Jyväskylä is a small city with very near presence of nature and lakes. It has a very large student population from Autumn to Spring, which makes it quite vibrant and interesting compared to other cities similar size. There used to be saying that "every 3rd person on the street is a student" but after some neighboring municipalities joined the city, that might not be factually true anymore.
- Train: VR
You can stay pretty hidden in the very center of the city by setting up a tent in Harjun puisto (the big hill in the center of the city), but you might have quite some drunkards around. More suitable at late hours of the night only.
Head to Kortepohja, Halssila or Vaajakoski districts if you want some big forests accessible by publics. Behind "Laajavuori" ski'ing center in Kortepohja you have even some fireplaces. You'll have some occasional people hiking or jogging around but otherwise it's very peaceful.
No hostels in Jyväskylä.
During the summer months three student dormitories around the city turn into cheap hotels (cheap in Finnish standards). See their website.
Hospitality exchange works very well due large amount of students in the city.
- Leftover school lunch: Some schools (at least Vaajakummunkoulu (Finnish)) in the city sell leftover lunch from cantins for 1.5€ (2014). Ask locals to search current info, as project is on trial period. Read more about it (Finnish)
Alternative bars & restaurants
- Soppabaari, great for soup/pasta lunch. They don't have fixed menu; you just eat what they happen to cook at that moment. Kinda affordable compared to usual restaurants.
- Vakiopaine, Kauppakatu 6, is one of the most artsy and alternative bars of the city. (wifi)
- Tanssisali Lutakko is one of the best places for live gigs in whole country.
- Musta Kynnys, a good rock bar.
- Bar/Restaurant Sohwi Vaasankatu 21 (wifi, pass: vodka)
- Vihreä haltijatar Kauppakatu 13 (wifi, pass: haltsu)
- Poppari. Old school Jazz bar with great live music. Puistokatu 2-4 (wifi)
- Kasvisravintola Katriina] Kauppakatu 11, open 11-14. Nice vegan soup lunch for 7e (2015). Very popular among university students.
Due large student population, city is swarmed with cheap pizza-kebab places. Not that great quality usually but fills the tummy for a good price.
(Accurate as of August 2015)
- Forum shopping centre Kauppakatu, city centre
- Jyväskeskus shopping centre Kauppakatu, city centre
- Libraries Every library has both computers with internet access and free wifi. Usually the wifi password is written on a sign somewhere, but you can ask a librarian, as they all speak English. The main library in Jyväskylä city centre also has free toilets.
- TE-palvelut (unemployment office) On the corner of Vapaudenkatu and Urhonkatu. There is also the public service point of Vero (tax service) here. The free wifi should be accessible from the general lobby, but if not just go in to the TE-palvelut office. There are comfortable seats and free toilets inside.
- Tourist information office Asemakatu, city centre. There is no wifi here, but there are two computers with internet access for public use.
See also: Accommodation above and Jyväskylä tourist information page listing public computers with internet access and wifi spots. Note that the wifi networks for cafés and restaurants may require passwords which are generally only for customer use.
"Kävelykatu" ("walking street") — Kauppakatu is quite popular busking location.
At summer, especially during weekends, you might have some luck at the harbour.