A guide to specialty shopping in Helsinki
Are you looking for vintage clothing, rare Finnish design and fresh local food on your visit to Helsinki? Here’s a roundup of our home city’s best thrift and vintage stores, antique shops and market halls.
Designer items at bargain prices
Start your thrifting adventure at local favourite UFF, a non-profit humanitarian organisation with used-clothing stores all over Finland.
UFF has 14 outlets in Helsinki, the largest being a two-storey shop on Fredrikinkatu in the city centre. There’s a decent selection of leather goods and prices are low, but you need to dig to find the bargains! Look out for UFF’s regular “Euronpäivat” campaigns, when prices in all the stores can drop to just €1 per item.
Another favourite among local thrifters is Relove, a chain with several stores around central Helsinki. People with used clothes reserve a sales period at Relove and store staff constantly refresh the displays. Items are well sorted and selections often include designer brands.
Prices at Relove can be on the higher side, but the stores are worth a visit just for their beautiful interiors and busy cafés. Relove serves all-day breakfast as well as sandwiches and pastries.
Almost New also rents space to people selling used clothing, with items well arranged on two floors. Search through more than 1,000 t-shirts of all sizes on the ground level, and head upstairs to find jackets, jeans, shoes and more.
UK second-hand chain Beyond Retro has now opened a store in Helsinki as part of its Nordic expansion. The 300m2 space offers vintage fashion handpicked from around the world. There’s something for everyone in the selection.
Finnish design from bygone times
You’ll find antique shops dotted all over Helsinki, but many are in the Art Nouveau neighbourhood of Ullanlinna.
The beautiful street of Korkeavuorenkatu is home to Finland’s largest space for antiques: Fasaani. The family-owned store specialises in sourcing from deceased estates, so it sells everything from tools and jewellery to cutlery and furniture. You can even find rare items of Finnish design.
Just around the corner on Kasarmikatu is Schulman Antiques, specialising in 18th and 19th-century pieces from Sweden and other parts of Europe. On nearby Pietarinkatu, you can find PKS Vintage. The dealer runs a busy web shop where most items are on display, but you may discover more by visiting in person.
Walk down Tehtaankatu – a must-see for lovers of Jugend architecture – to the showroom of antique, design and art dealer Hagelstam & Co. It’s the oldest auction house in Finland and the place to visit if you’re looking for a special piece. Check the website for opening hours and upcoming auctions.
Fresh food in historical spaces
Bargain hunting is a hungry business, so stop for a bite to eat in one of Helsinki’s beautiful market halls.
Most visitors to the city will naturally find Vanha Kauppahalli (The Old Market Hall) in the downtown harbour area. People have been coming here since 1889 to buy fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and other items.
If it’s just restaurants you’re looking for, then visit the Hietalahden Kauppahalli. There’s something for all tastes, with kitchens serving Japanese, Vietnamese, Italian and more. Weekend visitors may find a flea market on the square outside.
Hakaniemen Kauppahalli is the biggest market hall in Helsinki. Re-opened in early 2023 after a multi-year renovation, the two-storey building is home to fishmongers, butchers and other speciality food sellers. The upper level is a great place to buy souvenirs and postcards. Visit restaurant Kirsikka for Finnish food in a classic Art Nouveau setting.