We have compiled a list of the most important sites and things to do and explore in Moscow. While most of other web sites focus mainly on historic attractions, we have decided to mix them with modern activities that are popular among trendy locals. We had to ask ourselves – what do people living in downtown of Moscow actually enjoy doing on Weekends?
Moscow has lots of amazing museums, historic sites, trendy restaurants, top-notch night clubs and parks. In this list we have rounded up top places to explore Russian culture, eat borscht, go partying and get some fresh air amidst the city.
Browse by Category: Click any of the links below to jump to the desired section:
- Zaryadye Park
- Moscow Kremlin
- Red Square
- Moscow City District
- New Arbat
- Grand Kremlin Palace
- Gorky Park
- Bolshoi Theater
- Saint Basil's Cathedral
- Moscow Metro
- Frunzenskaya Neighborhood
- Patriarch Ponds
- GUM Department Store
- Luzhniki Stadium
- Ostozhenka District
- Sparrow Hills
- Novodevichy Convent
- Cathedral of Christ the Savior
- State Historical Museum
- Tretyakov Gallery
- Danilovsky Market
- Eliseevsky Supermarket
- Depo Food Mall
- Central Market
- Pushkin Restaurant
- Bar Klava
- Social Club
- BRO&N Restaurant
- Moscow River Radisson Cruises
- The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary
- Moscow Aquarium
Zaryadye Park is the new attraction point in Moscow located steps away from the Read Square. It is famous for its “flying bridge” hanging over Moscow River. The bridge has become one of the top places to take a“selfie” in the city thanks to its killer views of the Kremlin and Moscow River.
Zaryadye is the only new park that was built in the center of Moscow during the past 200 years. The project has been completed in close collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro studio famous for their work on “The High Line”park in Manhattan.
It took 4 years and close to $800mln to construct the park.
In addition to the bridge, Zaryadye features several museums, a souvenirs store and several restaurants. There is a tourist center building where you can buy a ticket to one of their exhibitions or ask a question at the tourist info desk.
They call Frunzenskaya one of the most convenient neighborhoods in Moscow. It is located right across the river from the Gorky Park and just minutes away from the famous Luzhniki Stadium. The area is full of green and is great for bike riding and sports activities.
You can rent a bike at one of the rental points spread along Moscow River embankment in the area and take a ride along the river towards the Kremlin located just 15 minutes away.
Patriarch Ponds is referred to as Moscow Soho district that has some of the most expensive real estate prices in the city, high class restaurants and fashion boutiques. The area is famous for its pond that has a nice adjacent walking area. Patriarch Ponds was mentioned in of the chapters of the well-known novel called “The Master and Margarita” written by Bulgakov. The writer actually spent his childhood in the neighborhood.
GUM Department Store
GUM constructed in the early 1800s was the biggest and most famous department store in USSR. Today it remains one of the oldest department stores in Europe. GUM is famous for its skating rink that opens every winter and Soviet style restaurant called “Stolovaya 57”.
During 1930s Stalin ordered several Soviet ministries to move into GUM’s building. Later he attempted to demolish GUM but his death in 1953 saved the famous department store.
Luzhniki is the biggest sports park in the central part of Moscow. The park was completely renovated to host FIFA World Cup 2018. The renovation included Moscow River embankment adjacent to the park, the main stadium, sports fields, restaurants, swimming pools and shops.
New landscape design made Luznhiki Park much greener by planting more than 50,000 new bushes and more than 1,000 trees. Luzhniki is a great place for rollerblading, jogging or just taking a walk along Moscow River. There are many open air street workout facilities and a large playground for the kids.
There is a cableway that you can use to cross Moscow River and get directly to Sparrow Hills, the area adjacent to Moscow State University.
Ostozhenka is considered to be the golden mile of Moscow with the highest real estate prices. This modern district stands out from other parts of the city with its modern architecture not typical for the rest of Moscow.
As stated by one of the leading real estate companies on the local market, in 2018 average apartment purchase amount value in Ostozhenka area was around $3mln. The most expensive apartment for rent was available for close to $50k per month.
Sparrow Hills is an area that covers around 15,000 square feet (1,375 square meters) around Moscow State University. It is located 200 meters above sea level and has one of the best observation points of Moscow. Sparrow Hills observation point is remarkable for the fact that you can see 6 out of 7 Stalin era sky scrapers from there (including the building of Moscow State University).
You can use cableway to decent directly to the Luzhniki Park located across Moscow River from here. The cableway has 35 cabins. One way ticket will cost you 400 Rubles (about $6).
Sparrow Hills is made up of tree alleys that are great for taking a walk or go for a bike ride.
Novodevichy Convent is one of the most beautiful monasteries in Moscow that is part of the State Historic Museum. The convent was originally constructed in 1524 and today consists of a museum, cathedral and cemetery.
The convent’s museum holds unique collection of church icons, ancient Russian paintings and jewelry. Older part of the cemetery is the final resting place for many famous Russian people like Chekhov, Gogol and Khrushchev.
Cathedral of Christ the Savior
Christ the Savior Cathedral is considered the main cathedral of Russia. The original cathedral was built in the 19th century as a memory to those who died during French invasion of Russia in 1812. It took 41 years to construct the building.
The cathedral was fully demolished and replaced by a public pool called “Moscow” during Soviet times following the order of Joseph Stalin.
The pool was closed in 1994 and the new version of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior with its own museum has been fully constructed by 1999.
State Historical Museum
State Historic Museum is one of the best places to explore Russian history. It is located on the southern side of Red Square and has over 4 million works. The museum employs almost 900 people and its visited by almost 1.4 million tourists annually.
The museum is famous for its sixth century manuscripts, ancient gold artifacts, artworks owned by the Romanov dynasty members and millions of ancient coins.
Entrance tickets cost 1200 Rub (about $20) if you decide to purchase them online and include a personal audio guide in English, French, Chines, Spanish and Russian.
The State Tretyakov Gallery
Tretyakov Gallery has the most comprehensive collection of Russian painting, sculpture and graphics art works. The famous arts museum was founded in 1856 by the Tretyakov brothers - Pavel and Sergy. Pavel started to collect his paintings in 1856 an initially kept them at his house in Lavrushin Lane that has later turned into the main museum building.
Today Tretyakov Gallery has almost 20,000 works available to general public.
Kremlin occupies around 69 acres (about 28 hectares) in the center of Moscow surrounded by walls that are more than 1.4 miles long (about 2.3 kilometers). Inside you’ll find 5 squares, lots of ancient buildings like churches and palaces as well as 20 towers.
Most of the towers were constructed by Italian workers that were invited to Moscow by Ivan the Great who ruled the country for almost 43 years. The most famous tower is called “Spasskaya” (Savior) Tower.
The official residence of the President of Russia is located inside the Senate building at the premises of Kremlin as well.
Danilovsky is one the oldest and most popular modern markets in Moscow. Most of this type of markets in the city includes two sections.
The 1st section has lots of independent selling points where you can buy fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. The 2nd section hosts restaurants, food courts and wine bars.
During weekends a lot of locals enjoy visiting markets like Danilovsky to buy some fresh food products and have a meal at one of the restaurants. Danilovsky market has 20 small restaurants offering dishes based on Mediterranean, Japanese, Middle Eastern and other cuisines.
Eliseevsky located in a historic building on Tverskaya Street features 18th century Moscow interiors. Before revolution this was the most expensive supermarket in the city, owned by Russian entrepreneur Gregory Eliseev.
After revolution Gregory had to immigrate to France and the famous store has been confiscated by Soviet government. During Soviet times Eliseevsky has become one of the upscale supermarkets serving the elite of communist party.
Today Eliseevsky has most of the products you are used to buy at traditional stores as well as some souvenirs that are popular among tourists.
Depo Food Mall
Depo is one of the biggest food malls in Europe recently opened at the premises of the reconstructed Soviet tram depot. One of the main parts of Depo is its market area with 140 stores where they sell farmer products from all over the world.
Farmer products include all kinds of cheese, fruits, vegetables, Italian groceries, meat and fish. The good thing is that you can take all your purchases to their delivery service that will ship them directly to your place.
Depo has an impressive restaurant area that currently has more than 70 restaurants. Owners of the food mall plan to expand their activities with food festivals and parties.
Central Market takes 3 floors of a building located in central area of Moscow steps away from Trubnaya metro station. Two upper floors of the building are dedicated to restaurants and food court area. The market area where you can by fruits, vegetables and other groceries is located at the lowest level.
Café Pushkin is an upscale Russian cuisine restaurant that serves traditional dishes with French accent in 18th century interiors. It’s one of the oldest restaurants in the city frequented both by locals and foreign tourists.
Checkout their “Foie-gras pàte with apple jelly and cranberry jelly” served with “green salad and raspberry dressing”, or “Sturgeon caviar with millet or buckwheat pancakes”. Their traditional “Moscow Rastegai” is also really good, so is their “Borsch” served with “smoked and roasted duck breast and sour cream”.
Bar Klava is one of the trendiest dance clubs in the city located in the central part of Moscow. Friday and Saturday nights feature DJ sets from the hottest local DJs. In terms of the dress code, smart casual attire would be your best bet here.
Social Club is one of the new clubs and restaurants located in the upscale Patriarch Ponds area. It gets busy during weekend nights especially in summer when all the area around gets packed by trendy locals going from one bar to another.
BRO&N is also located in the Patriarch Ponds area in one of the historic buildings at the corner of Malaya Bronnaya and Bolshoy Patriarshy Lane. The restaurant gets extremely busy with locals ordering Italian dishes prepared under close supervision of Italian chef Marko Dzago. Make sure to book your table in advance or come early!
Moscow River Radisson Cruises
Radisson Royal Fleet offers daily all year round Moscow River cruises on one of their 10 comfortable yachts. The cruises allow tourists to see all the key Moscow attractions like the Kremlin, Novodevichy Convent and St. Basil's Cathedral from the water.
Guests can pick their tickets depending on the level of comfort and privacy. Ticket prices start at 800 Rub (about $13) for the seats in the main hall and go up to 1600 Rub (about $25) for the more comfortable 1st class seats.
The tickets are available at the booths in Park Gorkogo and near the Ukraina Hotel (Radisson Collection Hotel).
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary
The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary located in the center of Moscow is the biggest catholic cathedral in Russia. There are just two catholic cathedrals in Moscow including this one. The second one is the Church of St. Louis of the French located on Malaya Lubyanka 12/7.
The cathedral is famous for its neo-gothic architecture and offers Mass in different languages that include Russian, Korean, English, Polish, French and Spanish.
Red Square covers an area of around 1300 feet by 490 feet (400 by 150 meters) in the center of the Moscow located right outside Kremlin walls. In Russian the square is called “Krasnaya Ploshad”. The first word is translated as “red” which also means “beautiful” in Old Russian. Lenin’s Mausoleum and the most notable department store of USSR called GUM are just some of the additional attraction points you’ll find here.
Moscow aquarium located at the premises of VDNKH Park called “Mosquarium” features 80 tanks with more than 12,000 sea animals. Lots of rare tropical fishes include arapaima from the Amazon River, clown fishes and cowfishes. Their neighbors include star fishes, caimans, sharks, piranhas, several kinds of octopus and jellyfish.
There are several pools at “Mosquarium” where they offer swimming sessions with dolphins. Check the aquarium’s website to get the latest schedule of their shows. Entrance fees start at 600 Rub (about $10) for the kids aged 12 years and below and go up to 900 Rub (about $15) for adults (show tickets are sold separately).
Explore The Grand Kremlin Palace that was constructed as permanent Moscow residence for the emperor’s family when the capital of Russia was located in Saint Petersburg. You can often see its magnificent reception halls on TV during major official events including the president’s inauguration.
Moskva City (translated as Moscow City) is a modern business district also known as Moscow International Business Center famous for its sky scrapers. Here you’ll find the tallest building in Europe called The Federation Tower.
The district has lots of restaurants, several hotels and observation points located on the 89th floor of "Federation Tower" and 58th floor of "Imperia Tower". If you are looking for some great views of the city - also checkout the restaurant called Sixty located on the 60th floor of "Federation Tower".
Moscow City is located at the “Delovoy Tsentr” (or Mezhdunarodnaya) metro station. It takes around 10 minutes and 5 stations to get there from the “Aleksandrovsky Sad” metro station located steps away The Red Square.
New Arbat is a modern avenue located in the heart of the city parallel to another famous street called Old Arbat. New Arbat has been recently reconstructed and now has a comfortable pedestrian area full of cafes and restaurants. It takes around 10 minutes to get here from the Kremlin area by foot.
Gorky Park has become one of the city’s main recreational areas after going through over $500 million reconstruction. Located at the embankment of Moscow River the park features numerous restaurants, a museum of contemporary art called Garage, beach volley ball area, open air sculptures museum called Muzeon and a great rollerblading area.
Bolshoi Theater is located at the Theater Square along with other two famous theaters: Russian Academic Youth Theater and Mali Theater. Bolshoi was opened in 1856 and remains one of the main symbols of Russia. It’s a great place to spend an evening enjoying one of its high class ballet and opera performances.
Some of ballet performances at Bolshoi Theater scheduled to take place in 2019 include Anna Karenina (joint performance with the Hamburg ballet) and Sleeping Beauty (music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky).
Saint Basil's Cathedral
During Soviet times communist party had a plan to clear the Red Square from “unnecessary” buildings. This would allow to free additional space in the heart of Moscow required to hold their country wide propaganda meetings.
One of Stalin’s close associates Lazar Kaganovich decided to deconstruct and remove Saint Basil’s Cathedral. He ordered to create the Red Square model without the cathedral in order to persuade Stalin to support his idea.
After exploring the area model without Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Stalin made a very strict remark: “Lazar, get the cathedral back!” This historic remark saved one of the symbols of Russia.
Originally Moscow Metro had 13 stations after its official opening in 1935. Today it has more than 200 stations used by almost 10 million people each year. There are 44 Moscow metro stations that are awarded “Cultural Inheritance Status”. Most of the stations located in the center of Moscow feature Soviet era monuments and unique interiors decorated with mosaic art works and marble walls.