June 04, 2024

Craft Guide to Helsinki, Finland

クラフトシティガイド: ヘルシンキ
Information: As of June 2023
Interviewed, written and photographed by Meri Tanaka Jemison


table of contents

Planning a visit
Places to go

Artist Profile

Morra Mills
Tuija Heikkinen
Eija Koski




Helsinki is on the Gulf of Finland, and the northernmost city with over a million in population. Relatively recently developed for a European city in the 19th Century, Helsinki has established its reputation as a Design Capital and one of the most livable cities in the world.
Finnish design such as Marimekko, Arabia and Iittala are very popular in Japan, and Helsinki is one of the most popular destinations for Japanese travelers. We were surprised to find signs in Japanese here and there in the city. Despite its altitude, the weather is relatively mild with only a few weeks of very cold temperatures (-20 C / -4 F) in winter. For knitters, it's the perfect weather almost year-round to show off your handknits!

Planning your visit

Summer time is definitely the best time to visit Helsinki, when the day is very long (up to 19 hours per day) and many events are happening, but spring (March to April) and fall (September) are also great because it doesn't get too cold.
In winter, make sure you have layers of clothes and hand-knit accessories to keep you warm in any season. Inside the buildings it's plenty warm, so be ready to take your layers off. When it's likely to snow, suitable boots are recommended.
Street signs are written in Finnish, Swedish and English in most places.
The weather is rather mild for a country at such high altitude, but it can still snow from November through mid- April.If you go north to Lappland, you may be able to see the aurora between September and March.



Helsinki is safe and quite walkable, but public transportation is very convenient, too. There are street cars, subways, and buses, in addition to local and long-distance trains, all run fairly punctually. For long- distance trains you can buy tickets at the station counter, but for others, tickets are only available at kiosks and vending machines. The easiest way is to get an HSL app (https://www.hsl.fi/en/tickets-and-fares/hsl-app) and buy tickets through the app.
If you stay in the city for sightseeing, it is recommended to get a day ticket for Zones A and B. The airport is in Zone C, and you can catch a train from Helsinki Central Station (a beautiful building designed by Eliel Saarinen).
Having said that, there are many places within walking distance to the city center, and you may not need to take any trains for a few days' visit.
From the airport, you can access the city center by train, or by taxi which costs about €30-40.


Photos: Helsinki Cathedral and Helsinki Central Library.
A street view of Helsinki. Inside Helsinki Central Station.




Places to go

Yarn Shop

Lankakauppa Snurre
Yrjönkatu 34, 00100 Helsinki
A great yarn shop conveniently located in the city centre, with a great selection of both Finnish and international brands, from hand dyed to rustic wool.


Lankakauppa FiinaNeule
Simonkatu 12, 00100 Helsinki
It's a small, easily accessible shop located just around the corner from Snurre.

Korkeavuorenkatu 20, 00120 Helsinki
A friendly city centre shop stocking a great range of European yarns and embroidery threads.

Kylänvanhimmantie 29, 00640 Helsinki
A large chain store with a wide selection of affordable yarn and craft supplies.


Textiles and Crafts

Taito Shop Helsky
Eteläesplanadi 4, 00130 Helsinki
Conveniently located near the water, this small craft and gift shop stocks yarn for knitting and crocheting, as well as work by local artists.

Kauppakeskus Tripla Kerros 2, Fredikanterassi 1, 00520 Helsinki
There are many products available, including handmade gifts, original jewelry and pottery, as well as craft supplies such as yarn, beads, and parts for making accessories.

Lauritzon Shop
Kapteeninkatu 20-22, 00140 Helsinki
We are a manufacturer and shop of interior textiles.

Kangaskauppa - Materials
Yrjönkatu 25, 00100 Helsinki
A shop selling textiles and sewing supplies needed for making dresses and tailoring clothes.

Paperkuppa Putinki
Korkeavuorenkatu 19, 00130 Helsinki
A stationery store with a wide selection of locally made paper products and cards.

Fredrikinkatu 18, 00120 Helsinki
A shop selling stationery, cards, paper craft kits, home decorations, and more from around the world.

PIHKA Collection
Punanotkonkatu 4, 00130 Helsinki
A leather bag specialty store that holds workshops where you can make your own custom bags and shoes.


Other stores

Keskuskatu 1 B, 00100 Helsinki
A furniture manufacturer and interior shop founded by Finland's leading architect, Alvar Aalto.

Artek 2nd Cycle
Pieni Roobertinkatu 4, 00130 Helsinki
A shop where you can find second-hand Artek items.

Lelukauppa Tingeling Leksaker
Yrjönkatu 34, 00100 Helsinki
A small toy store located right next to the yarn store Snurre. It has a cute selection of mainly European toys.

Papu Design
Pohjoisesplanadi 19, 00100 Helsinki
The flagship store of a small Finnish fashion brand known for its colorful prints.



Design Museum Arabia
Hämeentie 135 A 8th fl, 00560 Helsinki
Part of the Iittala & Arabia Design Center, this small private museum showcases the history of Iittala glassware and Arabia ceramics. The Arabia design department is on the same floor, and you can visit the studio space by reservation.

Design Museum
Korkeavuorenkatu 23, 00130 Helsinki
This is a modern Finnish design museum that mainly exhibits product design. It is scheduled to merge with the Museum of Finnish Architecture, which is located in the same block, in the near future.

Nervanderinkatu 3, 00100 Helsinki
Contemporary art from Finland and around the world is housed in beautiful modern architecture in the city centre.

The National Museum
Mannerheimintie 34, 00100 Helsinki

Seurasaari Open-Air Museum
Seurasaari, 00250 Helsinki
Located in the Meilahti district, 4 km from central Helsinki, the museum offers a comprehensive picture of rural life in Finland from the 18th to the 20th centuries through 87 separate buildings. Open only in summer.

Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma
Mannerheiminaukio 2, 00100 Helsinki
The museum collects and exhibits contemporary art from Finland, Scandinavia, the Baltic Sea region, Russia, and other countries.

Espoo Museum of Modern Art (EMMA)
Exhibition Centre WeeGee
Ahertajantie 5, 02070 Espoo
It exhibits contemporary and modern art, design and experimental works, and on the second floor the Tapio Wirkkala-Rut Bryk Foundation's permanent collection is on display.

The Gallen-Kallela Museum
Gallen-Kallelan tie 27, 02600 Espoo
This castle-like studio and residence was designed and built by Akseli Gallen-Kallera and opened to the public as the Gallen-Kallera Museum in 1961 .



The Aalto House
Riihitie 20, 00330 Helsinki
This well-preserved house was designed and lived in by Aalto for several decades. Book a guided tour in advance.

Studio Aalto
Tiilimäki 20, 00330 Helsinki
Located near the Aalto House, the architecture studio is still in use and is open to the public for guided tours, which also require prior booking.

Tempelhiakio Church
Lutherinkatu 3, 00100 Helsinki
This Lutheran church is a popular tourist attraction in the Töölö district. It was designed by Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen and opened in 1969. It is also known as the Rock Church because it is built directly into solid rock.

Helsinki Central Library Oodi
Toölönlahdenkatu 4, 00100 Helsinki
Commonly known as Oodi , this public library in the center of Helsinki opened in 2018 and was designed by the Finnish architectural firm ALA Architects .

Helsinki Central Station
Kaivokatu 1, 00100 Helsinki
Helsinki's main station was designed by Finnish master architect Eliel Saarinen and opened in 1919. It has been selected as one of the most beautiful train stations by the BBC .

Hernesaarenranta 4, 00150 Helsinki
This seaside sauna and restaurant was designed by the Finnish architectural firm Avanto Architects and opened in 2016. It is a stylish place where you can enjoy ocean views.



Cafe Aalto
Pohjoisesplanadi 39 00100, Helsinki
Located inside the Academic Bookstore in Helsinki, designed by Alvar Aalto, an icon of Nordic design, the cafe is an oasis for locals and visitors from all over the world.

Cafe Tarina - Munkkiniemi
Laajalahdentie 20, 00330 Helsinki
A cafe near Studio Aalto. It is located on the way from the nearest bus stop to the studio, so it is the perfect place to fill your stomach before visiting Aalto's architecture.

Bardot Bistro
Kluuvikatu 1, 00100 Helsinki
Cozy French bistro in the heart of the city with great atmosphere and delicious food.

Eteläesplanadi 14, 00130 Helsinki
The interior was designed by Aino and Alvar Aalto and it opened in 1937. Worth a visit for architecture/design buffs. Reservations recommended.

Eteläesplanadi 1, 00130 Helsinki
Located at the eastern end of Esplanade Park in the city centre, this restaurant opened in 1867. It was a popular local restaurant among poets, writers and artists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and has great ambience and food.

Sue Ellen
Eteläranta 16, 00130 Helsinki
Conveniently located near South Harbour, this restaurant serves fresh seafood and charcoal-grilled meats. Reservations are recommended.



Hotel F6
Fabianinkatu 6, 00130 Helsinki
Located near the Esplanade Park and South Harbour, this boutique hotel offers helpful, friendly service and a delicious breakfast.

Hotel U14
Unioninkatu 14, 00130 Helsinki
A slightly more expensive sister hotel to Hotel F6 , it offers well-designed, comfortable rooms and high-quality service.