Go for a wander down Esplanadi to Kauppatori market: if you want Helsinki chic, this cafe-lined park street is the place to see and be seen. Tightly packed tables and chairs serve expensive (but wonderfully strong) coffee, cakes and sandwiches. The tourist information center is halfway down. Very picturesque (if chilly) excursions leave from the quay that's home to the Kauppatori market, with handicrafts, food stalls and local produce. (No, you can't carry that fish on board the plane when you leave. Regards, your fellow passengers.)
Head out to the Olympic Stadium: pop quiz time! When were the Helsinki Olympics? If you answered 1952, you're right, and that level of knowledge means you should totally visit. It's just a couple of km outside the city center and it's super-easy to get to. Make sure you go up the signature Olympic tower.
Have some art time at Helsinki's museums: whether you're a fan of modern or classical art, you'll be in heaven in Helsinki. The Helsinki City Museum has one of the largest collections of painting and sculpture in northern Europe, while Kiasma is one of our favorite modern art museums in the whole world.
Church it up: seriously, Helsinki has some absolutely stunning churches, in many different styles. For something more modern, head out to Temppeliaukio, AKA The Church In The Rock, one of Helsinki's most popular tourist attractions. If you're more orthodox (or Orthodox), wander on out to the Uspenski Cathedral. But we love Helsinki Cathedral the most, with its calm white walls and blond wood. St John's Church often has musical performances, while the spire of Mikael Agricolan kirkko is remarkably unusual.
Chill out with a beverage at the rooftop panoramic Ateljee Bar on top of the Sokos Hotel Torni, with a 360-degree view over the entire city. They do fantastic cocktails, but if you haven't already tried the local Lapin Kulta beer then you're missing out. It's especially fantastic at sunset -- whatever the time of year.
Above: the food stalls of Kauppatori market are thronged with people in the summertime.
Above: a long, late, shadow-casting sunset (with a long, late, shadow-casting beer) in the tallest bar in Helsinki is the perfect way to round off a day in HEL.
[Photos: John Walton/Jaunted]