Whether you’re new in town or have lived here for your whole life, we hope that these tips about Helsinki will make your autumn eventful and fun! As someone who has lived here most of my life, I can see why some people complain about Helsinki being dull in the autumn and filled with boring grey buildings and chain shops and cafés. But if you can get past that, you can see all the pretty green areas metamorphosing into shades of yellow and red, free creative happenings, places that serve delicious innovative or traditional food, the amazingly beautiful harsh grey sea and so much more. So, get your new pink and green and blue calendar and mark these dates and places to go! Helsinki Comics Festival
Being the biggest comics festival in Northern Europe, Helsinki Comics Festival offers art venues, workshops, lectures, interviews with great people and most important of all, comics from all around the globe! This year’s themes are North American comics and children’s comics. Remember to check out the Pienlehtitaivas (Small Press Heaven) where anyone can sell their self-published comics for student-friendly prices! No entry fees. (also, check out a piece of last year’s festival and the comic artist Benoît Sokal by yours truly!)
Friday the 6th of September: 14 pm to 8 pm Saturday the 7th of September: 11 am to 8 pm Sunday the 8th of September: 11 am to 6 pm
The big cats of Korkeasaari are very awake when the night falls, one year this editor was lucky enough to witness a tiger jumping towards a small kid… Don’t worry, there was a glass between them. The Night of the Cats can be super busy and crowded, but the atmosphere is great and the cats are, well, great. Also, there will be music and some popular Finnish bands are going to perform, such as Von Hertzen Brothers and Redrama.
6th of September: 4pm to 12pm 13th of September: 4pm to 12pm
If you’re not a herring fan, get some semi-sweet black bread (eat it with butter or freeze and save it to the Christmas table) from the boats and enjoy a plate of fried vendaces and enjoy the atmosphere of Kauppatori. If you’re a herring fan, you know what to do. No entry fee.
6-12 October: Sun-Fri 7am-7pm Sat 7am-3pm
Helsinki Messukeskus in Pasila will be filled with old and new books, comics, talks and what not. With the same ticket, you can entry the Wine, Food and Good Living -exhibition as well, which is usually filled with free delicious samples and good places to eat lunch. The tickets cost 10 € for students.
Thursday 24 Oct 10am - 6pm Friday 25 Oct 10am - 8pm Saturday 26 Oct 10am - 6pm Sunday 27 Oct 10am - 6pm
Although the tickets for the rides cost, admission to the park area is free of charge. The Linnanmäki park, filled with lights and sounds, is truly a magical place for a romantic date (make sure to follow up with a glass of wine in Kallio) or just a fun place to hang out with your pals. Remember to pack your sweater with you, it might get cold.
The actual outdoor market place will close soonish, but if you’re quick, you might just get a chance to enjoy coffee, porridge and buns in one of the market tents. The indoor food hall is also a great place to visit, you can find fresh fish, spices, Turkish specialties, organic vegetables etc. and one of the best restaurants in Helsinki, Soppakeittiö! If you’re into seafood at all, you have to try the bouillabaisse, and of course the herb oil with the bread.
In addition to Ismo Leikola and André Wickström, Comedy Finland promotes gigs for comedians around the globe. Finnish-speakers, check out the Helsinki Comedy Festival.
Take some coffee to-go and enjoy Helsinki’s parks! The Green Hearts project provides you with maps to walk around Helsinki’s pretty parks and green areas.
Also, remember to check out Happy Tours Helsinki’s free Helsinki walking and biking tours!
Good Coffee places and restaurants around the Helsinki Uni Campus:
- Espresso Edge, cute colorful place with good sandwiches and grumpy service.
- Qulma, wonderful breakfast (sweet mint pesto!), good coffee and tea, good soup lunch.
- Café Esplanad and Café Succès serve the biggest cinnamon rolls in Helsinki. The service is often rude, but the settings are historical and pretty.
- Freese Coffee Co., Be hip and follow the building and launching of a new coffee house in Helsinki.
- Manga Café, for all of you who enjoy Japanese comics with your green tea!
- Zen Sushi Kruununhaka, talking about Japanese food, the elderly Japanese gentleman makes the best sushis nearby. The younger sushi chefs are ok too.
- West Lake Tea House, skip the sushis here, this place serves wonderful and authentic Chinese food. Try even the weird-sounding ones; my personal favorites have been scrambled eggs with tomato and rice with ketchup.
- Restaurant Sunn, looking for a fancier bistro for a date or just wanna go and enjoy good restaurant food in a historical building overlooking the Helsinki University Main Building and Tuomiokirkko? This is your place. Ask for a table near a window. Make a reservation.
- Restaurant Kolme Kruunua, little kitch, little fifties, but still delicious basic restaurant food. Try some traditional Helsinki portions – such as mashed potatoes and fried herrings or Pyttipannu aka Spydäri in Helsinki slang (fried potatoes, sausages or some sort of meat. Often served with a fried egg on top).
- Kaisla, a cozy beer house where this awesome hip&cool group of BTSB editors often meet.
Other cool places to check out:
- Ryhmäteatteri, one of the most popular theater companies in Helsinki. If you can’t get a ticket in advance, you can go in time to the venue and ask for pre-reserved tickets that nobody claimed. If however this fails, not to worry; Kallio is filled with beer places where you can discuss your already existing knowledge about the art of theater. The pieces are unfortunately only in Finnish.
- Makuuni Kruununhaka (open 12pm to 10pm every day, Unioninkatu 39) offers a good selection of candy and movies and is located conveniently next to Metsätalo.
- Pilailupuoti, need some props for Halloween? Pilis in Kaisaniemi is the place to go.
- Comics Center, shop, art exhibitions, café and comic drawing courses!
- Ursa Astronomical Association offers public shows and knowledge about sun, stars and cool stuff alike. The entry fee is 3 euros for adults.
BTSB wants to welcome you to Helsinki! Hopefully these tips help you enjoy our beautiful capital! But let’s not stop here! What’s your best Helsinki tip? Comment below!