Helsinki is full of locations where cold weather isn't a problem – quite the opposite, in fact. Museums are a classic example, but the same is true of water parks, saunas, skating rinks and, of course, the Christmas Market. Below, you’ll find these and a few other locations where you can have fun even on cold and rainy days. Some places are open only in the winter; others are also available to visit when the weather is warmer.

    The introductions below contain short descriptions and suggestions on how to get there from central Helsinki. Get to know these locations now and find out why Helsinki is the best winter city in Finland!


    Helsinki City Museum (Helsingin kaupunginmuseo)

    Discover the capital’s past and present for free

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    The free Helsinki City Museum (Helsingin kaupunginmuseo) is dedicated, as its name denotes, to the history of Helsinki. The exhibits present the city’s past and present from many viewpoints. There are lots of exhibits about the city’s history -- with stories included, of course. The photo exhibits, on the other hand, show what the city looked like in the past. There are also interactive shows for kids where they can touch things, run around and make some noise. The museum buildings are also interesting: they include, among others, the oldest stone building in Helsinki, Sederholm House, which was completed in 1757.

    As entry to the museum is free, it’s also very popular: for instance, in 2018 it was the most popular museum in the country. Helsinki City Museum is on the edge of Senaatintori, at Aleksanterinkatu 16. You can get from the centre to the museum on foot, but if the weather is lousy, you can also get there on Trams 2, 4, 5 and 7.

    Locatie: Aleksanterinkatu 16, 00170 Helsinki, Finland

    Openingstijden: Monday–Friday from 11 am to 7 pm, Saturday–Sunday 11 am to 5 pm

    Telefoonnummer: +358 (0) 9 310 36630



    Popular modern art museum in the centre of the city

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    Kiasma Modern Art Museum is one of the top locations in Helsinki -- people return there again and again. There’s all sorts of things to see: video shows, interactive options, and exhibits where the only limits are in the creator’s imagination. The exhibits change often, which is good, as it means you never know what you’re going to see next. Many people also come to admire the modern building, enjoy the peace and quiet, or get a snack in the coffee shop.

    As long as you arrive with an open mind, Kiasma won’t disappoint. If you’re in the centre of Helsinki, you can’t miss it: the museum’s long, modern glass building is at the edge of Mannerheimintie, only a block away from Helsinki Central Station. Right next to it, you’ll find more landmarks, like the Musiikkitalo building, the Oodi central library, and the Finnish Parliament.

    Locatie: Mannerheiminaukio 2, 00100 Helsinki, Finland

    Openingstijden: Tuesday–Friday from 10 am to 8.30 pm, Saturday 10 am to 6 pm, Sunday 10 am to 5 pm

    Telefoonnummer: +35 (0) 294 500 501


    foto door Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma (CC BY 2.0) bewerkt


    Amos Rex

    Admire architecture and shows at a prime location in the centre

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    Amos Rex, named after its benefactor Amos Anderson, is one of Helsinki’s most popular art museums. It offers an alternating selection of shows, usually by one artist, a collective or on a theme, with many of them major cultural events. The opening show in 2018 was seen by 268,000 people, for example. The architecture is also worth checking out. Particularly interesting are the show halls, with their copper roof vaults.

    If you go to Amos Rex right after the opening day of a new show, try to avoid Saturday or Sunday evenings. It’ll be much busier then. The museum, however, isn't hard to find: it’s near Mannerheimintie, only a block from Kamppi Shopping Centre and Helsinki Central Station.

    Locatie: Mannerheimintie 22-24, 00100 Helsinki, Finland

    Openingstijden: Opening hours vary.

    Telefoonnummer: +358 (0) 9 6844 460


    foto door Sino Yu (CC BY-SA 4.0) bewerkt



    Finland’s most important art museum, right next to Helsinki Central Station

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    Ateneum is Finland’s best-known art museum, where you can see all the Finnish classics as well as important works from other countries. The museum building, constructed in neo-Renaissance style, is a sight to behold: just its façade contains lots of wonderful details, like reliefs showing artists and a decorated gable. The museum itself contains almost all classical Finnish paintings and works by artists such Edvard Munch, Le Corbusier and Vincent van Gogh. There are also regular temporary exhibits of collections from other countries.

    Compared to other art museums in Helsinki, there’s a lot to see, and the hours just fly by. In summary: if you like art, Ateneum is a sure-fire choice. You can find the Museum on Kaivokatu Street, right across from Helsinki Central Station.

    Locatie: Kaivokatu 2, 00100 Helsinki, Finland

    Openingstijden: Tuesday and Friday from 10 am to 6 pm, Wednesday–Thursday 10 am to 8 pm, Saturday–Sunday 10 am to 5 pm

    Telefoonnummer: +358 (0) 294 500 401



    Stylish sauna bathing at Hakaniemenranta

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    Kulttuurisauna, opened in 2013, is a public sauna in a great location on the Hakaniemenranta shore. Its name, idea and style were influenced by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto, who suggested building a civilized “cultural sauna” for the city of Jyväskylä in 1925. The sauna building has two sauna rooms, a sofa room and a coffee shop and, at the front, if you cross the small grassy area, you can take a dip in the sea. If the sea is frozen, you can dip into a hole in the ice.

    You can use the sauna at any time of day but, as it’s first come, first served, you might have a bit of a wait. The location, the furnishings, the sea and the warm heat mean that you’re sure to enjoy your visit. Saunas are open throughout the year, but opening hours vary -- you should check them online before arriving. The sauna is located in Merihaka, in the southeast facing the ocean. If you’re using public transport, take a tram or a subway to the Hakaniemi Market, and then walk there.

    Locatie: Hakaniemenranta 17, 00530 Helsinki, Finland

    Openingstijden: Opening hours vary.


    foto door Fileri (CC BY-SA 3.0) bewerkt


    Serena Water Park (Vesipuisto Serena)

    Popular indoor water park in Espoo

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    Serena Water Park (Vesipuisto Serena), in Lahnus, Espoo, is a great option for dark winter days. There are many different water slides, a wave pool, saunas, pools for swimming and bubbles. Depending on the snowfall, you can visit the same company’s skiing centre, which is also right next door.

    Compared to almost all the spas in the city, Serena has more of everything -- kids in particular will be kept busy for most of the day. Kids over 10 who can swim can visit Serena unaccompanied, but younger children must be accompanied by an adult. From the centre of Helsinki, the easiest route to Serena is by car, and if you’re using public transport, the easiest way is via Leppävaara or central Espoo, both of which have a direct bus.

    Locatie: Tornimäentie 10, 02970 Espoo, Suomi

    Openingstijden: Opening hours vary.

    Telefoonnummer: +358 (0) 20 5010 300


    foto door Events 365 (CC BY-SA 3.0) bewerkt


    Helsinki Christmas Market (Tuomaan markkinat)

    Enjoy lights and a Christmassy vibe at Senate Square

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    Helsinki Christmas Market (Tuomaan markkinat), is held every December in Senate Square and is the oldest and the most enchanting Christmas market in Helsinki. Just like in central Europe, there’s a wonderful Christmas tree, beautiful Christmas lights, shops selling gifts, all sorts of treats, and an endless amount of Christmas spirit. There’s also a free carousel for kids.

    The stalls sell gifts which are mainly produced by local small artisans, with a focus on high-quality locally sourced and sustainable products. The food is local, and there’s a great selection of veggie alternatives. As the Christmas weather is hard to predict, most spaces are covered. From elsewhere in Helsinki, you can get to the Senate Square market on Trams 2, 4, 5 and 7. Come visit it – you’ll fall in love!

    Locatie: Kruununhaka, 00170 Helsinki, Finland

    Openingstijden: Generally from 5 to 22 December, Monday–Thursday 11 am to 7 pm and Friday–Sunday 10 am to 8 pm



    Picturesque skating next to Helsinki Central Station

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    The Jääpuisto skating rink at Helsinki Railway Square, next to Helsinki Central Station, offers a chance to go skating right at the centre of Helsinki. As long as you wrap up warm, anyone can come and skate -- the skates can be rented at the rink and there are 30–60 minute lessons for the inexperienced, too.

    Skating is a great alternative to shopping or visiting museums and is also a great way to see the sights in Helsinki Railway Square. The rink is open always when the weather allows it, but a good rule of thumb is: if there’s snow on the ground, the rink is almost sure to be open. The rink is next to the Mikonkatu side of Helsinki Railway Square, only a stone’s throw from Helsinki Central Station.

    Locatie: Kluuvi, 00100 Helsinki, Finland

    Openingstijden: Open every day in the winter. Find more specific opening hours online.


    foto door Markus Trienke (CC BY-SA 2.0) bewerkt


    Design Museum

    Get to know the history of the Finnish design at Korkeavuorenkatu Street

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    The Design Museum, in a magnificent space, is a must-see for all fans of Finnish design. Its history extends all the way back to 1873, when there was an effort to collect examples of Finnish design to form an educational collection for the art industry. Over the years, there’s been quite a lot of it: over 75,000 objects, 40,000 drawings and 100,000 images -- the entire story of Finnish design. Due limited space, the design museum only exhibits a small part of the collection.

    The exhibits vary, but usually include the main classics and a huge selection of forgotten wonders. The museum brings back many memories for most Finnish adults. Maybe there’s a pair of shoes you owned a long time ago, or something odd that was only on the market briefly decades ago. You’ll find the museum at Korkeavuorenkatu, starting from the southern part of Esplanadi. The closest you can get via public transport is Tram 10, which stops in front of Koulupuistikko park.

    Locatie: Korkeavuorenkatu 23, 00130 Helsinki, Finland

    Openingstijden: Winter season: Tuesday from 11 am to 6 pm, Wednesday–Sunday 11 am to 6 pm; other opening hours can be found online.

    Telefoonnummer: +358 (0) 9 6220 5422


    foto door Vadelmavene (CC BY-SA 4.0) bewerkt


    Helsinki City Winter Garden (Helsingin talvipuutarha)

    A warm, free oasis of vegetation, next to the Olympic Stadium

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    Helsinki City Winter Garden (Helsingin talvipuutarha), opened in 1893, is a large greenhouse: a chance to enjoy tropical warmth in the midst of winter darkness. This historic building has three sections: the palm room, the cactus room and the west wing. There are plants for everyone: palm trees, Norfolk pines, cacti and various wonderful flowers, like orchids, azaleas, tulips, amaryllises, hyacinths and lilies of the valley. The oldest plant is a 130-year old Camellia tree. There’s also a pond with carp. If you find it hard to leave the warmth, there are also benches and chairs where you can sit and enjoy the atmosphere.

    Behind the botanical garden is Helsinki City Garden, closed to the public, where plants and flowers are grown for Helsinki’s parks and gardens. The winter garden is north of Töölönlahti Bay, on Hammarskjöldinkatu Street, off Helsinginkatu Street. You can get there from Kamppi or Helsinki Central Station on foot, city bicycles, or Trams 1 and 8.

    Locatie: Hammarskjöldintie 1, 00250 Helsinki, Finland

    Openingstijden: Tuesday from 9 am to 3 pm, Wednesday–Friday noon to 3 pm, Saturday–Sunday noon to 4 pm

    Telefoonnummer: +358 (0) 9 310 3998


    foto door Paasikivi (CC BY-SA 4.0) bewerkt

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