Quick guide: Design District Helsinki

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Want to see the world-famous classics of Finnish Design? Interested in the latest products and ideas by young designers? Like to enjoy dinner in a restaurant where the milieu also offers a feast for the eyes? Then head for the Design District!

The Design District is an oasis for those in search of design, fashion and experiences in the heart of Helsinki. The Design District Helsinki initiative dates back to 2005, when Finland celebrated its Design Year. Numerous design shops and businesses began popping up around the Dianapuisto park, and entrepreneurs were attracted to the idea of working together and making Helsinki an even more fascinating city.

Today, the Design District encompasses 25 streets around the centre of Helsinki in the PunavuoriKaartinkaupunkiKamppi and Ullanlinna neighbourhoods. The 200 members of the Design District Helsinki Association can be identified by the Design District Helsinki sticker on their display windows. By following this little black logo, you will find design and antique shops, fashion boutiques, art galleries, showrooms, restaurants and design hotels, as well as the leading design and architecture museums in Finland. The creative neighbourhoods also host a wide range of urban cultural events – from open-air concerts to light art. Whether you follow the map or let your instincts guide you, you will return from the Design District with a rejuvenated mind and body!

Design District in Kaartinkaupunki

You can begin your tour of the Design District from the Kaartinkaupunki neighbourhood, just south of the Esplanade. There you will find the leading design, fashion and architecture museums in Finland, the Design Museum and the Museum of Finnish Architecture, so the area can rightly be considered the centre of the Design District.

On the Kasarmikatu and Unioninkatu streets you can find both new local jewellery design and international design brands. Many high-quality interior design and fashion shops have recently opened in the Erottaja area. A concentration of art and design galleries in turn can be found around the Dianapuisto park. The Kaartinkaupunki neighbourhood is also home to design hotels and interesting restaurants, so a visitor thinking about inspiring accommodation options should keep this part of town in mind.

The Kaartinkaupunki neighbourhood is split down the middle by Korkeavuorenkatu, which has been known for its antique and fashion shops for decades. Korkeavuorenkatu extends all the way from the city centre to Ullanlinna, where our tour continues.

Design District in Ullanlinna and Punavuori

The southern section of Korkeavuorenkatu in the Ullanlinna neighbourhood has lots for design lovers to get excited about. The boutiques of well-known fashion designers, ethical new brands and classic restaurants will keep you occupied for hours on end as you make your way along the street.

From Korkeavuorenkatu, turn right on Tehtaankatu, which takes you to the youthful Punavuori neighbourhood. Starting in the late 1990s, it became a favourite area for professionals in the creative industries, and the same spirit can still be felt. When gazing through the windows in the small streets, you cannot always be sure whether you are looking at a shop or a studio.

Punavuori is divided by Fredrikinkatu, a traditional boutique street in Helsinki. Here you will find shops specialising in responsible fashion, interior design shops representing leading brands, and even unique paper shops. While walking up “Freda” you should turn off and explore Uudenmaankatu, Bulevardi and Annankatu at the same time. You do not have to hungry either, as you will find many local gastronomic attractions and attractive cafes along the way.

Design District in Kamppi and Kluuvi

The centre of Helsinki is thought by some to be located at the intersection of Mannerheimintie and Aleksanterinkatu, while others consider Kamppi to be the city centre. Either way, anyone interested in design should explore both.

Kamppi's design oasis is Lasipalatsi and its surroundings. The Amos Rex art museum designed by JKMM Architects and housed inside Lasipalatsi, designed by architect Viljo Revell, is a must-visit, also because of its museum shop. Lasipalatsi also has many other charming shops, as do the nearby streets of Eerikinkatu and Lönnrotinkatu.

From Kamppi you can continue to Kluuvi. After visiting the shops along the Esplanade, you can continue to Torikorttelit, the historic quarter where you can enjoy the original restaurants and shops, as well as a variety of urban events.

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Map of all Design District Helsinki members
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Want to see the world-famous classics of Finnish Design? Interested in the latest products and ideas by young designers? Like to enjoy dinner in a restaurant where the milieu also offers a feast for the eyes? Then head for the Design District!