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.