Lahti is a traditional industrial city. However, the city has suffered heavily during the economic downturms, especially in the early 90's, earning a somewhat gritty reputation. Unemployment and alienation are still commonplace in suburbs of Lahti. Things are however now looking brighter again with a new direct railroad to Helsinki and city centre being revamped.
Lahti has a population of 100,000 making it the 7th largest city in Finland by population. The area of the city is 154,6 square kilometres, of which 19,54 km² is water. Current mayor of Lahti is Jyrki Myllyvirta.
There is an almost hourly ExpressBus  coach connection from Helsinki-Vantaa airport to Lahti bus station operated, departing from platform 13 in front of the international flights terminal. The service operates round the clock, although there may be a gap of 1 to 2 hours between services in the small hours of the night. The trip takes between 1 h 15 min and 1 h 30 min depending on whether the service calls in towns on the way. In some cases, there is a change of coach at Kerava but it is well co-ordinated and easy. Tickets cost €20.50 (round trip €36.90) for adults, €10.30 for Finnish students (ISIC not accepted) and children of age 4-16. Children under the age of four travel free.
Travel from Helsinki to Lahti by train takes about an hour. The train service is provided by VR , the national train company. Trains are also preferred by locals, because they're fast and comfortable. There are several train types:
Local train Z (Lähiliikennejuna Z). Costs around €16,40 adult, €8,20 child (6-16 years). - Stops at Pasila, Tikkurila, Kerava, Haarajoki, and Mäntsälä. Goes hourly from about 6AM to roughly midnight. 1 hour travel time.
InterCity trains (InterCity-juna). Costs over €20 adult, over €10 child. Very comfortable trains, usually with 6 wagons, 3 of them are double-deckers. Stops at Pasila, Tikkurila and depending on the train also at Kerava. Most of the Intercity trains continue onwards from Lahti and are only few minutes faster than the Z train. Current (winter 2009) timetable indicates 54 minutes travel time.
Pendolino trains. Costs over €20 adult, over €10 child. Very comfortable trains and they tilt while turning (allows faster speeds).
Stops only at Pasila and Tikkurila before Lahti. 48 minutes travel time. All of the Pendolino trains continue from Lahti.
Allegro train, travel between Helsinki and St. Petersburg stops in Lahti.
If you travel with children, you should choose Perhelippu (Family ticket). With each adult, one child can ride for free. For example, if you have three children, you will only pay for 2 adults and 1 child.
The train station is less than ten minutes walk from the city center. Cross Mannerheiminkatu and take Rautatienkatu or Vesijärvenkatu towards north. = Leave the radio hill to your left and railway tracks behind you. City center is around Aleksanterinkatu.
Check more informations from VR's websites. www.vr.com
Lahti has a good system of public transport. You can ride from one part of the city to another with a single ticket of 3.60€, kids 1.80€. Aleksanterinkatu and Vapaudenkatu are the center of Lahti's public transport system. Every local buses use Railway Station area as a stop, because the Matkakeskus (Transport Center) is being build up by year 2015. You can use interactive route planner  to find bus routes.
Lahti has a partly deserved reputation as an unattractive, economically depressed industrial town. In the recent years, however, Lahti has improved its reputation with a lovely harbor area with outdoor cafes and bars (but in summer beware of the wasps!). In the harbor area there is also beautiful Sibelius Hall which is used for concerts and conferences.
Sibelius Hall (built in 2000) is an example of a modern wood construction and the largest wooden building built in Finland for 100 years. Finnish forests were the main inspiration for the architects. The building consists of four parts:
the renovated ex-carpentry factory (the oldest industrial building still existing in Lahti, built by August Fellman in 1907 to serve as a kraft pulp factory with a sawmill, the building was extended many times and it served as a glass factory, wood meal factory, carpentry factory and wooden house factory),
the Main Hall with wonderful acoustics,
the congress centre and the Forest Hall (a beautiful lake scenery opening from Forest Hall's windows).
Guided tours for groups of 1-13 persons. The ex-carpentry factory was renovated into a restaurant, offices and cabinets. Sibelius Hall host about 800 events every year: about 140 concerts from classical music to rock, pop etc.
In Laune park, you'll have lots of fun. There's a traffic city, where you can drive with free bicycles and scooters. There are pipes and water, and parents can rest on grass while kids are having fun.
Free of charge
Bus no. 31 from Kauppatori stop A
Vesiurut, Pikku-Vesijärvi park.
Vesiurut means water organs. Every day at 1PM and 6PM, at the park there is a small 15 minute concert. The fountain starts in unison with music from speakers up in the trees. There are some classical music pieces and some Finnish pop music pieces. You can sit on rocks around the fountain, but be aware - you can get wet ;) During the fall, there are also lights playing.
Barnyard animals in the sweet country milieu right in the city center. Open only in Summer.
Free of charge
Puksu city train
Puksu train goes through the city's entertaining places. It starts from Vesijärvi harbour, then goes to Laune park, then Farm Animal Yard, "Little Marketplace" and back to Vesijärvi harbour.
4€ Adults, €2 kids
Outdoor swimming pool (Maauimala)
In the summer, the bottom part of the highest ski jump is opened as a pool. There's a shallow kids area as well as a deeper area, which goes quickly from 2m to 3m deep. Swimming ability required. You can borrow trunks and glasses.
4€ Adults, €2 kids.
Sports Park (Kisapuisto)
You can play almost anything in the sports park. There are tennis courts, a tennis wall, volleyball court, baseball field and of course a football field. Inside, there are tennis, badminton, and squash courts.
Outside prices unknown
Inside tennis €12/hour, squash and badminton €8/hour.
Lahti has the best known symphony orchestra in Finland, Sinfonia Lahti. Annual winter sport event, Salpausselän kisat is very popular and worth to see.
Lake Vesijärvi, Ankkurikatu. A nice way to spend a summer day is to embark a paddlewheeler ship to cruise Lake Vesijärvi. Remember to have an ice-cream onshore.edit
Medieval Greystone Church of Hollola, Rantatie 917 (Hollola kk). mon-fri 10-80, sun 11-16. Visit nearby Hollola for it's medieval greystone church. Completed around 1480 it represents the best middle aged church architechture. This church is famous for it's well preserved wooden carvings, some of which are from the 1400s.Free. edit
Radio and tv museum, Radiomäki, ☎ +358 (0)3 814 4512 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +358 (0)3 814 4515), . Mon-Fri 10-17, Sat & Sun 11-17. Lahti's radio and television museum is located on Radiomäki (literally Radio Hill). You can see receiving and transmission equipment from the 1920's to modern times, and outdoors you can't miss the two long wave masts that can be seen from everywhere around the city.Adults 5€, Children 2€. edit
Trio shopping center  at Aleksanterinkatu 18, city center. There are over 90 shops, in 3 floors.
Opened on weekdays between 10AM - 8PM, Saturdays between 9AM and 6PM.
Sokos shopping center at Aleksanterinkatu 19-21. It's a big center with 3 floors and a basement floor. The three upper floors are filled with shoes, clothes, toys, electronics, dishes, games, movies and everything that you need in your household. In the basement, there's a S-Market grocery store, which has a store in almost every city in Finland.
Opened on weekdays between 8AM - 9PM, Saturdays between 8AM and 6PM.
Syke Shopping center is located just opposite of Liike, Kauppakatu 18. Unlike Liike, which has a few shops. Syke has many shops, S-Market, which sells household products and food, Clas Ohlson, which sells electronics and household products, Emotion, which sells cosmetics and womens lingerie, TOP Sport, which sells sport equipment.
Liike shopping center is near the city centre. Mail order business Anttila has a big 2-floor store there, which sells nearly everything found in the catalog. There are also several smaller shops, a cafe and a sports shop InterSport.
Just by walking around in the city centre you can find stores that sell almost anything (everything from buttons to cars).
Outside of the town
LAUNE is a large commercial area filled with large hypermarkets, electronic and car stores.
Most stores are open on weekdays between 9AM - 8PM, Saturdays between 9AM and 5PM.
Buses no. 72, 8, 13, 16, 21, 30 from Kauppatori stop C.
Karisma shopping center  is situated about 5 km's east from the city center, beside the E75 motorway. It has nearly 80 shops.