MOSCOW – main attractions

Here you will find information about Moscow’s attractions: popular tourist destinations, world famous architectural monuments, amusement parks, museums, art galleries, theaters, the city’s most interesting places for kids and adults with description, photos and videos.

The main attractions of Moscow, Red Square and Moscow’s Kremlin are starting points for most tourists at any time of the year.

The ensemble of Red Square consists of Voznesensk gates, Kazan’s Cathedral, St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow GUM, Historical Museum. Here you will find monuments of Minin and Pozharsky, Lenin Mausoleum.

The Moscow Kremlin complex includes such famous attractions as the Assumption and Annunciation cathedrals, Spasskaya Tower, Armory board museum and the Diamond Fund.

Moscow has so many theaters, art galleries and museums that you can plan a vacation of any extent without even worrying about the weather. Herewith, it will be exciting to see not only the world-famous attractions like, Tretyakov Gallery or Bolshoi Theater but also the smaller cultural institutions. During the summer time you can diversify your trips by going to museums and sport parks: walk leisurely among the greenery and flower beds, feed the birds or ride on the carousel. During the wintertime the rides can be found in the indoor amusement parks, shopping malls, skating rinks, go to one of the huge outdoor skating rinks: in Gorky Park, Sokolniki Park, at ENEA, the Young Pioneer Stadium. Water parks are open all year round.

How to get to Moscow

By air

That’s howt comes to the capital foreign tourists and residents more or less from remote parts of the country. Around Moscow, at different distances are four passenger airport: it is Bykovo, Vnukovo, Domodedovo and Sheremetyevo. The last two – the largest and most popular of them is carried out most of the international flights, and from Vnukovo and Bykovo board domestic airlines carried about honest people in Russia. All Airports is conveniently connected to the capital by public transport: shuttle electric trains “Aeroexpress”, buses and minibuses.

By train

From the 10 rail-stations of Moscow run up the rails in all the towns and villages of our vast country – from Kaliningrad and the White Sea to the Caucasus and the Far East. By rail, to the capital can come not only from the cities of Russia, but also from the CIS and foreign countries: Minsk, Kiev, Riga, Warsaw, Prague, Vienna, Milan, Paris and Nice. Tariffs on foreign travel rather big: the journey from Nice to Moscow, for example, will cost from 30 000 RUB (±500 €), but romance rife. Moscow train stations are conveniently located in the city center, in close proximity to the subway stations. Prices are listed on the page January 2016.

By bus

An extensive network of long-distance and international bus routes connects Moscow with any more or less significant population centers throughout Russia and the world – from the Moscow region Serpukhov and Klina to St. Petersburg, Samara, etc. Very popular bus trips “to the nearest neighbors.” -. In the cities of Ukraine and Belarus; demand and longer trips – in Chisinau, Bucharest, Budapest, Berlin, etc. The sad period of the Moscow region’s transport history when a bus ride, say, in Noginsk had to mentally prepare (broken “Icarus”, the smell of gasoline in the cabin.. sagging seats) happily gone forever – the current buses are clean, comfortable and air conditioned, so that today take such trips can safely even mentally imperfect, easily swayed and other sensitive categories of citizens.

What first to see in Moscow

Even if you’re short in time you will definitely manage to evaluate the diversity of Moscow’s attractions and sights, not only by following the standard tour program and see the postcard places. It is only enough to plan ahead your route and determine your priorities: which sites can be visited in any weather and which ones to be left for the next time.

Things to see in Moscow in one day

Regardless of the starting point, the central destination of the tourists will be the historic centre – Red Square with Kremlin. Even if you take a quick but thoughtful sightseeing of the square and the closest architectural ensemble, you will need at least a couple of hours. During the allotted time you can take some photos on the background of Spasskaya tower and St. Basil’s Cathedral, walk around the territory of Kremlin, relax in Alexander Garden, overlooking the Arena, admire the churches and cathedrals, historic buildings and museums. You would need another two hours at least for visiting each of the major museums.

An interesting option for the first part of the day is a trip to Moscow-City complex, to see the Moscow metropolis, this sharp contrast with the historical center. The photos of skyscraper are good from any angle; you can also climb one of the viewing platforms and photograph Moscow from a height. Especially impressive are the night lights of the city.

If you want to visit more sights in one day, it makes sense to look for a professional guide services, for example start a 3-4 hours sightseeing tour and then drive around by vehicle to places further away from the center.

Things to see in Moscow in 2 days

The second day of your vacation in Moscow should be completed by a visit to at least two museums from the personal “wish list” – a contemplative stroll through the national park, or the country’s oldest botanical garden.

When on the second day, choosing a sightseeing and entertainment for kids, there will be a great variety of options, depending however on the weather: for instance, at a comfortable temperature you can spend the day at the Zoo, otherwise – go to “Moskvarium”. Afterwards you can complete your tour in one of the amusement parks in malls or water park.

What to see in Moscow in 3 days

A three-day stay in Moscow (for a first visit) will give you the opportunity to cover more outstanding attractions in addition to the basic routes. When choosing your places of interest in Moscow, it will be very convenient if you distribute them by location or by type or better come up with theme days. A classic first day – the center and two-three museums. Second day – relax in manor parks away from the noise of the central streets, for instance in Kolomna Park or Izmailovo (with a visit to the new tourist Kremlin), some shopping and culinary tourism, the viewing platform in the evening.

Third day – visit the target sites of the city: for some it is VDNKh or Moscow-City, for others – a classic performance in Bolshoi Theater or a new play in Russian Academic Youth Theater, and for the third ones – the park of extreme entertainment, the huge bookstore, a stylish nightclub, the recently opened exhibit space or a specific cultural event.

The list of places to go to in Moscow for tourists, is every vast and it is not limited to the attractions for beginners, listed in this article. More places can be found in the complete list and search by categories (in the blocks from below, under the review section).

Attractions for children in Moscow

kids-in-the-moscow-parkThe classical routes in Moscow for children are not much different than the ones for adults: students will certainly be accompanied to the Red Square and Kremlin museums, Alexander Garden and a cultural and entertainment program will diversify the remaining days.

Very informative and interesting will be the walk through the zoological Darwin Museum, whose exhibits will impress any child. Fabulous exhibits can be seen in Pushkin Museum “Russian boots” Museum, the House of Fairy Tales and the Museum of Ice.

You should not forget about the theaters, but make sure to buy tickets in advance. Preschoolers and younger students will enjoy going to the Theater for Children and Youth, the Puppet Theater or Moscow’s theater of children’s book “The Magic Lamp”, where often plays based on fairy tales are performed. The older students will enjoy  the classic performances too. Moscow planetarium is a huge scientific complex, where students of all ages will enjoy going to. You can see here the celestial map on the largest dome screen in Europe, touch the meteorites and feel like an astronaut in the interactive park. On a clear day, spend it with your kids at the Moscow Zoo, by which an Exotarium with reel fish, Dolphinarium and a pony clubs are opened.

Moscow architectural landmarks 

Moscow is famous for its temples and mansions, monumental Soviet architecture. Most architectural attractions of the capital are important in cultural-historical terms: like beacons of the era, reminiscent of iconic events in the life of the country. These are Kremlin and the Red Square, Church of Ascension in Kolomenskoye and Novodevichy Convent, all included in the UNESO World Heritage List.

The grandiose buildings, constructed in the soviet era, are amazing: the House on the Waterfront (Government House), architectural structures of the VDNKH, the buildings of Moscow State University and Foreign Ministry, the ensemble of Garden Ring squares, Ostankino television tower with the height of 540 meters and other objects.

An entire day can be devoted to the study of Zamoskvorechye: its temples and churches, memorial houses of writers, museums and apartment buildings. In terms of exploring the city’s architecture will be very interesting to take a walk on Arbat Street, one of the oldest ones in Moscow, where every home is an attraction with a unique history. In the limits of the city there are the manors of Osterman and Kuskovo – architectural monuments where museums are today.

One of the newest architectural attractions of the capital is the European Square, well known for its large-scale sculptural composition with a unique lighting.

Monasteries and temples in Moscow

A special mention deserves the Moscow monasteries. Novodevichy is one of the most beautiful in the capital, the business card of the spiritual life of the city. Donskoy monastery is the peace and quiet, protected by linden alleys, an apple garden and a strict cemetery. The main miracle in the history of the monastery is the unexpected discovery of the relics of St. Tikhon. It is a must to visit the Moscow’s oldest monastery Danilov. Legend has it that it was founded in 1282 by Prince Daniel – the son of Alexander Nevsky.

Pokrovski Monastery in Moscow is known mainly for the fact that it stores miraculous relics of the blessed Matrona. In Novospassky abode were buried the boyars of the Romanov dynasty, the same from which later came the royal dynasty. In Vysokopetrovsky monastery are located magnificent, from architectural point of view, cathedrals. This is not a complete list of Moscow’s monasteries. After all, not by chance the capital is called since ancient times, “forty times forty” and the numerous provincially-beautiful churches and temples are a direct proof.

Moscow’s museums

After thoroughly having admired the white stone and red brick walls of the beautiful capital, stumbling a couple of times on the pavement and finally being convinced that Moscow is golden, tourists hurry up to the Museum stores. And no wonder why: the choice of exhibition facilities in Moscow is truly enormous, and the quality of the collections deserve no less important epithets. For gold, diamonds and old customs go look for them in the limits of the Kremlin walls in the Armory and Diamond Funds. Art which is timeless, is stored in the best of fine museums in Russia, – Tretyakov Gallery and the Pushkin Museum, Tvorcheskiy Tsentr Novoye Iskusstvo and the Museum of Modern Art.

History in flesh is illustrated in the best way possible in the Main Historical Museum or the dedicated to certain themes collections of the Central museum of the Great Patriotic War, the museum-diorama “Battle of Borodino”, Bunker-42, Ancient Russian Culture Museum, under Andrei Rublev, Moscow History Museum or even House on the Waterfront. These names, which is not surprising at all, speak for themselves.

At last, it would be just unforgivable not to mention the memorial collection, which tells about the life of prominent people of this world — Pushkin’s Apartment-museum on Arbat or Turgenev House on Ostozhenka, Mayakovsky Museum or that very bad apartment of Bulgakov, the Museum-houses of Chekhov, Tolstoy, Esenin, Dostoevsky.

10 things you should do in Moscow:

  1. On a quite evening, stroll among the merchants’ yards of Moskva River and feel the warm atmosphere of old Moscow
  2. Admire the unforgettable view of the arrow of Moscow river and Vodootvodny channel from Krymsky Bridge.
  3. Drop by Yeliseyev Grocery Store. If you do not want to buy caviar, then you may want to admire the painted ceilings.
  4. Spend a night in the countless former low places of Khitrovka nightclubs, Kraft bars, Cheburechnaya in Chinatown.
  5. Get acquainted with the Old Believers’ Moscow near Rogozhskaya settlement.
  6. Find yourself among the Baltic towering pines, which is about 20 minutes from the center of the city, and check out the quietest and comfortable Serebryany Bor.
  7. At sunset, climb to the observation deck of Central Detskiy Mir and get swamped by the myriad of lights and sounds, and fully catch the rhythm of the never sleeping Russian heart.
  8. Visit the numerous Moscow monasteries to learn why Moscow used to be called “Forty times forty”.
  9. Take a ride on the vintage steam locomotive on the Okruzhnaya railroad, sipping some tea from the good old glass cup with a cup holder.
  10. Treat yourself with the most delicious Moscow’s ice cream in GUM.
Parks and Estates

The capital can also boast itself with splendid old parks, well-groomed gardens and quiet estates. The ensembles of reserve-museums, with an impressive area of several dozens of hectares combine best of all the green oasis with the busy city’ grandiose architecture, the most popular are – Kolomenskoe, Tsaritsyno and Kuskovo.

Outside МКАD (Moscow ring road), reigns the historical estate, Arkhangelskoye, and you will definitely see nothing finer than this estate in the half-hour drive from the center of the city. If such luxury will bore you (which is unlikely), you can go to Ostankino or Tolstoy’s Estate-Museum in Khamovniki. This is where the real comfort and the charm of the old quiet, and in some way merchant Moscow, can be felt.

Shopping in Moscow

Moscow is the Mecca of shopping. Here can be found absolutely everything a man may need, from trumpery stuff manufactured in Vietnamese clandestine shops to ocean yachts, one way or another, any goods here will find its buyer.

For foreign visitors of the capital, of great interest are traditionally the handicrafts, and Russia’s land is very rich in these; photo albums and art books, famous brands (Imperial Porcelain, chocolate “Red October” and so on), as well as everything connected with the epoch of USSR and the Russian unique everyday life.

Popular items “ with a Russian face” are : matryoshka (the Russian dolls), jewelry boxes and other products with lacquered miniatures of Fedoskino, Palekh, Mstera and Kholuy, Pavlovo shawls, Zhostovo painted trays, Gzhels, Khokhloma, products made of Vologda lace, Orenburg downy shawls, crystal glass from Gus-Khrustalny, enamel from Rostov, carved bone from Chukotka and Kholmogory, Tula’s samovars and knives, wooden and ceramic folk toys, blackening on silver of Velikiy Ustyug and much, much more.

It is time to mention the «delicious» souvenirs too, where the first place share  Russian vodka, the black and red caviars and the noble fish, as well as pickled vegetables, jams, mushrooms and berries, for those who understand.

Even the bathhouses in the capital are more than baths: who has not heard of the bicentennial Sanduny, where on the marble bunks, the most innovative Russian minds worked up the sweat? 

There are in Moscow three main places where all this can be acquired: specialized souvenir shops and bazaars on Arbat street, market “Vernissage” in Izmailovo and the observation deck on Sparrow Hills. Besides, it is guaranteed that each museum will have a small shop selling a selection of “Souvenirs”.

Events & Festivals

Considering such wealth in the capital, literally falling over the visitors from everywhere, it would be strange to assume that the entertainment industry of Moscow is lame. You can rest assured: Moscow blooms with lush colors! At any time of the year, when opening the poster with Moscow’s events, you will certainly stumble across a couple of big names of foreign Maestros, some photos of touring pop artists and dozens of intricate names for those who are into the theme. Moscow’s Concert Halls open their gilded doors every night – and here are performed shows on any taste: Rossini’s sweet fiorituras and the icy power of Wagner, Matsuev’s piano flutter and the melancholy-thoughtful viola of Bashmet, the languorous breathing of the black divas and the naked navels of the tabloid blonds, the Irish jig and the undisclosed passion movements of the flamenco dancers.

A similar flourishing is noticed in the festival environment as well: the largest Easter Festival with constant attention of the public especially during the choral and bell (Zvonilynaya) weeks, the light festival and the festival of Japanese animation, honey festival and the beer festival, of male strippers and jazz, film and brass bands, children’s art, science, languages. To summarize all of the above: come to Moscow – you definitely won’t get bored in here!

Moscow hotels

Moscow is ready to offer to the tourists everything one’s soul can wish for, but will price accordingly as well. Over the past decade, the hotel business in the capital didn’t really flourish, but if comparing with the times of Soviet Union, it has reached a good level – new decent hotels appeared, European level hotels and even cozy mini-hotels. Alas, the price level of the hotels is not pleasing to the eye, as it is the interior. Inns with an average check of $2300-3500 RUB are not that many, it is better to book them in advance – this is a small number of small hotels within the Moscow’s Garden Ring, hostels, and maybe not quite chic, but still nice “kopeck pieces”. At a relative distance from the center, you will find more good offers at very convenient prices: these are: the large hotel complexes, such as “Kosmos” orIzmailovo, as well as apartments for rent or nice three “stars” hotels.

You would have to take a ride on the subway in order to get to the main attractions. Taking into consideration the convenient hours of operation and the relatively low cost – that isn’t such a bad option after all. For those who don’t care about the thickness of the wallet, Moscow is a blessing. Choose to live in any of the famous hospitality “chains” like Hyatt, Hilton, Sheraton, located right in the heart of the capital, rent a trendy apartment in the House on the Waterfront, or even the attic in Varvarka.

Photocredit by Denis

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