Helsinki is a very child and family friendly city. Accessibility with prams, strollers and wheel chairs is in general very good compared to many European cities. From the free playgrounds with guided activities to the generous amount of childcare rooms available in almost every shopping mall, having children, even small ones, is by no means a barrier to living in or visiting Helsinki, quite the contrary! As more and more families are staying put (as opposed to moving to the country side when forming families) we felt there was a need to create a site to share tips on things to do in Helsinki with children (read more about our story here). Here are some top tips for families in Helsinki, be they tourists, expats or locals.
An adult traveling in HSL public transportation such as by bus, tram, metro or train with a child under 6 that’s seated in a stroller or pram, gets to travel free of charge. This means you can travel anywhere within the HSL region for free with you child. One should be aware that this rule only applies to one adult. If, for example, a family of three with two adults and one 2-year-old in a stroller are taking the metro together, one of the adults must buy a metro ticket. Read more about this fantastic rule on HSL’s site
Most shopping malls and public places have well equipped childcare rooms. There appears to be an ongoing competition between shopping malls on who has the best equipped childcare rooms. Honorable mentions of places with excellent childcare rooms are the Helsinki City Museum, Ateneum Museum, Ipanainen, Forum, Stockmann (City center), ITIS, Kaari, Easton.
Hit the museums! One of Pienten Helsinki’s warmest recommendations is to get a Museum Card (non-affiliated link)! There are plenty of museum’s in Helsinki that have excellent sections for children. From personal experience, one of the most treasured memories from when our child was a baby, was walking through the Ateneum museum with the baby sleeping in the pram. Pienten Helsinki has a long list of articles about trips to different museums in Helsinki which we will be translating from Finnish as soon as possible. One place that simply cannot be mentioned enough is, of course, the Helsinki City Museum which is not only free of charge but has perhaps the largest kids area of all museums!
Get out of town! No seriously, the city center is all fine and good but the real treasure of Helsinki can be found outside the city. Fancy a swim? Take the metro to Kalasatama, walk over the new footbridge to Mustikkamaa and its pretty beaches. Or skip the beach and walk to Korkeasaari Zoo instead. Or if Mustikkamaa seems too mainstream, take the metro to Kulosaari and check out Kivinokka beach. Feeling adventurous? Take a day trip to Lammassaari and walk over the newly constructed boardwalks (that’s wide enough for strollers and prams) to a stunning nature reserve. There are hundreds of free parks and public places around Helsinki, most that are easily accessible by public transportation or about a half an hour car ride away. Stay tuned for more in-depth coverage of places such as these on Pienten Helsinki.
Support your local library! Every library in Helsinki has a children’s section that not only houses children’s books, but are also equipped some toys, puzzles, computers etc. The personnel are usually extremely helpful to kids and families and are often more than happy to help out visitors while letting the kids chill out for a bit. Libraries in Finland in general could be summed up as public living rooms. List of libraries in the Helsinki region
Anything we missed? Well, obviously we did, since there’s no way to condense all tips into five points. If you have any suggestions about the kind of content in English you’d like to see more of, please leave a comment below or drop us a line by mail, on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!