This delightful town in Southern Ostrobothnia manages to mix the old and new to surprisingly pleasant effect. The old is best represented by the many museums, especially in the historic area of Törnävä where the Regional Museum of Southern Ostrobothnia has 20 separate parts; the new by the Alvar Aalto designed Seinäjoki Cultural Centre, comprised of six buildings including the impressive Lakeuden Risti Church. It also hosts 3 of Finland's biggest music festivals - Provinssirock, Vauhtiajot and Tangomarkkinat.
Seinäjoki has a rich cultural life, with all fields in the arts represented. The Seinäjoki Town Theatre is known throughout the country for the quality of the plays performed, the city has several orchestras, the largest of which is The Seinäjoki Orchester, and excellent concert halls including the impressive Seinäjoki Hall. The Art Gallery in the cultural centre puts on many exhibitions annually, of local and international artists. The city preserves its past in Törnävä, in the Regional Museum of Southern Ostrobothnia. The museum is comprised of 20 separate units, mostly located in the historic area of Törnävä, and include a Peasants Museum, Gun Powder Museum, Knife Workshop, Pharmaceutical Museum, an estate manager's room, an old windmill, a blacksmith's shop and many other interesting historical buildings. All together, there are over 34,000 items in the collection. The museum is located in the heart of Törnävänpuisto park, a popular spot to relax or picnic, or even to sunbathe on the beach there.
Close to the cultural centre is The Civil Guard House, also designed by Alvar Aalto, which includes the Lotta Svärd Museum, the only museum in Finland dedicated to the Lotta Svärd women's voluntary defense organisation.
Its unusual for a single architect to design all the buildings for important municipal institutions in a town, but this is the case with Alvaro Aalto and the Seinäjoki Cultural Centre, which comprises six buildings that were mainly completed between 1960 and 1968. The first building was Lakeuden Risti Church, also known as the Cross of the Plain church, whose bell tower stands at an impressive 65m. In 1962 City Hall was completed, followed by the City Library in 1965, the Parish Centre in 1966, and the State Office Building in 1968. Plans for the City Theatre were put on hold, but by 1987 this too had been completed. Today, the Aalto Centre as a whole has become an internationally renowned destination for architects from around the world, and other construction and design experts.
The 5 day long tango festival, Tangomarkkinat, is held every July and can attract as many as 100,000 visitors to the city, proving the unlikely importance of tango to the Finns. The festival culminates with the crowning of the King and Queen of Tango for the year, and part of Kirkkokatu street becomes a dance street where the tango is performed day and night. The next largest festival to be held here is the 3 day rock festival, Provinssirock, which attracts over 20,000 young people to the city every June. The top Finnish artists are joined by many international acts, and the concerts take place in the beautiful surroundings of Törnävänpuisto park. Finally, in late July, Seinäjoki hosts Vauhtiajot, the biggest street race and one of the biggest festivals in Finland. There are a number of events in many classes, including Super Touring, GT3 Nordic, the Legends Trophy, BMW Xtreme, V1600, and X-treme Drift Challenge, all taking place Friday and Saturday morning and afternoon. In the evening the crowds are entertained by some of the biggest names in Finnish rock and metal on two stages in the around the city centre. Vauhtiajot Rock & Race was picked as the best car race in Finland for the last two years!
With several orchestras and theatre groups, art galleries and museums, Seinäjoki has culture galore. The city also boasts three great summer festivals in Tangomarkkinat, Provinssirock, and Vauhtiajot Rock & Race, ensuring that locals and visitors alike will always find something to entertain them.
Seinäjoki has a wealth of top class sports facilities including the large Seinäjoki Arena, the Wallsport Arena, Ruuhikoski Golf Centre, the Joupiska downhill skiing centre, the Ice Sports Centre, cross-country skiing networks, and the Lake Kyrkösjärvi and Paukaneva hiking routes.
With a choice of close to a hundred different cafes, burger, pizza and kebab joints, restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs in Seinäjoki, catering to every taste and accommodating every budget, dining out is always a pleasure here.
Any city that can attract 100,000 visitors for a week every year will certainly have plenty of accommodation options for those visitors. In Seinäjoki and the surrounding suburbs you'll find hotels to cater for most budgets, a range of bed and breakfasts, farm and holiday cottages, as well as excellent camping and caravan facilities.
The main shopping area of Seinäjoki centre around the market area, and the streets around it. The city is Finland's sixth largest centre for trade, and shoppers will be able to find pretty much anything they're looking for in the city.
There is a small airport just 11km from the city centre, and flights connect Seinäjoki to Helsinki and beyond. There are also daily rail services between Seinäjoki and Helsinki to the south, and between it and Oulu and Rovaniemi in the north.