Take a walk along the Rotuaari Promenade for a spot of bargain hunting fun. The pedestrianized area in the Pokkinen district at the heart of Oulu consists of several intersecting streets with a number of shops, cafes and restaurants. The area is also a hotbed of cultural events and is the buzzing central area of the city, where people from all walks of life meet and find what they need.
The foremost shopping district
The name Rotuaari comes from the French word "trottoir,"- to walk - which is exactly what you should do here! Rotuaari Promenade and the other streets in downtown Oulu form a perfect maze for lovers of all things, retail to wander around and spot goodies. Browse through boutiques and upmarket department stores such as Stockmann to find a gift from your trip, or a bargain for yourself to take home with you. The pedestrian zone was founded in the summer of 1987. At first, part of Kirkkokatu street was converted to pedestrian use only, later the zone was enlarged to Kauppurienkatu street between Isokatu street and the market square. The area, together with the Oulu Market Square, is managed by the city center shopkeeper association Oulun Liikekeskus.
Open all year round
The district is an all-year attraction thanks to the heating system which was placed under the pedestrian zone in 2012, meaning an ice and snow free area. However, the area comes to life in the summer months, with the high-calibre cafés and restaurants with terraces on offer teeming with locals in a relaxed atmosphere. The bar scene is very popular with karaoke enthusiasts, and there are a couple of nightclubs for those who are looking for late-night dancing and entertainment.
Rotuaari Piknik Festival
Meanwhile, cultural events are organized in Rotuaari Square throughout the year. First held in 1999, the Rotuaari Piknik festival has been a staple of the Oulu cultural calendar ever since. The events draw thousands of visitors each summer - it's generally held over four days in early July. The mini-festival brings in top performers from throughout Scandinavia and the world. It features bands of many different styles, though most of the musicians fall into the "pop" or "rock" category. The festival runs alongside other popular Oulu music events throughout the summer, which include Qstock and Jalometalli. The organizers of Rotuaari Piknik also bring musicians to Oulu throughout the year for one-off performances and events, including a regular Christmas performance.