Exploring Helsinki, Finland in mid-spring isn’t the BEST time, because it’s still freezing there, but we enjoyed a long weekend checking out the city at the beginning of May. My sister and her friends were traveling around Russia and we planned to meet up for 3 days in Helsinki. What can you do in Helsinki for 3 days? Plenty! If you don’t mind freezing your butt off and getting rained on…
This was my son’s first time exploring Europe with his Aunt Lindsey and Uncle Kyle. He always had a hand to hold and someone to buy him a balloon or candy. Including our friends Jordan, Karin, and Brian who were on the trip, we were a group of 7 adults and one kid. The poor little dude was outnumbered most of the time on places to go and things to do. But with 7 adults it was fairly easy to keep him entertained amongst ourselves.
Our first stop was the downtown district near the harbor. The Helsinki Cathedral, built in the early 19th Century, loomed above the other buildings and we got to check out the inside. Well, not all of us, there was a strict no balloons allowed policy so my son, his balloon, and me hung out on the steps while the others explored the church.
We kept him entertained during dinners and stops at breweries by putting together transformers. Brian got the award for making the activity last the longest, clocking in at about 25 minutes, while Uncle Kyle used his super-hero, Rubik’s cube abilities and put it together in about 2 minutes. Boo!
“Uncle” Jordan was excited to buy some candy for
himself the kid. P.S. Jordan won a Grammy this year for his contributions to the album Winds of Samara, which won New Age Album of the year. Jordan’s contemporary folk band Erwilian is pretty amazing, too! But mostly he just really likes candy… and the Seahawks.
Our next stop was the main train station with the famous statues holding illuminated globes. I saw photos of these on Pinterest before we came and I just had to see them in person!
In the Taka-Töölö district there is a beautiful park (that is probably even more gorgeous in the summer and fall) that has monuments and statues that you can see if you walk around.
According to the official Tourism website of Finland, the Sibelius monument was designed by Eila Hiltunen, unveiled in 1967, and “comprises tubes resembling organ pipes welded from acid-resistant steel and an adjacent bust of the composer.”
While my heart was set on seeing the magnificent National Library of Finland, we were told when we got there that the whole thing is closed down and not open for visitors for the entire year. Such a bummer! We did find a really cool modern bookstore with the top floor dedicated to the life and work of Jean Sibelius (he’s kinda popular in Helsinki)!
Angry gargoyles guarded/held up this building… very intimidating.
The artsy crew we traveled with dragged us to the Museum of Contemporary Art, which was actually pretty cool.
They even had a wall where you could draw or write something and the museum staff would tweet the images. This poor guy just wanted to tell the world to chase their dreams, but got shut down. We laughed and laughed.
These people couldn’t get enough of the design district in Helsinki! But I did find an awesome cloth bag at the gift shop of the Design Museum.
We had a great time exploring Helsinki, Finland! I would recommend going in the summer for better weather, which basically applies for anywhere in Scandinavia.
I still need to write about our day trip to the Fortress of Suomenlina just outside of Helsinki. It was amazing!