My neighbourhood

Marisol and her family enjoy the parks and the spirit of Roihuvuori: “Roihuvuori is open to everyone.”

Marisol Saarinen loves the Japanese-style garden in Roihuvuori. The children in the family go to daycare and school close to home and also like to spend time at the playgrounds in the area.

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Marisol Saarinen, 31, has enjoyed living in Roihuvuori in Helsinki for six years already. The family includes her spouse and their 5- and 7-year-old children. For a while, the family lived in a smaller apartment in Untuvaistentie but now they live in a three-bedroom apartment in Prinsessantie, Roihuvuori.

“I believe that we will live here for a long time. The children have also put down roots here. Roihuvuori also has such good traffic connections to everywhere in Helsinki.”

Earlier, the family lived in Laajasalo and Saarinen’s roots are in Käpylä but her husband lived in Roihuvuori as a child. His grandma also lived in Roihuvuori for a long time.

Saarinen is also familiar with the Roihuvuori area because, in her youth, her friends lived there and they used to go to Ruiskumestari together. Ruiskumestari is one of the oldest restaurants in Helsinki still operating under the same name.

“Ruiskumestari is a legendary place I still visit.”

Lovely parks and the famous Roihuvuori Cherry Tree Park

So what is Roihuvuori like?

“Very beautiful,” answers Marisol Saarinen.

“Some districts are introverted but Roihuvuori is open to everyone.”

According to her, what make the district beautiful are the parks and the proximity of the sea.

Marisol highly praises the Japanese-style garden near her home. The terraced slope features a moon gate, bamboo fences, shingle shelters, stone arrangements, sand waves and a rocky creek that represents the sea of life. In springtime, a cherry tree orchard blossoms on the slopes.

Speaking of cherry flowers, almost everyone in Helsinki knows the Roihuvuori Cherry Tree Park, which lies down the hill beneath the water tower. There are about 150 cherry trees in the park. Each year, the residents of Roihuvuori plant a new cherry tree in honour of the Roihuvuori citizen of the year. Marisol Saarinen has taken her children for picnics in Roihuvuori Cherry Tree Park during hanami. They also like to visit the playground Tuhkimo at the Roihuvuori water tower. The park has been a meeting place for families for over 50 years. A friend of Marisol Saarinen organised a book launch event in the park.

There is also a 60m2 container house that can be rented for events. Next to the allotment garden, there are two more playgrounds.

Marisol’s tips for Roihuvuori

- Roihuvuori Cherry Tree Park
- Ugly Duckling
- Playground Tuhkimo
- Roihuvuoren Rio cafe
- Japanese-style garden in Roihuvuori

Soup and ice skating for the little ones

According to Marisol, Roihuvuori is a family-friendly neighbourhood with many families with children.

“There are parks, schools and daycares. During winters, I have gone skiing with my children in the church park’s ice hill. Next to it, there is an after school club and a youth centre. You can also skate at the Roihuvuori sports park or at the smaller skating rink at the end of Lumikintie.”

According to Marisol, the outdoor gym at Ala-Roihuvuori is popular and you can also play basketball there.

Her children have not really tested the hobbies in Roihuvuori, but Marisol knows that there are, for example, Finnish baseball, football and scouting for children.

“The church also organises Kaakaoklubi. During summers, you can take your toddler to playground Tuhkimo and enjoy soup for a couple of euros. The church park also offers free food service for children during summers. You only need to bring your own spoons and bowls.”

In summertime, the family goes swimming to the nearby Marjaniemi beach.

“It is a child-friendly beach with buoys and a lifeguard on duty. The beach is sandy.”

Cosy bars and herbs from the bazaar

For adults, there is Hard Rock House, a cosy bar where Saarinen has seen the rapper Asa’s gig.

“Roihuvuoren Rio is a nice café where I used to go to when we lived nearby. It serves vegan pastries, organic juices and organic coffee, among other things. They also organise gigs there.”

Then there is a new place, a pub-style restaurant called the Ugly Duckling.

“I might have sat down at the Ugly Duckling after shopping last winter. It was nice to escape the colds in a warm place, and to drink a mint hot chocolate. It is a peaceful place, which could easily become your living room.”

She and her husband have also tried out the local hairdressers and barbers a few times.

“However, there are not many restaurants here. On the other hand, I can walk to Itis and its restaurants in 10 minutes. The Easton shopping centre is also near.”

Marisol likes to go to the Puhos mall in Itäkeskus.

“I buy Arabian-style vegetables, herbs and meat for a good price there. For example, you can get a huge bunch of mint for little money.”

Easy commute

Marisol has settled well into Roihuvuori even though her roots are deep in Käpylä.

“I have hung out in Käpylä a lot since childhood. Almost all my friends still live there.”

She also works in Käpylä as a special needs teaching assistant. She travels the 10 kilometres by bus, car or bike.

“Commuting is easy.”

Her spouse works as a practical nurse with people undergoing mental health and substance use rehabilitation further away, in Sepänkylä. He also travels to work by bus or bike.

“Roihuvuori has pretty good bike lanes. We have also taken our bikes to Kari’s Bike repair shop in Roihuvuori.”

Marisol Saarinen appreciates the traffic connections in Roihuvuori as there is such a short distance from home to the metro station or bus stop. She likes to spend time near home in her free time.

31.5.2022 (Modified 11.7.2022)

Text Elisa Helenius

Images Pia Inberg

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