The city center, characterized by its large multistory malls, is densely packed and easily explored on foot, the main tourist sites grouped in several clusters; nearby islands are easily accessible by ferry. Just west of Katajanokka, Senaatintori and its Tuomiokirkko (Luthern Cathedral) mark the beginning of the city center, which extends westward along Aleksanterinkatu. The wide street Mannerheimintie is comparable to New York's Broadway, moving diagonally past the major attractions of the city center before terminating beside the Esplanade. Southern Helsinki is a tangle of smaller streets, some of them curving and some of which run for just a few blocks before changing their names; carry a good map while exploring this area.

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  • 1. Designmuseo

    Keskusta | Museum/Gallery

    The best of Finnish design can be seen here in displays of furnishings, jewelry, ceramics, and more. ...Read More

  • 2. Suomen Kansallisooppera

    Keskusta | Arts/Performance Venue

    Grand gilded operas, classical ballets, and booming concerts all take place in Helsinki's splendid opera house, a striking example of modern...Read More

  • 3. Suomenlinna


    A former island fortress, Suomenlinna is a perennially popular collection of museums, parks, and gardens, and has been designated a UNESCO World...Read More

  • 4. Suomenlinna Museo

    Suomenlinna | Museum/Gallery

    The Suomenlinna Museo is housed in the same building as the visitor center. exhibits cover the building of the fortress and the fleet and early...Read More

  • 5. Tuomiokirkko

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The steep steps and green domes of the church dominate Senaatintori. Completed in 1852, it is the work of famous architect Carl Ludvig Engel...Read More

  • 6. Ateneumin Taidemuseo


    The best traditional Finnish art is housed in this splendid neoclassical complex, one of three museums organized under the Finnish National...Read More

  • 7. Cygnaeuksen Galleria

    Kaivopuisto | Museum/Gallery

    This diminutive gallery, in a cottage with a tower overlooking the harbor, is the perfect setting for works by various Finnish painters, sculptors...Read More

  • 8. Eduskuntatalo

    Keskusta | Government Building

    The imposing, colonnaded, Eduskuntatalo stands near Mannerheim's statue on Mannerheimintie. The legislature has one of the world's highest proportion...Read More

  • 9. Ehrensvärd Museo

    Suomenlinna | Museum/Gallery

    This museum is named for Augustin Ehrensvärd, the military architect who directed the fortification of the islands of Suomenlinna from 1748...Read More

  • 10. Finlandiatalo

    Keskusta | Arts/Performance Venue

    This white, winged concert hall was one of Alvar Aalto's last creations. It's especially impressive on foggy days or at night. If you can't...Read More

  • 11. Gulf of Finland Archipelago

    Merisatama | Neighborhood/Street

    In winter Finns walk across the frozen sea with dogs and even baby buggies to the nearby islands. On the land side, the facades of the Eira...Read More

  • 12. Havis Amanda

    Keskusta/Kauppatori | Fountain

    This fountain's brass centerpiece, a young woman perched on rocks surrounded by dolphins, was commissioned by the city fathers to embody Helsinki...Read More

  • 13. Helsingin Taidehalli

    Keskusta | Museum/Gallery

    Here you'll see the best of contemporary Finnish art, including painting, sculpture, architecture, and industrial art and design. ...Read More

  • 14. Hietalahden Tori

    Hietalahti | Market/Bazaar

    The brick market hall is crammed with vendors selling fish, flowers, produce, and meat. You can also find antiques, collectibles, and art. A...Read More

  • 15. Jugendsali

    Kauppatori | Information Center

    In a former bank building from 1906, the Helsinki City Tourist & Convention Bureau's Tourist Information has free information about the...Read More

  • 16. Kaivopuisto

    Kaivopuisto | Park/Playground

    This large, shady, path-filled park was once the site of a popular spa that drew people from St. Petersburg, Tallinn, and all of Scandinavia...Read More

  • 17. Kauppatori


    At this Helsinki institution, open year-round, wooden stands with orange and gold awnings bustle in the mornings when everyone—tourists and...Read More

  • 18. Kaupungintalo

    Keskusta/Kauppatori | Government Building

    The light-blue building on Pohjoisesplanadi (North Esplanade), the political center of Finland, is the home of city government offices. ...Read More

  • 19. Korkeasaari Eläintarha

    Korkeasaari | Zoo/Aquarium

    Snow leopards and reindeer like the cold climate here, at one of the world's most northern zoos. Entirely within the limits of this small island...Read More

  • 20. Linnanmäki

    Linnanmäki | Amusement Park/Water Park

    Helsinki's amusement park, to the north of the city, can be reached by Trams 3B and 3T from in front of the railway station. ...Read More

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