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. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. Mannerheim Museo

    Kaivopuisto | Museum/Gallery

    Marshal Carl Gustaf Mannerheim (1867–1951) was a complex character who got a lot done: he served as a high-level official in the Russian Czar...Read More

  • 6. Mikael Agricolan Kirkko

    Eira | Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    Built in 1935 by Lars Sonck, this church is named for the Finnish religious reformer considered to be the father of written Finnish. Mikael...Read More

  • 7. Suomen Rakennustaiteen Museo

    Keskusta | Museum/Gallery

    Stop in to buy an architectural map of Helsinki that includes locations of several buildings by Alvar Aalto, the most famous being Finlandiatalo...Read More

  • 8. Tähtitorninvuori

    Kaivopuisto | Park (National/State/Provincial)

    Named for the astronomical observatory within its borders, this park has sculptures, winding walkways, and a great view of the South Harbor...Read More

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