Thursday, August 28, 2014

Helsinki seasons: Autumn!

Perhaps you read my earlier post of Helsinki all year round? Now it's time for the first part of my "Helsinki seasons" series:

Autumn in Helsinki!

In Helsinki you'll find all the four seasons. Autumn starts roughly at the beginning of September and turns to winter sometime during November or December. In terms of climate, autumns in Helsinki can be warm and sunny, cool and sunny, cool and rainy, very cold rainy or very cold and snowy. Hmm... Prepare for everything! It's not unusual that every day (or every ten minutes) the weather is different. Average temperatures are slightly above or below 10 C. Still in September you may experience summer-like temperatures (+20 C or above), if you're lucky. Winter officially starts when the daytime temperatures go below 0 C and by then, usually, city is covered with snow.

The end of the autumn can be quite dark. November and December are considered the darkest months; day light hours hit their lowest point at Dec 20-21st but the few weeks before that can indeed be gloomy if there is no snow - with snow, things (and moods) are a bit brighter! To fight the dark & cold, people do whatever they can to keep their minds off of it; work, hobbies, going out on dinners and drinks... The Pre-Christmas party season (pikkujoulu, literally: little Christmas) starts already at the end of October and by the end of November you'll see the city sparkling with Christmas lights.

But it's not all dark, wet and cold. For many, the autumn is a season of new beginnings: school, new hobbies, healthy lifestyles, autumn fashion... Crisp morning air brings on a certain inspiration and feeling of a fresh start. And it's the season of new colors, as shades or red, orange and yellow brush over the city!



Helsinki by themes: autumn edition

Below more about what to see and do in Helsinki during autumn:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Culture and entertainment
  • Outdoors and active

If you're looking for more info see the jam-packed introduction post Helsinki all year round for more about Architecture, historic sights and landmarks, Shopping, Helsinki tours and Best views of Helsinki!

Eating and drinking

While end of the summer is the peak harvesting season, the autumn has just as well lots to offer for foodies. All the produce are fresh and the forests full of things to pick & eat. During autumn, the must things to try are the Finnish forest mushrooms. The markets, shops and restaurant menus fill with all kinds of delicious mushrooms - and you can even go pick them yourself (see more below in "Outdoors & active")! You'll find berries too: early autumn is the best time to find lingonberries. Try the lovely the sweet & sour lingonberry desserts.

Autumn is also a good time to have some fresh Baltic herring and vendace. You can even visit the Helsinki Baltic Herring Fair in October; started in the mid 1700s, this is the oldest event in Helsinki! It's also the game season. Keep you eye out for hare, elk, reindeer and goose. Some restaurants also serve bear! The dark autumn nights tend to attract the pub & club goers too - while the bars are closing their outdoor terraces, the nights will nonetheless busy.

Culinary events in Helsinki this autumn:

5-6 Sep 2014   Foodycle food festival in Pasila, Suvilahti and Viikki.
5-11 Oct 2014   Helsinki Baltic Herring Fair at Market Square.
15 Nov 2014   Restaurant Day international "food carnival" where anyone can open their own restaurant.

Click back to Helsinki all year round for more, including DTW's favourite restaurants, cafés, bars and pubs!

Culture and entertainment

Summer is typically the time for big outdoor festivals and concerts. Many of the locals head indoors when the autumn arrives; Helsinki is full of cultural events, museums, galleries, theaters, shows...Anything and everything to keep us entertained!

Culture & entertainment in Helsinki this autumn:

Until 7 Sep 2014   Tove Jansson at Ateneum showcases one of Finland's most well known artist on her 100th birthday.
4-14 Sep 2014   Helsinki Design Week celebrates its 10th anniversary - visit e.g. Design Market 6-7 Sep at Cable Factory.
10-14 Sep 2014   Habitare is a popular furniture, interior decoration and design expo.
11-12 Sep 2014   MTV Push Helsinki features new emerging pop artists.
18-21 Sep 2014   Jazz Finland hosts numerous jazz concerts.
18-28 Sep 2014   Love & Anarchy Film Festival is the biggest film festival in Finland.
11-19 Oct 2014   Carnival of Light brightens up the dark autumn evenings at Linnanmäki amusememt park.
23-26 Oct 2014   Helsinki Book Fair is held together with Helsinki Music Fair; Wine, food & good living.
12-16 Nov 2014   Baltic Circle is an international contemporary theater festival in Suvilahti.
23 Nov 2014   Christmas Street Opening takes place at Aleksanterinkatu.

More about Helsinki nightlife and culture in Helsinki all year round!

If you're thinking about dancing in Helsinki, you can check my autumn 2014 zouk classes & latin parties.

Outdoors and active

You might think that autumn is not the best time to be outdoors - but think again. It's mushroom season! There are many large forest areas in and around the city that are superb for mushroom picking - in fact, it's quite a trendy hobby nowadays. You don't even need a car to reach these places; bus routes cover many of the good areas, some you can even reach with the metro. Ask the locals for the best places and times; after a period of rain is usually the time to go looking. It's important to recognize the mushrooms so take a knowledgeable person with you if you are not familiar with them (some mushrooms are poisonous)!

Where can you pick wild mushrooms? Good areas in Helsinki are Keskuspuisto and Uutela (Vuosaari); in Espoo Nuuksio and Luukkaa; in Sipoo Sipoonkorpi. In Finland, according to jokamiehenoikeus, freedom to roam or everyman's right, you can walk, cycle or ski - and pick wild berries and mushrooms - anywhere where this doesn't  harm the nature or disturb wild animals. Just stay clear of the protected species of plants. This is allowed even in private forests, with the exception to people's gardens, areas very close to houses or farms/fields with crops. Read more via the Ministry of Environment.

While you're having a leisurely stroll in the forest - or even in the city - you can admire ruska, the changing of the leaves. Especially in Northern Finland but also in the southern parts you can see the trees covered in beautiful colors. And Helsinki is full of parks so you cannot miss it! There's something special about walking around the city on crispy, sunny autumn day.

Autumn is indeed a great time for walking, running, hiking, cycling, golfing, disc golf... The options are endless. Most outdoor sports arenas are open all around the year, but they do change their gear and appearance: the football fields turn to skating rinks, etc. Yes, some do also close (such as the outdoor pools) but you can also head indoors. All the indoor sports are in full swing during autumn and people are picking up their healthy lifestyles after a summer of lounging and eating. If you're looking for spectator sports, the matches by football team HJK and ice-hockey teams IFK and Jokerit are very popular.

Outdoor events and outdoor & indoor sports this autumn in Helsinki:

6 Sep 2014   Tough Viking outdoor obstacle race in Kaisaniemi.
Around 22 Sep 2014   Ski hall in Kivikko opens.
11-12 Oct 2014   Sailing ship day at Market Square.
11 and 14 Oct 2014   UEFA EURO 2016 qualifiers in Helsinki Olympic Stadium.
31 Oct - 2 Nov 2014   Skiexpo together BoardExpo, and Ice hockey & Floorball Expo..

Check the Helsinki all year round for more sports venues & outdoor activities!

Coming to Helsinki? Looking for more information...? back to Helsinki all year round! There you'll find:
  • Interesting parts of the city (with a map)
  • Comprehensive look on Helsinki by themes; architecture & history, eating, drinking & dancing, culture & entertainment, shopping, activities, best tours and best views
  • Practical information 

Stay tuned for the second part of the Helsinki seasons: Winter in Helsinki, coming at the end of the year!


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