Helsinki is said to offer one of the best snapshots of Finnish culture. As the capital of Finland, the city plays host to a whole slew of artistic events, iconic landmarks, cultural museums, and — of course — markets.
So, if you’re wondering where to find food, art, vintage clothing, and other Finnish bric-a-brac, check out these seven open-air markets scattered across the city.
HIETALAHTI FLEA MARKET (HIETSU)
Address: Lönnrotinkatu 34, 00180 Helsinki, Finland
The Hietalahti Flea Market, or Hietsu, is one of Helsinki’s most popular summertime marketplaces. Although Hietsu is open during the winter as well, the market attracts hundreds of vendors and tens of thousands of visitors every year from April to September. Located at Hietalahti Square in the Design District, Hietsu is known for its handicrafts, jewelry, and ceramics. If you choose to visit the market on a weekend (which is highly recommended), be sure to get there first thing in the morning — and be prepared to bargain! And, if you find you’re in need of a food-break after perusing the market’s many booths, head to the Hietalahti Market Hall and order tori kahvit (coffee) and a munkki (donut).
MARKET SQUARE (KAUPPATORI)
Address: Eteläranta, 00170 Helsinki, Finland
Helsinki’s most famous international marketplace is located near its city center. Known as both Market Square and Kauppatori, the market features shops and stalls selling everything from traditional Finnish treats to flowers and handmade artisan crafts. There are also a number of cafés nearby, if you have a hankering for lihapiirakka (Finnish meat pies). And, if you visit at peak hours, you can enjoy the musical stylings of the square’s many street performers. From its annual Herring fish market, held every October, to its monthly parade of classic American cars, this market is always bustling.
OLD MARKET HALL
Open: Monday through Saturday
Address: Eteläranta, 00130 Helsinki, Finland
Situated in Eteläranta, next to Market Square, Old Market Hall houses a variety of both local and international delicacies. Dating back to 1888, this church-like structure is the oldest market hall in the city and the most revered for its traditional Scandinavian architecture. The market offers 25 different merchant stalls and a wide selection of fresh, local foods. Whether you’re looking for cheese, seafood, or reindeer meat, Old Market Hall has it all — and as a bonus, all of the dishes prepared here utilize traditional Finnish culinary techniques.
HAKANIEMI SUNDAY FLEA MARKET
Address: Hämeentie 1, 00530 Helsinki, Finland
Those looking for a traditional market atmosphere should head to Hakaniemi Square on the first Sunday of the month. The Hakaniemi Flea Market was founded by two young entrepreneurs looking to create an inclusive space for artists, locals, and tourists alike. Today, the market is one of the most awaited and acclaimed in the city, offering over 200 vendor stalls. And, since a trip to the flea market isn’t complete without food, be sure to stop in at one of the square’s many cafés, which offer traditional Finnish outdoor market treats: salmon soup, sausages, licorice, and waffles.
Address: Työpajankatu 2, 00580 Helsinki, Finland
Abattoir, locally known as Teurastamo, is a market that exhibits the delicious food culture of Helsinki like no other. Constructed in 1933, the market has served as the city’s slaughterhouse for decades, but has since been revitalized into a fresh-food fest. In addition to food stalls, restaurants, and wholesale shops, the market hosts food events every month — including its famous farmers’ market, where city residents and local farmers gather their locally grown, organic ingredients and grill together in the square.
Open: Monday through Saturday
Address: Bulevardi 42, 00180 Helsinki, Finland
Located on the coast between Ruoholahti and Kamppi, Hietalahden Kirpputori is a market known for its vintage and antique treasures. The flea market itself is massive by city standards, and it’s the ideal place to look for furniture, handbags, clothing, household goods, comic books, records, jewelry, and various knick-knacks. But, aside from shopping, Hietalahden Kirpputori also offers plenty of snacking opportunities — from fresh produce to pastries and pies. No matter what you’re in search of, it’s probably here.
Open: Tuesday through Saturday
Address: Merikatu 3, 00140 Helsinki, Finland
If you were to ask someone who lives in Helsinki to recommend a flea market, you’d likely hear a lot of answers containing the words “Kaivarin Kanuuna.” Although the popular marketplace isn’t technically a flea market, it’s more or less a self-service second-hand shop. And because it’s located in a posh part of the city, it promises gems ranging from vintage clothing and accessories to books and smaller home-goods. Located on the Kaivopuisto waterfront, within walking distance of Kaivopuisto Park, this market has a little something for everyone.
Header image by Ethan Hu