The Top 7 Things To Do in Helsinki's Design District

Eliza Marin

Helsinki‘s Design District is one condensed constellation of creativity in the core of the city centre itself. Covering over 25 streets and containing 200 buildings, there’s plenty of activities and interest for the culture hungry traveller.The Culture Trip rounds up the best.

1. Design Museum

Building, Museum, Shop

Founded 142 years ago in 1873, the Design Museum is one of the oldest museums in the world. Situated on Korkeavuorenkatu Street, in a neo-gothic building, its vast collection comprises of over 75,000 objects and 100,000 drawings. The goal of the institution is to create an ongoing dialogue between its visitors and the global design world. Exhibitions of the Finnish golden era are present, while contemporary graphic design creations and architectural nuances add another dimension.

2. Marimekko

Shop, Store

© Design Milk/Flickr
There can be no talk about the Design District without mentioning the famous vivid patterns of Marimekko clothing lines and textiles. This shop gained its worldwide fame back in the 1950s, when Jackie Kennedy changed her French clothing line for the northern styles of the Finnish store. With factories only in Finland, Marimekko has made an important contribution to the fashion industry, improving fabric quality and broadening the colour palette used by designers.

3. Lokal Café & Shop

Shop, Art Gallery

Lokal, Helsinki
© Courtesy of Lokal
Art and coffee combine at the exceptional Lokal, which fuses hand-crafted ceramics, furniture, textiles, art pieces and the like with a pinch of coffee roasted by Helsingin Kahvipaahtimo. Lokal gathers independent Finish art, from installations to wood furniture, challenging the artistic boundaries and recycling objects of everyday life. Contemporary artists such as graphic designer Aimo Katajamäki, who exhibited at the annex of the Finnish parliament, Jouko Kärkkäinen and Inka Kivalo are all regular names.

4. Museum of Finish Architecture

Building, Museum

Museum of Finish Architecture
© Jean-Pierre Dalbéra/Flickr
Currently housing exhibitions of drawings, photography, scale models of architecture and interior design, The Museum of Finnish Architecture is renowned for addressing past and current conversations about Finnish urbanism in a global context. The petite museum on Ullanlinna Street resides in a neo-classical building designed by the architect Magnus Schjerfbeck and is dedicated to promoting the modern architecture in Finland.

5. Paja


Courtesy of Paja
An artisan studio and shop for delicate and unique jewellery pieces, Paja is an original Finnish boutique that focusses on hand-made accessory design. Concentrating on simple lines and geometrics, the jewellery offering includes silver necklaces, rings, earrings and colorful patterns throughout. The shop also offers a wide range of hand-made bags and textile pieces.

6. Bukowskis Market


One of the oldest auction houses of fine art in Scandinavia, Bukowskis has been going since 1870 and is known for serving renowned public figures such as King Charles XV and film director Ingmar Bergman. The controversial hibiscus flowers considered to be Andy Warhol’s European debut, a wardrobe of the legendary Swedish actress Greta Garbo and one of Picasso’s drawings of the dove of peace, are just some of the world’s priceless objects to have been bid on between its walls.

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