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Photo by: Kadi-Liis Koppel

Photo by: Kadi-Liis Koppel

The best people watching places in Tallinn

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By Noora Karppi  •  09.04.2018

There is plenty to do in Tallinn, but if you are coming here for break, you should know that it is also a city where you can find entertainment without expending too much energy.

A day filled with sightseeing can be quite exhausting, as there are plenty of things to see in Tallinn and sometimes not enough time. Seeing the sights, museums and attractions is a good way to get to know the history and culture of Tallinn, but we invite you to take a breather. 


Sample a nice cup of your favourite drink or a big bowl of ice cream, sit down, and just watch the people passing by. There are over 400 000 people living in Tallinn and they’re running daily errands, having lunch, meeting friends, and having a good time. Here are some of the best places to watch the world go by.

Old Town

The Old Town in the summer is buzzing with people and the cafés have all moved outside. The terraces at Rataskaevu and Harju street seem like they are made for people watching. Have a refreshing drink, put your shades on and imagine where all the people are heading. The same opportunity is offered at the Green market (Roheline turg), next to which the first Estonian pub, Hell Hunt, serves food, snacks and drinks from midday ‘till the early hours.

Another terrace suited perfectly for observing people, including those in medieval costume, is the Olde Hansa tavern-type restaurant. The view from the terrace covers several main streets leading to Town Hall square (Raekoja Plats), which makes it one of the best places to sit and peer out at the streets. Grab a cold cinnamon beer, some snacks, and try to count all the locals passing by!

On the other side of the street, opposite to Olde Hansa, is the Peppersack café and bakery. Peppersack serves tasty cakes and traditional Estonian pies (minced meat, cabbage and carrot). Take a seat by the big windows or sit outside on the terrace. In the winter it is the ideal place to sip hot chocolate and watch snow falling from the sky.

If you are into a more lively and outgoing lifestyle, then visit any of the cafés, restaurants, pubs or bars you can find at Müürivahe, Väike-Karja or Sauna street to watch trendy young adults pass by. The original cool café in the area is Must Puudel. This retro style café attracts local trendsetters, artists and innovators. You can choose to sit by the window inside or outside on the street, where you can really get into the retro groove.

Two of our favourite cafés for people watching are up on the Toompea hill. Pika Jala café is on the upper end of Pikk Jalg and Tallitorni kohvik is on top of the Town Wall, at the Danish King's Garden. Here you can spot Estonian politicians running up and down the hill among a stream of bureaucrats and visitors.

City Centre

Just a few steps outside of the Old Town is a small hill called Harjumägi. Up on the hill you’ll find a café and the mayor's bench with one of the best views of modern Tallinn.  From the hill you can see straight down onto Freedom square, a popular place for meetings and greetings. Down by the square the best place for people watching is at Wabadus café. In the summer the café takes over some of the square, and when the weather is bad you can see the passers-by just as well while sitting indoors.

There are quite a few indoor vantage points in central Tallinn as well. In Solaris shopping centre's 4th floor Komeet café, you can enjoy the sweetest cakes around, while watching people rushing over the pedestrian crossing between Estonia theatre and Solaris. Viru Keskus shopping centre serves up another kind of view for the visitors of Gustav Café and Café More, as the cafés are located inside one of the most popular bookshops in Tallinn, Rahva Raamat. Breathe in the smell of fresh coffee and newly-printed books, and gaze over at the shoppers who have come to find an interesting book. You can also choose something to read while sipping your drink!

Inside the Rotermann Quarter you’ll find busy city life and Carmen Cafe, also a good spot to observe the people strolling by.

Kalamaja

Plenty of people watching can be done at Telliskivi Creative City. From the F-hoone restaurant, you are able to observe the spirit of the Telliskivi area, its events and all the people coming or going. If you are into watching life go by, go there on a sunny summer Saturday, when the flea market is open and Telliskivi is buzzing with visitors.

Kalaturg (which translates as Fish market) is also buzzing on Saturdays. The ultimate view to the market is from Klaus, a super-cool seaside café. If you miss the fish market on Saturday, on Sundays Klaus offers a tasty brunch by the sea, and the eatery, with full-length glass windows, provides a perfect view on any day.

Kadriorg

Kadriorg is best known for its picture-perfect park and art museums. Locals love to take walks in the park on weekends and evenings, so plan your people watching visits for these times. Café Katharinenthal offers hot and refreshing beverages and sweet snacks inside Kadriorg Palace, and next to the swan lake.

Pirita

If you happen to be enjoying a sunny day at the beach in Pirita, visit St. Patrick's casual restaurant, right by the sea. From the restaurant and their terrace you’ll have a unique view of the whole beach and people enjoying a day of fun in the sun!

Along the waterfront between Pirita and Kadriorg runs Pirita promenade. Locals love this 2km long paved pathway. It is the perfect place to spot pedestrians, cyclists and skaters, and to enjoy spectacular views of Tallinn and the sea.

Nõmme

Nõmme has the feel of a small country town. It is worth a visit as it is just a short train ride away from the Old Town. In Nõmme you will be guaranteed to spot many locals just living their everyday lives. Nõmme market is the ultimate stress reliever! Walk among the stalls offering flowers, vegetables and fruits. Sit down and chill with the local grandmas, grandpas and families. It doesn’t get any more authentic than this!

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