5 great things to do in Moscow in winter
Moscow is the capital of Russia and is a very old city with a long history. It’s quite busy with cars during the week and Russian as well as foreign tourists at the weekend.
You might be still deciding whether you should visit Russia at all. You might be also trying to work out the best season to visit Moscow. Let me tell you that whether you go to Moscow in winter or summer there are plenty of exciting things to do. It’s just in winter make sure you pack up warm clothes and in summer get yourself a few pairs of shorts and t-shirts as the weather gets really really hot.
Let me tell you that whether you go to Moscow in winter or in summer, there are still plenty of exciting things to do. Although make sure that you pack up warm clothes for a winter break and get a few pairs of shorts and t-shirts for a summer break as the weather gets really really hot.
1 Try Ice-skating at Gorky Park
Gorky Park is very big and in winter they build an ice skating rink which looks more like a maze. People move around at a very slow pace which helps if you feel apprehensive about putting on the ice skates for the first time. Otherwise just watch other people skate like I did.
2 See a play at the Bolshoi Theatre
The Bolshoi Theatre is translated as big theatre. In real life it looks even more formidable than in pictures. It’s a gorgeous building with a stunning interior. This theatre is very famous across the world and attracts a lot of tourists. I suggest that you go inside and buy a ticket to see a Russian play.
3 Celebrate New Year on Red Square
In December Red Square turns into a magical place. There’s snow everywhere and little stalls that sell food and souvenirs. If you want to spend New Year’s Eve on Red Square then you have to book tickets in advance in order to get in. There will be beautiful fireworks when the clock chimes 12.
Consider wearing something really warm and think of buying a pair of proper winter boots which will keep you warm throughout the night.
There are other places in Moscow that will do their best to impress their guests with a great service and entertainment on New Year’s Eve.
4 Visit Moscow Hermitage Garden
Hermitage Garden is a park situated in the central part of Moscow. It’s a good place to visit for cultural immersion as there are so many theatres and monuments.
Take a stroll in this beautiful park in winter as well as summer and see when you like it most. There’s also a recreation ground for kids.
5 Queue up to get to the State Tretyakov Gallery
It’s better to buy tickets online and then go to the gallery. It’s so popular among tourists and Russian people that the approximate waiting time can get up to 5 hours.
I’ve never got a chance to visit the Tretyakovsky Gallery. It was a chilly winter day and the waiting time was 4 hours. I couldn’t see the end of the queue so decided to go to another museum.
And to make your trip to Moscow truly Russian don’t forget to go to a real Russian banya. The Russian banya is similar to a sauna but even hotter. People also use birch wigs to whip one another which makes the whole experience even more thrilling. It will instantly warm you up and you will remember your trip to Russia forever.
5 great things to do in Moscow in summer
If the previous 5 winter places sound too chilly or too boring for you, let’s take a look at the adventures that are awaiting you in summer.
1 Visit Tsaritsyno Palace
As you know, before the revolution in 1917 Russians like the British and the Danish had a royal family. The dynasty has a very long history and so do the palaces and mansions where the noble Russians lived.
Tsaritsino estate was build specifically upon request of Catherine the Great – Russian Emperess. Such places are worth visiting as their grounds tell a long and fascinating history about the times when we were not born yet.
2 Cycle at Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy (VDNKh)
VDNKh – what Russians call it – is enormous. You can either cycle there or walk. I suggest you cycle as the territory is really big. There are a lot of bikes for hire and it’s very refreshing to cycle at a high speed across the square and past the pond.
Besides, you definitely won’t miss the main entrance which is a giant arch. VDNKh is located in Ostankinsky district and it’s got its own metro station. You would definitely have to take the metro to get to this place but it’s well worth the effort.
3 Take a long walk across central Moscow
You definitely don’t need a map navigating through central Moscow – just follow the crowds of tourists. The centre of Moscow is very accessible and there are plenty of walking paths to take.
Start with St. Basil’s Cathedral then all the way to Kremlin and Red Square via Alexander Garden. Then you need to get to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior either via Vozdvizhenka St. and then take a stroll along Gogolevskyi Boulevard or take a shortcut. After you’ve seen everything around the Cathedral of Christ the Savior head over to the Patriarchy Bridge. Once you’ve done the Bridge, turn right and walk along the embankment where you will see the monument to Peter the Great and then you take the other half of the Patriarchy Bridge and go towards Gorky Park along the embankment.
You should also take a walk towards Old Arbat which is a very nice street with a lot of funky shops.
4 See Moscow from bird’s-eye view at Sparrow Hills
Sparrow Hills is a name of a territory in the south-western Moscow which has very steep slopes and high cliffs. It has also a lot of parks and a few famous buildings. Institute of Chemical Physics which was a home to one of the Russian noble families along with renowned Moscow State University (MGU) is also situated in the Sparrow Hills territory.
You can enjoy the view from an 80m high observatory which will enable you to see Moscow’s landmarks. The view is breathtaking.
Take a boat cruise along the river or a cable railway ride which is a lot of fun unless you are afraid of heights.
5 Splash out on shopping
A list of must-visit shopping centers in Moscow:
- Detskiy Mir (Central Children’s Store)
- Okhotnyi Ryad
The below are situated in close proximity to one another. Not only are they shopping centers but places to for fun and food. Inside you can spend hours and hours walking around and admiring beautiful architecture and interior design.
The latter – Okhotnyi Ryad – is built underground which is very cool and quirky.