Best 20 things to do in Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to Helsinki, the quirky capital of Finland that will have you saying "Hyvää päivää!" to everyone you meet. Our article has handpicked the top 20 Helsinki highlights that will make you feel like a true local. From sea fortress hopping to reindeer spotting, you'll discover why Helsinki is a city where sauna sessions are as essential as daily coffee breaks. So pack your winter gear, embrace your inner Moomin, and get ready for an adventure that's equal parts surreal and spectacular in the land of the midnight sun.

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1. Helsinki City Museum

4.4 (2107)

Aleksanterinkatu 16-18, 00170 Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to the Helsinki City Museum, where history comes alive and puts on quite a show! Nestled in the heart of Helsinki, this museum is like a time machine that'll whisk you away on a journey through the city's past. Get ready to immerse yourself in quirky exhibits, dazzling displays, and interactive installations that will make even the coolest hipster drop their artisanal latte. Buckle up for a wild ride as you step into the Helsinki City Museum! From the outside, it may resemble any other building in the city, but once you cross that threshold, prepare for your socks to be knocked off (please wear appropriate footwear, either way). With its innovative approach, this museum manages to make history so exciting, it will leave you wondering if inventing a time-traveling DeLorean is really necessary anymore. Be prepared to be amazed, entertained, and maybe even question some life choices. Forget about dusty old artifacts and stuffy curators, because the Helsinki City Museum is all about immersing you in the sights, sounds, and even smells (yes, smells!) of the past. Delve into the dark alleys of Helsinki's underbelly, learn about the local legends that'll make you double-check your hotel room at night, and maybe even gossip about some scandalous stories that predate even social media scandals. So, grab your sense of adventure, leave your skepticism at the door, and get ready to have a blast at the Helsinki City Museum!

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2. Helsinki City Hall

4.5 (97)

Pohjoisesplanadi 11-13, 00170 Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to Helsinki City Hall, the place where quirky architecture meets bureaucracy! This peculiar building seems to have lost its way and stumbled into the heart of the city. With its rounded shapes and mismatched elements, it's like an avant-garde art installation that double-dares you to take it seriously. Inside, you'll find a labyrinth of corridors that will make you question if you're on the set of a Nordic thriller or still trying to locate the restroom.

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3. Helsinki Zoo

4.3 (11821)

Mustikkamaanpolku 12, 00270 Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to Helsinki Zoo, where our animals are so pampered, they might need a spa day before they're ready to meet you. Prepare to wander through the magical world of the animal kingdom, where the polar bears are the cool kids on the block and the monkeys are the ultimate masters of mischief. Immerse yourself in the delightful cacophony of exotic bird calls as you navigate through this urban oasis, where even the tigers know how to strike a pose for the perfect selfie.

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4. The Market Square (Kauppatori)

4.3 (22341)

Eteläranta, 00170 Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to The Market Square, better known as Kauppatori, where the sights, the smells, and the seagulls will surely leave you squawking! This vibrant hub is the perfect spot to feast your eyes on fresh fish, funky souvenirs, and of course, the infamous Finnish licorice that will either have you saying "yum" or "yuck" in no time. Don't forget to prepare yourself for an epic seagull showdown as you try to grab a bite of your tasty salmon sandwich, because those pesky birds are masters of aerial thievery!

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5. Ateneum Art Museum

4.5 (6312)

Kaivokatu 2, 00100 Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to Ateneum Art Museum in Helsinki, where art enthusiasts can marvel at the creativity of Finnish artists, without getting chased by art-loving reindeers! Here, you'll discover a vibrant collection of paintings and sculptures, perfect for both appreciating the depth of Finnish culture and practicing your poker face when confronted with abstract art that resembles a mashed potato on a canvas. Soak in the beauty of renowned Finnish masterpieces while pretending to be an art aficionado, all the while secretly hoping you don't accidentally mistake a sculpture for a hat rack.

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6. Helsinki Central Railway Station

4.3 (1446)

Kaivokatu 1, 00100 Helsinki, Finland

Nestled amidst the vibrant city of Helsinki, the Helsinki Central Railway Station proudly stands like a well-dressed conductor, ready to whisk travelers away on whimsical railway adventures. Its majestic exterior, an architectural blend of romanticism and functionalism, is akin to an elegant top hat perched atop a stately penguin - a symbol of Finnish punctuality and impeccable fashion sense! Step inside and find yourself transported to a bustling hub of activity, where commuters, tourists, and locals dance a lively routine under the magnificent arched ceilings.

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7. Uspenski Cathedral

4.5 (5798)

Kanavakatu 1, 00160 Helsinki, Finland

Step into a magical wonderland as you approach Uspenski Cathedral in Helsinki, where even Santa's elves would be envious of the impressive red-brick exterior. This enchanting masterpiece captures your imagination with its onion domes, making you wonder if you've stumbled upon a Russian fairy tale. Inside, prepare to be amazed by the stunning Byzantine-style interior, adorned with golden icons that will make you want to confess your sins just for an excuse to gaze at them a little longer.

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8. Design Museum Helsinki

4.2 (2992)

Korkeavuorenkatu 23, 00130 Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to Design Museum Helsinki, where creativity and Finnish design collide – in a good way, of course. Step inside this design wonderland and prepare to be blown away by a collection that's more stylish than a reindeer in designer sunglasses. From sleek furniture to innovative fashion, this museum is a surefire way to upgrade your cultural appreciation, and maybe even your wardrobe – just remember to leave the selfie stick at home, as it won't match the minimalistic aesthetic.

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9. Temppeliaukio Church

4.4 (10386)

Lutherinkatu 3, 00100 Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to the quirky wonder known as Temppeliaukio Church in Helsinki! Marvel at the church that's "rocking" the architectural world with its innovative design. Carved out of solid rock, this one-of-a-kind underground sanctuary offers a divine musical experience, guaranteed to make your ears rejoice and your mind go "wait, this is still a church?!" Prepare to be blown away as you explore this holy cave of acoustical perfection.

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10. National Museum of Finland

4.4 (5703)

Mannerheimintie 34, 00100 Helsinki, Finland

Nestled in the heart of Helsinki, the National Museum of Finland is like a treasure chest waiting to be unraveled. Step inside, and be prepared to embark on a journey through time, more exciting than a rollercoaster ride on a herd of Finnish reindeer. Feast your eyes upon a plethora of artifacts, from ancient artifacts to the eccentric fashion choices of Finns throughout history. Remember, laughing quietly at the odd hairstyles of past Finns is allowed, but try not to wake the sleeping suits of armor - they can be quite grumpy.

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11. Helsinki Olympic Stadium

4.4 (3496)

Paavo Nurmen tie 1, 00250 Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, also known as the heavyweight champion of Finnish sports arenas! This grandiose masterpiece will leave you gasping for breath, and not just from climbing its countless stairs. Prepare to be dazzled by its iconic tower, which stands tall like a determined Finnish pole-vaulter, albeit one made of concrete. Marvel at the stadium's fascinating history, spanning back to its creation in 1938, before it even had dreams of hosting the Olympics. With its numerous renovations over the years, it's almost as if the stadium has undergone more makeovers than an ambitious Hollywood starlet. Today, it's ready to impress visitors with its unique blend of old-school charm and modern amenities. Don't miss out on the incredible views from the stadium's rooftop terrace, where you can spot all the way to Santa's reindeer training ground (not really, but we like to pretend). Take a deep breath and envision the cheers of the crowds, the thunderous applause, and perhaps even imagine yourself competing in a stadium that has seen countless Olympic heroes rise victorious—glory is only a daydream away at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium!

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12. Sibelius Monument

4.3 (5591)

Sibeliuksen puisto, Mechelininkatu, 00250 Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to the charming city of Helsinki, where even the giant Sibelius Monument taps its musical toes to the rhythm of Finnish humor. Located in Sibelius Park, this sculptural wonder is a delightful ensemble of magnificent metal pipes, paying homage to the renowned composer Jean Sibelius. As you stroll through the park, remember to strike a pose beside the monument—just make sure you don't blow into the pipes, or you might accidentally awaken a symphony of startled pigeons!

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13. Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art

4.2 (6505)

Mannerheiminaukio 2, 00100 Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, where modern art meets funky Finnish architecture. Standing tall in Helsinki, this avant-garde gem resembles a giant metallic beehive that landed from outer space. Step inside and prepare for a delightful journey through mind-bending installations, surreal sculptures, and paintings that will make even Salvador Dali look like your average Joe.

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14. Töölönlahti Park

4.2 (111)

Karamzininranta 4, 00100 Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to Töölönlahti Park, Helsinki's little green oasis where you can escape the chaos of city life and embrace your inner squirrel. This park, affectionately known as "Tooly Park" by the locals (not really), offers stunning views of the calm lake, a perfect spot for contemplating life's important questions like "Why is pizza a square but comes in a circle?" Prepare yourself for a peaceful stroll surrounded by fluffy ducklings and Instagram-worthy swan photobombs, just be careful not to trip over the joggers who are clearly on a mission to outrun their existential crisis.

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15. Linnanmäki Amusement Park

4.5 (25376)

Tivolikuja 1, 00510 Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to Linnanmäki Amusement Park, where laughter reigns supreme, gravity feels like a distant memory, and fun is the currency we all willingly exchange! With rides that cater to all levels of thrill-seekers, from the bold adrenaline junkie to the mildly cautious fun-lover, this park offers a roller coaster of emotions and belts not just holding you tight, but giving you existential support as well! What Linnanmäki might lack in size, it certainly makes up for in heart (and rainbow-colored cotton candy). Join in on the merry-go-round madness, where colorful horses will spin beneath your feet faster than you can say "please, can someone make it stop?" Don't forget their iconic wooden roller coaster, where every creaking sound will convince you that perhaps carpentry skills should be prioritized over your choice of afternoon entertainment. And if the stomach-flipping rides don't quite tickle your fancy, immerse yourself in whimsical carnival games that challenge your agility and aim. Nothing says vacation quite like missing every single ring when trying to fling them onto the neck of a rubber duck bobbing mercilessly in a plastic pond. Linnanmäki Amusement Park: where ridiculousness and hilarity know no limits!

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16. Finnish National Opera

4.5 (3409)

Helsinginkatu 58, 00250 Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki, where music and culture blend together like a dramatic opera performance mixed with a pinch of quirky Finnish humor. This architectural wonder sits majestically in the heart of the city, ready to showcase world-class performances that will make your heart sing. Prepare to be blown away by the talented ensemble, who charmingly manage to hit those astonishing high notes while effortlessly juggling a fresh cup of coffee and a plate of traditional Finnish cinnamon buns.

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17. Helsinki Cathedral

4.6 (9628)

Unioninkatu 29, 00170 Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to Helsinki Cathedral, the majestic white giant of the city that just can't help but shout, "I'm the king of the hill!" This striking neoclassical beauty proudly occupies the Senate Square, making all other buildings green with envy. Prepare yourself to be bedazzled by its grand staircase, because the only thing missing here is a red carpet for all the worshipers to sashay their way in.

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18. Seurasaari Open-Air Museum

4.6 (1601)

Seurasaari, 00250 Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to Seurasaari Open-Air Museum, where history strolls hand in hand with fresh air! Located in Helsinki, this quirky museum lets you experience Finnish culture without needing a time machine (which is a bit of a shame, to be honest). Prepare to be transported back in time as you wander through rustic cottages, charming windmills, and hopefully, a few friendly ghosts (fingers crossed!).

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19. Senate Square

4.5 (17680)

00170 Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to Senate Square in Helsinki, where history meets whimsy in a delightful dance-off! Prepare to be awestruck by the grandeur of Helsinki Cathedral, also known as the "Pearly Princess" of the Square. Enjoy the splendid sight of the Senate Building, a true architectural marvel, where some say even the walls whisper juicy political gossip (if you're fluent in stone, that is).

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20. Suomenlinna

Suomenlinna, Helsinki, Finland

Welcome to Suomenlinna, Helsinki's very own fortress island! This UNESCO World Heritage Site is like Finland's version of a triple threat: history, beauty, and sea breezes all rolled into one. Take a ferry ride and explore this centuries-old gem, where you can pretend you're an extra in a Viking movie or just enjoy a picnic with way too many seagulls eyeing your snacks.

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How to get there


The best way to get to Helsinki by plane is to fly into Helsinki-Vantaa Airport (HEL). Many major airlines offer direct flights from destinations around the world.


If you're driving to Helsinki, the main entry point from other countries is via the E18 motorway from Sweden. There are also several other highways leading to the city.


While there are no direct trains to Helsinki from other countries, you can take a train from Russia or other parts of Finland. The main train station in Helsinki is Helsinki Central Station.


You can take a ferry to Helsinki from various cities in Sweden, Estonia, and Russia. The main ferry terminal in Helsinki is West Terminal.


Numerous bus companies operate routes to Helsinki, both from within Finland and neighboring countries. The main bus station in Helsinki is Helsinki Central Bus Station.

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Discover Helsinki: A Day Trip Adventure!

Helsinki is a vibrant and modern city, known for its unique blend of Scandinavian and Russian architectural styles. Visitors can explore the bustling streets and markets, visit the iconic Lutheran Cathedral, or take a ferry to nearby islands. Helsinki is also home to a variety of museums, including the National Museum of Finland, the Design Museum, and the Ateneum Art Museum.

3 Days in Helsinki: Fun, Food and Design

Helsinki offers a blend of old-world charm and modern sophistication to its visitors. From its historic landmarks to its art and design scene, there's something for everyone. Take a stroll through its picturesque streets, visit the iconic Rock Church, and indulge in some of the city's delicious Nordic cuisine to make your trip truly unforgettable.

Helsinki Hopping: A 2-Day Family Fun Fest

Helsinki, Finland is a perfect destination for a family-friendly trip, offering a diverse range of activities for all ages. Explore the city's numerous parks and gardens, like the beloved Suomenlinna Island, to enjoy picnics and outdoor adventures. With a rich cultural scene, Helsinki also boasts countless museums and attractions, such as the interactive Heureka Science Centre, ensuring an educational and entertaining experience for the entire family.

Helsinki, Finland: A 5 Day Family Adventure

Helsinki, Finland offers a unique blend of culture, nature, and family-friendly attractions, making it an ideal destination for a memorable family trip. Explore beautiful parks such as the Esplanade, Adventure Park in Linnanmäki, or Helsinki Zoo, where kids can get up close with their favorite animals. Immerse yourselves in Finnish history at the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, and don't miss the opportunity to experience the magic of winter with ice skating or sledding in one of the city's many outdoor rinks.