The biggest attraction of Parnu (Pärnu) is the beach, which runs along the edge of the city, and can accommodate about 40,000 people. In the summer, Parnu comes to life around the beach, where there's also an opportunity for dining and shopping, and renting a Segway, surf equipment and bikes, so you can enjoy riding along the nature trail by the river, and see the famous cows of Parnu.
Parnu has a very original natural environment: walking trails, observation towers, and urban meadows with cows. The goal of keeping cows in the city is to restore traditional human activities on the coastal meadows of the city, because if the animals don't keep up the coastal meadows, they will fade and grow over.
The tallest fountain in Estonia and the unique amphitheater-like Vallikäär venue in Parnu are also worth exploring. Vallikäär attracts passers-by with its illuminated promenade by the shore and the romantic arched pedestrian bridge over the moat. Here you can see forging in the restored smithy and stand under the gates that mark the beginning of a restored former postal road to Tallinn.
Local food culture is really high-level. There are many cafés, and in October of every year, a Café Week takes place, and in April there's Restaurant Week. The main aim of Café Week is to introduce cafés to the people of Parnu, as well as people living elsewhere in Estonia, and increase the community's tea and coffee awareness.
The best feature of the summer capital is of course its spas. Parnu has 8 large spas and in March of each year Parnu Spa Week takes place. For visitors with children the theme park Lottemaa is a real treat. It's just 6 kilometers outside of the city, and is designed based on the fictional story Leiutajatekula (Inventor's Village). And of course, the cultural center of the Mary Magdalene Guild in the heart of the city, and the 3 meters high elephant slide on the beach have to be mentioned.
Heno and Steiner buildings Parnu
These two houses on Pühavaimu Street are one of the older and more colorful architectural and historical monuments of Pärnu. In the 1670's, the building for the apothecary Heno was built and in 1647, the building for the alderman Steiner was completed. The two houses were divided by a street until the early 18th century.
A merchant called Hans Diedrich Schmidt joined the buildings into one. Over the years, the complex of buildings has changed many times, it was rebuilt, extended, and renovated. Towards the end of the 19th century, the two houses were joined with a columned intermediate structure.
The House of Arts in Parnu operates in the building at 8 Pühavaimu Street.
The first building of Endla Theater was destroyed in a fire in 1944. The decision made in the Soviet times was not to restore it in its original location as the theater was a national symbol too important for the Estonian people. The new building was established in a 1967 in the Stalinist central square, an empty space that had been reserved for the Executive Committee of Parnu Oblast in 1952. The size of the square made the theater, which was built according to the Soviet standard design, look like a little pavilion. Extensive reconstruction of the theater was completed in 2001, by the 90th season of the professional Endla Theater and it included a new smaller hall, which was called Küün (Barn) in homage to the first theater building of Parnu from the 19th century.
Endla Society Building Monument
This modest, grey monument marks the site of the building that belonged to one of the first song and music cultural societies founded in Estonia. The Endla Society was founded in 1875. The society's activities grew and its members decided to build a building for its activities. This Jugendstil building was designed by the architects G. Hella (pre-design), A. Jung (design) and E. von Wolffeldt (exterior design), and was built from 1908-1911. On February 23, 1918, advocate H. Kuusner read out the Estonian Declaration of Independence, the "Manifesto to the Peoples of Estonia", to the public from the balcony of the Endla Theater.
The monument to the Endla Theater designed by the sculptor M. Karmin was constructed in 1989.
Villa Ammende Parnu
Villa Ammende is the greatest Art Nouveau style villa in Parnu, just a five minutes walk from the beach. After the Ammende family moved to Germany in 1927, this grand building has operated at different times as a casino, library, military headquarters, sanatorium and restaurant. Since 1995 this building has been in private hands and after going through a thorough renovation, the interior an external architecture have been restored almost to their original state. The house now serves as a hotel, restaurant and museum of Art Nouveau lifestyle. The villa has enchanting Art Nouveau halls, salons, balconies, and small details, such as huge vases of fragrant lilies, beautiful silverware and chandeliers.