Nice cafés with lots of character are part of the summer in Helsinki. Take a trip out to the idyllic wooden house district of Puu-Käpylä, the empty urban spaces of Sompasaari, the green oasis of Töölönlahti, the botanic gardens of Kaisaniemi, the quiet residential district of Munkkiniemi or the historic pavilion at Hietaranta Beach and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere. The summer cafés run by Helsinki Youth Services are also well worth a visit.
Sompasaari in the former harbour area at Sörnäinen and the adjacent Kalasatama area have been transformed into new residential areas since 2010. Whole new parts of the city have risen out of the former industrial areas, and when fully completed in 2035, the area should be home to 17,000 residents. The empty land at the southern tip of Sompasaari has for years been home to Ihana Kahvila, literally the “Lovely Café”, where you can sit and admire the transformation of the former harbour, the fine graffiti art and Helsinki’s fine silhouette. Ihana Kahvila is like a public secret, just like the nearby Sompasauna.
Open June to August, Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-7pm.
Situated on the opera side of the Töölönlahti bay, Kahvila Tyyni is an easily approachable and unpretentious hiking place right in the heart of the urban nature. With its peaceful piers and pretty plants, “Café Calm” is the perfect place to watch the birdlife around the bay. This summer, the café will also host Club Tyyni on Saturday nights – see Facebook events for more information.
Open daily 9am-8pm (weather permitting).
Helsinginkatu 56, Töölönlahti
Sinisen huvilan kahvila
The “Blue Villa Café” sits atop a hill in the Linnunlaulu “birdsong” district overlooking the Töölönlahti bay. This charming outdoor café offers one of the finest views over the bay in the city centre. The café is situated in the garden of a wooden villa dating back to 1896.
Open daily 10am-10pm.
“Wood Kiosk Munkkiniemi” is a popular summer café in the heart of the Munkkiniemi residential district that serves ice cream, coffees, baked treats and refreshments. The café is easy to get to by tram number 4 to Laajalahden aukio, local buses or even city bike; there is a city bike station just 20 metres away, and parking places are available next to the café.
Open May-August, morning to evening (weather permitting).
“Café Hedgehog” in the idyllic district of Puu-Käpylä has won a place in the summer heart of Helsinki. This small street front café in one of the neighbourhood’s typical wooden buildings spreads out in summertime from June to August into the garden, warmly welcoming visitors of all ages – even those with fur. Kahvila Siili is also one of the best lunch and brunch places in Helsinki, serving fancy food and quality wines even!
Open daily until 10 August, 9am-7pm.
GT 1929 is a new licensed terrace café that opened this year at the Hietaranta Pavilion. The initials refer to Gunnar Taucher, the man who designed the pavilion. The café also serves burgers, pizzas and salads.
Open daily 12noon onwards.
Helsinki Youth Services’ summer cafés
The summer cafés run by Helsinki Youth Services are designed by young people and employ young people too. They offer delicious treats at affordable prices, as well as a fun programme of events and – of course – a great summer atmosphere!
The “Youth Eco Café” sells its own pastries and vegan food. The selection varies weekly but always includes coffees, teas and cold refreshments. Dog owners can access the terrace via the C-staircase corridor (door by the parking area). Pop-up workshops are held on the terrace throughout the summer – see Facebook for more information. There is also a used book cart where you can bring your own books and find something new to read for the summer.
Open Thursdays 12noon-6pm.
Laajasalo Youth Environmental Space and Library, Kauppakeskus Saari, Yliskylän puistokatu 4
The “Café Bird’s Nest” can be found at the Pihlajamäki Youth Park during opening hours. The café serves its own baked goods, both sweet and savoury, as well as refreshing drinks.
Open Monday-Friday 11am-6pm until 31 July.
Pihlajamäki Youth Park, Jengipolku 8
Kilikuppila is a café run by the Fallkulla Domestic Animal Farm as part of its youth activities, and young people play an active role in its operations. Dogs are also welcome.
Open Monday-Sunday 10am-3pm until 4 August.
Fallkulla Domestic Animal Farm, Malminkaari 24
Syötävä Puisto, Youth Summer Café
The “Edible Park” at Mustikkamaa, near Helsinki Zoo, has its own youth summer café, where you can enjoy art, music, ecological workshops, raw cakes, and sweet and savoury treats. Look up “Syötävä Puisto” on Facebook.
Open Monday-Sunday 1pm-6pm until 31 July.
In June and July at the Kumpula School Garden you can find Café Raparperimeri (“Rhubarb Sea”), which has been designed and is run by local young people. The café’s fresh pastries and vegetarian treats are made from the school’s own fresh ingredients. You can also enjoy garden games and activities. There is also an accessible wheelchair toilet.
Open Tuesday-Thursday 2pm-8pm until 25 July.
Kumpulan koulukasvitarha, Vähänkyröntie 3-6
The “Street Café Willow” is run by young people and livens up the Pukinmäki neighbourhood for the third year in a row with positive activities and interactions. The street café can be found in the pedestrian area of the Pukinmäkiaukio square, where locals and visitors can socialise. The café serves quality coffees by small roasteries, as well as tea and small snacks at affordable prices. Cash only!
Open Monday-Friday 10am-4pm until 28 June.