Originally built as an automobile showroom for various local car dealerships (as well as an auto service center) the Tennis Palace (Tennispalatsi) was designed by student architect Helge Lundstrom. Its current name was derived from the fact that during the 1940s and ‘50s, the venue was used mostly for tennis. It held 4 courts and the design, with large windows at each end, allowed a lot of light into the building without blinding the players during the matches. During the 1952 Helsinki Summer Olympics, the Tennispalatsi was used as the main venue for basketball.
After the Olympics, however, the building started to become neglected. The main auto dealer tenants began moving outside the center of Helsinki and the city had no choice but to buy the building and condemned it. As such, the building quickly began to deteriorate as a result of the neglect. However, the lack of modernization managed to leave the Tennispalatsi in a preserved state which eventually led it to become one of the historic buildings in downtown Helsinki. Today, the building is home to the Helsinki City Museum, the Museum of Cultures, and a movie theater.
The Tennispalatsi is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 7pm. The building is next to the main city bus station, and about 500 meters from the railway station. The nearest metro station is Kamppi.