Top Places to Visit in Moscow
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Top Places to Visit in Moscow

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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.

Moscow Transport

Aeroexpress

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

Tsar Cannon

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.

Saint Basil descent

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

Moscow museums

Russian art

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

Russian Ballet

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

Moscow State University

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

Arbat street

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.

 

Mundane questions

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.

 

Be careful

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.

About Muscovites

Muscovites

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.

 

Elena Naumenko

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Top Places To Visit in Moscow

9 Responses

  1. Ina says:

    Very very complete post and guiding. Making me travel Moscow now

  2. wanderlustvlog says:

    A really complete guide to visit Moscow! I heven’t visited yet, but I have it on my list!

  3. Teja says:

    The Russian ballet is something I definitely would try to fit in if I ever get to Moscow. I mean, you can’t not do it, can you?

  4. Followingtherivera says:

    I loved reading this especially as I plan to visit this year! Thanks for the advice on Muscovites; now I better understand!

  5. Bonita says:

    I have always found Muscovites as a bit uptight as well…but this is such a nice write-up! I like the photo in the museum,the subject looks like the master piece in the exhibition. Moscow is beautiful.

  6. thetripwishlist says:

    Moscow looks like a beautiful city. Can’t wait to visit. I definitely want to go to the ballet and see the Kremlin!!!

  7. Love this guide to Moscow! I never thought about visiting the ballet while there, and why not, I’ve heard amazing things about it! Love the name Muscovites for the locals! #FeetDoTravel

  8. Shona says:

    This is a great guide to Moscow including major sights and some not so well known. I’d love to see the Bolshoi in Moscow and simply wandering the streets is one of my favourite things to do. My “treat me” restaurant would most definitely be White Rabbit, not just for the food but for the amazing views too. Pinning this for when I visit.

  9. oneadventuretraveler says:

    Wonderful guide on the top places to visit in Moscow. I would love to catch a night time photo of the Red Square and see a Ballet. I have pinned this for later. Hope I get a chance to visit Moscow. Thanks for sharing! #feetdotravel

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