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Helsinki Nightlife

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.
Website: http://www.bar9.net

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.
Website: http://www.tintintango.info

Kafé Mockba

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.
Website: http://www.andorra.fi

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.
Website: http://www.ahjoclub.fi

Karle XII

Pop-aficionados in Helsinki gather on the heaving dance floors of Karle XII.

Address: , Kasarmikatu 40, Helsinki,
Telephone: 020 770 1470.
Website: http://www.kaarle.com

Live music in Helsinki

Club Liberté

Over in Kallio, Club Liberté has a more eclectic line-up of local bands and singer-songwriters.

Address: , Kolmas Linja 34, Helsinki,
Telephone:
Website: http://www.clubliberte.fi

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.
Website: http://storyville.fi/eng/

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.
Website: http://www.ontherocks.fi

Classical music in Helsinki

Finlandia Hall

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.
Website: http://www.finlandiatalo.fi

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.
Website: http://www.kaapelitehdas.fi

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.
Website: http://www.nationaltheatre.fi

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.
Website: http://www.opera.fi/en

Culture in Helsinki

Featured Hotels

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Hotel Arthur

Offering reasonably priced accommodation in the heart of Helsinki, Hotel Arthur is just a stone's throw from the railway station, the Kauppatori fish market, Esplanad Park and big department stores. There are 182 comfortable and well-appointed rooms with en-suite facilities, plus a large restaurant, a lobby bar and banqueting and conference facilities. Around 18 of its rooms are decorated in an art nouveau style following a refurb in 2012 to coincide with the city being awarded World Design Capital of the Year.

Klaus K

A designer hotel with influences that stray well beyond traditional Nordic design, the Klaus K opened in 2005, bringing the boutique hotel concept to Helsinki for the first time. The 137 rooms are named for the emotions they are intended to inspire - Mystical, Passion, Desire and Envy - and the hotel has two elegant restaurants and a thoroughly Modernist bar and club. Other facilities include a day spa, a gym and meeting space for 12 to 350 people.

Hotelli Seurahuone Helsinki

Established in 1833 as a seurahuone (meeting place for dignitaries), this is one of the most distinguished hotels in Helsinki. Amongst other landmark events, the hotel hosted the first opera performance in Finland in 1852, and the first film screening in 1896. Facing the train station, the hotel still offers a taste of 19th-century grandeur, though the 118 rooms have all the expected modern amenities. Facilities include wireless internet access and a grand restaurant and bar.

CheapSleep Helsinki

This hostel does what it says on the tin, offering affordable accommodation in a notoriously expensive city. The humorous tagline of its website sums it up: "Sleep cheap, stay rich". With 10 private rooms and 118 dorm beds, take your pick from this modern, comfortable and clean hostel, which benefitted from a refurb in 2012. There's free Wi-Fi throughout, a supermarket on the ground floor, kitchen, 24-hour reception and free lockers.

Crowne Plaza

The 349-room Crowne Plaza benefits from an excellent location opposite the Finnish National Opera on Mannerheimintie close to most of the attractions in Helsinki. The hotel offers wireless internet access in all areas. Creature comforts include saunas a spa and pool and a restaurant and bar.

Holiday Inn Helsinki City Centre

The thoroughly modern Holiday Inn in Helsinki benefits from an excellent location in the centre of Helsinki, next to the train station, the terminus for buses from the airport and the new music centre. There are 174 rooms and suites with modern amenities, plus a restaurant and lobby bar. There's also a gym and a kids play area.