We’ve compiled the best of the best in Helsinki - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Amos Rex


    Opened in 2018 beneath the newly renovated 1930s Lasipalatsi (Glass Palace), this impressive contemporary art museum with 24,000 square feet of subterranean exhibition space is the expanded new home of the Amos Anderson Art Museum, the 590-seat handsome Bio Rex cinema (restored to its 1930s glory), a café, and a restaurant. The roof of the sizeable exhibition hall is a series of giant domes with angled roof lights that frame surrounding views and light the galleries. From outside, the roof's gently rolling forms are part of a popular public square that beckons to children and skateboarders and serves as a very modern counterpoint to the 1930s functionalist surroundings. Originally dedicated to Finnish and Swedish art of the 19th and 20th centuries, the museum is now also focused on international contemporary art.

    Mannerheimintie 22–24, Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00100, Finland

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €20, Closed Tues.
  • 2. Helsinki Art Museum


    Showing impressive changing shows, including in recent years the likes of Gilbert & George and Yoko Ono, the Tennispalatsi (aka Tennis Palace, a name that hints at its former function) adjacent to the Kamppi Center mall is a must for visitors with an appetite for cutting edge modern art. The first-floor halls are dedicated to the museum’s collection of Finnish modern art and works of the beloved Finnish artist Tove Jansson, creator of the much-loved but peculiar Finnish Moomin characters. The building also houses one of Helsinki's main movie theater complexes.

    Eteläinen Rautatiekatu 8, Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00100, Finland

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €12, Closed Mon.
  • 3. Kaivopuisto Park


    This large, shady, path-filled park close to the Baltic shoreline was once the site of a popular spa that drew people from St. Petersburg, Tallinn, and all of Scandinavia until its popularity faded during the Crimean War. All the spa structures were eventually destroyed (the main spa building was destroyed during World War II) except one, the Kaivohuone, now a popular bar-restaurant. From the Ursa Observatory at the top of the hill (a favorite local spot for winter sledding), sea views extend across the harbor entrance and islands including the Suomenlinna sea fortress. Across from the entrance to the Kaivohuone, take Kaivohuoneenrinne through the park past a grand Empire-style villa built by Albert Edelfelt, father of the famous Finnish painter who bore the same name. Built in 1839, it is the oldest preserved villa in the park. Many embassies—including those of the United States, the United Kingdom, and France—and diplomats' residences are located on the eastern side of the park, one of Helsinki's most beautiful residential areas.

    Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00140, Finland
  • 4. Lutheran Cathedral


    The steep steps and green domes of the cathedral dominate the Senate Square, and its silhouette is a classic emblem of the city. Completed in 1852, the cathedral is the work of German architect Carl Ludvig Engel, who was commissioned to design a focus for the newly appointed capital during Russian rule and who also designed parts of Tallinn and St. Petersburg. Wander through the restrained but tasteful blue-gray interior, with its white moldings and the statues of German reformers Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon, as well as the Finnish bishop Mikael Agricola. Concerts are frequently held inside the church, and the expansive square in front of it is a venue for national celebrations and gatherings. The crypt at the rear is the site of historic and architectural exhibitions and bazaars.

    Unioninkatu 29, Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00014, Finland

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 5. Oodi Central Library


    Opened at the beginning of 2019 and conceived as a gift to its citizens marking the centenary of Finland's independence in 1917, sleek, ultramodern Oodi, made of steel, glass, and wood, is much more than a conventional book-lending library, although it serves that function too. A huge, convivial living room for the people, Oodi houses two cafés, a kids' area, 3-D printers, sewing machines, computer workstations, a music studio, and a movie theater, as well as a fair collection of books and magazines. The view from the balcony on the top floor (closed in the slippery winter months) extends across a broad plaza—the "People's Square"—bordered by the Music Center and the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, with Finlandia Hall also nearby. It is a manifestation of Nordic service planning at its finest, most imaginative and most elegant.

    Töölönlahdenkatu 4, Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00100, Finland

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
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  • 6. Seurasaari Open-Air Museum


    The Seurasaari Open-Air Museum was founded in 1909 to preserve rural Finnish architecture. The old farmhouses and barns that were brought to this island, which is about 3 km (2 miles) northwest of the city center, came from all over the country. Many are rough-hewn log buildings dating from the 17th century, a style that was a major inspiration to the late-19th-century architects of the national revivalist movement. All exhibits are marked by signposts along the trails; don't miss the church boat and the gabled church—and watch out for the very sociable red squirrels! Seurasaari is connected to land by a pedestrian bridge and is a restful place for walking throughout the year, with its forest trails and ocean views. You can walk there in about 40 minutes from the Opera House; follow Mannerheimintie northeast, then turn left onto Linnankoskenkatu and follow signs along the coast. Alternatively, take Bus 24 from the city center, in front of the Swedish Theater at the west end of Pohjoisesplanadi; its last stop is by the bridge to the island. It's free to enter and wander around the traffic-free island at any time of the year, but there is a €10 fee if you want to go into the museum buildings, open from May 15 to September 15, and the ticket includes daily guided tours at 3 pm in summer. There is a naturist beach on the north side of the island, well shielded from public view. Plan on spending at least three hours exploring and getting to the museum.

    Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00250, Finland

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €10, Mid-May–late May and early Sept.–mid-Sept., weekdays 9–3, weekends 11–5; June–Aug., daily 11–5, Closed mid-Sept.–mid-May
  • 7. 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 Scandinavian architecture. All events at the opera house draw crowds, so buy your tickets early.

    Helsinginkatu 58, Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00251, Finland
    09-4030–2210-house tours

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Box office Tues.–Fri. 10–5; house tours, in English, in summer Tues. and Thurs. at 3, or by appointment
  • 8. Suomenlinna


    It feels like another world, but the sea views and rugged shorelines of this sea fortress, Helsinki's top historical destination, are a 15-minute harbor ferry hop from the Market Square in the center of town. It's a perennially popular collection of fortifications, museums, parks, and gardens and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1748, Finland's Swedish rulers started to build the impregnable fortress, long referred to as the Gibraltar of the North, across a series of interlinked islands. Although Suomenlinna has never been taken by assault, it came under Russian governance with the rest of Finland in 1808 and came under fire from British and French ships in 1855 during the Crimean War. Today Suomenlinna makes a lovely excursion from Helsinki at any time of the year but particularly in early summer when the island is carpeted by wildflowers and engulfed in a mauve-and-purple mist of lilacs, introduced from Versailles by the marshal and founder of the fortress Augustin Ehrensvärd. Visiting the islands is free but the various museums, including a wonderful Toy Museum, a Military Museum, a Customs Museum, a historical Suomenlinna Museum, and the Ehrensvärd Museum, do charge admission. There are several cafés and restaurants on the islands, including the Cafe Silo in a former Russian merchant's house and a quayside brewery restaurant. Note that the only place to stay on the islands is the hostel near the city ferry jetty.

    Suomenlinna C40, Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00190, Finland
    0295-338–410-tourist info

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Fortress free, museum €7, other fees vary
  • 9. 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 life on islands; the ticket price includes the Suomenlinna Experience multimedia show.

    Suomenlinna museum, Suomenlinna C 74, Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00190, Finland

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €6.50, May-Sept., daily 10–6; Oct.–Apr., daily 10:30–4:30
  • 10. Ateneum Art Museum


    The Art Museum of the Ateneum is one of three sheltering under the Finnish National Gallery umbrella. The gallery holds major European works, but the outstanding attraction is the Finnish art, particularly the dramatic and moody works of Akseli Gallen-Kallela, inspired by the national epic, The Kalevala. The rustic portraits by Albert Edelfelt are enchanting, and many contemporary Finnish artists are well-represented. The two other museums that make up the National Gallery are Kiasma and Sinebrychoff.

    Kaivokatu 2, Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00100, Finland

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €18, Closed Mon.
  • 11. Central Railway Station


    The train station, the terminus for routes all across the country and to St. Petersburg and Moscow in Russia, and its adjoining Railway Station Square are the city's bustling commuter hub. The station's huge quirky granite figures are by Emil Wikström; the solid granite building they adorn was designed by Eliel Saarinen, one of the founders of the early-20th-century National Romantic style.

    Kaivokatu 1, Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00101, Finland

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Information, daily 7 am–10 pm
  • 12. Design Museum Helsinki


    Finnish design tradition is showcased in the Design Museum in the heart of Helsinki's Design District. The best of Finnish design can be seen here in displays of furnishings, jewelry, ceramics, and more. Changing exhibitions supplement the absorbing history of one of Finland's proudest traditions presented in the permanent displays and archives. The museum also houses a cozy café and shop with a good selection of design-related books and souvenirs.

    Korkeavuorenkatu 23, Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00130, Finland

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €12, Closed Mon. Sept.--May
  • 13. 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 make it to a concert here, try to take a guided tour.

    Mannerheimintie 13e, Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00100, Finland

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €11.50 for guided tours on Wed. 2pm, Symphony concerts usually held Wed. and Thurs. nights
  • 14. Gulf of Finland Archipelago


    In winter, Finns walk, ski, skate, and even cycle with dogs and even strollers across the frozen sea here to the nearby islands. Visitors should take local advice about where it is safe to do this, though. On the land side, the facades of the Eira and Kaivopuisto districts' grandest buildings form a parade of architectural splendor. One tradition that remains, even in this upscale neighborhood, is rug washing in the sea—an incredibly arduous task. You may be surprised to see people leave their rugs to dry in the sea air without fear of theft.

    Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
  • 15. Havis Amanda


    This fountain's brass centerpiece, a young woman perched on rocks surrounded by dolphins, was commissioned by the city fathers to embody Helsinki. Sculptor Ville Vallgren completed her in 1908 using a Parisian girl as his model. It's a well-known landmark and meeting place for locals, marking the eastern end of the Esplanade and the edge of the South Harbour. Partying university students annually crown the Havis Amanda with their white caps on the eve of Vappu, the May 1 holiday.

    Eteläesplanadi and Eteläranta, Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00130, Finland
  • 16. Helsinki City Museum


    The Helsinki City Museum is housed appropriately in five of Helsinki's oldest buildings opposite the Lutheran Cathedral on the southeast corner of the Senate Square. The main building holds exhibitions on the history and culture of the capital. The museum is also a "parent" for various smaller museums across the city, namely the Villa Hakasalmi, the Tram Museum, the Burgher's House Museum, and the Workers' Housing Museum. The main museum includes an especially imaginative "Time Machine" exhibition based on a vast collection of historic photographs, inviting visitors to walk back through the city's history.

    Aleksanterinkatu 16, Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00170, Finland

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 17. Hietalahti Market Hall and Flea Market


    The 115-year-old redbrick market hall, close to the shipyard, houses a variety of small restaurants serving everythng from sushi and soups to meze and ramen. It's an excellent venue for lunch or to shop for local breads, cheeses, and smoked meats and fish. An outdoor flea market offers the rejects of countless Helsinki attics and cellars in the adjacent market square through the summer, a colorful and lively mecca for vintage bargain hunters.

    Bulevardi and Hietalahdenkatu, Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00180, Finland

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Regular market weekdays 6:30–6, Sat. 6:30–4; flea market weekdays 8–7, Sat. 8–4; Sun. 10-4; market hall weekdays 10–5, weekends 10–3., Market Hall closed Sun.
  • 18. Korkeasaari Zoo


    The resident Amur tigers, snow leopards, and reindeer like the cold climate here, one of the world's northernmost zoos, but there are all sorts of other animals to view, including pygmy marmosets and bison. Korkeasaari has a good reputation for breeding and conserving endangered species and is home to a wildlife hospital. Entirely within the limits of this small island, the winding paths make the zoo seem larger than it actually is. Between May and September, ferries depart from the Market Square and from a quay in the Hakaniemi district. Tickets, which can be bought on the ferry, cost €7 round trip and are free for children under 18. Zoo tickets are sold at the zoo entrance. The trip takes 15 minutes; arrival and departure times are posted at the harbor. Alternatively, you can take the metro to the Kulosaari stop, cross under the tracks, and follow the signs for a 20-minute walk to the zoo. Bus 16 runs to the zoo from the Central Railway Station.

    Mustikkamaanpolku 12, Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00570, Finland

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Day ticket €20, evening ticket €16
  • 19. Linnanmäki


    Helsinki's amusement park, to the north of the city, is a great option for families and one of the most popular attractions in terms of visitor numbers in the whole country. It includes the Sea Life aquarium and stages its annual Carnival of Light to brighten up the onset of fall in October.

    Tivolikuja 1, Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00510, Finland

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Entry free, wristbands and tickets for attractions vary, May–Oct., hours vary, call ahead or visit Web site
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  • 20. Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma


    Eclectic contemporary art is on show behind the shiny, reflective exterior of Kiasma, one of a cluster of modern buildings opposite the sterner edifice of the Parliament House. Praised for the boldness of its curved steel shell conceived by American architect Steven Holl, but initially scorned for its encroachment on the territory of the iconic Mannerheim statue, this striking museum displays a wealth of Finnish and foreign art from the 1960s to the present and stages often provocative changing exhibitions. Extensive external renovations were due to be completed by the end of 2022. Look for the "butterfly" windows, and don't miss the view toward the Parliament House, the Finlandia Hall, and the Oodi Central Library from the north side of the fifth-floor gallery.

    Mannerheiminaukio 2, Helsinki, Uusimaa, 00100, Finland

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €16, Closed Mon.

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