Things to do in Helsinki
For a very inexpensive guided tour, try the Hop-on, Hop-off Sightseeing Tour. Ride around in an open-top double-decker bus that stops at certain locations throughout the city in which you are allowed to get out and explore. Then get back on the bus and ride to the next destination! There are generally 15 or so stops on this tour, so be prepared with comfortable clothing and walking shoes.
If shopping and dining is how you'd like to spend a day in Helsinki, walk right out of your hotel doors and onto the street. Downtown Helsinki is full of night life, ethnic restaurants, major shopping, theaters, music halls, and sightseeing.
Forage for cloudberries, lingonberries, pickled herring, and smoked salmon sandwiches among the stalls at Helsinki's harborside outdoor food market, open early morning to early evening.
The tiny, tucked-away bar at the top of the Sokos Hotel Torni affords the best views of the city. Ride up to the 13th floor, then take the little staircase from there to the rooftop.
A showcase for the playful, feminine dresses from local designer Ulla-Maija Ourila. Done in fabrics ranging from gold silk to ribbed cream cotton, her creations are elegantly simple.
No trip to Finland is complete without a visit to a public sauna. Sweat it out in this hidden gem near the city center, which has a blue-tiled Art Deco indoor pool (there are separate bathing times for men and women).
Gravestones dot parks all over the city, and Finns find nothing morbid about strolling through its cemeteries, most of which were designed to double as picturesque spots for afternoon walks.
Learn why and how Finland became a design mecca through the more than 35,000 objects on display, including orange-handled Fiskars scissors, early Ilmari Tapiovaara chairs, and Heikki Orvola's stark-white ceramic tableware.
A minimalist white box, it contains many of Aalto's iconic, sculptural pieces.
Dance the night away on the black-marble floor at this upscale club in the penthouse of the famous Kamppi Center. The enormous space, complete with five bars, spacious outdoor balcony lounges, and a VIP room, is the playground of well-to-do young Helsinkiers.
The store's name is Finnish for "old and beautiful," sells vintage tumblers by Aino Aalto (artist Alvar Aalto's first wife).
The boho neighborhood of Kallio is packed with artsy bars, many of which operate as cafés by day. This one stands out for its vintage-modern chocolate-brown and orange furnishings, coordinating wallpaper, and floor-to-ceiling front windows; come for a quiet drink at night.