Things to do in Moscow

For starters, a visit to the Kremlin and Red Square is a must. A veritable smorgasbord of significant attractions lies within the heart of Russia’s capital, making it easy to explore on foot. While you’re in the downtown area, head to Stary (Old) Arbat and Novy (New) Arbat, leading from the Kremlin. Old Arbat or simply ‘the Arbat’ is a pedestrianised street precinct harking back to 16th-century Moscow with souvenirs, street artists and cafes. In contrast, New Arbat is a completely modern avenue where you’ll find Moscow’s most expensive restaurants and clubs as well as flashy casinos.

Another upmarket avenue is Tverskaya ulitsa, which runs from the Kremlin towards the ancient town of Tver and St Petersburg making it an important thoroughfare in the tsarist era. It’s now known as Moscow’s ‘Fifth Avenue’ due to the plethora of fashion-forward boutiques, flagship international brands, hotels, theatres, cafes and restaurants that line the boulevard.

Also on the edge of Red Square is Kitai Gorod - the oldest area after the Kremlin. With settlement from the 12th century and a long history as a commercial centre, you’ll still find shops, banks and restaurants here as well as museums and religious sites. Art lovers won’t want to miss another ancient area of Moscow, the picturesque Kropotkinsky district, where must-see cultural sites like Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, the Russian State Library and Tolstoy House Estate Museum lie.

South of the Kremlin is the old area of Zamoskvoreche. With winding alleys and an authentic ‘old Moscow’ feel, this district contains the must-visit Tretyakov Gallery and Gorky Park. Recognisable from the Cold War novel of the same name, Gorky Park has had a makeover from dilapidated theme park to a hip hangout with open-air cinemas, yoga lessons on the lawn and public art displays as well as snowboarding and ice skating in winter. Want more? Here’sour top 5 places to visit in Moscow.

Moscow Kremlin

The Russian capital’s ancient heart that used to symbolise the Soviet government is actually a massive complex of palaces, cathedrals and significant sights near the Red Square in downtown Moscow. Don’t miss the treasures of the Armoury or the gilded cathedrals.

Red Square

One of the most-visited sites in Moscow, Red Square is actually not that colour or named for Communism, but is a translation of ‘krasny’ that can mean ‘red’ or ‘beautiful’. The vast square offers a stunning lit panorama at night, and a winter wonderland hidden in snow in the colder months.

St Basil’s Cathedral

Boasting a kaleidoscope of colours, shapes and styles, the multi-hued onion domes and geometric buildings of St Basil’s Cathedral are an often photographed sight. This unique Russian architectural masterpiece is located near Moscow’s Red Square and is a must-visit destination.

Tretyakov Gallery

Spread across 2 sites in Zamoskvoreche in central Moscow, the Tretyakov Gallery houses the world’s finest collection of Russian art from the 11th to the 20th century. Highlights include Russian icons, artworks by the Wanderers’ Group and plenty of prerevolutionary Russian masterpieces.

Lenin Mausoleum

The founder of the Soviet Union and renowned Russian politician has lain in state in a public tomb since his death in 1924. See the embalmed body of Vladimir Ilych Lenin and join in the conversation about whether it really is him, and whether it’s time to finally inter him.