Walking route: Streets of Kallio

Three women chatting on Agricolankatu street in Kallio; Kallio church in the background
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The former working-class neighbourhood is today known as a trendy residential area for artists and students. Despite the extortionate housing prices Kallio is the most densely populated urban area in Finland. The area is tightly woven with blocks that offer a wide range of cafés, restaurants, bars and various shops. Additionally the area is famous for its numerous antique shops, eccentric shops that sell bits and bobs and massage parlors that add to the personality of the landscape. Kallio is genuine, honest and rugged.

Route distance approx. 2 km

Route starts from the Hakaniemi Market and indoor Market Hall where locals do much of their grocery shopping. While the market hall is being renovated, you can visit the stalls and enjoy a coffee inside the temporary glass pavilion

Siltasaarenkatu runs across the area all the way to the Kallio Church. New locations such as Story and Lopez y Lopez have opened in the area. In Hakaniemi you will find amazing coffee at La Torrefazione and Patisserie Teemu Aura as well as a tasty pita sandwich restaurant Fafa’s.

Ympyrätalo is a cylindrical piece of architecture that has a dominating presence in the area. The complex  consists of shops, restaurants and a pharmacy.

On the triangular block you will find Sävel, a cosy restaurant with a 1950s inspired interior. Vegetarian restaurant Silvoplee on Toinen Linja serves delicious food, including warm vegan dishes and smoothies. Rytmi, is a fun café-like bar that also hosts exhibitions. 

"Linjat" are the numbered streets of Kallio. On the Kolmas and Neljäs linja as well on their intersection you will find several cafes, bars and ethnic restaurants including: Chalupa, Lopez y Lopez, Bangkok 9, Lemongrass, Roji and Taqueria El Rey. If you fancy a drink, drop by Oiva, Om’Pu Bar or try Pub Sirdie, which has one of the best atmospheres in Kallio where you can still sense the old working-class spirit.

Kallion kirkon torni
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The route continues from the Kolmas Linja to the hill of Suonionkatu. Perched on top of the hill is the grey granite Kallio Church designed in National Romantic and Art Nouveau style. The main hall can accommodate up to 1100 churchgoers. The seven church bells play a melody composed by legendary Finnish composer Jean Sibelius; they can be heard daily at 12noon and 6pm.

Unfortunately in Kallio you may come across rows of people in the breadline, the first of which can be found behind the church and is organised by the Salvation Army and the second at the corner of Helsinginkatu and Fleminginkatu which is organised by Hurstin Apu. The queue might meander around the block and remind us that there are people far less privileged even in an area like Kallio.

Frida Marina second hand and vintage shop sells clothing and accessories mainly from the 1950s to the 1980s. Legendary bar Roskapankki is famous for its cheap prices and genuine Kallio atmosphere. Next door is Sauna Arla, one of the oldest public saunas in Helsinki, and next door to Arla are lovely cafes such as Kanniston Leipomo and Cafe Cardemumma, where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch or afternoon coffee and cakes. 

The journey continues east of Helsinginkatu. On the hill of Fleminginkatu you will find Cella, a traditional and cosy restaurant that serves Finnish and Russian-inspired dishes, including sautéed reindeer, vorschmack, blinis and deep-fried herring fillets. A stone’s throw away is Wino, which has a seasonally changing menu and natural wines served by experts.

Fargo is a vintage interior design shop that sells mostly furniture and small items from the 1950s and ‘60s. Divari Kaleva sells second-hand books, magazines, vinyl and CDs. Opposite you will find Astiaparatiisi, which specialises in collectibles, jewellery, gold and silverware.

Ilmakuva Kalliosta, Ympyrätalo keskellä
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Popular local restaurant Döner Harju serves delicious kebabs on a plate or wrapped, including vegetarian options. Around the corner is Bar Molotow, a rock joint with a living room atmosphere. 

Levant offers tasty Middle Eastern flavors whereas Tuk Tuk is an authentic Thai restaurant. Just Vege serve a wide range of vegetarian dishes. The vegan restaurant Bun2Bun is Finland's first 100% vegan burger chain. The charming Cafe Pequeno serves special coffees and Argentinean empanadas. 

Riviera Kallio is a wonderful cinema and bar where you can watch a film and enjoy tapas, beers and wines. The bar’s pride and joy is its movie-themed cocktail list. 

When you continue over to Harjukatu, you will end up on Harjutori, where the restaurant Harju 8 is located. Kotiharjun Sauna is the oldest traditional wood-heated public sauna in Helsinki. It attracts many locals and loyal fans who go there for the soft heat of its sauna stoves. Treatments can be ordered in advance, including cupping, and you can purchase soft drinks and birch whisks or rent a towel from the front desk. 

Six men in towels sit on the wall cooling off outside of Kotiharju sauna on a chilly, sunny day.
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Charming bakery Avikainen has been selling traditional home-baked Finnish treats for over 60 years. Try the Karelian pies and sugar donuts! Torkkelinmäki garden city district is considered one of the prettiest in Helsinki. The area is home to the Kallio High School of Expression, many of the students have gone on to become representatives of Finnish art life. Nearby you will find the colourful and bohemian café TaikalamppuWay Bakery on Agricolankatu attracts with its scent to deviate to this café-bakery and wine bar.

IPI Kulmakuppila serves special coffees, craft beers, soup and salad lunches, and Saturday brunches. IPI employees young people and adults with intellectual disabilities. Kallio Library has 80,000 books plus newspapers and magazines, recorded and sheet music, and comics. Note the fine dome ceiling above the magazine department. Customers can use the computers, and you can even borrow games and instruments. 

Karhupuisto gets its name (“Bear Park”) from the red granite sculpture in the park entitled “The Bear on the Anthill”. The park is a popular gathering spot, especially during public events like Restaurant Day and Cleaning Day. The KotKot kiosk and iconic Bear Park Corner Café fly the rainbow flag. On Neljäs Linja you will find the living room-like Flät 14, where you can get breakfast, lunch and dinner. Hoochie Mama Jane is a boutique that specialises in women’s vintage fashion.

If you want to continue the evening, check out the article Restaurant and Bar Street Flemari. For more information, check out the article, Fleminginkatu highlights the rustic appeal of Kallio.

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Kallio is a former working-class neighbourhood that is now a trendy district for artists and students.