Things to do in Helsinki with kids
Helsinki is actually an archipelago of 330 islands and the main hub of the capital is the furthest south of the country.
There are loads of things to do with children in this lovely city. With attractions to visit including Helsinki Zoo, Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress, Linnanmäki Amusement Park, Finnish Toy Museum Hevosenkenkä, the Finnish Science Centre and more there is something for everyone. Read on for more.
Things to visit
The Senate Square, or Senaatintori, is a big square surounded by beautiful Neo-Classical buildings.
The square and its buildings are the oldest part of Helsinki. Nowadays there's often a festival, art exhibition, or concert going on.
The square is dominated by four buildings: Helsinki Cathedral, the Government Palace, the main building of the University of Helsinki and the National Library of Finland. There is also the Sederholm House, dating from 1757.
One of the most iconic buildings in the city is the dominant Helsinki Cathedral. It was designed by Carl Ludvig Engel but was not completed until 12 years after his death. It was initially called the Church of St. Nicholas.
The staircase leading to the Cathedral, on the north side, is as wide as the square itself and on a sunny day it is crowded with people. During the summer a popular activity is to buy an ice cream from the it has an ice cream stand and sit on the steps eating it.
Visit: Senaatintori, 00170 Helsinki
Heureka, the Finnish Science Centre
Images: copyright Finnish Science Centre
Heureka, the Finnish Science Centre is a hands-on exhibition and action centre. The Science Centre in Tikkurila, Vantaa, has a diverse experience that offers interactive exhibitions, planetarium films and science programs and events throughout the year.
What do different tree species smell like? What is the sound of wood? How do wooden buildings withstand earthquakes and fires? The Wild Wild Wood exhibition reveals the superpowers of wood – its many excellent properties and uses.
Visit: Tiedepuisto 1, Tikkurila, Vantaa. Open Mon-Sun from 10am. Entrance Adults 24 €, Children 17 €, Free for children under 6 .
The fortress of Suomenlinna (Sveaborg) is is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Finland. It is only a very short ferry crossing away from Helsinki.
A cultural treasure, an inhabited sea fortress built on eight islands about 4 km southeast of the city centre of Helsinki. Its construction began in the mid-18th century, when Finland was still part of Sweden. It was built gradually from 1748 onwards on a group of islands belonging to the district of Helsinki.
It was inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1991 to preserve it for future generations as an example of 18th century fortress architecture in Europe. Read more about it here.
Image: Visit Finland. Photographer Juha Kalaoja
The Finnish Museum of Natural History
The exhibitions at the Museum of Natural History show the diversity of nature. As our son is crazy about fossils and dinosaurs he really enjoyed the exhibition The Story of the Bones. Hubby did say he didn't think the Museum was as big as he thought it was going to be though.
Visit: Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 13. Open Tue–Sun. Entrance 17/14/8 €.
Amos Rex is an art museum. Everyone under 18 can visit for free and there is a dedicated website page for children and those visiting the museum with a child. The museum is autism-friendly and ear protectors for children can be borrowed.
Visit: Mannerheimintie 22–24 00100. Open every day except Tuesday. Entrance 20 | 15 | 5 €
Image: Visit Finland. Photographer Mika Huisman
The Moomins are a fictional troll family who live in beautiful Moominvalley in their Moominhouse, a place full of nature. Although commonly mistaken for hippos they are actually Finnish trolls. There are many ways to experience the Moomins while in Finland. Read this article from www.visitfinland.com about the Moomins.
From the world’s only Moomin Museum in the city of Tampere to the best Moomin place to visit with children; the Moominworld in Finland’s “sunniest town” of Naantali.
There are charming Moomin cafes dotted around the city – the ‘Mumin Kaffes’ offer traditional Scandinavian pastries and cakes as well as onsite Moomin shops. One of them is at the airport.
Image: Visit Finland. Photographer Producer Mr. Dennis Livson. 2020 MOOMIN CHARACTERS TM & DENNIS LIVSON
We tried to visit the Moomin Cafe in Fabianinkatu street when we were near Helsinki Cathedral but it was sadly closed down. We did visit the Moomin Shop though and bought some Moomin postcards.
Allas Sea Pool
Allas Sea Pool is a sea spa and an oasis for wellbeing nestled in the heart of Helsinki. The warm water pool and the children’s pool are both heated to 27°C all year round. In the summer, children can swim either in their own pool or at the big pool with accompanying adults.
At the time of writing the pool was currently closed for repairs.
Image: Visit Finland. PhotographerJulia Kivelä
Eating and Drinking
Helsinki has a wide selection of restaurants, cafés, pubs, bars and nightclubs. When we visited all the restaurants closed at 6pm due to Covid restrictions, so we ate during the day and didn't experience the nightlife.
Image: Visit Finland. PhotographerJulia Kivelä
The Hard Rock Cafe
We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe Helsinki after a lot of walking and it was amazing! If you don't like rock music played during your dinner then might want to avoid but the kids were mesmerised by the video screens blasting music videos and it gave us some peace! The waitress was very attentive and gave us colouring books and crayons to keep the children amused.
They were over the moon with the guitar-shaped plates, with little holes for ketchup or mayonnaise! Hubby had the humungous burger pictured and I absolutely loved my ice cream sundae.
Visit: Aleksanterinkatu 21, Helsinki 00100 FI
At the city centre train station there are large luggage lockers where you can store cases for €6.
When travelling with a child aged 0-6 years in a pram, stroller or wheelchair you are entitled to free travel on trains, buses and trams plus the metro and municipal ferry.
In Helsinki airport there are charging points on all the seats and around the airport.
Look at getting a Helsinki Card for discounts on attractions and restaurants.
Visit www.visitfinland.com for more info
The website https://www.myhelsinki.fi/ has lots of helpful advice and info
Image: Visit Finland. PhotographerJuha Kalaoja
For more family holiday ideas, see my blog post about fossil hunting in Dorset.
Read other Finland blog posts here: