Unfamiliar with Helsinki? Go on a sightseeing tour or visit the major sites for a great way to take it in. Even those who are familiar can go on a tour to appreciate the city with new eyes. Go on a tour bus, a walking tour, or create your own tour via tram, car, or bus.
Solve an escape room mystery
This new trend has spread to Helsinki and become a fun alternate date idea. An escape room is a building that locks visitors in and has them solve various puzzles and riddles to get out within a set amount of time. It can range anywhere from a psychological horror game to a Sherlock Holmes-like mystery. This type of game can really bring a couple closer and even work as a trust exercise. Escape Room Helsinki is highly recommended and has several unique game scenarios to play through, some with a Finnish or Helsinki theme.
Escape Room Helsinki, Fabianinkatu 23, 00130 Helsinki, Finland, +358 10 323 57 32
Relax at a private island
A particularly distinctive trait of Helsinki is the archipelago stretching out beyond its borders and the many private islands only a short boat ride away from the city. For those who are able to own or rent one of these islands, it makes for a peaceful and beautiful place to take a date for some privacy to enjoy campfire cooking, swimming, or boating.
Spot some wildlife
Even in Finland’s capital city, it is possible to see wild birds and animals, some of them relatively rare. Animal lovers should go to Harakka Nature Centre just outside of the city to relax in peaceful surroundings, stroll along the trails, and spot some rare birds.
Go Nordic walking or skating
A uniquely Finnish sport for fitness enthusiasts to enjoy together, Nordic walking involves using specially designed poles that boost muscle strength. Nordic skating is even more exhilarating and uses similar poles to propel the body with roller skates during the summer or ice skates during the winter.
Support your team at a hockey game
Ice hockey is enormously popular in Finland and arenas such as Helsinki Ice Hall draw in thousands of spectators each year. While it may not be a common dating spot, it is ideal for those who enjoy hockey or sports in general.
Helsinki Ice Hall, Nordenskiöldinkatu 11-13, Helsinki, Finland, +358 9 477 7110
Do some volunteer work
Impress your date, spend quality time together, and contribute something to the local community all at the same time. There are plenty of organisations and charities throughout the city—everything from community art projects to dog walking—that are always in need of volunteers, and potential volunteers don’t necessarily need to be fluent in Finnish to join in.
Pick wild berries or mushrooms
Another highly Nordic activity, heading outdoors to gather berries and mushrooms during the late summer is popular in Finland. This can also be a fun date for those who enjoy the outdoors. Even near the city centre, there are many outdoor spaces in Helsinki to go foraging.
Visit a Christmas market
The romantic atmosphere, nostalgic decorations, and warm treats for sale at Helsinki’s Christmas markets make them ideal for winter dates. Being outdoors in the cold provides all the more excuses for getting a warm drink and cuddling up together. The Old Christmas Market is being held in central Helsinki from December 15-22, 2017, and it has a traditional semblance with local artisans selling crafts.
Helsinki Christmas Market, Senaatintori, Helsinki, Finland, +358 50 5443212
Paint at a graffiti wall
Those wanting to show off their creative side, try the Kallio Graffiti Wall, a free-for-all legal graffiti space where anyone is welcome to contribute their own art. Create something together and enjoy the affordable cafes in the Kallio District afterwards.
Explore an abandoned place
To be a little more adventurous, try exploring one of Helsinki’s abandoned or sparsely-visited spots. This carries more risk with it and should be done with caution—and only done if the space can be entered legally. However, when done safely, it provides an exciting experience and many fun memories. Popular with urban explorers is The Crown Mountain, a former mansion district which has now been abandoned. Look carefully and find some hidden former war fortifications that have been forgotten about.