Helsinki is great summer city. This weekend was blessed with great weather, happy people and lot’s of things to do around the city. We tried to maximize our simple pleasures and make the best out of these few great summer days available up here.
As friday is the end of the rough workweek, we decided to just chill out with friends and put some food to the grill. Smell of great meat and vegetables in the grill are bound to help you make new friends if you invite people to join.
For ten euros you can purchase a very simple steel grill and have your own small barbeque session out in the nature. Helsinki has many great parks, which are just great places for picnic and barbeque – as long as you are a good citizen and pick up all the trashes your cooking makes. As an example of something really dead simple, but great dessert: assortment of fruits and white chocolade wrapped in foil.
It doesn’t look like much in foil, but it sure as hell tastes great!
Saturday was reserved for retail therapy and sightseeing in Helsinki city center. Walking around in sunny Helsinki really makes one proud of this city and of all the different faces this place has during the course of one year. Just few months back we had a meter of snow and temperatures below -10 degrees. Now we are blessed with +20 and smiling people. It is like living in Stockholm!
You might even spot an antique tram with cool open carriage:
At old market square near the harbor, you can get fresh vegetables and admire large ships going to Stockholm, or take your own mini cruises around shores oh Helsinki. If you ever get to the market square, I suggest to try seasonal vegetables. For example peas are exceptionally sweet right now.
Another really popular thing to do, is to take ferry to Suomenlinna. With the fee of public transportation ticket you get to go to a cool island fortress just outside the city center with cool restaurant and amazing beaches. On a sunny day, be prepared to wait in queque.
On the other hand if going on a cruise is not your thing, you might like taking a horse taxi in the Esplanad-park.
Or enjoy walking around the city with your friends.
During the summer time you might get to see all sorts of happenings in the city center. We just has a samba carneval in chilling weather and during this weeked in was time for a pride rally.
Even though Helsinki is extremely open minded city, there was still some jackasses who threw pepper spray into the crowd.
Luckily no-one was hurt and police arrested suspected young men the same day.
As I’ve blogged before, there are numerous cool different places where one can practice retail therapy in Helsinki. One interesting place to see and to start from is Helsinki 10 concept store. It is situated nicely in the city center and just a short walk away from other boutiques and shopping districts. It is also convenient place to get ’We Are Helsinki’-magazine, which can be used as a guide through different designer boutiques around Helsinki city center.
Besides visiting boutiques we had to go to the main street and visit few chain stores. It was time to lose my virginity to Monk and Weekday stores.
It is amazing how we finns really need swedes to show us how to make great shopping experiences and affordable fashion. The Monk-store was futuristic, graphic, playful and candy. Loved it.
Weekday store was like a jump back in time to the eighties.
And they had a dj playing records there:
Really cool experience, though I did not like the clothes.
And for someone who wants something more sustainable, there is always the Globe Hope-store.
When shopping makes you hungry, I can whole heartedly recommend La Famiglia-restaurant at Mikonkatu.
In any weather it is a good italian restaurant, but now during great sunny summer – they also have an amazing terrace open. Even something as simple as club sandwich and ceasar salad taste absolutely magnificent, when you can enjoy the food in great sunshine outdoors and see happy people walking by.
I raise my toast to La Famiglia.
I liked you a lot even before and the terrace just made the place even better.
Another cozy place to take some snacks and drinks, is Bakers’ Bar & Pub just opposite of Stockmanns’ department store. As the street is filled with other bars and terraces it is quite guaranteed to see lots of people walk by and having a good time.
Or if you want to get a little better view, then just around the corned is Hotelli Torni and Ateljee bar at the top of it. Great views over the Helsinki.
Safe to say that if you stay long periods of time in direct sunlight, you should also take care of yourself and drink enough fluids.
A decent cava at Ateljee bar is 40 euros, champagne around 60 euros.
Much more economical pleasures are available at the street level.
Ben & Jerry icecream and walk in the Esplanad park.
Besides Cafe Strindberg also other cafeterias are worthwhile to visit. Fazer at Kluuvi, for example, is nice place to see – at least for the architecture.
And while at Kluuvi, why not pop in to hotel Glo’s great bar at the same time.
Great drinks, interesting people. What else could you want?
And after such a long day out you can dedicate the next day for relaxation.
Just around the corner – or few hundred meters from our house – we have not one, but two public swimming beaches.
Both of which are served by Tonibell icecream van.
Not bad. For such a small town.