Known from projects like Helsinki Sauna Day, Jaakko Blomberg from Yhteismaa (Common Ground) is a true urban active. Yhteismaa was kicked off in 2012 as a non-profit organisation that plans and carries through projects, events and services with a societal purpose. The NGO's initiatives and events share an aim of urban life that is more fun, free, sustainable, responsible and communal. Yhteismaa's projects - alongside Sauna Day - include Cleaning Day, Dinner Under the Sky, the Nappinaapuri neighbourhood service and the Living Room Exhibition. Blomberg listed his top Helsinki tips.
Some of the best events in town are the neighbourhood block parties: Kallio Block Party, Kumpula Village Party, Arabia Street Festival, KontuFestari, Herttoniemi Block Party and many more. This year I unfortunately missed several of them, and will avoid this mistake next summer.
Forget about shopping for new things, Helsinki has plenty of flea markets around the whole year, but especially in spring and summer. The best finds can be made at self-run neighbourhood events, where you can rummage through treasures that have been buried in basements for years. And of course, the crown jewel: our own Cleaning Day that transforms the whole city into a flea market!
ALPPIPUISTO PARK AND LINNANMÄKI ROCKS
The free-of-charge festival at Alppipuisto at the end of July is a great addition to the Helsinki summer. Great bands, laid-back vibe and on top of that it's right next to my house. At the end of the day, the rocks by the Linnanmäki amusement park offer a prime spot around sunset.
Alppipuisto Park Google Maps
VEGGIE FOOD ON VAASANKATU
The Kallio street of Vaasankatu and its surroundings have been shaping into a hotspot for affordable and good vegetarian food. You can also do your grocery shopping at Vegekauppa, and quench any level of thirst at the numerous bars in the area.
KÄÄNTÖPÖYTÄ - TURNTABLE
In the middle of the rail tracks in Pasila, a green oasis doubles as an urban gardening lot and a brunch and events venue. This is the type of surprising distortion that a tidy urban horizon needs.
Opened a couple of years ago on Helsinginkatu, Rupla is a great addition to Kallio's arts, events, shopping and food scenes. Bold exhibitions, fun events and a good brunch.
It's been a long time that I've been longing for some life around the old railway engineering workshop Bruno - and now it's happening. A weekend flea market, night-time gigs, good food, a sunny terrace and all kinds of other action.
Aleksis Kiven katu 17 A
JÄNÖ - A VEGAN FAST FOOD WINDOW
My last tip is Jänö ('Bunny'), a fast food kiosk we opened by the National Museum in August, serving vegan treats like dishes from pulled oats. A special twist to the story is that it's funded through a crowdfunding and run by a co-op that anyone can join. And the old late-functionalism era kiosk is worth a visit even just for the architecture!