7 Family Friendly Things to do in Market Square, Helsinki and Beyond
Blog - October 31, 2019

Market Square Helsinki

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I recently went on a trip to Finland for the first time with the Tortuga Travel Tribe (a group of travel writers) and experienced the Finnish way of life and find out why Finland is the happiest country in the world. It’s such a welcoming country and there are so many family friendly things to do. We stayed in Helsinki and Rovaniemi for a few days.  The first few days we stayed in Helsinki at Hotel Katajanokka and spent a lot of time around the Market Square which has six squares for outdoor markets (opening hours for Market Square vary depending on which market and what day) and plenty of transportation to get to places like the islands. 

ferry boat

With a single ticket you can hop aboard trams, buses, the metro and even the ferry to Suomenlinna (sea fortress). Single tickets can be purchased from ticket machines, R-kiosks and other HSL sales points or by using HSL mobile application. On buses you can also buy your ticket from the driver.

The kids love the outdoors and especially like boats, so it’s perfect for families like us who thrive outdoors.   So, here are 7 family friendly things to do in Market Square, Helsinki and beyond.

Helsinki marketHelsinki Market Square

The Market Square is a central square in Helsinki, Finland. It is located in central Helsinki, at the eastern end of Esplanadi and bordering the Baltic Sea to the south and Hotel Katajanokka to the east. The most popular are the Helsinki Market Square and Hakaniemi Market Square.  Helsinki’s Market Square is one of the city’s main tourist destinations, with fantastic shopping, food, and souvenirs for locals and tourists.

Hakaniemi Market Square

Hakaniemi Market Square is the one market where you will find anything from fresh vegetables and fish to fruit.

The Finn’s take pride on keeping a healthy lifestyle, from picking fresh mushrooms to berries like lingonberries, bilberries, cloudberries packed with antioxidants. Hakaniemi Market Square offers a large variety of these fresh fruits and vegetables.

You can also find really fresh fish like “neulamuikut” (deep fried whitefish), which is usually served with potatoes and garlic sauce.

building of Vanha Kauppahalli

Vanha Kauppahalli

Vanha Kauppahalli (also known as Old Market Hall) is Helsinki’s Oldest Market hall, open since 1888. This is a great place to go if you’re looking for a cup of coffee; head to Robert’s Coffee.

*fun fact – Finnish people consume more coffee per capita than any nation in the world. Eight or nine cups a day is normal for them.

people shopping in Vanha KauppahalliRobert’s Coffee is the oldest café in the Old Market Hall. There you can also enjoy breakfast, lunch and evening tapas using fresh Finnish ingredients.

You will find lots of Finnish food like pastries; the cinnamon rolls are very popular there.  The Finn’s also love healthy, organic food also straight from the farm.

display of souvenirs at market

You can also pick up some souvenirs.

The kids can try some reindeer chips!

Finnish meats display

Or you can get some fresh reindeer for yourself.

display of gelato at market square

You can finish your day with some gelato. That’s always a hit with kids!

sivlerware on table at restaurant with bread and water

While we were there we had traditional salmon soup at Story, a Nordic café and restaurant.

*For more information on Finnish foods click HERE.

Finish salmon soup on a table at restaurant

The Finn’s love their salmon soup.  It’s hearty, served with fresh bread and the dill gives it a Finnish twist.  Salmon soup is a big part of the Finnish culture and is a staple everywhere you go.

Korkeasaari Zoo

Just minutes away from Market Square, you can hop on a bus or ferry to get to Korkeasaari Zoo.  It is one of the oldest zoos in the world, built in 1889 and is open every day of the year.

While walking through beautiful Finnish nature, you will come across large Amur tigers, tiny pygmy marmosets, agile snow leopards, impressive wisents and dazzling, free roaming peafowls alongside indigenous Finnish species such as the elk, bear, wolverine and forest reindeer.

Depending on the season and if purchased online, tickets for kids are anywhere from 8-10 Euros and 14-16 Euros for adults. There are discounts for seniors and small groups and children under 4 are free. Bonus!

There’s even a children’s playground there perfect for digging!
 
There are also some very scenic places to take beautiful pictures of. 
 

The Zoo shop at the ferry harbor is open from May to September. You can purchase plush toy animals from elks to snakes and other Korkeasaari Zoo products. A minishop at the Mustikkamaa ticket office is open from October to April.

SkySauna

If your looking for a really unique experience, you can go on a Ferris wheel with the kids and try the SkySauna. It is Finnish tradition to sauna with the family and this takes it to the next level! Imagine seeing the beautiful city of Helsinki from the skyline!

SkySauna is open from April to December and closed for the coldest months.  SkySauna prices start from 240 € / hour (for 1-4 people) and additional hours are half price. For groups larger than four people, there will be an extra cost of 30 € per person. This includes a drinking package or a customized package.. Towels are included in the price, bathrobes and sandals can be rented separately.

Pools in Market Square Helsinki

Outdoor Pools

It is not uncommon to see people coming in and out of the outdoor pools very early in the morning.  The Finn’s love a good, healthy, start to their day. This site has one large freshwater pool and one freshwater pool for children, both of which are filled with water heated to 27 degrees Celsius.
 
pools by the SkySauna at Market Square, Helsinki
 
There is also one sea water pool, filled with purified sea water. The temperature in that pool actually changes with the sea, meaning that anyone interested in an authentic ice swimming experience in the Finnish winter can try it out at Allas. For those who will need to warm up after a dip in ocean temperatures, there’s also a women’s sauna, men’s sauna and a shared sauna that can also be rented out. The temperature in the sauna will hit about 80 degrees Celsius.

Suomenlinna Sea Fortress

Just minutes away by boat from Market Square is Suomenlinna Sea Fortress. There are 3 Era’s of history at Suomenlinna Sea Fortress ; the Swedish era 1748-1808, the Russian era 1808-1918, and the Era of independent Finland.

In May 1918, the fortress was renamed Suomenlinna (‘Castle of Finland’) to reflect Finland’s independence, and it was annexed to the state of Finland. Soon, the fortress housed various Defence Forces units and Suomenlinna became a Finnish garrison.

#PeopleOfSuomennlinna

Suomenlinna has about 800 residents with 400-500 people working there in the fortress all year round. There is a preschool there and Suomenlinna islands hosts for museums, artists work rooms and have conference facilities and banquet facilities.

There are 6 Museums, including the Toy Museum; my favorite, and I’m sure the kids’ favorite too. Entry Price for adults is €7.00 and child is €3.00.

*save and get free entry to 28+ top attractions and tours in Helsinki by getting the sightseeing pass.

There’s a beautiful space to sit and eat and chat with friends.

This space is next to a coffee/cake shop inside with all sorts of pastries and eats.

There are lots of vintage toys to check out and an area to purchase cute toys and games too. The Toy Museum is definitely an interesting stop on the island and a place to indulge in childhood nostalgia.

There are so many picturesque locations on the island, you will definitely want to bring your camera.

Market square in Helsinki is one place you want to spend a day or to at. There are so many places to visit close by and at the market.

What peaks your interest?

2 Comments

  1. Never been to Helsinki but I would love to visit, moreover I’d like to spend time at Old Market Hall. I would spend ages there because I love trying food I don’t have in my country. Great pics x

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