There’s a lot to recommend the world’s northernmost million-resident metropolis to a gay traveler, including DTM, the largest gay bar and nightclub in Northern Europe; beautiful Töölö Bay, with its historic wooden villas and gorgeous waterside greenery (and check out those umlauts!); Design District Helsinki, a network of 200 member shops, restaurants, and galleries around Dianapuisto Park; and palpable cultural ties to nearby Estonia, Sweden, and Russia.
But this summer, the main attraction in Finland’s capital is the EuroGames 2016 (June 29 to July 2), an LGBT sports event open to everyone, irrespective of gender identity, age, sexual orientation, or physical abilities—for both the competitive (basketball, bowling, track and field, and about a dozen more sports) and non-competitive (yoga). Three thousand athletes are expected be on hand, along with another 2,000 visitors. The Helsinki games will launch with a grand-opening event at the broad Kansalaistori Square, flanked by some of the city’s trademark architecture (the Music Centre and Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma), and will culminate with Helsinki’s boisterous annual Pride festival.