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Helsinki: what to see and what to do
1. TÖÖLÖNLAHTI – A STRING OF CULTURAL PEARLS
Why? The Töölönlahti area is developing at full tilt and, in a way, brings the centre even closer to Vaakuna. The concentration of buildings of cultural interest in Töölönlahti is right beside Vaakuna and within easy reach of our guests.
Nearby Töölönlahti, with its cultural buildings, is a good place to enjoy the fresh air and the scenery of Helsinki. As you walk along the shore of Töölönlahti bay you can see the most significant cultural locations at the same time: Helsinki Music Centre, Finlandia Hall and the Finnish National Opera. It's fun to go for a picnic in the area's parks – you can get scooters for children from reception to take with you.
Come back a different way, along Mannerheimintie. You will go past the National Museum of Finland and Parliament House. An hour's walk and you have seen a large part of the most important sites in Helsinki.
2. CLASSIC FUNCTIONALIST ARCHITECTURE ON OUR DOORSTEP
Why? Paavo Tynell, who designed Vaakuna's lighting fixtures, was one of the best-known functionalist designers. His most famous work is the design of the lighting fixtures of Lasipalatsi ("Glass Palace"). Lasipalatsi is a functionalist building from the same period as Vaakuna.
Pääpostitalo (the Main Post Office) is, in addition to Lasipalatsi, one of the most well-known functionalist buildings in Helsinki and it is right next to us.
Although our doors did not open until 1952, the designing of Vaakuna already started in the 1930s. On the table of the architect, Erkki Huttunen, the Sokos-Vaakuna building became a fine functionalist building next to two other well-known functionalist buildings, Lasipalatsi and Postitalo. Go and visit both of them. Lasipalatsi was one of the most popular entertainment centres in its time, housing the very large cinema, Bio Rex. Have a look in particular at the lighting fixtures. They are the most famous work of Paavo Tynell, who was also our lighting designer.
The lobby of the Main Post Office is a protected location. The building offers a diverse range of services; a café, a restaurant and one of Helsinki's most interesting libraries.
3. SIMBERG AND CHAGALL IN ATENEUM ART MUSEUM
Why? Close to Vaakuna and visible from it, a very important location in Helsinki.
During your stay in Helsinki we recommend a visit to Finland's national gallery, the Ateneum Art Museum. The soul needs to be fed too. The walk from here to the Ateneum is only two sets of traffic lights; it takes three minutes.
Of the Finnish works, the most well-known are paintings by Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Helene Schjerfbeck and Hugo Simberg. The most notable names in the international collection are Marc Chagall, Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh.
Exhibitions at the museum are a refreshing addition to the permanent collections.
4. MODERN ART AT KIASMA
Why? Kiasma is next to Vaakuna and represents the developing city and the Vaakuna of today.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, is situated at the top of Töölönlahti, next to the hotel and guarded by Mannerheim himself, the Marshal of Finland. Experience here the latest in contemporary art.