46 Absolutely Amazing Places to Visit in Moscow, Russia

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Moscow, Russia is one of the coolest and most interesting places in the world to visit.  There are many touristy places to visit in Moscow and this guide will showcase some of the Russian capital’s highlights. It also will detail other, more obscure things to do in Moscow

Absolutely Amazing Places to Visit in Moscow, Russia

Moscow was always at the top of my travel list to pretty much no one’s surprise. Sadly, the visa situation in Russia for Americans sucks (and vice versa for Russians visiting my country), so I never really had the chance to explore the city deeply outside of a quick trip there in 2013. 

While I still haven’t seen half of what I want to see there, I still got to enjoy quite a few of the best places to visit in Moscow. I recruited some travel friends to help me add some other awesome places in Moscow to this list, as well.  These are some of the best things to do in Moscow- ranging from the obvious places tourists love to places that craft beer lovers often frequent.

places to visit in moscow

Cultural and Historical Places to Visit in Moscow

Russian State Library

The massive Russian State Library is one of the best and largest libraries in the world. The giant library that opened its doors in 1862, was one of Russia.s first public, free to access libraries.

During the Soviet times, the library remained open but was renamed after Lenin until being changed to the Russian State Library after the collapse of the union. There are over 47 million books, documents, and artifacts stored within the walls of this grandiose building.

russian state library moscow
Russian State Library in Moscow

The huge building itself is an architectural masterpiece and in its own right worth visiting. The library is open Monday through to Saturday. This is one of the best places to visit in Moscow – not only for book lovers but also for architecture lovers who want to see a true piece of Russian history.

You can find the Russian State Library at Vozdvizhenka St. 3/5 in Moscow.

Fallen Monument Park

Wander around the relics of Russia’s Soviet past as you explore the museum dedicated to the monuments and statues of the Soviet era. There are plenty of busts of Lenin and Stalin along with large hammer and sickle monuments and various other artifacts from the Soviet Union’s past.

Along with the old Soviet monuments, you will find contemporary artworks and during the warmer months, outdoor events such as music festivals. For James Bond fans, it will conjure up memories of where he discovered that Trevelyan wasn’t dead but, in fact, a double agent in Goldeneye (although the actual part in the film was shot in a studio).

You can find the Fallen Monument Park at Krymsky Val 2 in Moscow.

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is one of the most imposing and stunning churches in all of Moscow. The huge church stands at 338ft (103m), making it the tallest Christian Orthodox church in the world.

The impressive church has had a turbulent history since being consecrated in 1883 as Stalin demanded the church to be demolished to make way for the Palace of the Soviets which ironically was never completed due to World War Two and the death of Stalin.

places to visit in moscow russia Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour – One of the best places to visit in Moscow

Instead, the large hole left was filled in with water and it became a public swimming pool. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was decided that the church should be rebuilt in the same spot. You can now visit the colossal reconstructed church and the onsite museum that has pictures of church before its demolition as wells as the plans for the Palace of Soviets.

The church is open every day and there are also many events held there in the evenings. You can find the church at Ulitsa Volkhonka 15 in Moscow.

Lenin’s Mausoleum

There are few people who have altered the world quite like Lenin did. The Bolshevik revolutionary and founder of the Soviet Union is seen as a hero of Socialism and workers’ rights. After his death, his body was preserved and placed on display as a way to personify Soviet values and traditions and as a way to commemorate the founder of the USSR.

After Stalin’s death, his body was displayed next to Lenin’s but during the process of ‘Destalinization’, Stalin’s body was removed and placed in the Kremlin’s Wall Necropolis. Lenin’s Mausoleum has gained copycats around the communist world with the North Korean leaders all placed on public view.

places to visit in moscow russia Lenin’s Mausoleum
Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow

The Mausoleum is somewhat a controversial place and there are many talks to close it and rebury Lenin next to his mother. The mausoleum is only open Saturday and Tuesday-Thursday between the hours of 10am-1pm. There used to be large queues but they have recently dwindled down. Inside of the Mausoleum, be sure to follow the strict rules prohibiting photography, videography, placing hands in pockets, and talking.

Lenin’s Mausoleum can be found at Red Square in Moscow.

The Kremlin

The Kremlin is a large, fortified complex that includes several churches/cathedrals, palaces, and the former Moscow residence of the Russian Tsar. The fortress is now home to the official residence of the Russian president and acts as a museum as well.

A visit to the Kremlin is worthwhile as the magnificent buildings and churches really are striking. During the summer months, foot traffic is incredibly high and you will need to book tickets with a guided tour if you turn up on the day. To avoid disappoint I recommend booking up tickets and a tour ahead of time so you can get the full magic of the Kremlin.

Click here to book an affordable tour of the Kremlin 

Kremlin in Moscow- one of the essential things to do in Moscow

Krutitsy Metochion

Krutitsy Metochion feels like you are breathing in history. Built in the early 17th century by the Russian Orthodox church, the area is home to many chapels and churches. The churches are a great example of Russian brick architecture and the insides are adorned spectacularly with colorful porcelain.

thigns to do in moscow, russia
By Ludvig14 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

For 200 years, the area was taken away from the church and turned into a military barracks. During this time, the dungeons were used to hold many prominent figures in Russian history, such as Alexander Herzen, one of the forefathers of Russian socialism.

Once the Soviet Union took control, it was again returned to military use and many of the churches were vandalized and looted.

You can find Krutitsy Metochion at Krutitskaya Ulitsa 17 in Moscow.

Eternal Flame

If you travel throughout the former republics of the Soviet Union, you will find that many of the main cities will have an Eternal Flame in the center of the city. The one in Moscow is located by the Kremlin Wall and is also the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers whose remains are laid to rest at the foot of the Wall.

places to visit in moscow- eternal flame
Eternal Flame in Moscow, Russia

The Eternal flame never stops burning and many people visit the tomb to pay their respects to all of those who died during the Great Patriotic War (WW2). The flame emits from a Soviet star and there is an inscription that reads “Your name is unknown; your deed is immortal”. The flame is a popular spot for newlyweds to have their pictures taken at.

You can find the Eternal Flame at Aleksandrovskiy Sad in Moscow.

Metropol Hotel

The Metropol Hotel has been the setting for intrigue, scandal, and excess for over a century, making it one of the most famous hotels in Moscow. Opened in 1905, this subtly sophisticated Art Nouveau hotel was once the playground for aristocrats before becoming nationalized by the Communists.

Right before the end of the Soviet Union, the hotel underwent lavish restorations. Recently, the Metropol become even more well-known due to the best-selling novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, in which a young count is sentenced to ‘house arrest’ in the hotel following the Bolshevik Revolution.

Metropol Hotel in Moscow - Photo provided by Amy of The Wayfarer's Book
Metropol Hotel in Moscow – Photo provided by Amy of The Wayfarer’s Book

Of course, it’s possible to stay in the hotel, but if you’re reluctant to drop the necessary cash for a room you can still visit. There are a few restaurants, but the most accessible way to visit is to drop by the 24-hour lobby bar, the Chaliapin.

With cocktails running around $15 and a pot of tea over $10, it’s by no means a budget destination, but there’s an undeniable allure to being one of the Metropol’s many guests throughout its storied history. Click here to read more from Amy’s Russia archives.

*Amy from The Wayfarer’s Book

Cold War Museum – Bunker 42

Bunker 42 is the former Soviet secret military command center from the Cold War era, and one of the most unusual attractions in Moscow. Lying deep underground, below Moscow’s metro network, the bunker offers a peek behind the Iron Curtain.

The entrance to the bunker is well camouflaged by what looks like a typical residential building near Taganskaya Metro station, in the historic center of Moscow. During the Cold War years, the building appeared completely ordinary – lights would come on in the evenings, the sounds of radio or tv could be heard coming out of the open windows.

Only if you managed to get inside the building would you have realized that it was all a show – the building is just a shell, completely hollow inside.

Bunker-42 by Margarita from The Wildlife Diaries
Bunker 42 in Moscow – Photo provided by Margarita of The Wildlife Diaries

From the ‘fake’ building, a stairwell leads 65 meters underground, down to level -18. This is where Stalin’s Long-Range Aviation Command Post was located. The 1.5-hr guided tour ($40) takes you along the suffocatingly-narrow twisting hallways of the bunker to the various rooms of the facility.

You can dress up in the Soviet military uniform and sit at Stalin’s desk, handle a variety of weapons and explore the spy paraphernalia.

Click here to book a tour of Bunker 42 and the Cold War Museum

*Margarita from The Wildlife Diaries

Red Square

Visit Moscow’s most famous square, Red Square. The large square is considered to be the very center of Moscow and is surrounded by some of Russia’s most impressive buildings such as the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the State Historical Museum, Kazan Cathedral, and more.

The square in its own right as a UNESCO heritage site is worth visiting. Interestingly, its name does not derive from the red bricks surrounding it nor is a reference to Soviet times. The word for Red also translates as beautiful. To create the square, the buildings that originally stood there were burnt down to make way for the impressive square that was used as a market.

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Places to Visit in Moscow – Red Square and St. Basil’s Cathedral

Moscow City

To discover Moscow’s modern side head over to the Moscow City, the capital’s business quarters. The view on the tall skyscrapers is visible all the way from Tarasa Shevchenko embankment but instead of stopping here, head all the way to Moscow City to get the best pictures of the skyscrapers stretching towards the sun.

There’s even a museum of Moscow City which will introduce you to the architect’s projects and show you how they fit into the historic landscape of Moscow, all paired with views from the 56th floor. The best thing to do, though, is to stay till sunset to enjoy the stunning evening views of Moscow.

Moscow City in Moscow - Photo provided by Lesia of Dutch Wannabe
Moscow City in Moscow – Photo provided by Lesia of Dutch Wannabe

There are many viewing platforms in Moscow City, with the highest one being Panorama360 Observation Deck. Enjoying unparalleled views as Moscow’s illumination goes up is just one of the many unusual things to do in Moscow during your stay. If you’re not a fan of heights, consider taking a boat tour on the river instead.

Hitting up more than just Moscow on your Russia trip? Check out Lesia’s guide of the best things to do in St. Petersburg.

*Lesia from Dutch Wannabe

Soviet Dacha

Head back in time and visit a Soviet Dacha, or cabin, located on the outskirts of Moscow. This wonder Dacha/Museum has frozen itself in time to the heyday of the Soviet Union. When visiting the dacha, you will enjoy a guided tour through the house which is full of Soviet-era relics and artifacts.

things to do in moscow, russia
A Russian dacha

You will also learn all about the culture and lifestyle of the Soviet Union while sipping Russian tea, learning to make borscht and dumplings, and trying the produce grown in the garden. The owner of the Dacha is incredibly knowledgeable on this era of history of Russia and the Soviet Union and it really rounds off a great experience.

You can find the Soviet Dacha museum and info center at 332 First Gardens in Moscow.

What to Do in Moscow for Sports, Art, and Museum Lovers

Russian Academy of Sciences

Moscow is one of my favorite cities on the planet, and the Russian capital’s spectacular architecture is definitely one of the key factors that keeps this city so close to my heart. Although the city is probably most famous for the Seven Sisters group of Stalinist skyscrapers, my favorite building in Moscow has always been the Russian Academy of Sciences.

In fact, both times I’ve visited Moscow (on a Trans-Siberian Railway journey) my first sightseeing stop in the city has been this bizarre, white-and-gold public building complex that looks like a cross between a spaceship, the inside of your grandfather’s watch, and a human brain (locals actually refer to the building as “The Golden Brain”!).

Russian Academy of Sciences building in Moscow, Russia - Photo provided by Carly of Fearless Female Travels
Russian Academy of Sciences building in Moscow – Photo provided by Carly of Fearless Female Travels

Federal buildings in Russia are notoriously closed-off and difficult to explore, but I have never been stopped from freely walking into the Academy’s courtyards, snapping dozens of photos and generally playing tourist. You can even get a glimpse of the buildings’ interiors by ascending to the Sky Lounge restaurant on the main tower’s twenty-second floor. Food and drink in the Sky Lounge are not cheap, and service is notoriously icy, but the panoramic views of the surrounding city simply can’t be beaten.

You can visit the Russian Academy of Sciences building at Leninsky Ave 14 in Moscow.

*Carly from Fearless Female Travels

Museum of Cosmonautics

One of our favorite places our family visited in Moscow was the excellent Museum of Cosmonautics in Prospekt Mira. It is easily reached via the VDNKh metro station.

You cannot fail to find the museum as it is located in the base of the enormous ‘Monument To The Conquerors of Space’ landmark, an impressive sculpture evoking a rocket hurtling into space. Before you enter the museum (250 rubles), explore Cosmonaut Alley, the parkland surrounding the museum.

It contains a stone solar system, busts of people involved in the Soviet space program and a towering statue of Sergei Korolev, the director of the space program who oversaw the first missions into orbit.

The museum is packed with information about the Soviet space program, about Sputnik and the first man in space Yuri Gagarin. I was pleasantly surprised to see equal homage paid to the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, as well as the engineers, designers, and scientists who all played a role in making history.

Photo provided by Sinead of Map Made Memories
Museum of Cosmonautics in Moscow – Photo provided by Sinead of Map Made Memories

There are artifacts such as space suits, engineering tools, and gadgets, Yuri Gagarin’s space capsule plus a section of the Mir space station you can board.

This excellent museum is educational, well balanced and creatively presented and would appeal to all visitors – whether space nerds like us or not!

You can find the Russian Museum of Cosmonautics at Prospekt Mira 111 in Moscow.

*Sinead from Map Made Memories

Bolshoi Theatre

No trip to Moscow would be complete without going to see the ballet and there is no better place to see one than the Bolshoi Theatre. The Bolshoi Theatre has been in existence since 1825 and is the famous home of the Bolshoi Ballet and Opera companies- some of the oldest and most renowned companies in the world.

Bolshoi Theatre Things to do in Moscow
Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow

The amazing theatre has been renovated several times over its history, most recently in 2011, when extensive works were done to repair the damage that the Soviet Union did to the theatre. Despite playing such a huge role in the history of the arts, the theatre has remained affordable for the average Russian with ticket prices being as low as $1.50 for some shows.

Institute of Russian Realist Art

The Institute of Russian Realist Art is an impressive art gallery that opened in 2011 in a former cotton factory. Located over 3 floors, the privately-owned gallery catalogs the amazing history of realist art that was so revered during the Soviet Union.

The two upper floors are dedicated to Soviet realist art split between the early 20th and late 20th century. The ground floor is dedicated to more modern forms of realist art.

places to visit in moscow
By Nikita Rybakov – Nikita Rybakov, CC BY-SA 4.0

The gallery is considered to be one of the best of its kind and the 500 or so pieces on display are of incredible cultural significance. This is one of the best places to visit in Moscow for art lovers.

You can find the Institute of Russian Realist Art at Derbenevskaya Naberezhnaya 7 стр. 31 in Moscow.

Luzhniki Stadium

One of the best things to do in Moscow is visiting the legendary Luzhniki stadium. Luzhniki is the biggest stadium in Russia and also one of the largest stadiums in Europe. Its current capacity is 81,000 people and the stadium looks very impressive in real life.

Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow - Photo provided by Liza of Tripsget
Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow – Photo provided by Liza of Tripsget

It currently hosts the matches of the Russian national football team, however, if you want to visit the stadium and there are no matches on that day, you can book one of the stadium tours here. The location of the stadium is also pretty picturesque – if you walk a bit to the Vorobjovy Gory, you can see the panorama of Moscow from there including the modern Moscow-City skyscrapers as well as the stadium that looks like a spaceship.

I was lucky to attend a 1/16 final match of the World Cup in 2018 on Luzhniki and it was absolutely epic! Click here to read Liza’s guide to how expensive is Russia (and tips for traveling in Moscow and St. Petersburg).

*Liza from Tripsget

Flacon Design Park

Explore your creative side at Flacon Design Park, a former glass factory that has been recreated into a barred creative space. The modern and call space is home to creatives who need an exciting and freeing location to really express themselves. Flacon hosts many events throughout the year from markets to lectures.

Flacon Design Park
Flacon Design Park in Moscow

Head there to see what’s on and check out the area and enjoy a coffee at their on-site café. The space is open every day and for those who take up residence, it’s a 24-hour hub to work in. If you are spending time in Moscow to do some work, there is also a coworking area available.

You can find Flacon Design Park at Bol’shaya Novodmitrovskaya Ulitsa 36 in Moscow.

Multimedia Art Museum Moscow / Moscow House of Photography

Step into the world of photography at this intriguing and modern museum. Spread out over 7 floors, the exhibits will take you through aspects of Russian culture throughout the lifetime of cameras. There are also exhibits from international photographers, as well as festivals dedicated to the art.

In addition to photography exhibitions, there are numerous pieces of modern art on display throughout the building. The museum was built on the same ground where the Moscow House of Photography used to stand. Displays are in both Russian and English and the museum is closed on Mondays.

You can find the Moscow House of Photography at Ulitsa Ostozhenka 16 in Moscow.

Museum of Soviet Arcade Games

Delve into the world of Soviet-era arcade games as this museum is dedicated to the old games of the USSR. Collected from all over the former union, the museum has around 80 machines- many of which have been refurbished and are now functioning. Upon entering the museum, you will be given 15-Kopek coins to put into the machine and play around. This is one of the coolest places to visit in Moscow.

MoSAM_in_Moscow_(Sea_Battle)
By Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines – http://15kop.ru/, CC BY-SA 4.0

Although the games are all in Russian, they are relatively simple to understand and play and if not, I am sure someone will give you pointers. The admission price also includes a tour of the museum as well as the coins to play. The museum is open every day until 9pm and can be found at Ulitsa Kuznetskiy Most 12 in Moscow.

GULAG Museum

During Stalin’s brutal and fear-inducing reign, GULAGs were an integral part of injecting fear into every person’s heart. The GULAG museum aims to shed light on to the atrocities that were committed by the Soviet Union in these camps. The museum’s founder Anton Antonov-Ovseenko was imprisoned in one of these camps himself.

The museum has many interactive exhibits detailing what life was like in the camps through first-hand accounts and memoirs of those who were imprisoned. The museum details the rise and subsequent fall of these camps throughout the history of the Soviet Union and the role they played in the economic and political development of the union.

There is also an area dedicated to the artworks of inmates while imprisoned as well as more contemporary pieces of art. The museum is open every day apart from Mondays and the last Friday of the month.

Экспозиция_Музея_истории_ГУЛАГа_2
By Annarapeyko – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Museum of the History of Vodka

Drink Russia’s most famous export… vodka…. at the Museum of the History of Vodka. Located in the Izmailovsky Kremlin, the small but quaint museum is a great place to spend an hour and a half looking around the various little exhibits detailing the history and cultural significance of vodka.

By Flickr user: Anthony Knuppel Appleton

There is an impressive array of bottles from many different brands and style of vodka. If you take the guided tour of the museum, a free shot of vodka will be thrown in (which I have found is always included in any social event in Russia anyway). It is possible to also enjoy a vodka tasting session at the museum. The museum exhibits are available in both Russian and English.

You can find the Museum of the History of Vodka at Izmaylovskoye Shosse 73 in Moscow.

Miniature Moscow

In Hotel Ukrainia, there is a curious full-scale replica of Moscow from the 1960s. It was once used as a piece of Soviet propaganda showing off how amazing the Soviet capital was. The replica city was done with amazing detail and even has lights that switch from day to night, with the lights shimmering at night.

places to visit in moscow

These days the model is no longer a thing of pride and the political dignitaries no longer visit but it is still on show in the hotel and open to tourists.  While visiting the little scale model of Moscow, you can check out the hotel it resides in which is one of Stalin’s Seven Sisters (the second tallest of them). 

You can find Miniature Moscow at 2/1 Kutuzovskiy Avenue Bldg. 1 in Moscow.

Lubyanka (Former Head of KGB)

The Lubyanka building is the former headquarters of the KGB and still houses the FSB and associated prison. The building started its life off as the home of an insurance company until it was seized by the Bolsheviks and turned into the headquarters of the secret service.

Lubyanka Building Moscow Things to do KGB
By A.Savin (Wikimedia Commons · WikiPhotoSpace) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

During Stalin’s great purge, the offices became so full that they had to enlarge the building. The building is still used today but has also been partially converted into a museum dedicated to the history of the KGB. Across from the building is the Solovetsky Stone which is a small monument dedicated to those who suffered from political oppression during the Soviet Union.

Worthwhile Moscow Tours

Take a River Boat Cruise

One of the best ways to enjoy the sites of Moscow is to take a cruise along the river. I can recommend this cruise as the hour-long cruise takes a circular route and shows the highlights of Moscow while sailing along the river. The cruise takes you away from the hustle and bustle of the city and provides a relaxing way to view sites such as The Kremlin and Saint Basils Cathedral.

Cruises depart every hour from Patriarchy Pier and run into the evening. The glorious sunset dousing the red bricked buildings is really an impressive site.

Click here to book a river cruise of Moscow

what to do in moscow

Federation Tower 89th Floor

Head up to the 89th floor and enjoy stunning panoramic views over the city. Upon arrival, you will be given a tablet, which will be your interactive guide to what you are seeing from the observation deck. There is also an Augmented reality 3D display of Moscow’s business district.

In addition to the incredible views, the 89th floor is home to the world’s highest ice cream factory and you can enjoy a free portion of delicious ice cream during your visit. You can also watch an impressive short film on the history and development of Moscow. There is live music daily during the evenings between 7-9pm.  

You can find the Federation Tower at 12 Presnenskaya Embankment in Moscow.

Click here to book your ticket to the 89th Floor

what to do in moscow

Zvezdny Gorodok/Star City

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a cosmonaut? I have! Head to the closed city of Zveydny Gorodok (Star City) and see how the Russians cosmonauts live and train. The city is closed to normal public access but it is possible to visit the closed city as part of the tour. During the tour, you will learn all about how cosmonauts prepare for trips to space and life in space.

Many of Russia and the Soviets Union’s most famous cosmonauts trained in the city. There is a full-size replica of the Mir Space Station. As the city is still a functional training center, you will need to obtain authorization in advance and a compulsory security check will be complete.

You need to apply to be on the tour 35 working days before you plan to go. Tours only run on Wednesdays and it lasts all day.

Click here to book a trip to Star City and be a cosmonaut for a day

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Parks and Nature Things to Do in Moscow

Patriarch’s Pond

One of my favorite places in Moscow – and actually, one of the reasons why I wanted to visit the city – is Patriarch’s Ponds. It is a park in a wealthy, residential area in Moscow, not far from Mayakovskaya station (which, incidentally, is also one of the coolest stations in the Moscow Metro).

The reason why I like Patriarch’s Ponds so much is that it’s where the opening scene of the book The Master and Margarita was set. That book is one of my favorite ever, and I was actually named after it – that is reason enough to visit! Even if you don’t share my connection with the book, Patriarch’s Ponds is a very pleasant place to explore on a hot summer afternoon in Moscow.

Patriarch's Pond in Moscow - Photo provided by Margherita of The Crowded Planet
Patriarch’s Pond in Moscow – Photo provided by Margherita of The Crowded Planet

There’s only one pond these days, surrounded by a pretty urban park, with wealthy Muscovites walking their cute little dogs. The surrounding district is also worth visiting – the apartment blocks used to be communal during Soviet times, but they’ve now been converted into luxury residences.

Click here to read more about Margherita’s experience on a Russian river cruise

*Margherita from The Crowded Planet

Sparrow Hills

Sparrow Hill is a popular park in Moscow on the bank of the Moskva river. It’s one of the highest points in Moscow, and it’s the best place to visit if you want to get fantastic panoramic views of the city.

The park is pedestrianized, and there are several nature trails to explore. Its also a great place to people watch with newlyweds often spotted and Moscow bikers.

The walk to the observation deck takes about 10-15 minutes and its free to visit. However, if you prefer there is an elevator you can take.

View from Sparrow Hill in Moscow - Photo provided by Fiona of Passport and Piano
View from Sparrow Hill in Moscow – Photo provided by Fiona of Passport and Piano

From the observation deck on top of Sparrow Hill, you get fabulous views of the city. ` The 1980 Olympic stadium (Luzhniki Stadium) is particularly striking, but you can also see the seven sisters and many of Moscow’s cathedrals and churches.

There’s a restaurant at the top with a well-placed terrace for you to enjoy the stunning vistas. As its a favorite place for tourists, there’s also a wealth of souvenir stalls, but most are overpriced.

A visit to Sparrow Hill is included on most tours of the city, but if you want to get there independently, the nearest metro station is Vorobyovy Gory.

*Fiona from Passport and Piano

Enjoy Winter Sports at Volen, Yakhroma, and Sorochany

If you are visiting Moscow during the summer months and fancy hitting the slopes for some winter sports, then head out to Volen, Yakhroma, and Sorochany. The three ski areas are within close proximity to each other and located only 47 miles from Moscow city center.

The resorts are small but fun for a nice little retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. Sorochany is home to chairlifts with the longest operating hours. During the summer months, the area is great for hiking and enjoying the lakes in the area. The quickest way to reach the resorts is via car.

Gorky Park

Gorky Park is one of the must-see places when you are visiting Russia’s capital, Moscow. Spreading over 300 acres alongside the river Moskva, the park has been made known all over the world by the German Rock band Scorpions, in their most famous song, “Wind of change”, which starts: “Follow the Moskva, down to Gorky Park”.

The park has gone through major restorations a few years ago and since then it became a cultural and entertainment center of the city. There is free WiFi available all over the park, contemporary design exhibitions, massive flower beds, ponds, monuments and sports areas where both children and adults can skate, play hockey, learn how to dance or ice-skate in winter.

Gorky Park in Moscow - Photo provided by Joanna of The World in my Pocket
Gorky Park in Moscow – Photo provided by Joanna of The World in my Pocket

All year round people can practice sports such as table tennis, volleyball or badminton on dedicated courts. There are also boat and bike rentals available.

There are many events taking place in Gorky Park, such as outdoor cinemas, concerts, cultural exhibitions, music festivals, theatre performances, and even fitness and yoga classes. Children can enjoy here the biggest sandbox in the city, animators and face painting artists. The entrance to the park is free of charge.

*Joanna from The World in My Pocket

Kolomenskoye Estate

The Kolomenskoye Estate is a large former royal estate to the south of the city center. Originally a village in its own right, the area was absorbed by Moscow in the 1960s. The UNESCO world heritage site is home to many interesting buildings and artifacts.

Kolomenskoye_aerial_view-1
By Marina Lystseva – http://album.foto.ru/photo/218669/, GFDL 1.2

A former favorite palace of Russia’s past tsars, there are interesting examples of wooden architecture as well as churches and royal buildings. Settlements in the area can be dated back to the iron age and possibly pagan times. To really explore the estate, you need a full day, however, it is possible just to visit the highlights and still be extremely impressed.

You can find Kolomenskoye Estate at Andropova Ave 39 in Moscow.

Click here to take a private tour of Kolomenskoye Estate

Losiny Ostrov National Park

Losiny Ostrov was the first national park to be formed in Russia. The huge reserve is the perfect place to escape the busy life of Moscow while not straying too far from the city boundaries. The reserve contains grasslands and forests and is home to plenty of migratory birds, birds of prey and mammals such as the moose and beaver.

what to do in moscow
By DeingeL – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

When exploring the forest, be sure not to get lost and remember your way back as it is easy to get lost in the huge park. To reach the park you need to head to the metro stop Sokolniki and the walk to the park.

Poklonnaya Gora

Poklonnaya Gora was one of the largest hills in Moscow and it was strategically crucial to the city as it provided the best view over the Russian capital. The hill was repurposed during the Soviet times as a museum dedicated to the Russian victory over Napoleon. In the 1980s, it was decided to level the 115-meter hill to the ground and build a museum dedicated to those died during WW2.

places to visit in moscow
By Мазур Владимир – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

There are several monuments commemorating those who died during the war and their names are inscribed in marble. As you walk around the park, you will find many tanks and war machines from the war. There are plenty of other monuments for you to explore and pay respects to those who died fighting in the war.

Lukomyre Park

If you are traveling to Moscow with children, just outside of the city is a great amusement park dedicated to the fairy tales of Pushkin. The park is a great place to take your children and enjoy a day of playing on the rides and running around the playground area while also learning about the traditional Russian Fairy tales.

On the park’s perimeter, there are statues representing the 33 heroes of Pushkin’s fairy tales along with some gnomes for good measure. If you head to the park on the weekend be prepared for a long wait to enter, although the park is free to enter which makes up for some of the queuing. There is no alcohol allowed on site but there is café with food and hot drinks.

Lukomyre Park is one of the most interesting places to visit in Moscow for all travelers.

Vystavka Dostinzheniy Narodnogo Khozyaystva (VDNH)

VDNH is a massive park that was built in the early stages of the Soviet Union. Originally built to show off the Soviet’s agricultural abilities, the park eventually transformed to show the best of the Soviet Union and its achievements. In a space larger than Monaco, there are plenty of museums, fairground rides, restaurants, shops, and pavilions.

what to see in moscow
By Караулов Борис – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The pavilions were designed in different architectural designs to represent the different republics of the Soviet Union. Throughout the park, you will also learn about culture and life during the Soviet era. To really enjoy the place, you will want to spend a whole day there and wear comfortable walking shoes as it is really spread out. The park is open year-round.

You can find VDNH at Prospekt Mira 119 in Moscow.

Novodevichy Cemetery

Novodevichy Cemetery is one of the most famous cemeteries in Moscow and is the final resting place of many of Russia’s most famous peoples such as Boris Yeltsin. During the Soviet Union times, the cemetery was the second most prestigious place to be buried after the Kremlin Wall.

As you meander around the cemetery, you will see many impressive and ornate gravestones, giving you the feeling that you are walking through a sculpture park and not a cemetery. During the summer months, greenery provides a peaceful setting to enjoy a bit of quietness and to reflect on life.

Novodevichy Cemetery can be found at Luzhnetskiy Proyezd 2.

By A.Savin (Wikimedia Commons · WikiPhotoSpace) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Ostankino Television Tower

The Ostankino Television Tower is currently the tallest free-standing tower in Europe and the 11th in the world. The impressive tower was the first ever free-standing structure to exceed 500m in height. Built in the 1960s, the tower took 4 years to build.

Still in use as a television and radio tower, there is also an amazing observation deck at the top of the building which provides some of the best views of the city. Since 2018, there has been a tower race event, where competitors from around the world race to the top of it.  It remains one of the must-visit places in Moscow.

Food, Drinks, and Shopping in Moscow

Izmailovsky Market

Visitors to Moscow should definitely consider visiting the Izmailovsky Market. This fun market in Moscow is one of the premier places to buy souvenirs that are one-of-a-kind ranging from Soviet-era tote bags to high-value pottery. Simply, when you enter the market, it’s hard to know what you’ll expect, but a bit of Russian can certainly come in helpful for bargaining with the vendors who often will reduce the price towards closing.

Izmailovsky Market in Moscow - Photo provided by Karen of WanderlustingK
Izmailovsky Market in Moscow – Photo provided by Karen of WanderlustingK

Admission itself is free to the market, which is housed in an impressive imagining of a 16th century Tzar’s palace (built for Russian Disney princesses), but be sure to bring some rubles for drinks, snacks, and various purchases.

Certain items, including the Matryoshka dolls, can sell for significantly more than they’re worth, so be sure to fully inspect items before purchasing. Better yet, head to the market with a knowledgable local who can help you negotiate and not over pay!

*Karen from WanderlustingK

Craft Republic

Craft Republic is Moscow’s oldest and best craft beer bar with 25 beers on tap and an extensive bottle collection. The bar highlights mainly Russian based breweries and there is a beer available for everyone. The tap list regularly changes and highlights many of the latest and greatest beers.

There is a small bar food menu and the burgers are well worth a try as you work your way through the beer list. The aesthetic of the venue is charming and comfortable and makes for a great place to enjoy an evening of beer. I recommend tasting any beers by Victory Art Brewing or Bakunin.

The Russian craft beer scene is pretty incredible and one of the best things to do in Moscow is to indulge and explore it deeply.

You can find Craft Republic at Malyy Gnezdnikovskiy Pereulok 9 in Moscow.

Visit the World’s Largest Craft Beer Shop

Russia has embraced craft beer culture emphatically; Best Beer Shop is currently the world’s largest craft beer shop. Best Beer Shop is an extensive bottle shop with over 3,000 different beers that spans two floors and holds beer from 35 different countries.

In addition to the large collection of bottles, there are 200 taps where you can fill growlers to take some amazing draft beer homes. The taps change every two weeks which keeps the beer selection fresh and interesting.

A unique feature at Best Beer Shop is a hopping device that allows you to add new flavors and characteristics of your favorite beers. The device was pioneered by DogFish Head Brewery in the US.

Best Beer Shop has plenty of locations throughout Moscow but the most impressive one is located on Prospekt Mira 79 ( entrance from ul. Gilyarovsky).

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Depo Food Court

Depo Food Court is Europe’s largest food court and is unlike any other food court in the world. Throw away any preconceptions you may have of the traditional food court and enjoy an impressive range of independent restaurants (over 70) which will take your taste buds on a trip around the world.

In addition, the restaurants hold loads of market stalls that sell amazing products from fresh produce to high-quality meats to international goods. The gigantic food hall is a great place to spend a lunchtime trying various foods and perusing the stalls.

The food hall has a creative vibe to it so don’t be surprised to find your meal coming in new and unique containers such as smoothies in a light bulb shaped glass. I am going to refrain from spewing out the ‘h’ word here.

You can find Depo Food Court at Lesnaya Ulitsa 20 in Moscow.

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Spot the dill…

Café Parka

Café Parka is a lovely bar and café that is decked out as a Russian sauna. The trendy café is worth a visit if only to enjoy some drinks and have that sauna feel. There drinks selection is decent although if you are a beer fan, there isn’t the biggest selection of beers like some other beer bars in Moscow. During the winter months, the bar is a great place to escape the cold.

You can find Cafe Parka at Ulitsa Pyatnitskaya 22 in Moscow.

Teremok

If you want to experience some authentic Russian fast food, head to one of the many Teremok Restaurants dotted around the city. They specialize in Russian pancakes filled with all kinds of wonderful ingredients, including caviar. They also served a range of Russian style dumplings called pelmeni which is equally as delicious.

Теремок_в_ТРЦ_МЕГА_Теплый_Стан_Москва,_июнь_2016
By Chernyi kot – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

The system is like any other fast food restaurant in the world where you order the food at a cash register and collect it before sitting down to tuck into your food. Fortunately, this chain is prevalent throughout the whole of Moscow, so you should be able to quickly find a location, although not all of them are laid out the same.

Arbat Street

Arbat Street is a long and historical street in Moscow’s bustling city center. The street is one of the oldest and one of the best places to visit in Moscow, having been the main artery of the city.

During its earliest years, it was part of the trade route and many craftsmen set up shops along the street. After a huge fight, the street was rebuilt and the wealthy Russian nobility moved in. This status was maintained throughout the Soviet Union where it was reserved for high ranking government officials.

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Arbat Street in Moscow

Nowadays, the street is a bustling tourist attraction, with plenty of monuments and museums along the way. This is also a great place to pick up souvenirs of your time in Moscow as there are many shops and stalls on the street.

GUM

Visit the Soviet-era department store GUM which is prevalent throughout the former Soviet Union. Situated in Red Square, GUM has had a long and impressive history spanning from Tsar rule to the present day. The building itself has had an interesting history.

During Stalin’s reign, he shut down the store and turned it into offices as well as briefly putting the body of his wife on display after she killed herself. Post Stalin’s death, it was returned to being a store and was one of the only in the Soviet Union that was fully stocked with consumer goods.

The building has now been turned into a privately-owned mall but was renamed in such a way to keep the initials GUM and preserve its heritage. If you’re hanging around Red Square, this is one of the essential places to visit in Moscow.

things to do in moscow GUM

There are so many things to do in Moscow that visiting this mega-city will keep you occupied for months. Unfortunately, Russian visas are a bit hard to come by for many of us (myself included) which puts a damper on being able to visit at our will and leisure… but hopefully, I can score a three-year visa in the near future and start making regular trips to this amazing city.

If you know of any incredible places to visit in Moscow, please drop them in the comments! Thanks to the amazing bloggers who helped me create this guide for travelers!

READ ALSO:  Best things to do in Kiev /   Historic Soviet Circuses   /   Places to visit in Belarus   /   Things to know before you visit Baku   /   Places to visit in Armenia   /   Things to do in Yerevan   /   Places to visit in Ukraine

Comments (1)

Wow, Bunker 42 sounds so wild and fun! Where I lived in Poland we actually had a bar named Bunkier 42. I thought it was a Douglas Adams reference but maybe not!

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