Helsinki is a lively city of events all year round. Here we have listed some of the biggest and most interesting events of 2020, from Lux Helsinki to the opening of the Olympic Stadium, the Herring Market to Slush, and Helsinki Pride to Tuska!
Lux Helsinki, 4-8 January
The Lux Helsinki light festival lights up Helsinki at the start of the year. Lux Helsinki presents a diverse range of light art in different formats along a new route each year that stretches over a kilometre through the city centre. In addition to lighting up famous buildings in Helsinki, the festival also showcases lesser-known courtyards and façades. Throughout this award-winning light festival, various light-themed events and the food happening Lux Helsinki Eat also liven up the city.
Helsinki City Running Day, 16 May
Helsinki City Running Day is the biggest running event in Finland that includes the Helsinki City Run, Finland’s largest half marathon, the 40th annual Helsinki City Marathon, the Helsinki City Marathon Relay, which offers great team spirit, the short but sweet Helsinki City 5, and the Helsinki City Double, which combines the marathon and half marathon – all in one day! The day begins with the adorable Minimarathon for kids.
World Village Festival, 23-24 May
The World Village Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary last year and will take place again in the centre of Helsinki at the end of May. The theme for 2020 is the future. The World Village Festival is a free event that offers lots to do and experience for people of all ages. The weekend programme in Kaisaniemi Park and Railway Square includes dozens of concerts, literature, exhibitions, documentaries, food and topical discussions.
Sideways Festival, 11-13 June
Sideways kicks off Helsinki’s summer of music festivals, having established its place in Helsinki. The three-day festival takes place in and around Helsinki Ice Hall and presents a broad and impressive range of Finnish and international artists.
Helsinki Day, 12 June
Helsinki has celebrated its birthday on 12 June since 1959. The day is packed with free events that are open to everyone organised by local associations, businesses, clubs, organisations and active residents. The programme includes both big and small events, music, the performing arts, guided tours, exhibitions, open doors and special activities for kids and the elderly.
Helsinki Biennial 2020, 12 June – 27 September
Helsinki Biennial is a new biannual international art event that brings outstanding contemporary art to maritime Helsinki. The first Helsinki Biennial will be held in summer 2020 in the unique surroundings of the Vallisaari island and present around 35 international artists and artist groups from both Finland and around the world. You can spot artworks outside along the cobbled path and inside historical buildings, gunpowder cellars and empty residential buildings.
Tuska, 26-28 June
The biggest heavy metal festival in Northern Europe takes place in Suvilahti at the end of June. Last year’s festival attracted 43,000 metalheads over three days, setting a new record since Tuska was first organised in 1998.
Helsinki Pride, 27 June
The Helsinki Pride human rights march traditionally takes place on the Saturday after Midsummer, bringing together around 100,000 people a year to support equal rights. The city is also filled with events during the preceding Pride Week.
Helsinki Cup, 6-11 July
The Helsinki Cup is one of the biggest football tournaments in Europe, attracting over 20,000 youth footballers from around the world to compete against each other. The 45th Helsinki Cup takes place in summer 2020. Since it was first organised in 1976, the tournament has continued to promote the wellbeing of children and young people, as well as a sense of community.
Finland’s biggest skateboarding event will take place in July for the sixth year in a row, attracting skateboarders from around the world to enjoy the action throughout Helsinki.
Flow Festival, 14-16 August
Since 2004, Flow Festival in the heart of Helsinki has grown to become one of the most acclaimed and interesting music and art festivals in Europe. In addition to top international and Finnish artists, the festival also presents a wide range of more marginal music and art. Last year over 170 artists performed at the festival in Suvilahti, watched by audiences numbering more than 83,000 over the three days. Flow Festival is also one of the world’s first carbon-neutral festivals.
Opening of the Olympic Stadium, 7 August
Helsinki’s iconic Olympic Stadium has undergone a complete renovation since 2016 and will reopen with an impressive ceremony on Friday 7 August 2020. The two-hour programme will feature many of Finland’s top performers. In addition to the opening ceremony, other big acts will also perform at the Olympic Stadium at the end of the summer, including Antti Tuisku and the farewell concert of Sunrise Avenue. During the opening weeks, numerous free events will be held at both the Olympic Stadium and the remodelled Sports Museum of Finland. The sports field itself will be opened to visitors in September.
Helsinki Festival, 20 August – 6 September
The Helsinki Festival is the biggest multi-arts festival in the entire Nordic region and takes place annually in late August and early September. The festival aims to make art accessible to a broad Finnish and international audience.
Night of the Arts, 20 August
Night of the Arts is one of the most popular events during the Helsinki Festival, filling the city with big and small free events.
Helsinki Design Week, 3-13 September
The largest design event in the Nordic countries, Helsinki Design Week will take over the Olympic Stadium in the first half of September.
Helsinki International Film Festival - Love & Anarchy, 17-27 September
Finland’s biggest film festival takes place each year in September. Fans of culture and the most dedicated cinephiles congregate at the Finnish capital’s cinemas, creating a very special and warm festival atmosphere at the start of the autumn. Established in 1988, the festival celebrates the art of filmmaking and presents bold, controversial and visually stunning new films.
Helsinki Baltic Herring Market, October
The oldest traditional event in Helsinki has been held since 1743. Fish vendors arrive at the Market Square to sell their goods directly from their fishing boats or from market stalls. The mouthwatering selection includes salt herring and a huge range of marinated herring, from rowanberry to red pepper varieties, not to mention all the other tasty market food. In addition to seafood treats, you can also buy delicious black archipelago bread, as well as lambswool fashion and other handicrafts.
Slush, 19-20 November
The biggest two-day startup event in Europe, Slush attracts hundreds of technology and business leaders.
Helsinki Christmas Market, December
The Helsinki Christmas Market is the oldest outdoor Christmas market in Helsinki. The stalls at the atmospheric Christmas market in Senate Square are full of unique gifts sold by the craftsmen and women themselves. The restaurant yard treats visitors to wintertime classics, such as Christmas porridge, blini and mulled wine. At the heart of the Helsinki Christmas Market is a beloved old-time carousel.
Helsinki New Year 2021, 31 December
Helsinki rings in 2021 with a huge party in the Kansalaistori square with performances by top artists.