Top choice in Helsinki

One in a series of elegant, contemporary buildings in this part of town, curvaceous, metallic Kiasma, designed by Steven Holl and finished in 1998, is a symbol of the city’s modernisation. It exhibits an eclectic collection of Finnish and international contemporary art, including digital art, and has excellent facilities for kids. It includes a theatre and a hugely popular glass-sided cafe and terrace, yet the most successful thing about it is that it’s been embraced by the people of Helsinki.

Locals sunbathe on the grassy fringes and skateboarders perform aerobatics under the stern gaze of Mannerheim’s statue outside.

The gallery does provide some guided tours in English. For details, visit the website.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Helsinki attractions

1. Mannerheim Statue

0.01 MILES

This equestrian statue of Finland's most famous military commander stands next to the Kiasma museum.

2. Amos Rex

0.09 MILES

Set beneath the iconic 1936 Lasipalatsi building, art museum Amos Rex opened in 2018. Sweeping staircases take you below ground to the exhibition halls…

3. Sanomatalo

0.11 MILES

The gleaming glass headquarters of the main daily newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, is an iconic modern Helsinki building, designed by Finnish architects Jan…

4. Parliament House

0.14 MILES

Finland's imposing parliament building was designed by Finnish architect Johan Sigfrid Sirén and inaugurated in 1931. Its pared-back neoclassicism…

5. Oodi

0.15 MILES

Opened late 2018 as a 100th anniversary gift to the people of Finland, the central library is as aesthetically pleasing as it is intellectually…

6. Kamppi Chapel

0.15 MILES

Built in 2012 by Helsinki architectural firm K2S, this exquisite, ultracontemporary curvilinear chapel is constructed from wood (wax-treated spruce…

7. Luonnontieteellinen Museo

0.16 MILES

The city’s natural history museum is known for its controversial weathervane of a sperm impregnating an ovum. Modern exhibitions such as Story of the…

8. Kunsthalle Helsinki

0.19 MILES

Housed in a Jugendstil-style building dating back to 1928, Kunsthalle Helsinki hosts up to seven major, mostly contemporary exhibitions every year. Recent…