Helsinki Card

The Hubris of Helsinki

7.5.2018 Text: Violetta Teetor, journalist and blogger Photos: Header: Jussi Hellsten / Helsinki Marketing
Swimmers (c) Jussi Hellsten / Helsinki Marketing

Discounting the unpredictable weather, we’ve pretty much got it made and here are 6 reasons why.

#mostliveablecity, #congresscity, #cityofdesign, #saunaculture, #finedininghelsinki… Alright, enough is enough, but let’s face it, Helsinki is just one of those cities to brag about.

Embrace the weather

If you can’t beat it, make the most of it and dip yourself into the icy waters of the Baltic before diving into the warmth of a Finnish sauna to ease muscles, lift stress and soothe the spirit. Where else but at Allas where your options extend to heated outdoor bathing or whatever temperature the natural pool holds followed by that promise of pure relaxation.

Photo: Julia Kivelä / Visit Finland

For a feast for sore eyes, Löyly protrudes from the earth like an expansive organism made of wood, that Finnish of Finnish materials, with all its green qualities. The structure is a landmark, the saunas are plentiful and the food is good. It’s the combination of eye-candy and luxury at a reasonable rate that puts this place firmly on your must-sees in Helsinki.

Photo: Harri Tarvainen / Visit Finland

Citizens’ Common Room

No wonder Helsinki’s up there in the top ten of most liveable cities. Under construction for now but soon to be opened, in December 2018 according to all reports, is Oodi, a central library like no other. Design and functionality is foremost with the outdoor plaza blending into the busy ground floor with a multipurpose hall, restaurant and movie theatre. The top floor promises to be more serene and quiet with unobstructed views of the hustle and bustle of the city. The building will house music rooms, workspaces, meeting rooms and just a place to put your feet up. Besides all this, it too will be a masterful work of architecture to be enjoyed from outside and inside.

Photo: Helsinki Central Library

Art for everyone

Another organic form to sprout from the ground is the new Amos Rex Art Museum. This one’s mostly going to be below ground under the Lasipalatsi square and is slated to open in August 2018. It’s going to be such a cool place to hang out, gazing at art, taking in a performance or checking out whatever new form of artistic expression exhibits itself.

Photo: Amos Rex

In the meanwhile however, some of the most exciting exhibits circling the globe stop in at Helsinki too and can be viewed at HAM. Helsinki Art Museum has a mission of making Helsinki more fun through art. Ateneum is host to some of the most valuable traditional Finnish art while constantly changing their current exhibitions by national and international artists. Kiasma is another architectural masterpiece ranging over many floors, housing some truly exciting contemporary artists from abroad and Finland of course. Kunsthalle Helsinki is on a quiet street of elegant Töölö and is also at the forefront of what’s happening in the world of art, luring unique exhibitors to stop over for a while.

Photo: Leena Karppinen / Helsinki Marketing

Michelin stars

They’re shining so brightly you can’t miss them. We’re talking restaurants of course and for a small city with less than 650 000 inhabitants, boasting no less than 5 one-star Michelin restaurants is no mean feat. A new one on the list is Grön, who have not raised their prices since the accolade was bestowed on them. Their menu consists of whatever’s seasonal, organic, wild and Scandinavian. The other four have all retained their stars and rightfully so: Ask has game, fish fresh from the lakes and rivers and foraged produce, Olo takes you on a global ride with dishes that are almost too beautiful to eat. Sasu Laukkonen used to be owner and head chef at Chef et Sommelier, nowadays Ora where he applies the same high standards of innovative cuisine he is well known for. And then there’s Demo which has proven its mettle year after year.

Photo: Ari-Pekka Darth / Visit Finland

From classics to rock 

A concert hall with arguably the best acoustics in the world at the Helsinki Music Centre. Take a look at the massive sculptures outside and inside, these are something to behold and while you’re there you can listen to an extensive range of music styles from jazz to avant-garde all the way to the highest brows of orchestral classics conducted by world famous Finnish and international conductors. Students from the Sibelius Academy regularly perform in the various venues and these concerts are free of charge.

For another highly acclaimed acoustic quality sound spot, there’s G Livelab. In their own words, ‘The future of live music in Helsinki’. It’s got a clubby feel with a full bar and a line-up of brilliant musicians, some classical, others indie, jazz and whatever else is intriguing.

Photo: G Livelab

Movies and more

It’s not just about the silver screen anymore, it’s a complete night out with drinks and food and comfy chairs. Riviera is small and you probably have to book in advance since the red velvet lounge chairs are so large they take up most of the space. It’s like being in a time warp of luxury and the tickets cost no more than in regular cinemas. Order your drinks at the bar and watch their good choice of films. Maxim has stepped up its game with a new renovation where wingback chairs and beverages and nibbles are available.

Photo: Finnkino

Now you get it? And we haven’t even started talking about a €400 subsidy for an electric bike for every citizen, Witrafi Rentapark’s app for finding parking, and design of course….

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