Unfortunately Helsinki is not the greatest place when you need to go, probably the reason for this post coming up in searches fairly often. So here is my updated list of relief for tourists and other uninvited.
1. Maybe a bit unorthodox to say this overall but even more so to start with this… but the main cathedral has a free toilet on quite a central location. But if there is a service going on, there is a public toilet open 9.30am-6pm just down the street Sofiankatu toward the market. That toilet also has a map of other public toilets in the area on it’s door but some of those cost. Be aware that the booth toilets eg in Espa park have a timer to open the doors automatically in some 15 or so minutes.
2. The closest free toilet to the main train station I know of is in the museum Ateneum, it has toilets you can access in the lobby without paying an entrance fee. Helsinki City Hall also used to have free toilets in the lobby but haven’t been their for ages, so am not too sure if one can just enter them any more.
3. Typically malls have toilets and changing rooms, but there are some small suburban malls that don’t even offer a free toilet. The changing rooms often provide a micro to warm up baby food, potties and changing tables. Itis have even breast feeding cubicles. In the city centre Kamppi mall has the biggest changing area with toys, sofas, tables and high chairs but also Forum has improved the facilities in the third floor for families.
4. Big department stores have toilets and often baby changing facilities for customers. In the city centre Stockmann has a toilet on every floor and the most known baby changing room. It is big and good but often crowded. Sokos right next to offers much more privacy but you’ll have to pick up a key from the till on the same floor. Sokos also has a few toilets.
5. Libraries, employment offices, city labs, city health stations, are all public buildings free for everyone to enter, that always also provide facilities for relief (but not always baby changing tables or potties). They are not meant to be public toilets but if there is an emergency…
6. All cafés and restaurants have to offer a bathroom for their customers. Their cleanliness and facilities vary but often equal the one of the restaurant. Small kiosks in parks may not have anything on the offer. Also, in Finland it is ok to breastfeed where ever you want to, also in restaurants. Not everyone likes it but you are allowed to, and you will not be the only one. Cafés and restaurants are also happy to warm up milk or baby food, and it is ok to give babies and toddlers your own food in them but you should buy something for you from the place as well.
Robert’s Coffee in Kamppi, Kampinkuja 2, was one of my favourite meeting places for a pram gang. It was spacious, easy to get to, and right next to they have a tidy toilet with changing facilities. Customers will get a token from the till upon request. Haven’t been there since the pram days though, so don’t know if it is still such a place.
La Famiglia next to Stockmann is one of the rare restaurants quite downtown having a play corner too. The food has also been delicious whe I’ve been there!
6. In the case of emergency I have never been denied access to the toilets in hotel lobby with a baby or a toddler.
..and if you are out and about in Finland in general, then gas stations are the answer. All ABC stations and many of the other bigger once have great toilets, baby changing and feeding facilities with micros, high chairs, potties, changing tables etc free of charge.