Helsinki with kids: 12 family activities

You can do just fine on a city trip of a few days to Helsinki with kids. The city offers enough family activities to keep you entertained for at least a few days. Of course, it is also fun to include a visit to the capital of Finland in a trip through Finland with the family! When we took a city trip to Helsinki, it was in the winter months and there was a very thick layer of snow in the capital. Following our visit, we list all the fun activities in Helsinki with kids.

Helsinki with kids
Helsinki with kids

Helsinki with kids #1: Exploring the city

As we mentioned, there was a thick layer of snow in Helsinki when we visited the city and it was not very pleasant to visit the city. Still, you can take a nice tour of the downtown area during the summer months. Thus, you have a number of special churches that are worth a look.

You can start your tour at the Palace of Helsinki right in the center, and from here you can walk to the Uspensky Cathedral in five minutes. This structure is known for its red bricks and golden domes. Near this cathedral, you also have the city’s Ferris wheel just a few minutes walk away and here you can also have a great time sitting by the water. Here is also a pool Allas Sea Pool, where you and your kids can cool off in the summer.

From this cathedral you can walk in just under ten minutes to Helsinki Cathedral which is precisely known for its green domes on the towers. In between, you can stop at Kauppatori Market Square on the waterfront, which is also a nice place to walk around and have a drink. Another special church you could possibly visit is about a twenty-minute walk from Helsinki Cathedral and that is Temppeliaukio Rock Church. This is a church built into a rock and looks impressive from the inside.

Tip: If you don’t want to walk too much, streetcar line 3 and streetcar line 2 are ideal to use. These two streetcar lines run into each other, making a sort of eight through the center of the city. You can get to many of the city’s sights with this streetcar. Check in advance what all you want to see and whether the streetcar lines pass through here. This saves a lot of walking if you are with young kids, for example.

Helsinki with kids
Helsinki with kids

Helsinki with kids #2: Linnanmaki amusement park

Just outside the city center is an amusement park that you can visit with your kids. From downtown, you can reach this amusement park in about twenty minutes by public transportation. In this amusement park you have several attractions for both young and older kids. You can visit the amusement park for free, but then you pay for each ride on an attraction you take. You can also choose to purchase a wristband for a certain amount, which will allow you to use all the attractions for an entire day.

There are some attractions you can visit for free, but these are the ones for young kids, such as the bumper cars, carousel, pirate ships and the little train. There are also playgrounds in the amusement park and a water labyrinth. The amusement park also has a panorama tower, where you can get a great view of Helsinki.

The amusement park has plenty of catering establishments for snacks and drinks, and of course the fast food dishes of fries with a burger dominate. Yet you can also eat Mexican burritos, Italian pastas and salads here at various catering establishments. You can easily have a whole day here if you purchase a wristband, which gives you access to all the attractions. For more information on opening hours, entrance fees and the various attractions, check out Linnanmaki‘s website.

Helsinki with kids #3: Helsinki Zoo

You can also go to the zoo in Helsinki with kids. This zoo is located on Korkeasaari Island. It’s a medium-sized zoo, where you don’t have all the famous big African animals like the elephant, giraffe and rhinoceros, but you can still see several large animals like the tiger, brown bear and camel. You can reach the island in three ways: by car (free parking at the zoo), by subway and bus (number 16) or by the zoo’s own ferry leaving from Central Market Square.

The zoo has mostly local animals such as moose and reindeer. There is also a section with various reptiles. At the zoo, you have plenty of catering options such as the restaurant located near the bears, which also has a great playground for the kids. That way, you can have lunch at your leisure at noon and the kids can play right after they finish eating.

You can easily spend half a day at this zoo and the zoo is open 365 days a year. Keep in mind that there are several elevation changes in the zoo. For more information on opening hours, admission prices and different animals, take a look at the zoo’s website.

Helsinki with kids #4: Suomenlinna island

You can also go to a kind of fortress island in Helsinki with kids. Suomenlinna island can be reached by boat and it takes you about 15 minutes from the city center to reach the island. This ferry is very easy to book from Kauppatori market square. The island has several museums that you can visit, but you can also just walk around just fine.

In fact, you can walk a route across the island of one and a half kilometers, where you already see much of the island. On the island you will find walls of castles and cannons. Therefore, especially for young kids, it is a great place to visit when the weather is nice and you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a while.

At the visitor center, they also have a trail for young kids where they can search for gnomes on the island. There are also several restaurants on the island where you can get something to eat and drink. There is also a supermarket on the island, where you can buy some food and drinks.

Helsinki with kids: other activities

In addition to the four activities described above, there are other activities you can do with kids in Helsinki. We list them briefly below.

#5 Natural History Museum: like most cities around the world, Helsinki also has one. As in most museums, you will find many stuffed animals and skeletons of dinosaurs and other animals. The museum’s downside is that most of the information in the museum is not displayed in English. However, there is an audio tour, which does allow you to choose the English language. On the top floor of the museum, there is also an opportunity to picnic.

#6 Sea Life: like in many other cities around the world, you have a branch of Sea Life here, where you can look at various sea creatures in different aquariums. Sea Life does lie slightly outside the center and by car you can get there in just over a ten-minute drive from the center. You can view sharks, turtles, squids, rays and seahorses in the various aquariums here. One of the highlights of Sea Life is the underwater tunnel, where you can walk under and see the entire underwater world above your head.

#7 Outdoor Museum Seurasaari: This museum is located on Seurasaari Island and has various cottages from all regions of Finland. You can do great hiking here and the squirrels get very close. By public transportation, you can reach this island in about half an hour. The island is free to visit, but you do pay a few euros to have access to the various cottages on the island.

#8 Heureka: This science museum is half an hour by public transportation from the city center. Kids can do various experiments here to learn more about science. The museum also includes a planetarium, where you can watch 3d movies. The museum also has a restaurant with several healthy (vegetarian) options.

Helsinki with kids
Helsinki with kids

#9 Serena Water Park: if you visit the city of Helsinki with kids in the summer, it can be nice to cool off on some days. Just over a half-hour drive from downtown is a nice water park, where they have both an outdoor pool and an indoor pool with several slides. By public transportation, this water park is a bit more difficult to visit, so a (rental) car is handy if you want to visit this water park. In the winter months, this water park is actually a ski resort.

#10 Tropicario: If your kids love reptiles, you may want to visit this small terrarium. By streetcar line 7 you can reach Tropicario in about twenty minutes and you have snakes, caimans and turtles here.

#11 Hop on Hop off bus: if you want to quickly see much of the city of Helsinki with kids, these buses are ideal. In total, the buses make a ninety-minute round trip through the city, stopping at nineteen different points in the city where there is something to see. You can buy tickets for 24 hours and 48 hours and during this period you can use these buses freely.

#12 Canal tour: the city of Helsinki is by the sea, so you can book a canal tour from the waterfront. You sail for an hour and a half through Helsinki’s canals, and you can grab a bite to eat and a drink along the way. A relaxing way to see the city of Helsinki with kids.

Helsinki with kids
Helsinki with kids

Helsinki with kids: Helsinki Card

Like almost all major cities, Helsinki has a card that you can purchase that gives you access to various attractions in the city. In total, there are more than 25 tourist attractions in the city that you can access. Look in advance all what you want to do in Helsinki with kids and then see if the card gives you benefits. Usually you don’t get such a card out until you start doing a lot of things in the city. You can purchase the card for 24, 48 or 72 hours. For all the information, check out the Helsinki Card website.

In addition to this card, you also have a Helsinki Pass and it has just a different price and different conditions. Again, you have access to various sights in the city and this pass also gives advantage if you want to do many activities in the city of Helsinki with kids.

Helsinki with kids
Helsinki with kids

Where to stay in Helsinki with kids?

You can stay in Helsinki with kids just fine. You can find plenty of accommodations suitable for families with kids. We list some options below in the different price ranges.

Budget hotel: Inn Tourist Hotel & Hostel

Mid-range hotel: Scandic Pasila

Luxury hotel: Radisson Blu Aleksanteri Hotel, Helsinki

For a list of all accommodations in Helsinki, take a look here.

Helsinki with kids
Helsinki with kids

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