Top 6 Things To Do in Helsinki During Slush
It’s time once again for the world’s leading startup event (often described as ‘Burning Man meets TED’). Space Nation is sending out its astronauts to illuminate the dark, wet streets of Helsinki, giving visitors and locals alike a glowing display that will bring some of the wonder of space to the wintry surroundings.
Famed for its world-class speakers – this year’s opener is Al Gore – Slush is a regular pilgrimage for anyone interested in innovation and entrepreneurship. It’s also where the Space Nation journey really started to hit maximum velocity. One year ago, in 2016, our founder and CEO Kalle Vähä-Jaakkola unveiled the Space Nation Astronaut Program to the world.
Space Nation’s crew is international, stretching from Bulgaria to India, but we all have one thing in common (the love of space aside) – Helsinki has a special place in our hearts, because it is home to Space Nation Mission Control.
We’ve come up with a special Space Nation city guide for visitors to Helsinki. From hidden gems and beloved neighbourhood hangouts to famous tourist spots and the beauty of Finnish nature, our cosmic itinerary has your Slush stay covered.
Finland is a big place – but Helsinki is nice and compact, meaning that it’s easy to get out and about on foot and sample the sights. The beautiful island of Seurasaari is close to the center, and is the perfect place to take a stroll surrounded by trees, squirrels, ducks and the Helsinki archipelago. The island is also one giant open-air museum, meaning that you get a sneak peek into the past four centuries of traditional Finnish life while you walk, with cottages, farmsteads and houses hidden away in the woods.
Insider tip – Start your walk off in nearby Töölö, with a coffee at the magical Cafe Regatta.
Established in 1934 and a Helsinki fixture ever since, Sea Horse serves up traditional Finnish fare such as fried herring and cabbage rolls. Take in the delightful surroundings, straight out of a Käurismäki film, and relax, knowing that former Sea Horse customers have included luminaries such as Jean Paul Sartre and Dizzy Gillespie. If you’re looking for an authentic culinary experience, it doesn’t get more Helsinki than Sea Horse.
Insider tip – The beef steak is world-famous.
You probably won’t have time to head out into the Finnish wilderness, so here’s some great news – Zetor is a bar that brings the Finnish countryside right into the center of Helsinki. This tractor-themed (yes, you heard that right) bar features farm-decor and rural specialities. So pull up a chair, tuck into some reindeer, and imagine you’re in a cosy bar in the depths of Finland’s vast forests.
Insider tip – Order a glass of Koskenkorva, Finland’s most popular spirit.
We all know that Santa lives in Lapland, right? Get into the festive spirit by sampling one of Helsinki’s magical Christmas markets. Helsinki Christmas Market in Senate Square is a true Finnish tradition right in the heart of the city. The oldest Christmas market in Finland, you’ll find more than 100 stalls selling everything from salmiakki (Finnish salt licorice) through to Nordic sweaters and smoked salmon. This is a great place for kids too, with a free carousel and many other nostalgic delights.
Insider tip – Xmas Garage is a pop-up store that offers contemporary Finnish designs.
No visit to Helsinki would be complete without a trip to a sauna. With over three million of them in Finland, there’s certainly plenty to choose from. Löyly is situated on Helsinki’s waterfront in a gorgeous contemporary complex that also houses a restaurant and bar. You can choose between private and public saunas, and rent them in two-hour slots. The bravehearted can even cool off by taking a dip in the sea!
Insider tip – Go for the traditional smoke sauna.
Well, we are Space Nation, after all, so we couldn’t complete this itinerary without mentioning Heureka, the Finnish Science Centre. Based in Vantaa, close to Helsinki Airport, this is the place to come if innovation and technology are your thing (and if you’re visiting Slush then we’re guessing they are). Heureka’s Planetarium is where you can explore the wonders of the universe and delve into the mysteries of dark matter and the Big Bang.
Insider tip – If you’re a space fan, Helsinki Observatory is also well worth a visit.
So that’s it, your whistle stop tour of Helsinki is complete. But don’t worry if you couldn’t make it to Slush 2017 – Helsinki is great all year round!
More from Space Nation
Start training like an astronaut.
Download the Space Nation Navigator now!