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#1 Harmony

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Posted 11 December 2003 - 04:43 PM



Heading to chilly Helsinki in mid January. Been once before - about two years ago - but only found Soda Bar. Does anyone have any idea where to go for the usual - shopping, food, drink, dance, sights?
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#2 Guest__*

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Posted 12 December 2003 - 09:21 PM



Well, everything interesting here in Helsinki is within walking distance from the centrum, so walk around and you'll find at least something. This is especially true with sights: If you ask me, the most interesting part of Helsinki is the architecture. Most of the so called old parts of the city (Eira, Töölö, Kruunuhaka, Punavuori, Ullanlinna) have been built in the begining of the 20th century, and as there isn't any specific sights in these areas, walking is the only clever way to see them. One fine way to spend your sunday hangover is to walk Kaivopuisto's coastline to Cafe Ursula to enjoy one decent cup of black coffee and nice view to the sea.

Some boring people, and just about every travel guide might suggest that you go to see the traditional sights: Temppeliaukio's church, Sibelius monument, Tuomiokirkko etc. They're worth seeing only if you happen to be near them.

I'm not so familiar with ug-arts scene here in Helsinki, but for mainstream http://www.kiasma.fi...g=en]Kiasma</a> is worth seeing. Amos Andersson, Taidehalli, Tennispalatsi and Ateneum might have some interesting going on.

Now that you've spent your time wisely, it's time to spend some money & get drunk. If Stockholm is one year behind NyLon in terms of fashion timeline, Helsinki is two years. That's something to think when you're trying to look for the coolest clothes here.

The only decent department store in Helsinki is Stockmann's. Period. Sokos and Elanto Hakaniemi ain't even worth checking. Aleksanterinkatu and Etelä / Pohjois Esplanadi are the main streets, so you'll bound to find something interesting there, clotheswise. In Kämp Gallery you'll find couple of nice overpriced shops. Other streets worth walking thru are Fredrikinkatu, Iso-Roobertinkatu, Uudenmaankatu (Soda was on this street). Beamhill is especially worth checking, and it's located in Mikonkatu (more street-oriented) and Yliopistonkatu. Other names to keep in mind: Stone15, IvanaHelsinki, Limbo (Clothes), Skanno, funktio, Alessi (furniture etc.).

If you're into vinyl, then Viisikulma (pentagon) is a place worth checking. Lifesaver , Digelius and Popparienkeli are all located there. Lifesaver has nice staff, and there's lotsa of flyers so you'll end up knowing what is happening in town. Funkiest is THE place in Helsinki, if you're into rap. And Stupido Shop in Iso-Roobertinkatu is rather good place also.

Booze? Uudenmaankatu was for some magic reason the place to be in the end of 90s, but now there's just some shitty karaoke and Finland-bar, which ain't worth checking. Soda was closed some time ago. Instead, Eerikinkatu has couple of nice bars. Go to play some pool in Corona, after that go see some nice people in Mother, and end up in Helmi, possibly the only night club worth queing in Helsinki. There's one rather good bar in the same building as the movie theatre Bristol is, however I don't remember the name just now. It's rather easy to spot: Go inside the building, and then look around: It's on the second level. We Got Beef and Kerma are also worth checking. Other places to keep in mind: Tavastia, Ilves, eatz, Molly Malones, Bar Loose, Jumo Jazz Club and Mocambo. Places NOT to go, unless you enjoy seeing social porn, stupid people and/or winos: On The Rocks, Ale, ctrl, Kantis, Pub 28, 10th floor, Tiikeri, Ooppera, Amarillo, Pub Pete, Copacabana. Oh, and keep some kind of ID with you. Bouncers are quite keen to ask for your id, and more than happy to not to let you in if you don't have any.

Kallio is one part of the city in which there's rather lot of cheap bars, especially in Helsinginkatu. Think Bleeker in NY, and you'll get the idea. Helsinki rock scene is hanging here quite much, especially in Bar Heinähattu. One thing to keep in mind in Kallio: Although drunken finnish people like to fight, in Kallio it's even easier to end up in a some kind of trouble. Just don't act stupid and everything is going to be fine. Helsinki is ra
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#3 kebab

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Posted 12 December 2003 - 09:23 PM



Well, everything interesting here in Helsinki is within walking distance from the centrum, so walk around and you'll find at least something. This is especially true with sights: If you ask me, the most interesting part of Helsinki is the architecture. Most of the so called old parts of the city (Eira, Töölö, Kruunuhaka, Punavuori, Ullanlinna) have been built in the begining of the 20th century, and as there isn't any specific sights in these areas, walking is the only clever way to see them. One fine way to spend your sunday hangover is to walk Kaivopuisto's coastline to Cafe Ursula to enjoy one decent cup of black coffee and nice view to the sea.

Some boring people, and just about every travel guide might suggest that you go to see the traditional sights: Temppeliaukio's church, Sibelius monument, Tuomiokirkko etc. They're worth seeing only if you happen to be near them.

I'm not so familiar with ug-arts scene here in Helsinki, but for mainstream http://www.kiasma.fi...g=en]Kiasma</a> is worth seeing. Amos Andersson, Taidehalli, Tennispalatsi and Ateneum might have some interesting going on.

Now that you've spent your time wisely, it's time to spend some money & get drunk. If Stockholm is one year behind NyLon in terms of fashion timeline, Helsinki is two years. That's something to think when you're trying to look for the coolest clothes here.

The only decent department store in Helsinki is Stockmann's. Period. Sokos and Elanto Hakaniemi ain't even worth checking. Aleksanterinkatu and Etelä / Pohjois Esplanadi are the main streets, so you'll bound to find something interesting there, clotheswise. In Kämp Gallery you'll find couple of nice overpriced shops. Other streets worth walking thru are Fredrikinkatu, Iso-Roobertinkatu, Uudenmaankatu (Soda was on this street). Beamhill is especially worth checking, and it's located in Mikonkatu (more street-oriented) and Yliopistonkatu. Other names to keep in mind: Stone15, IvanaHelsinki, Limbo (Clothes), Skanno, funktio, Alessi (furniture etc.).

If you're into vinyl, then Viisikulma (pentagon) is a place worth checking. Lifesaver , Digelius and Popparienkeli are all located there. Lifesaver has nice staff, and there's lotsa of flyers so you'll end up knowing what is happening in town. Funkiest is THE place in Helsinki, if you're into rap. And Stupido Shop in Iso-Roobertinkatu is rather good place also.

Booze? Uudenmaankatu was for some magic reason the place to be in the end of 90s, but now there's just some shitty karaoke and Finland-bar, which ain't worth checking. Soda was closed some time ago. Instead, Eerikinkatu has couple of nice bars. Go to play some pool in Corona, after that go see some nice people in Mother, and end up in Helmi, possibly the only night club worth queing in Helsinki. There's one rather good bar in the same building as the movie theatre Bristol is, however I don't remember the name just now. It's rather easy to spot: Go inside the building, and then look around: It's on the second level. We Got Beef and Kerma are also worth checking. Other places to keep in mind: Tavastia, Ilves, eatz, Molly Malones, Bar Loose, Jumo Jazz Club and Mocambo. Places NOT to go, unless you enjoy seeing social porn, stupid people and/or winos: On The Rocks, Ale, ctrl, Kantis, Pub 28, 10th floor, Tiikeri, Ooppera, Amarillo, Pub Pete, Copacabana. Oh, and keep some kind of ID with you. Bouncers are quite keen to ask for your id, and more than happy to not to let you in if you don't have any.

Kallio is one part of the city in which there's rather lot of cheap bars, especially in Helsinginkatu. Think Bleeker in NY, and you'll get the idea. Helsinki rock scene is hanging here quite much, especially in Bar Heinähattu. One thing to keep in mind in Kallio: Although drunken finnish people like to fight, in Kallio it's even easier to end up in a some kind of trouble. Just don't act stupid and everything is going to be fine. Helsinki is ra
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#4 lil

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Posted 15 December 2003 - 03:34 AM




Restaurant-wise, my best find in Helsinki in August was Teatteri http://www.ravintolateatteri.com/ [click the 'Kuvagalleria' link for photos] (Pohjoisesplanadi 2, 00130 Helsinki Ph (09) 681 11 30), a gorgeous combined bar/restaurant designed by Swedish architect Rupert Gardner, not far from the main square downtown...excellent food, great decor, but pricey.

On the arts front, I second kebab's suggestion to go to Kiasma (Museum of Contemporary Art)...a world class contemporary art gallery. If you're into photography, the Finnish Museum of Photography http://www.fmp.fi/fm...ish/general.htm at the Cable Factory is also worth a look.

For design, check out Design Forum Finland http://www.designfor...dfpage?did=1001 in Sanomatalo (shop/gallery with contemporary design objects) and the Design Museum http://www.designmus...fi/en/index.htm (near the latter, I found lots of great little vintage boutiques and used vinyl stores). Also, stop off at the Tourist Information office to pick up the small brochure which lists all the design galleries and stores across Helsinki, if that's your thing.

kebab might disagree with me on this one as he/she sounds like a local, but I thought the 'Hip Guide to Helsinki' http://www.pantzar.o...i/contents.html looked really good for visitors like me who HATE the dumbed-down, generic 'Lonely Planet travel experience', and want to get a handle on the 'real city', not the tourists' version. It's available in local Helsinki bookstores (15 euros). If I'd been there longer, I'd have definitely bought a copy.

As for shopping, I found a really helpful little booklet all over town called 'b-guided' which listed an extensive selection of stylish clothes, shoes and design shops...their website http://www.b-guided.net/ used to be in English, if I recall correctly from a few months ago, but is now Finnish only. Hopefully the brochure is still available in English though.

Finally, if you only have one sightseeing experience, I recommend doing a half day trip on a clear day to Suomenlinna http://www.suomenlin...lish/index.html, a 250-year old fortress and UNESCO World Heritage site on a group of linked islands in the harbour, 15 mins by ferry from downtown. Views from windswept cliffs are breathtaking, the tunnels are really interesting to explore, and its a great place for a solitary moment if you need a little time out from all your shopping and partying! images/icon_smile_wink.gif
Edited by lil on Dec 14, 2003 at 09:19 PM
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#5 Harmony

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Posted 15 December 2003 - 12:50 PM



Thanks for the tips Kebab and Lil!
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#6 kebab

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Posted 19 December 2003 - 07:14 PM



Yes, I forgot Suomenlinna. It's definitely a place worth visiting.

I haven't read the hip guide (you usually don't end up reading travel guides about the city you're living in), but I think I've seen some reviews that stated that it's good.

And, no problem with the tips. Hope you have a pleasant visit in Helsinki!
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