Shopping in Helsinki is a lot of fun. Interesting and stylish boutiques, friendly shopkeepers, and a concentrated shopping area make it easy to have a good time. Start at Market Square (Kauppatori), then work your way up the Esplanadi (a grand boulevard with a park running down the middle of it) and back down the shopping street that runs parallel to it — Aleksanterinkatu. I came back with a few unique gifts and souvenirs to take home along with loads of inspiration for Sycamore Street Press. – Eva
1) Eat & Joy Farmer’s Market (Maatilatori) – Full of local Finnish food items — everything from bread to chocolate to fresh produce — this is the perfect place to stop in for lunch and pick up some souvenirs for your family back home. I chose some Finnish artisanal chocolate and black licorice to bring back as gifts, then sat down for their lunch special. It’s a thing they do all over Helsinki — you get the soup of the day, salad, bread, and coffee or tea for a set price. It’s a great deal, and the spread at Eat & Joy was hearty and delicious.
2) Marimekko – I’ve been a fan of this famous Finnish brand since forever, so of course I HAD to see their flagship store in Helsinki. It did not disappoint. Big airy rooms, bright colors and patterns everywhere you look, it had me drooling. I tried on a few dresses, but being pregnant at the time, they didn’t fit quite right. Bad timing! Next time…
3) The Academic Bookstore (Akateeminen) – Even if you only go for the architecture, it’s well worth it. Designed by the great Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto, the soaring ceilings, skylights, and modern lines are simply beautiful to look at. But they also have a great collection of books and one of the best selections of English language books we saw on our entire European trip. Kirk and I each picked up some reading for the trip, and Ingrid picked out a couple of small books that are still favorites almost a year later.
4) Monki – Now I realize that this is a Swedish chain store, and therefore shouldn’t really be on this list. BUT. 1) It’s awesome. It seems like every other person on the Stockholm Street Style blog is wearing something from this place. 2) It’s affordable. 3) We don’t have it in the States, so if you happen to go to Helsinki (or any big city in Scandinavia) you should check it out. I bought a couple of necklaces there, and I get complimented every time I wear them.
5) Market Square (Kaupatori) – A picturesque marketplace right on the waterfront, you can find everything from reindeer pelts, to umbrellas, to a warm plate of sausage and potatoes. When the weather turned freezing during our October trip, Kirk bought a pair of handknit mittens. (The market at Hakaniemi Square is also great, but you’ll have to hop on a tram to get there from the downtown shopping area. )