Helsinki

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.

Jackie O. sported the company's togs in the 1960's, and their graphic, oversize patterns—which adorn everything from sundresses to slick plywood trays—have since become classics.

This funky, closet-size shop in the heart of the Design District carries kid-friendly Russian babushka dolls and vintage Steiff bears.

Five minutes from downtown on the 6 tram, this spacious shop in the Hietalahdentori neighborhood is chock-full of used Midcentury Modern sofas, chairs, and housewares by Finnish design stars.

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.