Bars and clubs in Helsinki are concentrated southwest of the centre in the districts of Kamppi and Punavuori, particularly along Uudenmaankatu and Eerikinkatu, but there are more bars south of the railway station and north of the centre in the gritty but up-and-coming Kallio district. Locals are huge fans of the restobar concept - many venues start the evening as restaurants and transform into bars and clubs as the night wears on.
Note that nightlife in Helsinki in winter is very different to nightlife in summer. During the long days of summer, most bars set up summer terraces and nightlife spills out into the street, particularly around Mikonkatu. All venues close earlier during the cold, dark winters, but most will stay open as long as there are patrons in need of a beverage. One eccentric Finnish custom is outdoor dancing - open-air dances take place in summer in Vantaa, close to the airport.
Although Helsinki is one of the younger European capitals, it also bubbles with cultural activity. Theatre, classical music, dance and opera are celebrated with just as much enthusiasm as in Moscow or Rome, and Helsinki can draw on a long line of home-grown composers and playwrights dating back to the Russian and Swedish empires, including the famous Sibelius. The main cultural festivals take place in summer and autumn, but there are smaller productions throughout the year.
For the listings of upcoming events, contact the Finnish Theatre Information Centre (tel (09) 2511 2120) or pick up a copy of Helsinki This Week, published by the Helsinki Expert (www.helsinkiexpert.com) and available from the tourist office and tourist-oriented hotels, venues and restaurants. For tickets, contact the Ticket Theatre Information Centre (tel: 0600 11616; www.tiketti.fi) or Lippupalvelu Oy (tel: 0600 10800; www.lippupalvelu.fi),Finland's nationwide ticket retailer.
Bars in Helsinki
Café Bar 9
Most of the big-name bars in Helsinki are scattered along Uudenmaankatu and Eerikinkatu, a short walk southwest of the station. Café Bar 9 is a favourite with Helsinki movers and shakers.Address: , Uudenmaankatu 9, Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 621 4059.
Café Tin Tin Tango
At the eccentric end of the spectrum, Café Tin Tin Tango has an in-house launderette and sauna – one of the most convenient bars in Helsinki.Address: , Töölöntorinkatu 7, Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 2709 0972.
Inside the Andorra complex at Eerikinkatu 11, tiny Café Moskova is a cool recreation of a Soviet-era vodka bar.Address: , Eerikinkatu 11, Helsinki,
Telephone: (0201)751 620.
Clubs in Helsinki
Ahjos Bar & Nightclub
An older, more sophisticated crowd gather at Ahjos Bar & Nightclub, in Helsinki's swish Klaus K Hotel.Address: , Bulevardi 2/4, Helsinki,
Telephone: 020 770 4711.
Pop-aficionados in Helsinki gather on the heaving dance floors of Karle XII.Address: , Kasarmikatu 40, Helsinki,
Telephone: 020 770 1470.
Live music in Helsinki
Over in Kallio, Club Liberté has a more eclectic line-up of local bands and singer-songwriters.Address: , Kolmas Linja 34, Helsinki,
Happy Jazz Club Storyville
For a calmer evening out, the Happy Jazz Club Storyville hosts an impressive variety of jazz performers, including the Helsinki City Jazz Orchestra.Address: , Museokatu 8, Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 408 007.
On the Rocks
The Finns are enthusiastic consumers of hard rock, to the level that the theatrical Finnish heavy metal band Lordi stormed to victory in the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest. On the Rocks is the place to head in Helsinki for loud, lively rock bands.Address: , Mikonkatu 15, Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 612 2030.
Classical music in Helsinki
The main concert hall in Helsinki for national and international artists is Finlandia Hall, which is also home to the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, founded by Robert Kajanus in 1882.Address: , Mannerheimintie 13E, Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 40241.
Dance in Helsinki
Theatres in Helsinki
Kaapelitehdas (Cable Factory)
Avant-garde performances in Helsinki take place at the Kaapelitehdas, a 10-minute metro ride west of the centre.Address: , Taliberginkatu 1C, Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 4763 8300.
Suomen Kansallisteatteri (Finnish National Theatre)
The Finnish National Theatre is one of the main venues for theatre in Helsinki, showing a mixture of modern and classical productions (such as Ibsen) in Finnish.Address: , Läntinen Teatterikuja 1, Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 107 3311.
Music and Dance in Helsinki
Finnish National Opera House
Chamber music is performed in various venues, including Helsinki Cathedral and the iconic Temppeliaukio Kirkko. The works of Jean Sibelius are popular with Helsinki audiences, although the works of rising stars such as Magnus Lindberg are also widely performed. The Suomen Kansallisoopera (Finnish National Opera), has its residence at the Finnish National Opera House. The Finnish Ballet School also has its residence at the Finnish National Opera House.Address: , Helsinginkatu 58, Helsinki,
Telephone: (09) 4030 2211.