If you’re spending the day with friends...
Start your day with brunch at Tanner, in the heart of Kallio. You’ll find plenty of vegan options on offer, including: avo toast; buckwheat porridge and banana bread waffles with berries and tahini. After breakfast, it’s time to explore Kallio. Make sure you pop into Recci for a spot of second-hand shopping. Recci is one of Helsinki’s most-loved second-hand clothes shops, and it’s the kind of place you’ll always manage to find something to buy.
Check out Kallio church and Bear Park, and when you fancy a break, head to Ipi Kulmakuppila on the corner of the part. Ipi Kulmakahvila is a socially responsible cafe which employs people with learning disabilities and serves the most delicious coffee and cakes.
Half an hour’s bike ride north of Kallio will take you to Helsinki’s Central Park, where you can enjoy a walk in nature in the middle of the city. Helsinki’s City Bikes are easy use and they’re dotted all over the city. A day pass costs just €5, or a season ticket costs €30. But if you don't fancy cycling, catch bus number 51 towards Malminkartano and get off at Autokuljetuskeskus 2.
You could easily spend the whole afternoon exploring Helsinki’s Central Park. But if the weather’s bad, you’re better off going to the National Museum of Finland, which is just a 10 minute bike ride from Kallio. There, you’ll learn all about Finland’s history.
Turn your day into an evening at Putte’s Bar & Pizza, just a ten minute walk down the road from the museum. You’ll find vegan pizzas as well as live music, drinks and a great atmosphere. You can also pop into Vin-Vin for the most delicious selection of organic wines. And if you’re still going strong, hop on a bus from the Railway Square and head to Post Bar to dance the night away.
If you’re spending the day with family...
Start your day at the Market Square, Helsinki’s most famous market. Pop into Old Market Hall and have a wander around all the delicious food stalls. Grab a coffee and a cinnamon bun from Story and enjoy the bustling atmosphere around you.
Next up, Suomenlinna! You can buy a ferry ticket using the HSL app, and the journey takes just 15-20 minutes. Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a former sea fortress. Take your time exploring the island, and try to make it to King’s Gate, where the view is unbeatable.
Visit Amos Rex, the newest addition to Helsinki’s art scene, in the afternoon. It’s an 8-minute cycle from the harbour and the number 2 tram will take you there too. Amos Rex made international headlines when it opened last year: it’s an art gallery in a truly innovative space and its exhibitions are always top quality.
Afterwards, wander across the road to Oodi, Helsinki’s new central library. The building is absolutely stunning and you must check the views from its recently opened top floor terrace. Oodi has plenty of recreational areas for kids, as well as spaces for parents to sit down and relax.
Finish your day with dinner at Juuri, which just a 15-minute walk away. At Juuri the focus is on local, Finnish produce. And the best news is that kids’ portions at Juuri cost less than full-sized ones so it really is a place the whole family can enjoy together.
If you’re staycationing for the weekend...
Wake up in the Clarion Hotel, one of Helsinki’s trendiest hotels with beautiful views over Länsisatama. Wander down to Cargo, a vegetarian restaurant in an old shipping container and make sure you try their vegan breakfast with a homemade juice. A legendary fleamarket at Hietalahti Market Square is also very close by and worth checking out.
A 20-minute walk, or a 10-minute cycle, will take you right into the centre of town. You can’t afford to skip Garden, the centre for Finnish fashion at the top of Kämp Galleria. There you’ll find boutiques, showrooms, events and exhibitions as well as the very best rising talents in Finnish design. Wander down to Lokal too; it's a trendy concept store selling products from local designers. You’ll find homeware, clothing and cosmetics there.
If you’re feeling peckish, grab a vegan burger to go from Bun2Bun in Kamppi shopping centre. Their plant-based burger patties are gluten, soy and GMO free and they taste like the real deal!
After a quick rest at your hotel, take a walk along Lapinlahti along to Hietaranta beach. The walk will take about half an hour, and it’s worth packing your swimsuit if the weather is hot! Hietaranta, which is almost always shortened to "Hietsu", is one of Helsinki’s most popular swimming spots in the summer and it’s easy to see why!
The number 1 tram will take you back into town, where you can enjoy dinner at Yes Yes Yes. The vegetarian restaurant is located in an old McDonald’s and it has the most exquisite cocktail menu. If you still have energy after dinner, you can’t go wrong with a drink or two at Bier-Bier down the road.