Resi­den­tial districts

An evening dusk photographed by the water, colouring the sky with different shades of pink and yellow. On the opposite shore, there are tall apartment buildings and sailboats.

Oulu is divi­ded into 23 main districts that are furt­her divi­ded into city districts and even furt­her into neigh­bour­hoods that com­pe­te in att­rac­ti­ve­ness and appeal. Many of them also have an acti­ve neigh­bour­hood socie­ty.

The varie­ty of areas and natu­re in Oulu is char­ming, and you will never get bored explo­ring the city. The munici­pa­li­ties of Hau­ki­pu­das, Kii­min­ki, Oulun­sa­lo, and Yli-Ii mer­ged into the City of Oulu in 2013, making the city even more exci­ting than befo­re. The varie­ty of neigh­bour­hoods is almost end­less, cate­ring for many tas­tes.

The­re is also a won­der­ful varie­ty of place names in Oulu, most of which have to do with the his­to­ry or natu­re of the res­pec­ti­ve district. They all sha­re their part of the sto­ry of Oulu with a hig­her gra­de of appeal.

Neigh­bour­hoods in the beat of the city cent­re

Enjoy the beat of the city or a laid-back sea­si­de atmosp­he­re near you – disco­ver them in Oulu city cent­re and the popu­la­tion cent­res right around it. Vaa­ra and Pok­ki­nen insi­de the city cent­re grid plan hold the best of ser­vices and arc­hi­tec­tu­re from art nou­veau to 2020s engi­nee­ring. The idyl­lic and beau­ti­ful Hol­li­ha­ka and Leve­ri offer won­der­ful views and mari­ti­me ambience. Not far from the cent­re, you will also find Myl­ly­tul­li in an old industrial neigh­bour­hood, Intiö with its old woo­den mili­ta­ry bar­racks, and Van­ha­tul­li, which is a com­bi­na­tion of the old and the new.

Just a stone’s throw away is Rak­si­la with its enc­han­ting woo­den district and a cent­re for many sports and fit­ness acti­vi­ties. Sur­roun­ded by ser­vices is also Limin­gan­tul­li with plen­ty of new apart­ments. The Limin­gan­tul­li district used to house a cus­toms office whe­re goods from the count­ry­si­de were ins­pec­ted befo­re being allowed in the town for tra­ding. Hence the name – Limin­gan­tul­li means ”Limin­ka Cus­toms” in English!

Residential buildings along the river photographed from the air. Boat parking spots and parked boats can be seen in the centre.

Lush and idyl­lic areas to call home

Just one kilo­met­re from the city cent­re you will enter a who­le new world if you set your cour­se for the small house neigh­bour­hood of Kar­ja­sil­ta, for example. Once selec­ted as the best resi­den­tial district in Fin­land, Kar­ja­sil­ta is not only dot­ted with love­ly, colour­ful woo­den houses but also old apart­ment buil­dings – all equal­ly char­ming! You will see and feel the clo­se­ness of natu­re also in Höyh­tyä, Noke­la, Lin­tu­la, and Män­ty­lä. The Sel­vaag houses in Höyh­tyä, the woods and ponds in Lin­tu­la, and the peace­ful streets and parks in Noke­la and Män­ty­la all exu­de the unique Oulu housing cul­tu­re.

Whi­le the pre­vious areas repre­sent the sout­hern side of Oulu, in the north you will encoun­ter the enc­han­ting districts of Väli­vai­nio, Isko, and Pyy­kös­jär­vi. All three have plen­ty of detac­hed housing, and Väli­vai­nio will beco­me part of the inner city over the natu­ral cour­se of futu­re city deve­lop­ment.

The banks of Oulu River will lead you to the atmosp­he­ric and vibrant neigh­bour­hoods of Hint­ta, Myl­ly­oja, Haa­pa­leh­to, Kirk­ko­kan­gas, and Kyn­si­leh­to. Main­ly con­sis­ting of detac­hed and row housing, the­se are excel­lent areas for sports and other acti­vi­ties from jog­ging trails to ska­te parks.

Aerial photo of wintry Oulu. Several yellow apartment buildings with red roofs can be seen in the photo.

Urban housing to suit many tas­tes

Are you loo­king for an edgy, urban lifes­ty­le? Look no furt­her! Selec­ted as the neigh­bour­hood of the year, Tui­ra is the epi­to­me of ver­sa­ti­li­ty and mul­tiplici­ty, for example when it comes to cul­tu­re and events. The river­si­de part of Tui­ra is one of the most beau­ti­ful areas in Oulu, with the beach and the trails along the river cate­ring for acti­ve yet relaxing moments.

Right next door to Tui­ra is Kos­ki­kes­kus with a gene­ral plan desig­ned by Alvar Aal­to, the most famous Fin­nish arc­hi­tect by inter­na­tio­nal stan­dards. The atmosp­he­re between the 1950s apart­ment buil­dings is insu­pe­rable! The Oulu River estua­ry is pac­ked with small islands. Clo­sest to the city cent­re is Piki­saa­ri Island, a pic­tu­resque neigh­bour­hood known par­ticu­lar­ly as the home of artists and arti­sans.

Aerial photo of the Oulu River estuary in the winter. Along the river, there are tall, colourful apartment buildings. In the photo there is a street with bridges. The Merikoski power station can be seen in the foreground.

Sen­se the sea near home

The sea wind blows in Oulu, and the­re are seve­ral sea­si­de resi­den­tial loca­tions to choo­se from, too. On the sho­res of Hie­ta­saa­ri Island, you can find Nal­li­ka­ri Beach, also known as the Rivie­ra of the North, along with seve­ral har­bours and other places for acti­vi­ties such as hob­bies and rec­rea­tion. Hie­ta­saa­ri is easi­ly acces­sible from Top­pi­lan­saa­ri and Top­pi­lan­sal­mi next to it – both of which also offer some of the most won­der­ful water­si­de sce­ne­ry in Oulu. The sta­te­ly and his­to­ric har­bour sto­re­houses nowa­days offer unique housing alter­na­ti­ves. What is more, this is clo­se to the district of Oulu Housing Fair, which is under con­struc­tion to hap­pen in 2025.

Fol­low the sho­re­li­ne south or north to find fresh and cosy areas one after the other. In the north, you will come across Kel­lo and Mar­tin­nie­mi for char­ming homes­teads, whi­le in the south you can disco­ver the various love­ly neigh­bour­hoods of Oulun­sa­lo.

Also situa­ted by the sea is Äimä­rau­tio, a unique district in Oulu because it has no per­ma­nent resi­dents at all. Ins­tead, it houses the ado­rable Äimä­rau­tio com­mu­ni­ty gar­den with allot­ments and huts that are sought-after spots for spen­ding the sum­mer in Oulu.

Photograph of the Nallikari Beach. Two people are walking on a paved road in the foreground – one has their arm around the other one’s shoulders. The sky is blue and nearly cloudless. A ship is sailing on the sea.

Peace­ful and spacious housing

Oulu has plen­ty of peace­ful areas whe­re fami­lies and single people live in hap­py har­mo­ny. North of the city cent­re are the neigh­bour­hoods of Kos­ke­la and Tas­ki­la, whe­re the atmosp­he­re is tranquil and most of the buil­ding stock con­sists of row houses or detac­hed housing. Ver­dancy and small houses can also be found in Kui­vas­jär­vi, Raja­ky­lä, Pate­nie­mi, and Heruk­ka, for example.

Moving north, the­re are also the neigh­bour­hoods of Jää­li which are popu­lar for fami­lies and con­tain detac­hed houses and row houses from seve­ral periods. More recent­ly built neigh­bour­hoods inclu­de Saa­re­la and Tal­vi­kan­gas, both of which are very acces­sible concer­ning children’s day care and schools.

A woman and a man are walking a dog in a residential area with detached house on a summer evening. The dog is black and the woman has a coat tied around her waist.

Per­fect for an acti­ve life

Are you a stu­dent or lead an acti­ve life otherwi­se? The­re is a pad in Oulu for you, too! The most ideal areas for stu­dents are the Kai­jon­har­ju and Lin­nan­maa neigh­bour­hoods near the Lin­nan­maa cam­pus. The­se are also cle­ver choices for people wor­king in the Lin­nan­maa tech­no­lo­gy vil­la­ge. Get­ting around is easy also from homes near the Kon­tin­kan­gas cam­pus and Oulu Uni­ver­si­ty Hos­pi­tal, in Pel­to­la, for example.

Loca­ted next to good public trans­port rou­te and the acces­sible, excel­lent Oulu cycling network are the neigh­bour­hoods of Alp­pi­la, Top­pi­la, Kau­ko­vai­nio, and Puo­li­vä­lin­kan­gas. The buil­ding stock in the­se areas con­sists main­ly of apart­ment buil­dings – some char­mingly older, reno­va­ted ones, and others more recent­ly built. Along the Oulu River the­re is the district of Laa­ni­la from whe­re the city cent­re, Lin­nan­maa, and Kon­tin­kan­gas are easi­ly and quickly reac­hable.

A man with a collar shirt is walking on a street in front of yellow houses. The houses have white details and light blue window frames.

Pic­tu­resque neigh­bour­hoods along the river

One of the most well-known land­marks in the sce­ne­ry of Oulu is the Oulu River, with postcard-like resi­den­tial districts built on both sides along it. Clo­sest to the city cent­re is Värt­tö, with love­ly sce­ne­ry, beau­ti­ful parks, and a beach with a mari­na brin­ging life to the neigh­bour­hood. Near the concent­ra­tion of workplaces and schools in Kon­tin­kan­gas and the ser­vices in Rak­si­la is the Oulun­suu district with a ver­sa­ti­le selec­tion of old and new housing avai­lable.

The Maik­ku­la and Knuu­ti­la districts have a lot of detac­hed and row housing along with ado­rable small apart­ment buil­dings here and the­re. The natu­re is tan­gible in the neigh­bour­hoods on a pine wood rid­ge along the river. Slight­ly furt­her on is Made­kos­ki with a vil­la­ge-type atmosp­he­re right next door to Tur­kan­saa­ri Open-Air Museum. On the other side of the river is San­gin­suu, loca­ted whe­re Oulu River and its tri­bu­ta­ry San­gin­jo­ki meet.

Aerial photo of the Oulu River and residences along the river, with trees and grass around them. The sky is blue with some clouds.

Plen­ty of ser­vices around

Welco­me to an abun­dance of ser­vices! It is not always in your inte­rests to shop or sun errands in the city cent­re, in which case good ser­vices near your place of resi­dence are gol­den. For example, the new district of Rita­har­ju is right next to the Idea­park shop­ping cent­re. All the other ser­vices in the area are unbea­table, too. On the other side of town, the Kaak­ku­ri cent­re has a concent­ra­tion of groce­ry sto­res and more specia­li­sed shops. The hyper­mar­ket of Rus­ko and other ser­vices near it are won­der­ful­ly reac­hable for the resi­dents of Rus­ko, Hei­kin­har­ju, and Kor­ven­suo­ra neigh­bour­hoods.

Approxi­ma­te­ly 20 kilo­met­res nort­heast from the city cent­re is the resi­den­tial district of Kii­min­ki, whe­re the essen­tial ser­vices can be found in the vil­la­ge cent­re, Kir­kon­ky­lä. At the core of the Hau­ki­pu­das main district is the Hau­ki­pu­das resi­den­tial district with a plen­ti­ful selec­tion of ser­vices for eve­ry­day living.

A woman and two children are smiling while enjoying bowls of ice cream. There is a yellow curtain in the background and there are glasses on the table, too.

Clo­se to the natu­re

If you are not into urban life in the conc­re­te jungle but are more of a natu­re per­son, check out this sec­tion. Even though Oulu is famous for its natu­re that will fol­low you right into the city cent­re, the neigh­bour­hoods set wit­hin natu­re itself have a who­le dif­fe­rent atmosp­he­re. Head out to Iinat­ti, for example: this easi­ly reac­hable district has a network of run­ning trails and a fit­ness track whe­re you can enjoy the lush green natu­re around you whi­le exerci­sing. The Hiuk­ka­vaa­ra neigh­bour­hood built around the old army bar­racks of Oulu offers idyl­lic sur­roun­dings com­bi­ned with modern housing and ser­vices.

The big­gest main district in Oulu (and the who­le of Fin­land) is Yli­kii­min­ki. This area is paricu­lar­ly cha­rac­te­ri­sed by waterways, with seve­ral lakes and the beau­ti­ful Kii­min­ki­jo­ki River sha­ping the landsca­pe.

Along the banks of Iijo­ki River is the main district of Yli-Ii with mag­ni­ficent boreal forests set­ting the sce­ne­ry. This area has a lot of his­to­ry dating back to the Sto­ne Age, showca­sed in the arc­haeo­lo­gical exhi­bi­tions of Kie­rik­ki Sto­ne Age Cent­re.

A road is lined by lush trees and grass, with adults, children and a dog walking along it.