Here are some of our top recommendations on how you can best enjoy your time with your kids as you indulge in activities that Helsinki has to offer.
If you’ve got a free afternoon…
Start your afternoon with a delicious lunch at Krog Roba, a casual restaurant housed in a former police station with a separate menu for children. The restaurant includes a courtyard where kids can run around and highchairs are available.
After lunch, walk 10-minutes to Helsinki’s South Harbour and buy yourselves HSL ferry tickets to Suomenlinna Sea Fortress. Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site just a short boat ride away from the city centre and it’s home to 6km of walls, 100 cannons, and tonnes of exciting tunnels that kids simply love exploring. Pop into Café Silo for a take-out coffee and cinnamon bun and head over to Suomenlinna Toy Museum, where you’ll find toys dating back to the 19th century.
Once you’re back on mainland, wander to Allas Sea Pool, a marine spa right in the heart of the city. Allas is home to three saunas, two warm water pools—including one specifically designed for children—and one seawater pool. If the sun’s out, grab a deck chair and catch some rays as your little ones splash about in the water.
For dinner, walk 15-minutes to The Cock, a local bistro where children under 12 eat for half price. Enjoy a glass of wine as you unwind after a busy day!
If you’re spending the day in the city…
Start your day in Helsinki’s Market Square, where you can get on board a boat (that’s right, a boat) to the Helsinki Zoo! In just 20-minutes, you’ll reach Korkeasaari, an island in the Baltic Sea which is home to one of the oldest zoos in the world. Established in 1889, Helsinki Zoo is home to lots of indigenous Finnish species, including elks, bears, wolverines, and forest reindeers. The kids are sure to love it!
Once you’re ready to move on, walk 15-minutes and cross the bridge to Mustikkamaa. Head to the south of the island where you can enjoy a picnic on the island’s sandy beach as your children paddle in the sea. If you don’t fancy packing your own food, you can always nip into Café Blobba or Café Torpedo to pick up some delicious food while you’re there.
After a busy morning, it’s time for you to relax. Get a half an hour tram to Oodi, Helsinki’s Central Library. Grab a good book and put your feet up as your children make the most of everything the second floor play area has to offer. If your children still have energy afterwards, walk 5-minutes to Annantalo Arts Centre, a building dedicated to art education and children’s culture. The centre hosts performances, exhibitions, and events for children throughout the year, so you’re sure to find something that piques your little ones’ interest.
For dinner, walk 20-minutes to Pompier ESPA, a delightful restaurant that’s known for treating children like honoured guests. Highchairs are available and the food is amazing.
If you’re staycationing for the weekend…
Wake up at GLO Hotel Art, a delightful hotel which offers families adjoining rooms. Kids will fall in love with the building and have great fun exploring all of its nooks and crannies. Plus, they’re given colouring pens and paper when they arrive and soap bubble bottles when they leave – not to mention the lollipops that are left in their bedrooms!
After breakfast, get a half an hour tram to Linnanmäki Amusement Park. There, you’ll find rides suitable for children of all ages – and don’t forget to have a go on the famous wooden rollercoaster! Once you’ve had enough, walk 15-minutes to the Children’s Traffic Park, a playground that teaches children all the traffic rules thus ensuring their safety but making it a fun and engaging seminar. Grab lunch from Restaurant Viisi Penniä, a neighbourhood joint just 5-minutes away, that offers a special menu for children.
After lunch, head to Helsinki Olympic Stadium, a historic building housing a fascinating sports museum. Afterwards, if you’ve still got energy left to explore, walk 5-minutes to the Tram Museum, a hidden gem in Helsinki’s oldest tram depot. The museum offers visitors the chance to go inside one of the old trams – something that children are sure to love! Get a 20-minute tram back into town for dinner at Garden by Olo. The garden-like (and covered and heated!) courtyard creates a special atmosphere. High chairs are also available. Get an early night and prepare for another action packed day tomorrow!
Start your day with a 10-minute walk to breakfast at La Torrefazione, situated at the fifth floor of Kamppi Shopping Centre. Once you’re fuelled and ready to start the day, walk 15-minutes to the Natural History Museum, where you’ll find interactive, and child-friendly, exhibitions on everything from the Big Bang to the Ice Age.
For lunch, walk 5-minutes to Levain, a bakery that specialises in sourdough bread baked in a genuine stone sole oven. There are plenty of food options that will appeal to your children, and the restaurant is easily accessible for anyone with a pushchair. In the afternoon, get a half an hour bus to Seurasaari, a delightful island with plenty of exciting wildlife. Spend the rest of your day exploring the open air museum and splashing around in the water – and remember to treat yourself to an ice cream. If you fancy trying a Finnish speciality, order yourself a salmiakki (salty liquorice) ice cream – it’s not for the faint-hearted!
Once you’re ready to head back into town, get a 30-minute tram to Restaurant Töölönranta, a bright and spacious restaurant with a cosy fireplace and huge outdoor terrace. Everything on the menu is available in kids’ portions for half the price and highchairs are available. With expansive views of Töölönlahti Bay, it’s the best place to watch the sun set and make the most of your final night in Helsinki.