Moscow Travel Guide

Moscow Overview

Whereas Russia’s capital was once famed for mile long queues and food rationing at state-run department stores, today, Moscow is a fast-paced and exciting city witnessing an exceptional era of opulence and hedonism. Breaking free from the dark days of Soviet communism, contemporary Moscow is big and brash - exemplified by more billionaires than anywhere in the world and arguably the most expensive vodka to be found - yet moody and unassuming in the same breath. Sprawling out from the Red Square, this is a city that takes time to uncover and, like a childs game of pass the parcel, a place that often needs to be stripped bare before discovering the real treasures that lie beneath.

Moscows tourist attractions are abundant and dominated by the fascinating array of architecture spread throughout. From Stalin-era monuments to colossal domed churches to ultra-modern shopping centers and residential districts the city facade offers an astonishing contrast of styles. On one hand, this is a modern European-esque city with its vitality showcased in the groundbreaking museums and galleries, world-class concert halls, boundless cafés and restaurants and a pulsating nightlife. Yet, turn the page and find a city with an aura deeply rooted in Central Asian traditions where historic monuments still take pride of place and stand as important reminders of the past.
With snow covered winter months from November to March and long days of sunshine during the height of summer, Moscow’s climate is one of stark contrasts and an important factor to consider. Needless to say, those that do take the plunge into this still largely unknown part of the world are treated to a once in a lifetime experience. Money does talk these days, however, although the coffee comes at cost, the intoxicating atmosphere of the city is 100% free.

Things to do in Moscow

Moscow Sightseeing  - Moscow is awash with fascinating works of architecture that vary from colossal Stalinist era constructions to some of the worlds most spectacular churches and theatres. The first point of call will almost always be the Red Square, home to the contrasting facades of St Basils Cathedral, the Kremlin, Lenins Mausoleum and the GUM shopping centre. Visitors also find themselves drawn towards the magnificent Cathedral of Annunciation, Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the 95m Monument to Peter the Great and Novodevichy Convent & Cemetery. For those that like to walk and explore, the streets of Kitay Gorod provide a glimpse into old Moscow and The Arbat is a vibrant cobbled street that was once the bohemian heart of the city.

Museums & Galleries in Moscow
Cosmonautics Museum - Tribute to the great minds who brought the Soviet Union in line with the US in the race to reach space. Experience the glory days of Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin.
Moscow Museum of Modern Art - Explore the fine collection of contemporary art from the 20th and 21st centuries.
Rerikh Museum - Marvel at the lifes work of Russian explorer and archaeologist Nikolai Rerikh and his son Sergei.
Revolution Museum - Superb exhibition of memorabilia and artifacts of Russian history that avoided being destroyed with the memory of the Soviet era.
Tretyakov Gallery - Moscows finest gallery showcasing over 1000 years of Russian art, including acclaimed Orthodox icons, naturalism pieces and Art-Nouveau works.
Moscow Parks - When the time comes to take a break from sightseeing, Moscow is blessed with an array of parks, some quiet and others action-packed. The most famous is GorkyPark, a sprawling park housing an amusement park, souvenir stalls, street performers and even a genuine Buran space shuttle. Another pleasant spot is IzmailovskyPark, popular for its souvenir market and series of trails and paths that lead deep into the forest behind. Victory Park is ideal for history buffs, as it pays homage to those who battled in the Soviet triumph of the Nazis, and the Art Museon is an interesting sculpture park housing giant statues of Lenin and other infamous Soviet icons.
Moscow Theatres - A trip to the theatre is one of the most rewarding experiences to be had in Moscow and the city boasts more than its fair share of options.
Bolshoi Theatre - This stunning 6-tiered theatre offers one of Moscows most romantic nights out with their productions of Russian and international operas and ballets.
Kremlin Ballet Theatre - For unpretentious theatre goers, the Kremlin Ballet puts on performances including SwanLake, The Nutcracker and Cinderella at more affordable prices than the Bolsoi.
Moscow Conservatory - Great venue for an eclectic mix of high-class musical performances.
Moscow State Circus - Dancing bears, death-defying acrobatics and calamitous clowns at this world famous circus event.
Tchaikovsky Concert Hall - Home of the MoscowState Academic Philharmonia plus the Moscow Symphony Orchestra.
Moskva River Cruise - From April to October, river cruises offer a fascinating opportunity to see the changing faces of the city, from the main sights of the Kremlin, Cathedral of Christ the Savior and Novodevichy Covent to the rows of contemporary business and residential neighborhoods.
Moscow Festivals
Moscow Film Festival - Celebration of 100 years of Russian cinema with new and classic movies showcased in the citys theatres.
Russian Independence Day - On the 12th of June the residents of Moscow converge on the Red Square to celebrate the countrys sovereignty.
Moscow Day - The first week of September is dedicated to the foundation of Moscow and welcomes an array of processions and entertainment events.
Kremlin Cup - International tennis tournament held in October.
Moscow Nightlife - Alongside world class theatre, ballet and opera performances, Moscows nightlife is made up of swanky lounge bars, traditional drinking dens and old warehouses converted into avant-garde super clubs. Other than hostel/hotel staff, the best source of entertainment information are the listings found in Moscow Out.
Bars in Moscow
Café Pushkin - 3-floors of great Russian-French influenced cuisine and a vast vodka collection.
Papa Johns - Drunkenness and debauchery rule the roost at this boisterous bar. Daily happy hour from 6-9pm.
Tinkoff - Microbrewery pub popular for midweek sports and live acid jazz at the weekend.
Clubs in Moscow
Gaudi Arena - Join the 7000 revellers that cram into this huge house and techno club.
Le Club - Authentic jazz club founded by Igor Butov.
Propaganda - Long-established venue that is a café by day before turning into a lively warehouse club.
The Most - Exclusive nightclub for high-flyers and the beautiful people. Be prepared for long queues and likely knock backs at the door.

Hotels in Moscow

Budget Hotels Moscow

Chocolate Hostel - Mini hotel on Pushkinskaya Square and walking distance to nightlife zones. Tel (7) 495 971 2046.
Godzillas Hostel - Moscows biggest and most famed hostel a short walk from the Red Square. Tel (7) 495 699 4223.
Moscow Home Hostel - Spotless, great value hostel located in the embassy neighbourhood. Tel (7) 495 778 2445.
Napoleon Hostel - Backpacker friendly joint located in the fashionable Kitai Gorod district. Tel (7) 495 628 6695.
Midrange Hotels Moscow
Holiday Inn - Large, contemporary international chain hotel in the thriving district of Lesnaya. Tel (7) 495 783 6500.
Hotel Cosmos - Huge midrange option built for the 1980 Olympic Games. Includes 5 restaurants, 2 bars, nightclubs, casino and health club. Tel (7) 495 234 1000.
Volga Hotel - Excellent value apartment-hotel that is ideal for those travelling in large groups. Tel (7) 495 783 9100.
Luxury Hotels Moscow
Ararat Park Hyatt - Grand 5-star hotel adjacent to the Red Square. Check out the views from the top floor atrium bar. Tel (7) 495 783 1234.
Baltschug Kempinski - Large luxury rooms and suites that have been frequented by world presidents and stars of the film and music industry. Tel (7) 495 287 2000.
Ritz Carlton - Lavish 5-star hotel overlooking the Kremlin from the upscale Tverskaya district. Tel (7) 495 225 8888.

Moscow Weather

Moscow Travel Resources



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This page was last created on 10 Apr 2011 by NomadJack