood eatery in the Meilahti district, long known as Kuusihokki. Its original 1946 name was restored by its new owners who also improved the kitchen. The menu consists of basic but superbly executed classics such as salmon soup. The fantastic original 1940s interior is also worth seeing.
- 10 Carelia, Mannerheimintie 56, ☏ . 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.
- 11 [dead link] Troikka, Caloniuksenkatu 3, ☏ . The coziest Russian style restaurant in Helsinki. The restaurant has been there from the 20ies and has a colourful history. At old times restaurant got even paintings, as payment for meals. The painter, however, was nothing less than Juri Repin, the son of the famous Ilja Repin.
- 12 Tokyo55, Runeberginkatu 55, ☏ . Tu–F 16:00–00:00, Sa 14:00–00:00. 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.
- 13 Farang, Ainonkatu 3, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Tu-Sa 17:00-00:00. Farang serves fresh, unique dishes from South-East Asia in a modern decor. Try one of the Tasting Menus if you can't decide what to have. Chosen the best restaurant in Finland by restaurant professionals in 2011. Mains €20–25, tasting menus €55–64.
- 1 Kaffecentralen, Museokatu 9. This little shop concentrates on selling espresso paraphernalia, and also serves excellent cappuccino.
- 2 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.
- 3 Café Regatta, Merikannontie 10, ☏ . 10:00-23:00. A pleasant little café located right at the seashore in western Töölö, not very far away from the Hietaniemi beach. Serves good coffee and pastries. In summertime, the café tends to be absolutely packed with Helsinkians and tourists. You're better off sitting at the terrace rather than inside the café. Coffee costs 2 €, but if you have an additional cup, the café actually gives you 5 cents back instead of charging you.
- 4 Sinisen huvilan kahvila, Linnunlauluntie 11 (Töölönlahti, up the hill). 10:00-22:00 during summertime. The "Cafe of the Blue Villa" is an outdoors café with fantastic views over the Töölönlahti bay. Small coffee €1.5.
- 5 Café Tin Tin Tango, Töölöntorinkatu 7 (tram 2, 8), ☏ . M-F 07:00-00:00, Sa Su 09:00-02:00. 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.
Bars and pubsEdit
- 6 Korjaamo, Töölönkatu 51, ☏ . Café open daily 11:00–17:00, bar M Tu 16:00–11:00, W Th 16:00-01:00, F Sa 16:00–03:00, Su closed. One of the best places to hang out at summer, nice terrace, two floor laid back bar with live DJs in the evening and cafe in the building of the Korjaamo Cultural Factory. Free access to Apple computers with Internet, Wi Fi.
- 7 Olutravintola Vastarannan Kiiski, Runeberginkatu 26. M-Th 15:00-02:00, F Sa 15:00-03:00, Su 15:00-00:00. Beer from all over the world.
- 8 Pub Pete, Hietaniemenkatu 7.
- 9 Storyville, Aurorankatu 8. Jazz club and restaurant, often live music.
- 10 St. Urho's Pub, Museokatu 10, ☏ . 15:00 to 01:00 mostly. A nice, cosy traditional pub only a short walk away from the Finnish National Museum. Quite spacious interior. Over a hundred beers and ciders available, on tap and in bottles. Also serves food to go along with your drink, however the food is a bit on the pricey side. Beer from around €5 to around €9.
- 1 Summer Hostel Academica, Hietaniemenkatu 14 (M Kamppi, Tram 2), fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Summer hostel in the heart of Helsinki. Open June–August only. Dorms from €25, hotel rooms from €50.
- 2 Helka, Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 23 (near M Kamppi). A dependable old standby within walking distance of the city center. Around €150.
- 3 Scandic Park Helsinki, Mannerheimintie 46, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. 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 buses from the airport stop close to the hotel (about 2 blocks past on the way from the airport, and directly opposite the hotel on the way to the airport), providing convenient transport to/from airport. From €89.
- 4 Hellsten Helsinki Parliament, Museokatu 18, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A modern hotel in an old apartment building in the elegant and 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 architecturally beautiful buildings.
- 5 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.
- 6 Hilton Helsinki Kalastajatorppa, Kalastajatorpantie 1, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com.
- 7 Sokos Hotel Pasila, Maistraatinportti 3, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wireless internet can be used in some of the branches of city library (for example Töölö library, Topeliuksenkatu 6). Also some cafés (Picnic), restaurants and fast food chains (McDonald's) offer wireless internet connections.