Looking for things to do while visiting Helsinki in August?
If you are travelling to Helsinki in August its good to know that the city is only just getting re-activated as everyone is returning back to work from their summer holidays. This means that there’s quite a bit happening, and for example all the lunch options are back on the table. (If you have ever visited Helsinki during July, you know how deserted the city sometimes feels.) As the center is quite small you can experience things even without a formal plan or specific agenda, but we put together a casual list of things to do to save you the trouble, just in case.
Places to lunch & dine:
Good places to eat are always in demand. The city center is full of good to great lunch specials which are all back on in August since the office folks are back behind their desks.
Quick tips for the city center during the week are:
Vanhakauppahalli – The Old Market Hall – A converted old market place that still has that market place atmosphere as its full of small shops and a also few quick lunch options. If you are in town with AirB’n’B for example you can shop quality wine, meat and fish here as its conveniently located, has merchants that are more focused on quality and the place is not too big. Our tip for lunch is the Soupkitchen – Soppakeittiö. They serve 3 soups daily, (lunch only) – 1 Bouillabaisse and two others on a rotating menu that you can see around 10.30 posted on their facebook page each day. (There are actually 3 Soup kitchens around the city all located in these old market halls).
Another one just around the corner is Kappeli – a classic Helsinki restaurant located in a beautiful old wooden building at the end of Esplanadi park, just next to the Havis Amanda water fountain. First opened back in 18 67 Kappeli has a long and distinguished history and used to be a favorite place for many of the most famous Finnish artists starting from way back in the 19th century. Kappeli has a beautiful terrace right in the middle of the park – but be ware, because of its location, history and style the place does get quite busy at times. You can get lunch, dinner and drinks at Kappeli.
Other options for lunch near by are Presto, Strindberg and Pompier, all three serve quality lunch, and are also good for drinks & have a nice atmosphere.
A great place for dinner can be found all the way at the other end of the Esplanadi puisto – restaurant Pastor. This is a good place for relaxing drinks or a full dinner experience. Pastor serves a mix of Peruvian and Japanese flavors. If you are planning a dinner on the weekend its a good idea to book in advance.
If you want to leave the city center, you might want to head town to the former abattoir found in Kalasatama – very stylishly done up has some interesting restaurants worth checking out. Its about 5 mins by taxi or a couple metro stops from the railway station by metro.
Finally for something thats’ a bit more of an experience, you could try either the Dinner in The sky experience that’s running from August 8th to August 13th. Or try visiting the NJK restaurant located on the Valkosaari island. You can get a ferry and make the crossing from just next to the Olympic peer in 3 minutes. The restaurant is in a beautiful wooden villa-style building constructed in 1900.
Whats happening around the town?
You might actually be in town for Tubecon – a Finnish YouTube event held at Hartwall Areena where the most popular Youtubers of the country are meeting 12-13.8. Its the biggest YouTube convention is Scandinavia and great if you are a YouTuber yourself, in the media business or would like to connect in person with some of the local influencers for some business.
Helsinki city Maraton will be held on August 12th and will be impossible to miss as the runners will be crossing around the city a few times -the final route is yet to be confirmed at the time of writing. While marathons are quite grueling cheering the runners is a fun way to participate, but if you feel like you are up for it let it be known that the registration is still open. This year there will be runners from at least 71 countries.
HJK – the biggest football team in Finland will have 2 home games in august – 14.8 against ROPS the club from the norther most city in Finland, Rovaniemi. And on Sunday 27.8 HJK will be playing KUPS from kuopio. You should be able to get tickets for both games at the gates for a price of around 20-30 euros. The games are played at the Telia 5-G Areena.
A very fun event – The Restaurant Day – will be held on August 20th – and whats cool about that (in case you are not familiar with the concept) is that pop-up restaurants will be set up across the city serving a variety of foods. Its a fun way to experience the city while having a snack at the same time. We did a write up about the previous Restaurant day and it can be found here.
And as far as fun events go, another one is definitely The Night of the Arts – which is art and hard to describe exhibitions spread around the city. The event has been running for a few decades by now and does have a nice sophisticated air to it. Performances range from capoiera, to music and crafts, and anything in between, with a few art installations place at different locations around the city too. Its best to visit the website for more details on the program, performances and the artists.
And Music, is there any music in Helsinki this August?
There definitely is – the Flow festival is one the better known music festivals that takes place in Helsinki. The event is well known for the quality of the acts they book and the good atmosphere. The Flow festival runs from Friday 11.8 until Sunday 13.8 at Suvilahti but unfortunately is typically sold out well in advance. If you are in town and enjoy a good festival I would definitely ask your hotel staff or make inquiries in facebook just in case you might be able to score a ticket. (At the time of writing limited tickets were still available direct from the event organizers).
There are of course plenty of other things ranging from theater to museum exhibitions happening and so you might want to have a look for your self at the Visit Helsinki website.
If you are arriving closer to the end of the month you might be tempted to go see a game at the FIBA Eurobasket that kick off on August 31st. A great atmosphere is guaranteed as Finland has a strong team (they’re called “Susijengi” or “the wolfpack” in english) who can challenge and upset almost anyone these days. Or you might want to go and support your home country’s team if they are playing. Read more about the tournament and who is playing at the official website here.