Moscow is like its own country with its own rules and laws and an incredible number of amazing places. It's a wonderful dream millions of people can see at the same time. Once you see it with your own eyes, you will hardly want to wake up.
The subway is the core of this megalopolis ’ transport system. In the early morning, from around 7 to 10 a.m., and in the evening, from around 5 to 8 p.m. during the weekdays, the Moscow underground resembles an ant heap with millions of people are hurrying around and invading all of the space. You should not explore the Moscow underground during these hours unless you have some urgent business. The Moscow underground is not only a means of transportation, but it is also a piece of art that most Moscow citizens don't notice. Nevertheless, it evokes pure admiration in tourists. Central stations are epic examples of classic art of 1930's , and stations on the outskirts amaze with their futuristic designs that resemble space stations.
You can get wherever you want by the Moscow underground. Even if you can't reach your destination by the underground, you can always change to surface transport. In the central part of the city, stations are situated so close to each other that you can reach any place of interest on foot. It can be complicated to get tickets for the underground, buses, and trains individually, so you should buy a universal "Troika" card for all types of Moscow transport. Don’t forget to top it off . A fixed price is debited for every trip.
In addition, if you explore the city by the underground, you should not carry large backpacks or parcels with you because police or security may stop and search you. Besides, you cannot visit the majority of theaters and museums with large bags. Always have your ID with you so police won't have any reason to question you.
The main Moscow attraction
Where would you go in Moscow first? That's right, to the Red Square and the Kremlin, because you've seen these places in all of the films not only about Moscow, but about Russia. You may have a reasonable question: how should you spend your time there? You can traipse around the beautiful Alexander Gardens situated right above the underground station with the same name, admire the Moscow Kremlin from the outside, and see interesting exhibitions. Just go to the desk in a large square building near the Troitskaya Tower to buy a ticket . Here you can also enjoy beautiful fountains and visit a shopping mall under the Manezhnaya square. You can get inside the Kremlin only with a certain excursion. You can either buy a ticket on the day of your visit or order them on the Kremlin webpage 2 days in advance and collect them at the desks on the day of your visit. You can go on a sightseeing tour around the Kremlin, where you will observe it from the inside and admire ancient buildings built between the 14th and the 19th centuries, as well as the famous Tsar Bell and Tsar Cannon.
You can also visit a number of beautiful cathedrals, including Annunciation Cathedral , Archangel Cathedral, and Assumption Cathedral , which are located in the Moscow Kremlin. Here you will also find amazing museums that exhibit historical treasures. For example, you can observe tsars’ and emperors’ robes, household items and weapons in the Armoury Chamber, as well as the most precious jewelry pieces of Russia in the Diamond Fund.
You can walk across the Red Square for free and take a photo there to prove you were in Moscow. Between the masses of people who are eager to take photos, the beautiful and colorful Saint Basil’s Cathedral is also situated here. You can buy an entrance ticket for your visit. The Cathedral amazes guests by its interior and exterior design – it mounts over the square like a palace from a fairy tale .
The State Department Store ( GUM for short), built in the 19th century, is situated right on the Red Square. Expensive brands and goods are for sale here, but the beautiful interior also serves as an amazing background for tourists’ photos. At the Red Square, you will also find the ancient red building of the Historical Museum , one of the largest museums related to Russian history. It is important to mention the necropolis right at the Kremlin Wall among other objects on the Red Square, where you can see the graves of eminent politicians, artists, and scientists (such as Josef Stalin, Jury Gagarin, Maxim Gorky) are located. Lenin's Mausoleum forms the center of the necropolis. If you are interested in communism, you can visit the Mausoleum for free and observe body of the proletariat leader that has not yet been buried in a normal way.
Cultural recreation in Moscow
Apart from the State Historical Museum and the Armory Chamber with its historical exhibitions, there are two large art museums in Moscow, The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and the Teriyaki Gallery.
You can explore large collections of classical art from all over the world in the Pushkin Museum. You will not find many pieces of the Russian art, but you will certainly see Ancient Egyptian art, antic Greek sculptures, and an exceptional collection of the French art pieces from the 19th and 20th centuries . To be honest, the paintings are quite dark and gloomy, but the sculptures and replications of the Byzantian and Gothic arcs are impressive.
The State Tretyakov Gallery hosts large collections of Russian art. There are three buildings, and the main one is located on Lavrushinsky Lane. Here you can see the permanent Russian artists’ exhibition from the 11th to the 20th century. Temporary exhibitions, lectures, and screenings of historical or documentary movies are held in the “Corps of Engineers, ” which is also situated here. In the New Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val, you will find a permanent exhibition of the Soviet and Russian art of the 20th and 21st centuries. Interesting temporary exhibitions and festivals are also held here.
Do you like museums of natural history? Welcome to the State Darwin Museum! Every child in Moscow has been there at least 5 times. There are a lot of interesting exhibits in the museum, such as stuffed animals and dinosaur bones. In addition, the museum has been arranged with interactive technologies and now you can watch interesting films right on its walls. In short, it is a wonderful place for children to learn something new and have fun at the same time. It feels like you are in a colorful book about evolution on the planet Earth.
Speaking about natural science and nature itself, it's important to mention the Moscow Zoo, a great place to take a walk and observe animals from every part of the world. The second place of interest is the colorful modern Mosaquarium, or Moscow oceanarium. As Moscow is not a coastal town, the aquarium is not that large, but there are still a lot of interesting sea creatures to see there. In addition, there is the modern and well- equipped Moscow Planetarium, where you can watch interesting films about our universe and stars and look at the projection of a starry sky in one of the two domes of the planetarium.
Visiting museums requires a lot of energy and provides you with tons of memories , so you better not plan to visit a lot of places in one day. A trip through the enormous city, great memories , crowds of people and just walking from one place of interest to the next – all of it is very tiring.
Music, theater and circus in Moscow
Speaking about art, it is important to mention theaters. There are a lot of theaters in Moscow, and many of them stand out because of their great plays and architecture. The Bolshoi and Maly theaters are especially worth mentioning and visiting. The Bolshoi Theater holds concerts, operas, ballets (and Russian ballet is a distinct type of art, beautiful and stunning) . In the Maly Theater plays of classic literature pieces are presented. Amazing ballets and concerts are also held at the State Kremlin Palace. You can enjoy classic music in concert halls of the Moscow International Performing Arts Center. And it is impossible to leave out the Russian circus. There are two of them in Moscow – “Bolshoi Circus on Vernadsky Prospekt” and “Moscow Circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard”. The Zapashny brothers, two great Russian handlers, also annually hold their shows in the Luzhniki complex. Any circus show in Russia is colorful and unforgettable.
About modern art
Classic art and modern art are perfectly combined in Moscow. Although many forms of modern art do remain misunderstood, there are forms loved and understood by everyone – for example, photography.
Modern art is presented in very interesting places in Moscow – former factory buildings in the city center that are even acknowledged architecture monuments (for example, “Krasny Oktyabr” factory building). These places were successfully converted into galleries and exhibitions and they were also decorated in interesting creative modern way. This is modern Moscow culture. Apart from “Krasny Oktyabr” factory, you can explore this side of Moscow in the “Artplay” design center, “Winzavod” Moscow Contemporary Art Center, Modern Art Museum “Garage”. Here you can enjoy colorful, inspiring and incredible exhibitions. For example, an exhibition “World Press Photo”, held in Artplay, presents the most breathtaking journalist photos of the year. Every time it provokes a question: “Is it even ethical to show these pictures to an audience? Or i s it too violent/painful/disgusting/sad”. But conclusions and emotions are left to the visitors. At “Winzavod” #TheBestOfRussia exhibition is annually arranged , where the best photos of the homonymic contest winners are represented. The photos are taken on Russian territory during the previous year. The exhibition is really vivid, beautiful and interesting.
Strolling around Moscow
Parks, gardens, places of interest and ice rinks in Moscow
Of course, it is wonderful to visit museums, exhibitions and theaters non-stop, but sometimes you really want to wander around the city, feel its atmosphere and enjoy its views. There are a great number of parks, boulevards and places of interest to satisfy these desires . Apart from the Alexander Gardens near the Kremlin, there is a new “Zaryadye” park, which is amazing with its modern design and its incredible view of the Kremlin itself. You can also enjoy city landscapes from one of the most popular places, the observation deck on the Vorobyovy Gory, right in front of Lomonosov State University (MSU).
You can enjoy panoramic views of the city center from the top of the Central Children’s Store on Lubyanka, where a special platform is equipped. The Gorky park offers a large territory with a vast number of activities. This park is comprised of Neskushny Garden, Muzeon the Gorky Park itself. It is a really impressive place because of its territory and infrastructure. There are three Botanic Gardens with a great diversity of plants and flowers in Moscow for those who adore nature. And if you want to explore the architecture of the USSR in all its majesty, observe its monuments and have a good time, your choice is the Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy (VDNKh). The Moscow city business center is popular not only for tourists, but also for Moscow citizens. Some people are satisfied with just a view of these surrealistic skyscrapers from the nearest Moscow riverfront esplanade . But you can also go inside with a guided tour. In winter the most beautiful ice rinks in Moscow are opened in the Gorky Park and at the VDNKh. There is also an incredible rooftop ice rink with stunning views on one of the Moscow skyscrapers. You can either bring your own skates or rent a pair right at the ice rink.
Moscow palace museums
If you get tired of city landscapes, you can enjoy a vast number of palace museums in Moscow and the Moscow suburbs. They will amaze your imagination with their interior and exterior and their reserve parks. There are several popular restored Moscow palace museums – Tsaritsyno, Kolomenskoye and Kuskovo. You can purchase a ticket and enjoy the interior of these vintage houses or just peacefully wander around the picturesque parks that surround these buildings.
City center walks
There are a great number of walking destinations, cultural leisure activities and entertainment options in the capital of Russia. But if you want to enjoy the city, the city center with all its ancient buildings is definitely a place to go. You can be sure that there can be nothing better than enjoying your favorite music through your headphones in one of your ears while leaving your other ear free to enjoy the sounds of Moscow, walking along its streets. Wandering around without any goal or destination will be just as fulfilling as visiting museums and attractions. You will have a hard time getting lost, as there are underground stations and signs giving directions everywhere you go. And you will remember streets like Arbat street, Tveskaya street, Bolshaya and Malaya Pirogovskaya streets, the Moscow river esplanade , and all the other streets situated inside the Sadovoye ring, along with the street itself, for a lifetime . You will be also pleasantly surprised by unexpected findings, like the Patriarch ponds, the Novodevichy Convent and many other beautiful places hidden in the city center. It is highly important to put comfortable shoes on, because you won’t notice the distances you’ll walk. This city fascinates with its epic views and hectic pace of life.
Eating out in Moscow
You will inevitably get hungry during your adventures in Moscow. Luckily, there are a great number of shopping malls with restaurant food courts on the top floor, where you will find familiar fast food places like McDonalds . Nevertheless, it's preferable to visit one of the famous food spots in Moscow, or spoil yourself at an expensive restaurant, according to your planned expenses, rather than eat fast food on the streets. There is free Wi-Fi in many cafes.
Don’t be surprised that Russians are fond of drinking tea, especially in winter. They may do this after the meal, before the meal or in between their meals. Moreover, if you are offered to drink a cup, accept it, it is really good and warms you up .
There are a lot of good coffee shops in Moscow. One of the most recommended is “Double B”, which you can find only in the city center, “Starbucks” and “MacCafe”, which are for sure familiar to you and much more common. It is always wonderful to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or take it with you on a walk.
It’s important to remember safety measures in such a big city. If you return to your room late in the night, don’t try to hail a car. Call a taxi with the help of convenient common apps instead. Don’t approach homeless people , stray dogs (although you won’t see them often, there are a few them), or beggars. Don’t abuse alcohol. If you have decided to relax and have a drink at a bar or in a club, don’t try to overdrink Russians. Try not to wander around the outskirts or in the nearest suburbs of the city. These districts may be unsafe late at night, and all of the attractions are located in the city center.
At first glance, Muscovites may seem grumpy, strict and always hurrying off somewhere . That is actually true, but there is always a lack of time in Moscow, and it may seem as if people are sleeping while hurrying to their destinations at the same time. But if you need help, you will find a person eager to help you. This is not only true in Moscow, but in Russia – you can always count on help or advice here, if you ask for it. By the way, the ladies here are very beautiful and nice as well.
You can find everything in this busy city – a vast number of exhibitions, events, walking destinations, and convenience stores. If you haven’t found anything like this – you haven’t looked attentively enough. And this is a welcoming Russian city, despite all its richness and diversity. You just have to get used to it . Muscovites love their city, and, hopefully, you’ll love it too.
you’ll love it too.