Feb 13, 2018
Nothing in design-loving Helsinki is really down-at-heel, but the old workers’ district of Kallio once came close, its careworn ambience best described by the Finnish word rähjäinen (shabby). In the last decade, however, its raw energy has been channelled and gritty edges spruced up to create a vibrant neighbourhood with trendy design boutiques, bars and more.
Enjoy drinks and Finnish snacks along with art-house films at cinema-meets-bar Riviera. You’ll hopefully have a better chance of bagging one of its 55 seats now than when it opened over a year ago and instantly became one of Helsinki’s hottest hang-outs.
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One of Helsinki’s hottest openings in 2017 was Merikerho. Literally translated as ‘Sea Club’, this is an old freight ship transformed into a distinctive restaurant/music venue with a vast sun deck. It’s moored at Suvilahti, where Kallio reaches down to the sea.
For a literal Kallio hotspot, experience the wonders of true Finnish sauna at the 1920s Kotiharjun Sauna – Helsinki’s last traditional wood-burning public sauna. Hitting the street to roll in the snow before warming up in the sauna during winter months is optional.