Originally a north European pagan carnival, Vappu is an excuse for students to wear brightly colored overalls and for everybody to drink vast amounts of alcohol. At 6PM on April 30, the statue of Havis Amanda at the Market Square is crowned with a student's cap and the revelry begins in the streets. Things can get a little ugly outside as the night wears on, so it's wiser to head indoors to the bars, clubs and restaurants, all of which have massive Vappu parties. The following morning, the party heads to the Kaivopuisto and Kaisaniemi parks for a champagne picnic, regardless of the weather. If the weather is good, up to 70,000 people will show up. Left-wing parties hold rallies and speeches, but the event is increasingly non-political.
Newly formed from three leading universities in their respective areas: '''Helsinki University of Technology''' (''Teknillinen korkeakoulu'') — Considered "Finland's MIT", this university is in Otaniemi, Espoo, just across the municipality border, '''University of Art and Design Helsinki''' (''Taideteollinen korkeakoulu'')—The biggest art university in Scandinavia with the highest rate of exchange students of all Finnish universities and '''Helsinki School of Economics''' (''Helsingin kauppakorkeakoulu'') — The country's largest institution for university level business education. The Aalto University was named after architect and designer Alvar Aalto.
Finland's biggest board game event, hosted by the Finnish Board Game Society. Held on a weeked in early November. A whole hall at the Helsinki Cable Factory is available to play board games for the entire weekend, from Friday evening to Sunday evening (the event closes for the nights though). Hundreds of board games available provided by the organisers (note that to loan a game to play, you must leave something valuable as a pawn token, such as your phone or wallet). You can also bring your own board games to play. Suitable for people of all ages, both adults and children.
In the weeks before Christmas, Aleksanterinkatu is festively lit up, the Christmas lights of the street are ceremonially lit on the last Sunday in November. The open-air Christmas market formerly held in the Esplanadi Park is nowadays held at the Senaatintori (Senate Square). The Stockmann department store sets up a Christmas themed exhibition with mechanic dolls and animals in their windows at the corner of Keskuskatu and Aleksanterinkatu. Christmas itself is a family event, so on the 24th, everything shuts down and stays closed until December 26.
Finns are known for their taste for liquorice flavoured with the salt ammonium chloride, popularly known as salmiak or ''salmiakki'' in Finnish, even if many foreigners may find the taste strange and even repulsive at first. Wanha Satama in Katajanokka holds an entire festival for salty liquorice candy on a weekend in middle November. More liquorice candy than you can shake a stick at, both with salmiak and without. Several vendors offer their candy for sale and give you free samples.
Multi-week annual arts festival in the latter half of August. The peak of the festival is Taiteiden Yö, "Night of the Arts" called "little ''vappu''" by many as the streets are full of revelers. The official event is marked by performing arts through the night. The Night of the Arts was originally organized by local bookstores in the 1990s. It's now organized by the city. During the last few years, the event has slightly returned to its origin as an arts and culture event.
Is a music and arts festival in early August at Suvilahti. Noted for its high-end arrangements marrying music to design and gourmet food and drink, Flow has expanded to include installations, arts and workshops in the past few years. The music presented at Flow is a strong and varied selection of up and coming and established artists from indie-rock to soul and jazz and from folk to contemporary club sounds, both from the Finnish and the international scene.
Finland's biggest burlesque show. Held on a weekend in late February/early March. Although most of the performers are female, the Finnish burlesque scene has more male performers than that of any other country. Many visitors come in fancy dress costumes, and there is even a prize awarded for the best dressed man and the best dressed woman in the audience. For adults only.
A pleasant and popular living room-ish space in the heart of the city with local DJs playing drum & bass, house and chillout beats. Computers with Internet access (€5 per hour; €2 minimum charge), free wifi for laptop & cell phone owners. The terrace is a popular hipster hangout in the summer, situated in the former bus station area just next to the bar. Drinks €4-5.
Is annual multicultural weekend festival in late May. The event is free to all and a meeting place offering tastes of different cultures and surprises from all over the world, music, dance, food, art, market, information. Several hundred organizations are involved and the main organiser KEPA works under the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
Although a large bonfire is lit in Seurasaari, the celebration is low key as the tradition is to celebrate "the nightless night" at summer cottages in the countryside. Although some celebrate Juhannus in Helsinki as well, the streets are often eerily empty and the doors of the shops closed, making it the most quiet time of year in Helsinki.
Performances have recently moved to the Music House, a brand new visually questionable but acustically excellent concert hall. Tickets €20. On selected Wednesdays you can go see dress rehearsals for as little as €3 per person. The rehearsals start 9.30 AM. Check availability on the site before showing up at the Music House!
An old secluded lighthouse island out at sea, in the middle of a bird reserve. Day trips are arranged by [http://www.royalline.fi/articles/1221/ Royal Line], including lunch, a guided tour of the lighthouse (Finnish/English) and a couple of hours to linger on the island, but it is also possible to stay the night.
A public Internet and music library located in the main post office building at the western side of the central railway station. You can surf the Internet for free for 30 minutes on the library's computers, but you're going to have to queue. Also has wi-fi, but you need a library card to access the network.
A yearly athletics international competition held between these two neighboring countries since 1925 – the only one still existing of this kind of two-country competition. The two-day event, held in alternate years in Finland or in Sweden, attracts significant audiences.
Also known as ''Rakkautta & Anarkiaa'' (''Love & Anarchy'') and held annually in September, HIFF features a wide selection of films from all over the world. Asian films have been a special focus in the history of the festival that celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2012.
This is the birthday of the city. It traditionally starts with the mayor's morning coffee and is celebrated throughout the day with a variety of concerts, performances, exhibitions and guided tours around the city. Nowadays special event program even for several days.
The biggest samba show in Finland, inspired by the famous Rio de Janeiro Carnaval in Brazil. Held on a Saturday in early June. A great samba parade fills the streets of central Helsinki, with dancers and music players from practically every samba school in Finland.
Beginning of January. Lux Helsinki is an annual event of light installations to cheer residents' and visitors' minds during the darkest time of the year. They are on display over several nights. Lux Helsinki can also be enjoyed as part of a guided walking tour.
Like in many other major cities, thousands of Helsinkians gather at Senaatintori next to the Cathedral to welcome the New Year. The event is shown on live television and there is a free outdoor concert as well.
International, bible-based and nondenominational church that welcomes both Finns and foreigners to attend. Services in Helsinki and Espoo on Sundays. Free.
Visit the coastal archipelago on a 35 ft sailboat, for two hours or full day trips with an experienced skipper. Island hopping is also possible.
An important part of Finnish jazz life, known for performing new Finnish music alongside interesting shows, such as with new circus. Various venues.
With over 40,000 students, this is Finland's largest university and its alumni include '''Linus Torvalds''', the creator of the Linux kernel.
Finland's biggest and most famous LGBT pride event. Held over a week in late June, culminates in a parade and open-air party on Saturday.
The name says it all. Not as famous as the one in New York, but with over 6,000 participants the largest marathon race in Finland.
A fount of information with helpful, multilingual staff. They also sell tickets to museums and sightseeing tours.
There are many lives of many genres. So you must browse what show will be held and buy ticket.
An annual, 3-day heavy metal festival, featuring acts from all over the world, held in July.
A running event in central Helsinki where you can run the length of a half marathon.
The pharmacy with the most central location and the best hours.
Emergency department of Helsinki Municipal Health Center.
Municipal health center for minor health problems.