If you are spending your time in Helsinki at the beginning of January, there is one event you cannot miss! In the first month of the year, days are still short, dark, and cold, so coming back to work and schools after having cheerful holidays might seem depressive. This is the reason why the city of Helsinki came up with a festival full of light and creativity to spice up the wintry days; welcome to Lux Helsinki, an annual event taking place in the Finnish capital.
LUX Helsinki light festival comes to life through many artworks situated along the way through central streets. This "art road" is different every year but it always starts from the city center. To find your way to the art pieces, you can always begin from Senate Square, where the Helsinki Cathedral is usually painted in colorful projections. You will hardly recognize any columns and apostles; during LUX, the Cathedral becomes something else, sometimes an inspiring story, sometimes a canvas for a musical light show. There you can get your own map with an up-to-date route and marked exhibits. On the map, you can also read about the artists and ideas behind the masterpieces.
The route can be a few kilometers long, so do not forget warm clothes. The route is meant to be walked; therefore, all the traffic will be shut down around the exhibition area. Leave your vehicles at a parking spot and put on some comfy shoes. Do not worry, the city organizing this event is also interested in keeping you warm, so you will find LUX cafes on your way. Do not hesitate to grab a warm coffee and a cinnamon bun. You can see all LUX cafes marked on the map. Besides that, there are always several restaurants in collaboration with the LUX Helsinki. You can find the list of restaurants on the map; they are all on your route, and many of them come up with special LUX menus.
All the lights on the "art road" are usually shut down for the time of the event, so that you will surely notice and fully enjoy the main artworks in the dark. The LUX event is held for four days and takes place always in the evening. The marked route is well navigated- you will see yellow LUX signs on every turn. Basically, you can start at any point and browse through all of it just following the signs.
What you are going to experience at LUX Helsinki depends on the 'fantasy of the participating artists.' Every year it is something new: a little bit of expanded old and some new ideas are brought to a new level. You will see musical light shows projected on the walls of famous buildings, and you might encounter neon statues or a fire tornado. You can also walk through a lantern gallery in the park. Some shows will require waiting or even standing in line (if held inside a building), but you will not wait for long - and as long as I can remember, it is always worth it.
Besides the main exhibits, there are other art pieces celebrating light in this dark time of the year. You can find detailed information on the site of the event or simply walk through the city. Why not get lost somewhere in Helsinki and discover cool things behind the corners? LUX Helsinki light festival usually expands to cultural centers, museums, and islands, and this year even a zoo! So, take your time and keep your eyes open: the magic can be anywhere.
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