A rental home in trendy Sörnäinen

The centre of urban life in the heart of Helsinki

Sörnäinen is so much more than a Kurvi or a metro station. This hub of urban entertainment is one of Helsinki's most diverse havens of contemporary culture and is at its busiest in the summer. So let's take a look beneath the surface of this district of 15 000 inhabitants.

The name Sörnäinen originates from the Swedish name Södernäs ("Southern Cape") and is mentioned for the first time in the founding document of New Helsinki in 1639. In 1928, the area’s name was officially confirmed as Sörnäinen – Sörnäs. In Helsinki slang, the place is known as Sörkka or Sörkkä.

Especially Kurvi has its reputation and is a meeting place for various party-goers, particularly on weekend evenings. However, Sörnäinen is a very large area with a wide range of interesting life and street credible activities. The services, restaurants, and leisure opportunities are unparalleled, so set aside your prejudices and boldly explore what Sörkka has to offer you!

The birthplace of Helsinki slang

The industrialisation of Sörnäinen began with brick factories. In the 1850s, a large number of other factories, a mill, a gas plant, and a coal power plant were already operating near the then Sörnäinen harbour. Workers were needed for these plants, so a few factory owners decided to establish a joint-stock company to house their workforce. In the very modest "wooden company villas," huge numbers of workers lived in cramped conditions. It was in these circumstances that Helsinki slang was born in the early twentieth century.

Many old industrial buildings have since been repurposed. The redevelopment of industrial areas for residential use began in the 1970s with Merihaka, a concrete brutalist apartment complex built by the shore on reclaimed land, and the newest residential area can be found in Kalasatama, which will continue to be developed until 2030.

The densest part of Helsinki - a young adult's dream

Sörnäinen’s Kurvi is a hub for numerous public transport connections, and the links from Sörnäinen to all parts of the Helsinki metropolitan area are excellent by metro, bus, and tram.

Sörnäinen, Alppiharju, and Kallio, along with the rest of the inner city, are the most densely built districts in Helsinki - and in all of Finland. The proportion of small apartments is the highest in Helsinki: up to eighty percent. Due to the size of the homes, the typical resident is a young adult living alone, an older person, or a childless couple. In Helsinki’s eastern inner city, the number of cars per resident is the lowest in Helsinki. And who needs a car when the basic services in the neighbourhood are comprehensive, and everything can be found within a short walking distance!

The area’s services and cultural offerings have adapted to the residents: Sörnäinen attracts a diverse range of leisure activities, especially for young and young-at-heart adults from across the metropolitan area.

For fun things to do on a summer day visit Suvilahti and Teurastamo

Sörnäinen consists of several areas, each with its own unique characteristics and service hubs. Perhaps the most interesting of these are Teurastamo and Suvilahti.

Teurastamo's restaurants, ice cream bar, and distillery are at the forefront of summer experiences. The former slaughterhouse now hosts a wide range of casual restaurants and unique small-scale production: an ice cream factory, bakery, distillery, coffee roastery, art gallery, and shops. Check out, for example, B-Smokery's ribs and Jädelino's heavenly artisanal ice creams. The heart of Teurastamo is the atmospheric urban courtyard open to all city dwellers, where you can enjoy your ice cream even in a hammock.

It will be interesting to see how the diverse cultural hub of Suvilahti, with its old gasometers and breweries, develops in the coming years. In the summer of 2024, it remains the home of the world-renowned urban festival, Flow Festival. Currently, Suvilahti offers circus activities for all ages at Circus Helsinki and the Cirko - Center for New Circus.

Leblon Suvilahden Ranta is a new kind of recreational and dining hub by the sea: play a few rounds of padel, swim in the sea, and then head to the restaurant for a burger or pizza. Leblon always plays contemporary music, often with a DJ or performing artists.

For hipsters and hippies, and everyone in between

Sörnäinen and the surrounding neighbourhoods boast numerous unpretentious restaurants and bars.

If you're interested in nightlife, head to Kaiku at Kuudes Linja. The complex on Hämeentie houses one of Europe's top electronic music clubs. You can continue the night at the after-club Stidilä, located under the same roof.

Near Merihaka, you can enjoy a sauna at one of Helsinki's public saunas, the Kulttuurisauna, which opened in 2012. If Kulttuurisauna is full, nearby you'll find the traditional Sauna Hermanni and Kotiharjun sauna.

The very popular and charming Harju 8 offers drinks and delicious, mostly vegetarian food in a unique setting. Harju 8 embodies the spirit of Sörnäinen: sitting there, you could easily imagine being in a relaxed Berlin pub. Nearby is also Döner Harju, where you can get some of the finest kebabs with tasty vegetarian sides available in Finland.

In the summer, you should visit Kallio just for the Dallapénpuisto summer flea market. Anyone can join this laid-back Sunday flea market on the grass, as long as they bring their items to sell and take away what doesn't get sold. In winter, nearby Hämeentie offers the Metka flea market. The adjacent Kallio district is also famous for its flea markets and second-hand shops.

Sports and (more) culture

If you feel like dancing but need a bit of practice, head to the Helsinki Dance Institute, EtnoFitness, or StepUp. Combat Academy specialises in teaching martial arts, self-defence, and combat sports, as does Savate Club Helsinki. You can also stay fit at the many traditional gyms in the area.

The aspiring Wilhelm Tell can head to the archery range.

Paints and Friends invites you to paint with friends, with or without wine.

Riviera Cinema offers a movie experience better than your living room, with food and drinks delivered straight to your seat. For live theatre, check out Kapsäkki Music Theatre and Teatteri Kultsa on the other side of Teollisuuskatu. Or are you interested in theatre as a hobby? A youth theatre group operates at Narrin näyttämö and the Theatre Metamorfoosi offers courses for all ages.

Sörnäinen also has art galleries, focused strictly on contemporary art: Make your Mark specialises in posters by emerging artists and is Finland’s leading venue for graffiti-based art. Kohta Art Hall showcases uncompromising contemporary art in all its forms.

There is no shortage of interesting things to do in Sörnäinen! Explore the area’s unique, historic stone buildings on our website.

Available rental apartments | Sörnäinen


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