Helsinki by Sylvia SeneWords and pictures by Sylvia Sene
Where to eat, shop and go during your stay in Helsinki.
Muistatteko, kun käytiin second hand -inspiroitumassa tyylimuusamme, Sylvia Senen luona? Nyt Sylvia on koonnut yhteen Helsingin helmet ja kuratoinut meille tän ihanan Helsinki-oppaan. Opas on englannin kielinen ja sen voi ladata PDF-muodossa puhelimeen ja lähettää vaikkapa kaupungissa vieraileville turistiystäville. Näin sitä on helppo selata myös offline-tilassa.
Curated guide to Helsinki
Welcome to a curated guide to Helsinki, one of the world’s northernmost capitals. My hometown is also one of the most beautiful places in the world. The first thing you’ll notice is that the sea is just everywhere, and the air that smells extra fresh.
Extensive city guides can be a little confusing at times. It’s hard to decide where to go when you are presented with everything and anything you can do at your destination.
This guide will only focus on carefully picked out gems. It won’t describe the multitude of things and places to visit – only the ones that are especially enjoyable, and capture the best of what our city has to offer.
Below you can get to now few of the places listed on the guide. You can download the full version of the guide here as a PDF.
Eat & Drink
Helsinki is full of interesting places to eat. This is not a guide to fine dining, but rather a list of places where the food, drinks and atmosphere are just right.
Ateljé Finne was named after the well known Finnish sculptor Gunnar Finne. The restaurant is located in his old atelier; this unique setting makes it one of the nicest restaurants in the city. The fresh Finnish food at Ateljé Finne is always really tasty, and focuses on seasonal ingredients.
(kitchen closes at 21:30)
Tucked away in an inner courtyard, Grotesk is one of the best summer terraces in Helsinki. This place is definitely the place to enjoy a cocktail or two or three before heading out into the night. The friendly staff are happy to help you pick your poison for the evening.
Elite has a rich history of feeding Finland’s cultural circles since its opening in 1932. Elite’s old-fashioned menu offers a taste of the country’s traditional dishes, and its beautiful interior hasn’t changed much after its opening. If you’re here in the summer, have a seat at the terrace!
Putte’s Bar & Pizza is known for its excellent seasonal pizzas and inventive daily specials, such as the nettle pizza. The restaurant gets really busy even on weekdays, so this is a great place to have a late night dinner. Putte’s serves vegan pizzas as well!
Putte’s downstairs level, The Cellar, is a bar/club, which is open until late if you feel like staying for a bit longer.
Pompier is a culinary salvation on one of Helsinki’s most central and touristic streets, Esplanadi.
Pompier’s menu is inspired by French cuisine, and it is always excellent. Many would say they serve one of the best lunches in town. Especially at lunchtime the price-quality ratio is really good.
Tue-Fri 11:00–14:00 & 16:00–23:00
The racks of Frida Marina’s 138 square metre space are filled with second hand clothes, shoes, jewellery and accessories. This is a good place to find really good vintage pieces, such as old and rare Marimekko or Vuokko classics. Frida Marina also serves tea and coffee, so you can have a break from shopping.
Beamhill has been a streetwear staple in Helsinki for a really long time. The spacious store sells clothing, accessories and shoes from brands such as A.P.C, Nike, Our Legacy, Norse Projects and BACK. Here, you’ll find some local established streetwear brands as well.
Beamhill has a more upscale sister store, Beam, situated just a 10 minute walk away. Beam’s selection include brands like Acne, Isabel Marant Étoile and Opening Ceremony. Find Beam at Erottajankatu 15–17, 00130 Helsinki.
Arkadia International Bookshop
Arkadia is a second hand bookshop and a venue for a range of cultural events. Here you’ll find books on every possible subject in a variety of different languages.
Minimal Nordic is one of the best shoe shops in town. They sell a compact but beautiful selection of leather shoes right in the commercial center of the city. Mi.No stocks quality brands such as Maryam Nassir Zadeh, Robert Clergerie, A.T.P Atelier and local favourite Terhi Pölkki.
This is arguably one of the prettiest shops in Helsinki. Founded by former Marimekko designer Samu-Jussi Koski, Samuji is his brainchild that combines simple silhouettes and great cuts with natural fibres to create modern classics. Samuji House is a place that you basically just want to move in. In addition to the brand’s newest collections, you’ll also find Samuji’s home line, as well as small items from carefully selected artists.
Kumpula outdoor swimming pool
Finnish people love outdoor pools during the summer, and there are surprisingly many in such a northern capital. To me, this one has the most charm. Situated in the old wooden house district of Kumpula, this outdoor swimming pool is nothing fancy but its green surroundings makes it a summer favourite of mine.
Bring your own swimsuit, towel and beauty products.
Open from June to the end of August.
Riviera Movie Theatre
Riviera is an unfussy neighborhood movie theatre, bound to suit an urban dweller’s taste. They might show anything from TV show marathons to arthouse cinema, or the newest blockbuster. What’s great here is that you can eat and have a glass of wine while enjoying the movie! The single screening room has really comfortable seats but there are only 55 of them, so be sure to book yours well in advance. You can also just have a drink at their separate bar, or on the terrace during the summer.
Sinebrychoff is an old Finnish brewing company, and their beers remain popular everywhere in the country. This 19th century building used to be the home of Paul and Fanny Sinebrychoff, important figures of the brewing family. The place has since been turned into a museum, and its beautiful corridors showcase a nice collection of paintings, furniture and other classical art objects by European masters.
Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall
This is one of the nicest public indoor swimming pools I’ve ever been to, and it’s also the cheapest spa experience you can buy yourself in Helsinki.
Yrjönkatu also happens to be the first public swimming pool ever built in Finland, and its fantastic decor is inspired by Roman baths. Bathe and use the sauna for just 5,50 euros! For a mere 14 euros, the upstairs section also becomes available with its wood burning and infrared saunas. Best of all, you can have a sip of champagne in the upstairs café in your bathrobe.
Please note: women and men have separate bathing days, and for a good reason! Traditionally you bathe naked, but swimsuits are acceptable for the shy.
Bring your own towel and beauty products.
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Jos olisin tänä keväänä New Yorkissa, menisin heti Brooklyn Museumin Georgia O’Keeffe -näyttelyyn.
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