Inner East comprises the parts of Helsinki east of the railway, north of Pitkäsilta, south of freeways 4 and 45 and west of Kulosaari.
Most buses to and from the eastern parts of Vantaa (including the airport bus 615 to the city center) and northeastern Helsinki drive along Hämeentie, the major artery of this district. Trams 1, 3, 6, 7B and 9 as well as the Metro (get off at Hakaniemi, Sörnäinen or Kalasatama) all bring you to the Inner east from the city center. From Western Helsinki, catch tram 2 or 8 from Töölö or tram 6 or 9 from the southwest. Freeways 4 from Lahti and 45 from Tuusula enter Helsinki here, as does highway 170 from Porvoo. If coming by train, Pasila Railway Station serves the Inner East and all trains to Helsinki, both local and long-distance, except the Allegro service from St. Petersburg, stop there too.
In this part of the city you can see districts of old wooden houses and postmodern, blocky concrete districts built as the "city districts of the future" in the 1970s. The former consists of the wooden parts of 1 Käpylä (take tram 1 or 1A to its northern terminus) and 2 Vallila (in the area between Sturenkatu, Teollisuuskatu, Hämeentie and Päijänteentie). The latter consist of 3 Itä-Pasila (east of Pasila railway station) and 4 Merihaka (east of Hakaniemi).
- 5 Alppipuisto. Located on the west side of the Linnanmäki amusement park, this beautiful park is a hidden gem during the summer due to the many free concerts and other events that are held there throughout the summer months.
- 6 Bear park (Karhupuisto). A cozy small park on the hill next to Kallio church and one of Kallio's symbols. The park got its name from the bear statue in the middle of it.
- 7 Church of Kallio (Kallion kirkko). Tu-F 12:00-18:00, Sa Su 10:00-18:00. On top of the hill at the end of Siltasaarenkatu. The church is built of grey granite (1912) and its massive looks dominate the view from Hakaniemi. It was designed by Finnish architect Lars Sonck. The church has both baroque and French romantic organs and concerts are organized frequently. Free.
- 8 Church of St.Paul (Paavalinkirkko) (tram 6, 8). A church from the 1930s built of red tiles, one of the first landmarks one will see when driving into Helsinki from Lahti.
- 9 Technology museum (Tekniikan museo), Viikintie 1 (Vanhakaupunki). A small museum dedicated to technology, machines and industry. €6.
- 10 Tropicario, Sturenkatu 27 (tram 1, 6, 7B). 10:00-19:00. Watch some of those tropical animals you wouldn't want to bite or sting you in the indoor terrarium Tropicario. €12.
- 11 Vanhakaupunki and Vanhakaupunki rapids. The place where Vantaa river flows into the sea was the place where Helsinki was founded in 1550. Despite its name "Old Town", don't expect to find any medieval buildings there, as the area was devastated by a fire and a plague outbreak and subsequently the city was moved south to its current location. Nevertheless, the site of where Helsinki was founded is marked by a small memorial and nearby there's the site of the city's first church, standing from 1550 to 1639. The nearby rapids are also worth seeing.
- 12 Worker Housing Museum (Työväenasuntomuseo), Kirstinkuja 4 (tram 1, 3, 9). June to late October: W-Su 11:00-17:00. Built for the city's employees and their families in the early 20th century, nowadays the house is a museum where every room is a snapshot of the inhabitants' everyday life during different decades from the 1920s to the 1980s. Visits by guided tours which are free, start about every 15-20 minutes depending on how many visitors have arrived, and are conducted in Finnish, English (whenever foreign travellers show up) and possibly other languages too. Free.
- 13 Kalasatama. Literally "fish harbor", the is a new seafront neighborhood which has an interesting brick touch to it. Not a typical tourist destination, but some architecture lovers might find the place interesting. Also home to a big, crazy statue of a Siberian Jay. A new shopping and living complex Redi has been built there, with the first phase opened in autumn 2018.
- 1 Helsinki Fair Grounds (Helsingin Messukeskus), Messuaukio 1 (in Pasila, east of the railway). For many business travelers the reason to visit Helsinki, but there are also some events around the year that aren't exclusively geared towards professionals like the American car show in April, the book fair in October, ski expo in November and the travel expo in January.
- 2 Kallio Kukkii. Parade at 13:00-14:00. A cultural summer festival held in the bohemian district of Kallio not very far from the city centre. Held over a week in middle May. Various art galleries, workshops and street art performances. Culminates in a samba parade on Sunday, held by Império do Papagaio as their final practice before the main Samba Carnaval in the city centre. Free of charge.
- 3 Kulttuuritalo (Helsinki Hall of Culture), Sturenkatu 4. The Helsinki Hall of Culture is a concert hall designed by Alvar Aalto in the 1950s. Since its opening, many world-famous artists and groups such as Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC, Tina Turner, Iron Maiden and Lady Gaga have held concerts there.
- 4 Linnanmäki (Tram 3, 8, bus 23). The oldest amusement park in Finland, famous for its wooden roller coaster. Entrance to the park is free of charge, all-day passes €42. Open only during the summer, however the adjacent Sea Life aquarium and the Peacock theater (not a traditional theater but rather a venue for musicals and slightly Las Vegas-like shows) at Tivolikuja 1 is open throughout the year.
In middle October, the amusement park holds a week-long closing ceremony where just about everything, particularly the rides, is illuminated with colourful lighting. The ceremony holds live music events in late evening and there is a fireworks show at the very end just before the park closes down for the winter. This entire ceremony is free of charge but you still have to pay to go on any of the rides.
- 5 Suvilahti, Sörnäisten rantatie 22. A former power plant, nowadays a center for alternative culture that hosts a circus and some exhibitions. The famous metal festival Tuska at the turn of June and July and electronic music festival Flow in August are held on the premises.
- 6 Tokoinranta. A park northwest of Hakaniemi, which in August turns into an outdoor scene during the Helsingin Juhlaviikot cultural festival. Check out the City theater, and if you understand Finnish or Swedish, go see a theater performance.
- 7 Brahenkenttä (Brahe field). An open sports pitch in northern Kallio where you can play football (soccer) in the summer and ice hockey or bandy in the winter or watch a home game of the Finnish bandy league team HIFK.
- 8 Mäkelänrinteen uimahalli (Mäkelänrinne swimming hall), Mäkelänkatu 49. Indoor swimming pool which has also been used for international competitions. Great if you feel like swimming in the winter but don't care for the traditional Finnish "hole in the ice" swimming.
- 9 Urheilutalo, Helsinginkatu 25. The "Sports house" offers swimming, bowling or exercising.
- 10 Arlan sauna (also known as Sauna Arla), Kaarlenkatu 15. Old public sauna in Kallio. Separate saunas for men and women. Washing service and traditional bloodletting (kuppaus) also available. €9 for adults, students €7.
- 11 Kotiharjun sauna, Harjutorinkatu 1. This is the last wood-burning public sauna in Helsinki. Separate saunas for men and women. There's a good chance you'll find a top level chess match in the dressing room. Don't miss cooling off outside, especially in winter. On Saturdays you'll find bachelor partiers (Kotiharju is pretty near to Kallio's nightlife). €12 for adults, students & pensioners €8.5, towel €3 extra..
- 12 Sauna Hermanni, Hämeentie 63. €8 for adults, students €5..
- 1 Arabia Factory Shop, Hämeentie 135 (Tram 6 & 8 terminus). Open M-F 10:00-20:00, Sa Su 10:00-16:00. Factory outlet for Arabia ceramics and Iittala glassware, best known for selling slightly defective goods at modestly discounted prices.
- 2 Vallilan Akseli, Lemuntie 3-5. Here you can watch and buy "design"-furniture and kitchen utilities.
- 3 Moko market & café, Vilhonvuorenkatu 11. M-F 09:00-17:00, Sa 10:00-16:00. Things to furnish and decorate your home of the more expensive kind as well as organic products. They have a café too, serving sandwiches, good hamburgers and a range of beverages - on Saturdays you can enjoy brunch there. Moko has another branch in Punavuori in the southwest of the city.
- 4 Kauppakeskus Arabia, Hämeentie 111 (tram 6 and 8). A shopping mall in northwestern Helsinki with two supermarkets and some speciality stores.
- 5 REDI, Hermannin rantatie 5. Shopping mall opened in September 2018, built around the Kalasatama metro station. Redi is said to be the most labyrinthine shopping center in Europe, mostly because the metro tracks cuts the mall in half, so that is by itself an interesting thing to experience. On the top of the mall the tallest residential building in the country, Majakka ("lighthouse"), is being built. It's scheduled to be finished in late 2019 and at a height of 134 m it will be the second tallest skyscraper in the Nordic countries (after Turning Torso in Malmö).
- Adjacent to the Pasila railway station is the Tripla shopping mall, as it's west of the railway it is listed in Helsinki/West.
- 6 Hakaniemi Market Hall and Open-Air Market (Hakaniemen kauppahalli, Hakaniemen tori) (Metro: Hakaniemi. Tram: 1, 1A, 3, 6, 7, 9.). A busy market frequented by locals, this is where you can find specialities at affordable prices. During 2018-2020 the century-old market hall building is undergoing an extensive renovation, and the vendors are operating in a temporary building at the eastern end of the square. The open-air market offers fresh vegetables and seasonal products, and a flea market on the first Sunday each month. Walking up Hämeentie from Hakaniemi market, you'll find several African, Middle Eastern, Indian and Asian grocery stores.
- 7 Black & White, Toinen Linja 1. Rock. Many genres. Very recommended. €cheap.
- 8 Hippie Shake records, Hämeentie 1. Rare 1960/70s rock and hard rock.
- 9 Goofin Records, Hämeentie 46. Rockabilly.
- 1 Student's restaurant at Arcada, Jan-Magnus Janssonin aukio 1 (from the main entrance, walk up the stairs and turn right). Food around lunchtime, coffee, sandwich and cakes all day. Like most other university campuses, the Swedish-language polytechnic Arcada has a lunch restaurant operated by Amica. Even if you aren't a student, the prices for lunch is quite cheap. Around €5 without a student card.
- 2 Blinit, Sturenkatu 9 (opposite Kulttuuritalo), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Th 11:00-21:00, F-Su: 11:00-22:00. Another Russian eatery specialized in blini with different fillings. Also pelmeny and soups (borscht specially recommended) on daily offer. Lunch menu €7.
- 3 Döner Kallio, Fleminginkatu 23.
- 4 Pelmenit, Kustaankatu 7 (Close to Sörnäinen metro station), ☏ . M-Th 11:00-17:00, F-Su: 10:00-22:00. Serves pelmeny (Russian dumplings), blini (Russian crepes), soups and salads. The menu depends on the mood of the Russian owner. Around €10 for a dish.
- 5 Sakura Sushi, Hämeentie 64. Sushi buffet restaurant.
- 6 Sivuraide, Hämeentie 54, ☏ . 11:00-23:00 mostly. A typical greasy diner serving pizzas, kebabs and steaks, conveniently located pretty much right next to the Sörnäinen metro station. Because of the late opening times and cheap prices, the restaurant is popular among party-goers. The food is good enough, but don't expect a particular culinary experience. €6-14.
- 7 Cella, Fleminginkatu 15. Established 1969, this is one of the oldest restaurants in the Kallio district, serving classic Finnish food with lots of grease and salt. For a "real" restaurant (not fast food) in Helsinki it's reasonably priced, around €10-20 for main dishes. The chef himself often serves the food, complete with a sexist joke or an insult, and may even force feed you the leftovers if you don't finish your meal! Also serves as a pub with a decent selection of beers, ciders and single malts.
- 8 Weeruska, Porvoonkatu 18, ☏ . Serves simple, but tasty, home-made style food. The clientele at lunch is primarily blue-collar workers and the portions are sized accordingly. Meals between €8-17.
- 9 Silvoplee, Toinen linja 7, ☏ . Vegetarian restaurant specializing in living and raw foods but also serves warm dishes. Buffet, pay per weight. Closed on Sunday.
- 10 Musta Härkä, Mäkelänkatu 52. Su-Tu 09:00-02:00, W-Sa 09:00-04:00. Decent restaurant in Vallila serving Indian and Western food, although most people just drop in to have a beer or two. Karaoke and sometimes live music. Lunch buffet €5.90, mains mostly €10-15.
- 11 Grand Georgia (Ravintolalaiva Wäiski), Hakaniemenranta 11, ☏ . Wäiski is the only year-round restaurant boat in Helsinki. You cannot travel anywhere with it, as it is firmly docked at Hakaniemi Pier. Both indoor and outdoor seating and fair prices. However the boat is sometimes rented for private parties and conferences and in that case you need to go elsewhere. In May 2018, the boat received new owners and has been converted to a Georgian restaurant.
- 12 Ravintola Karhunpesä, Alppikatu 9.
- 13 Bites Burgers, Nokiantie 2-4. Tasty burgers made to order, with a regular, vegan, vegetarian and special option that can be further customized. They have a good selection of sodas and craft beer. They also have a restaurant in Kamppi and in Leblon Merihaka (see Drink below). €10-12.
- 14 Taverna Zorbas, Läntinen Brahenkatu 4. Kallio's favorite Greek restaurant next to Brahenkenttä sports field. Mains €20-30.
- 1 Kahvila Sävy, Kinaporinkatu 1. Small, retro style café with excellent coffee from a Finnish roastery. There are only a few seats in the former barbershop, next to the Sörnäinen metro. Also peculiar percolators for sale.
- 2 Kipsari, Hämeentie 135 E. Student cafe at the University of Art and Industrial Design in Arabia. Relaxed atmosphere with live music and DJs at times. Not open during summer when the school's out.
Bars and pubs
Drinking in Helsinki (and in Finland generally) is relatively expensive, wherefore the Kallio district with its lower prices in pubs and bars has established itself as a party district. There are lots of pubs to choose from, just walk along the parallel running Helsinginkatu or Vaasankatu; the latter one was partly changed into a pedestrian zone in summer 2013.
You can reach Kallio from the center by walking, by tram (lines 1, 3, 6 or 7B) or by metro (get off at Hakaniemi and walk uphill, or Sörnäinen, and head west). Nearly all bars in Kallio have to close at the latest at 02:00, whereas in city centre there are many that are open until 04:00, reinforcing Kallio's status as a 'party district'.
- 3 Bar Bronco, Hämeentie 23.
- 4 Pub Heinähattu, Vaasankatu 23.
- 5 Iltakoulu, Vaasankatu 5.
- 6 Juttutupa, Säästöpankinranta 5. In a nice old granite house called Graniittilinna you'll find (probably) Helsinki's oldest still operational pub, Juttutupa. Juttutupa is housed in the "workers house" and has historically been the Bar of the political left. In fact, while Lenin was hiding out in Finland planning the upcoming Russian revolution he was known to frequent Juttutupa, where the table he used to sit at is kept in his memory (the one in the back with a good view of the entrance). On Wednesdays there are often free Jazz concerts. Juttutupa also serves food from the neighboring restaurant's kitchen.
- 7 Bar Kalliohovi, Vaasankatu 17.
- 8 Kurvitar, Hämeentie 58-60.
- 9 Lepakkomies, Helsinginkatu 1, ☏ . 12:00-02:00. The name translates to "bat-man" but the place is hardly themed after Batman, instead after bats in general. A large establishment in two floors, the ground floor functioning as your average Kallio pub, the basement as a venue for club nights. Free entry to bar, but entrance fee for club nights. Beer starting from €4.
- 10 Mascot, Neljäs linja 2. 15:00-02:00. A large and comfortable pub in Kallio, a short walk away from the Hakaniemi metro station. Rough-edge decor typical of Kallio. Regularly hosts live music performances and other events.
- 11 [dead link] Bar Molotow, Vaasankatu 29. Small and always cozy indie/alternative/electro/goth rock bar. Nice summer terrace. Located in Kallio/Harju district.
- 12 Musta kissa, Toinen linja 15. A popular bar among young and beautiful expats and their Finnish friends in Kallio. Often nights with alternative DJs, awesome live music, performances and experimental art.
- 13 Pub Pressapari, Wallininkatu 10.
- 14 Pääsky Pub, Pääskylänrinne 2.
- 15 Roskapankki, Helsinginkatu 20. A Kallio institution at the corner of Helsinginkatu and Kaarlenkatu. Some nights live music.
- 16 Saloon Arizona, Castreninkatu 9.
- 17 Siltanen, Hämeentie 13. Daily 11:00-02:00. A popular hipster haunt from the owners of the next door Kuudes Linja club venue (see below). Part bar, part club and part café (with food served until 22:00) with a big terrace and weird décor and DJs and the occasional live gig in the evenings. Weekend DJ brunch 12:00-16:00, prepare to wait for a table though.
- 18 Soittojuottola Om'pu, Siltasaarenkatu 15.
- 19 Toveri, Castreninkatu 3, ☏ . M-Th 17:00-01:00, F Sa 17:00-02:00. You'll find various types of beer in this little bar. It's been here in various forms since 1937, and after its most recent transformation it is one of the prettiest bars in Kallio.
- 20 Pub Westminster, Sturenkatu 49.
- 21 Kuudes linja (entrance from the inner court at Kaikukatu 4), Hämeentie 13. W F Sa 22:00-04:00, Th 21:00–04:00. A live music oriented nightclub for the somewhat artsy crowd. Located in the Kallio district Kuudes linja usually offers more experimental and alternative music than the mainstream downtown clubs and also hosts electronic music parties. Arrive early to avoid queues on popular nights — admittance is not guaranteed once the place gets full. The weatherproof terrace in the courtyard is open during the summer – you can bring your own food to the terrace and cook it on their gas grill.
- 22 Leblon Merihaka, Sörnäisten Rantatie. May-Sep lunchtime to late if it's not raining. A kind of outdoor food court/bar, right at the seafront comprising a set of kiosks serving fast food (hamburgers, Middle Eastern among others), ice cream, beer and wine with an seating area in the middle. Live music many nights, often featuring names of Helsinki's hiphop and DJ scene, and there are often also other events in Leblon like yoga in the morning. Doesn't really have regular opening times, if the weather is bad it's likely to be closed — your best bet would be to just drop by.
- 1 CheapSleep Helsinki, Sturenkatu 27B 2nd floor (Trams 1, 1A, 7A, 7B, numerous buses (inc. airport bus 615)), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00. Helsinki's newest hostel, excellent transport connections, near social Kallio neighborhood, stylish vibe. Opened in May 2012. Dorms from €18 and private doubles from €70 per room.
- 2 AVA Hotelli, Karstulantie 6, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Affordable hotel in Kumpula, popular among Russian visitors. From €49 in the low season, also monthly rates.
- 3 Cumulus Hakaniemi, Siltasaarenkatu 14 (M Hakaniemi), ☏ . A centrally located business hotel. From €83 for a double in the low season.
- 4 Cumulus Olympia, Läntinen Brahenkatu 2 (Tram 3), ☏ . A business hotel near the city centre. From €83 for a double in the low season.
- 5 Scandic Hotel Paasi, Paasivuorenkatu 5b, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 6 Park Hotel Käpylä, Pohjolankatu 38, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Doubles from €98.
- 7 Hilton Strand, John Stenbergin ranta 4, ☏ , fax: . Located across the Pitkäsilta bridge, a 15-minute walk or short tram ride away from the main railway station.
- 8 Holiday Inn Helsinki Messukeskus, Messuaukio 1, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Kallio area is generally a bit rougher than the rest of the city and is as close as Helsinki gets to a red light district. However, it is a lot more tame than most 'such parts of town' in Europe. You will be fine there at any hour as long as you look out not to get in between a fight of two drunkards about who the remaining vodka belongs to.