If you have just one day in Moscow, it is extremely short time to explore the city and truly feel it. Honestly, I’d say even a week is not enough.
Here are some inspirational ideas how to take the most out of your short stay in Moscow city.
21 must-do & off the beaten path ideas in Moscow
1. Red Square
Red Square is annually visited by about 20 million tourists. TripAdvisor considers it #1 thing to do in Moscow.
Red Square appeared in the late XV century, when Emperor Ivan III ordered to demolish wood constructions around the Kremlin.
Since 1930 the body of Lenin has been stored in the mausoleum.
The oldest monument in Moscow is located on Red Square. Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin were patriots, fighting with the Poles and liberating Moscow at the beginning of the invasion in 1612.
In the winter of 2006 on Red Square for the first time appeared a skating rink, with an area of 2800 square meters. The total capacity of the rink is 5,000 visitors daily.
We love Red Square and go there almost 365 days a year as part of our various Moscow tours.
Admission fee: free
We talk in detail about Kremlin on our Kremlin Tour Here are quick stats:
The Moscow Kremlin includes:
4 palaces: Great Kremlin Palace, State Kremlin Palace, Poteshny Palace and Terem Palace.
4 cathedrals: Assumption Cathedral, Annunciation Cathedral, Archangel Cathedral and Cathedral of the Twelve Apostles in the Patriarch’s Palace.
5 squares: Trinity, Palace, Senate, Ivanovo and Cathedral.
Finally, epic Tsar Bell, that never rang, and Tsar Cannon, that never shot.
Admission fee: 500 rubles for Cathedral Square, with included entrance to the Cathedrals
You literally can spend the whole day here, so much to see: stunning diamonds, thrones, carriages and thousands of other historical items from Old Rus.
There are 9 halls, starting with the oldest (XI century) and up to the beginning of the XX century.
Admission fee: 500 rubles 700 rubles.
Be ready for crazy lines if you didn’t purchase tickets online in advance.
4. Tretyakov Gallery
Tretyakov Gallery is rewarded with #2 in TripAdvisor’s list.
May 22, 1856 is considered to be the date of foundation.
During World War II collections of the Tretyakov Gallery were evacuated to Siberia. Exhibits occupied 17 wagons.
Malevich wrote four “Black Squares”, which differ in size, pattern, texture and flavor. Two versions can be found at the Tretyakov Gallery, and one – in the Hermitage and the “Russian Museum”.
We love showing Tretyakov Gallery together in combination of historical vibe of Zamoskvorechye area and modern graffiti art, all seasoned with yummy coffee on our Ultimate Art and Culture Tour.
Life stories, drama, romance, love affairs and the greatest art are all presented here in the Tretyakov Gallery. Find out:
what painting became the life-time project for its author;
what painting hung in every respectable Soviet home;
which painting depicts the Red Fate of Russia;
what is the oldest painting in the Gallery;
and loads more!
Admission fee: 450 rubles
5. Saint Basil’s Cathedral
Built to celebrate Ivan the Great’s victories in 1550-ies, the cathedral also represents religious holidays.
The height of the temple is about 65 meters.
St. Basil’s Cathedral is the most famous Russian landmark, which is as much a symbol of Russia, as the Statue of Liberty for the Americans or Big Ben to the British.
The temple has a “twin “, which resembles St. Basil’s Cathedral. It is located in St. Petersburg and called the Savior on Spilled Blood.
Admission fee: 500 rubles
6. Tsaritsino Museum-Reserve and Park
Tsaritsino Royal Estate is 240 years old. Empress Ekaterina II bought the estate in 1775, and was awed by the beauties of the area, which initially had the name “Black Dirt”.
In the XI-XIII centuries lived here vyatichi – descendants of one of the Slavic tribes that settled here in the early VI century.
The rugged terrains, murmuring rivers and streams are are recognizable features of Tsaritsyno. Picturesque ponds become its highlight.
Since the beginning of 1776 by 1785 there were built: two luxurious palaces, connected by a gallery with openwork arched gates, Bread House, the Opera House, the First and the Second Cavalry Building, figured bridges across ravines, artificial ruins and grottoes, and laid-out magnificent landscaped park. The combination of red brick and white stone plinth preserve the atmosphere of Russia in XVII century.
Admission fee: free
7. Kolomenskoe Museum-Reserve and Park
Kolomenskoe is the oldest settlement on the territory of the Moscow region. According to the archaeologists, the first ancient settlements appeared here in the Stone Age! Surprisingly, the first settlers were not Slavs, but Finno-Ugric tribes. Much later Kolomenskoye became the preserve of the Russian tsars.
Located south of the center of Moscow, it covers an area of 390 hectares.
It’s hard to believe, but just 30 years ago, in the 1980-s, Kolomenskoye Park was home to local residents who descended from serfs of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. Premises in which they lived, were built of thick logs, but looked more like a not classic Russian huts and modern two-storey barracks and apartment buildings. Moreover, the age of some buildings was more than 300 years. These buildings are protected by the state.
Times and Epochs Historical Festival, the world’s largest festival of historical reconstruction, takes place in Kolomenskoe every yesr in the beginning of June. This ear it’s June 6-7. Don’t miss! ;)
Admission fee: free
8. Moscow Metro
Moscow Metro is 80 years old this year, the first line, red line, opened in 1935, May 15, at 7.00 am. We collected 30 fun facts about Moscow Metro, here are some of them:
1. The exploitation of 1 km underground is worth $2 million.
2. The construction of 1 km of Moscow metro is worth $70 million (deep foundation) and $30-40 million (small).
3. The system consists of 12 lines with a total length of 327.5 km.
4. There are 196 metro stations, of which 133 stations with escalators and 44 are recognized as objects of cultural heritage.
5. The longest line is dark blue, Arbat-Pokrovskaya, with the length of 45.1 km.
Admission fee: 50 rubles for one ride, that can last any time and you can go to unlimited number of stations
9. Bolshoi Theater
Bolshoi Theater celebrates its 190th anniversary this year. Bolshoi has something in common with Tsaritsino – they both were born on the orders of Catherine II.
An interesting fact is that Michael Maddox, an English entrepreneur and theatre manager, spent for the construction of the theater most of his life, and turned out to be bankrupt in the end. He had to be auctioned off all his property, including private mansion. From the complete bankruptcy and poverty Maddox was saved by Empress Maria Feodorovna, who gave him a lump sum of 10 thousand rubles, and also made sure he had an annual pension.
Admission fee: 1300 rubles for the tour around the Theater.
10. Gorky Park
A fashionable place in Soviet times with its carnivals and ballet in the water, and #1 local area among locals nowadays. It’s not the most beautiful, not it’s the oldest or the biggest park in Moscow.
However, a combination of a bit of everything makes it a unique place for almost everyone.
The English writer H.G. Wells was among the fans of Gorky Park. During his Moscow visit in 1934 at the invitation of Joseph Stalin, Wells called the park – “Factory of happy people”, which was later shortened simply to “Happiness Factory” and actively used in the guidebooks. He wrote: “When I die for capitalism and will rise again in the Soviet heaven, then I would wake up directly in the Park of Culture and Rest” (the present Gorky Park).
Here are more fun facts about Gorky Park from our fun collection.
Admission fee: free
11 off the beaten paths in Moscow
Take it as a local bucket list when in Moscow:
- Chocolate museum near Christ the Savior Cathedral;
- Pub crawl on Kamergersky lane;
- Boat trip on Moscow river from Sparrow Hills to Gorky Park and on to Kitay Gorod;
- Poklonnaya Hill climbing in Victory Park;
- Modern Art Gallery – one of four MOMA museums – best place to meet young local intellectuals;
- Sunbathing, people watching, yoga, evening dancing classes in Museon Park or Gorky Park, # 1 park in Moscow with 100, 000 people a day on the weekend;
- Professional photo session with local photographers;
- Shopping in Atrium, 1 min walk from Kurskaya metro station (circle brown line is better, not dark blue);
- Jogging in Sokolniki Park, second largest park in Moscow (600 hectares) after Izmaylovsky Park (1534 ha);
- Cycling around Kitay Gorod area;
- Picnic on Sparrow Hills’ observation deck.
Tips for visiting Moscow:
1. Explore Kamergersky and Stoleshnikov lanes in the daytime and Arbat street at night. The architecture of K. & S. is gorgeous, while Arbat is at its best with night lighting.
2. Best shots of Kremlin are from the bridges: Big Stone bridge (bear Borovitskaya tower), Big Moskvoretsky Bridge (near Red Square), Patriarch bridge (behind Christ the Savior).
3. If you are into bike tours: Velobike has best prices and most comfortable system. Shame it is in Russian only so far, ask us if you need help.
4. Time Out Bar has great city views and great drinks for your nightlife experience.
5. Best local experience is in the early morning: 5-7am. The city is just wakening up, the coffee shops serve yummy breakfasts, the metro stations are easy to photograph, the sunrise is charming.
What would you like to try in Moscow? What’s on your bucket list when in Russia?
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