Ways to Celebrate New Year's Eve in Helsinki

New Year 2016 in the city of Helsinki
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If you are thinking about spending New Year's Eve in Helsinki, Finland, keep in mind that wintertime often means sub-zero temperatures and long hours of darkness, so bundle up. Helsinki's fireworks celebrations are broadcast and streamed live by the national Finnish TV Broadcasting Company Yle, so if it's too cold for you, it is perfectly acceptable to stay in and toast the new year by a warm fire.

How to Toast the New Year

When the clock strikes midnight, the Finns say, Hyvää uutta vuotta! for “Happy New Year” in Finnish (or  Gott nytt år! in Swedish, also one of Finland’s official languages). Much like in the U.S., the Finnish tradition is to toast each other with champagne or beer, shake hands, hug, kiss, and say nice things to each other. And, also like in the U.S., most people want to start the new year on the right foot. So they make resolutions as well.

Food and Drink

Before you hit the outdoors, it's always a good idea to fill up on food and drink that can help warm you up. Check out Helsinki's bars and restaurants before the big fireworks. A few highly rated restaurants include Passio Kitchen and Bar, Olo Ravintola, Ragu, Juuri, and Nokka. Bar Sandro and Zucchini cater to the vegan clientele.

Outdoor Celebrations

Socialize with Finns and celebrate in Finnish style by listening to the tolling in of the New Year at the Helsinki Cathedral where the bells are rung at midnight.

Visit Kansalaistori Square, located in between the Music Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma along Mannerheimintie, where midnight brings a spectacular fireworks display preceded by musical entertainment, dancing, and traditional Finnish speeches. Expect the crowd to be in the tens of thousands.

Consider visiting Helsinki's Christmas market in Senate Square for a holiday celebration of food, drinks, and entertainment.

Private Parties

Many New Year's Eve parties in Helsinki are private parties, so if you know local Finns and can attend a private party, you can find an authentically Finnish good time. At a New Year's Eve party in Helsinki, guests normally like to watch the fireworks. After that, for a uniquely Finnish tradition, you would melt tin. You melt your piece of tin on a spoon and then quickly let the liquified tin drop into cold water, where it forms into a shape that is said to foretell your future.

Helsinki's New Year's Eve private parties often offer buffet-style meals along with locally popular drinks and sparkling wine. All in all, the streets are fairly quiet compared to other cities on New Year's Eve in Scandinavia.

Hotels

With a small capacity, Helsinki hotel rooms fill up quickly on New Year's Eve. Book as far in advance as you can. The Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel offers quick subway access to get you to any New Year's Eve celebration quickly, as does the Holiday Inn Helsinki City Center, Hotel Finn, Hotel Seurahoune Helsinki, and Cumulus City Kaisaniemi Helsinki, among many others.