Your guide to this cultural capital’s top parks and landmarks.
Moscow is known for its rich history and smooth integration of modern and classical Russian architecture. Here are ten must-see places that should be at the top of your list when visiting this magnificent city.
1. Red Square
Red Square, Moscow, Russia, 109012
An obvious choice for good reason, the grandiosity of Red Square is not overstated. Surrounded by many notable Russian landmarks, this square is one of the most famous of its kind. Lenin’s Mausoleum and the State Historical Museum are mere steps away from the iconic St. Basil’s Cathedral which sits at the square’s center, adjacent to the Moscow Kremlin. It’s centrally located and a great starting point to reach many other points in the city, so you don’t want to miss out on this monumental area!
2. GUM Department Store
Red Square, 3, Moscow, Russia, 109012
Gosudárstvennyj Universáľnyj Magazín, or GUM, literally translates to “Main Universal Store” and was the predominant department store of the former Soviet Union. It opened in 1893 as a symbol of the New Moscow with countless merchant shops modeled after a traditional marketplace. Today, it operates as a shopping mall with approximately 150 stores, cafés, and restaurants. Its unique architecture, designer brands, and abundance of places to buy ice cream make it the perfect stop for a combination of Russian culture and retail therapy.
3. Arbat Street
This pedestrian shopping street has been around since the 15th century, making it one of the oldest and most famous streets in Moscow. Arbat street is lined with numerous souvenir shops and the restaurants outdoor seatings create an atmosphere conducive to people watching. It’s beautifully decorated no matter the season and host to several festivals throughout the year.
4. Apothecary Garden
Prospekt Mira, 26, строение 1, Moscow, Russia, 129090
Russia’s first botanical garden was established in 1706 by Peter the Great to grow and supply medicinal plants to medical institutions around Moscow. It has since become a botanical research center and calming reprieve from the bustling city. Upon entering the garden, it’s easy to forget about the busy streets surrounding the wooded area full of blooming flowers and serene ponds. Here, you can find many local students drawing and painting the beautiful scenery, as the garden is associated with nearby Moscow University.
5. Sparrow Hills
Ulitsa Kosygina, 28, Moscow, Russia, 119270
This hill on the bank of the Moscow River is one the highest points in the city. It boasts beautiful panoramic views of Central Moscow, as well as the grand Moscow State University also located on the hill. I highly recommend finding the cable car station near the lookout point for a unique way to experience the city from above (and an easier way to get down the hill!)
6. Tretyakov Gallery
Lavrushinsky Ln, 10, Moscow, Russia, 119017
You don’t need to be an art expert to appreciate this magnificent gallery with over 130,000 exhibits. It was founded by Pavel Tretyakov, who opened the gallery in 1867 with art he had collected over the span of about 17 years. You can check which exhibitions will be on display while you’re there on the Tretyakov Gallery website.
7. Gorky Park
Krymsky Val, 9, Moscow, Russia, 119049
Moscow’s Central Park has become a hotspot among locals and tourists alike within the past ten years. At Gorky Park, you can find an ice rink, a two-deck carousel, a rose garden, and many seasonal events and exhibitions. Check out what will be there while you’re on the Gorky Park website. The park also offers free Wi-Fi, making it a great place to relax and post a couple travel pictures before you head to the next stop.
8. Bolshoi Theater
Theatre Square, 1, Moscow, Russia, 125009
Home to one of the oldest and most universally acclaimed ballet companies in existence, the Bolshoi Theatre is the place to go if you’re looking to catch a ballet or opera performance while in Moscow. It’s a repertory theatre, meaning it rotates the performances so something new is playing every night. Tickets sell out fast, so make sure to book ahead on the Bolshoi Theatre website.
9. Izmaylovo District
Parkovaya St., 3-ya, 24, Moscow, Russia, 613310
Of particular interest to history buffs and Anastasia fans, this district is the ancestral land of the Romanov family. Here, you can find the Izmaylovo Kremlin, a display of colorful wooden architecture acting as an “Old Russia”-themed open-air museum. This hidden gem even has a flea market selling handmade crafts and Central Asian cuisine, as well as many restaurants and bars. A walk around this district is a one-of-a-kind experience of Russian history and culture you won’t want to pass up.
10. Cathedral of Christ the Savior
Ulitsa Volkhonka, 15, Moscow, Russia, 119019
Moscow is home to the third tallest Orthodox cathedral in the world with history leading back to the 19th century. This breathtaking Russian Revival-style structure lies on the bank of the Moscow River, and features a 130-foot platform with a view of the Moscow Kremlin. You can attend an Orthodox religious ceremony, or just take a guided tour. If you do plan to go inside, however, make sure your shoulders and legs are covered, as there is a strict dress code.
Meghan stayed in Moscow for three days.