A hub of culture at the Cable Factory
Most visitors only ever see the triangle that is the Main Cathedral, the Rock Church, and the Market Place next to the harbour. For an individual with perhaps a few days more to spend in Helsinki, I strongly recommend a visit to the Cable Factory in Ruoholahti. What is it then? Their website has it in a nutshell.
The centre is perfectly situated by the sea, not very far from for example the Clarion and Radisson Blu Seaside hotels. There are many museums in the building, including the theatre museum, where you can try on different costumes and have a theatre-themed birthday party and see lots of cool sets and... Ok, I'm getting carried away, calm down theatre girl. There's also The Finnish Museum of Photography and the Hotel and Restaurant Museum, among others.
By the way, if you're looking for entertainment for a full day, right next to the Cable factory there's Salmisaari sports centre, where you can play indoor beach volley and go wall climbing or bowling. Or take part in a megazone tournament. A good combination of sports and culture!
The buildings used to be an actual cable factory a hundred years ago. Unfortunately there is rarely a huge buzz going on in the courtyard with flea markets and street artist and other cool stuff you could imagine, since most of the artsy stuff happens indoors in different halls. Therefore it might be a bit difficult to find the right places, but go in with no fear! You'll find the best circus and theatre shows, the modern dance company Zodiak and lots more. Next weekend they're also hosting the Helsinki beer festival. Nice.
There are also numerous art galleries, a cute shop that sells books, notebooks, postcards and so on. The restaurant Hima & Sali is a good lunch place with reasonable prices and a view of the sea.
While you're in the neighbourhood, go for a walk in Hietalahdenranta. The docks look awesome and there are cute boats everywhere (some of them also restaurants). The Hietalahti market hall has great restaurants inside too. During the summer there's a flea market in front of the market hall.
Yesterday was the first actually warm day of the spring. While I was taking these pictures, everywhere I looked there were people sunbathing, jogging, biking, enjoying the sun...
But this girl (who walked into a picture I took by accident) was dressed for December. Good thinking though, because last night it snowed again. Hopefully those were the last snowflakes I'm going to see for a while!