Unique Things to Do in Helsinki, Finland as a Wheelchair User

Helsinki, Finland is a unique destination all on its own, but to take your trip to the next level, consider these unique things to do. Every item on this list is wheelchair accessible, from visiting the shore and witnessing traditional cleaning practices while you sip champagne, to interesting exhibits of collections and artwork. Including some unique things to do in Helsinki as a wheelchair user will give you even more memories of your trip and maybe even some unique photos to take home and share with your friends.

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1: Helsinki University Museum

The first unique thing to do in Helsinki is to visit the Helsinki University Museum, where collections are on display. The museum starts off exhibiting the history of the University of Helsinki as well as showcasing their collections of Craft Science, but from here the collections branch into separate museums including museums of the history of dentistry, veterinary science, medicine, and minerals.

This display is located in the main building of the university, which is accessible to the public and provides wheelchair accessibility. The display is smaller than it once was, as there isn’t enough room on campus to accommodate the entire collection, but a subset highlights the gems, skulls, and unique medical artifacts.  

 

2: The National Library of Finland

Visiting a library may not be on everyone’s list of things to see while traveling, but the National Library of Finland has amazing architecture and a transportive quality that takes you beyond shelves of books and your typical library experience. Beyond the design and layout, this library is unique in that it is striving to preserve the history of Finland. It is the largest library in Finland and the shelves house the cultural heritage of the land, holding all the printed and audiovisual material produced in all of Finland.

The library is wheelchair accessible with an alternative entrance off of the inner courtyard, which is also where the accessible parking is located. This inner courtyard entrance connects to the foyer, which is also where the restrooms are located. The Rotunda galleries are wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and the lift is wheelchair accessible with the help of doorman operation. The main reading rooms are also wheelchair accessible with electronic doors.

 

3: Temppeliaukio Church

Historically, churches have unique architecture that elevates the experience, and the Temppeliaukio Church exemplifies this idea. The church itself is underground, created by digging right into the bedrock in the middle of the city. This is a space where people can connect with the earth on a spiritual level. The dome shape is already unique, but compiled with the rough rock walls and array of windows connecting the middle, this is a truly unique experience that everyone visiting Helsinki should include in their trip.

The Temppeliaukio Church is wheelchair accessible as the main entrance to the church hall is on the street level. Inside, the main hall is sloped downward, with a large center walkway and angled pews. The gallery is not wheelchair accessible, as there is no elevator, only stairs. Guided tours and private tours are available upon request.

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4: Mattolaituri Seafront Restaurant

Summers are amazing in Helsinki and everyone wants to take the opportunity to enjoy the waterfront and do some lounging during the warm months. Mattolaituri is a seafront restaurant that specializes in drinks, specifically champagne. This destination is unique because of its specific menu, drinks and snacks, along with this fun location, a rock paved patio right on the edge of the water. The location makes it an ideal stop during a beach walk, and it being close to the road, along with the water, makes it accessible for all guests.

Another unique feature of this restaurant is that it’s located near one of the carpet washing piers, a space during the warm months where residents take the opportunity to wash their household carpets with pine oil soap. This is a very specific practice, washing laundry in the local lakes, and visitors can see the behavior in action if they visit at the right time. Locals bring their indoor carpets to a spot to wash it with sea water and soap, and let it air dry on the railings while they enjoy the rest of the day at the shore.

 

5: Bad Bad Boy Statue

Not all unique things to do in Helsinki require a full day, such as the Bad Bad Boy statue. Located outside of what once was the museum of computer and console games, the statue named, Bad Bad Boy, can be seen urinating on the sidewalk. This statue originally was located in the East Harbour, greeting visitors on the ferry, with a bashful expression and red body, while all 8.5 meters stood urinating into the harbor. This is quite the sight and it makes for a great photo opportunity.

The statue is situated on the edge of a sidewalk with even pavement surrounding, making the statue completely wheelchair accessible.  

 

6: Parliament House and Strawberry Sculpture

The last unique thing to do in Helsinki is to visit the Parliament House and see the strawberry sculpture. Visiting Parliament can only be done by booking a tour, the tour itself is free to visitors but an appointment is required to keep the building and property safe during the work week. The tours are about an hour in length, with the first 15 minutes reserved for security checks. Tours are only booked during the work week, typical office hours, so if you’re interested make sure you keep this in mind. The tour is wheelchair accessible and an accessible map of the house is available, breaking down each section into useful accessibility information.

The strawberry sculpture is located outside of the new annex building, also known as Little Parliament, and was commissioned to be the only visible artwork outside, located near a small pool right in front of the building. This specific sculpture was chosen, a collection of large strawberries on a plant, as a symbol of pride to the Finnish homeland. Strawberries are known as a symbol of land ownership and farming strawberries is a common practice here. This sculpture also makes for a great photo opportunity and is a fun addition to any tour.  

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Helsinki is full of unique things to do. These 6 things are just the beginning of the fun and different opportunities Helsinki provides. By stopping at a few of these locations and enjoying the unique experiences, you’ll have a one-of-a-kind trip filled with photos to remember your time and memories to add to your travel log.

 

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About the Author:

Cory Lee is a wheelchair user, travel addict, and accessible travel writer. On his blog, Curb Free with Cory Lee, he hopes to inspire others to roll out of their comfort zones and see all the beauty our world has to offer. 

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