Helsinki, Finland travel tips

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Get a Helsinki Card--which offers free admission at most museums, free public transportation, and free admission to many other attractions.

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Take advantage of one of the city's truly lovely outdoor spaces--Esplanadi.

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One of the city's coolest destinations is the restaurant/music venue known as Belly.

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Helsinki can be a bit pricey. If you want to save some money, take advantage of the fact that many restaurants offer lunch buffets. Get stuffed at lunch, and skip dinner.

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For great, affordable accommodations, book a room at Eurohostel, which offers a free sauna and rooms with only three people to a room.

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If you have a liking of jazz, be sure to head out to Happy Jazz Club Storyville, which often hosts the Helsinki City Jazz Orchestra.

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Check out the Cable Factory for numerous avant-garde performances.

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The Finns are known for being big fans of loud, hard rock. The best place in the city for loud rock bands is On the Rocks.

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The main concert hall in the city is Finlandia Hall, which is also home to the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.

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Try to see a performance of the Finnish National Opera while you're in Helsinki.

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For an interesting recreation of a Soviet-era vodka bar, check out Kafe Mockba, which is inside the Andorra complex.

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Most of the major cultural festivals take place in the summer and autumn.

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Check out the up-and-coming Kallio district. It used to be a bit sketchy, but now it's the hip part of the city.

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The Finns have a custom of outdoor dancing, so be prepared to see people cutting a rug in outdoor venues, such as Vantaa.

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For a list of upcoming performances in Helsinki, take a look at Helsinki This Week.

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If you're in Helsinki in the summer, be prepared for bars and clubs to set up summer terraces and for the nightlife to spill out into the street.

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For an older, more sophisticated nighttime crowd, look for the Ahjos Bar and Nightclub.

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Contemporary Finnish design is highlighted at the Design Forum--a great place for anyone with an interest in design.

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If you have an interest in Finnish design, look for shops that display the black-and-white Design District Helsinki stickers, but keep in mind that they won't be cheap.

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One of the best ways of seeing the city is by taking Trams 3B and 3T. The routes run about an hour and pass most of the city's most important sights.

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