A stone’s throw from the city centre and just off the Olympic Stadium, this is a paradise for those who are seeking a refuge from cold weather or who just took a walk around Töölönlahti (and/or for those who need to spend a penny;) and would like to, well, sit down and relax.
The winter garden (19th century) is a piece of art itself with its ornamented iron&glass construction, shining bright form a mile away yet in juxtaposition to the 1950s architecture. Around the actual winter garden, or this “social greenhouse”, you will find a little rose garden. What is inside the building is hardly surprising: cacti, succulents, koi carps and a little fountain. But it is the whole experience that counts.
Yes, I know you’ve been to greenhouses or tropical gardens or whatever you dress it like before, but this one is so lovely. Partly because it is so lovely and random – all those (sub)tropic plants, all located in the city centre in Finland, I mean, you surely see all the contrasts (I do recommend visiting the winter garden in winter for the extra intense experience!)? Maybe because it is always so unbelievably peaceful, although you will find local families here as well as Russian tourists. Maybe because I’m just being sentimental and I like the Eiffel-like architecture of the late 19th century. Maybe because this is one of those few public places I can actually read a book at without getting disturbed. Maybe because that omnipresent yet very silent white noise combined with the sweet jingle of the indoor fountain make me happy. Maybe because I don’t feel press to read or to work when I’m there but it comes naturally.
There is usually a little café open in the left wing: I cannot recommend the coffee (same goes for 95% of all cups of coffee in Finland), but the tea should be relatively safe. The right wing is dedicated to cacti and contemporary art/local artist exhibitions – I’ve seen two, I did not like them, I thought they were really weird and really not fitting the location, but hey.
Address: Hammarskjöldintie 1; number 8 tram stop “Kaupunginpuutarha”
More information incl. opening hours: click here (the link is too long and too annoying to copy). In general the garden is open to public every afternoon.
If you are a real botanics enthusiast, try to get in touch with one of the guides who will give you a tour and will be able to tell you more about the plant species!