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Since it’s so huge and vibrant, it takes more than one Moscow travel guide to do it justice! With hundreds of years of history and still an important capital today, Moscow activities are practically infinite. This is the largest city in the European continent, and one of the most vital on Earth. While it’s currently a growing tourist destination, some of the best things to do in Moscow are away from crowds. Still, you can check out my other guide on Moscow with Top Ten Things to Do in Moscow as well as my Hotel Review of the Radisson Royal in Moscow .  

This year, Russia will be receiving millions of tourists due to the summer’s FIFA World Cup. Moscow’s stadium, Luzhniki, will host plenty of matches, including the opening and final. There’s clearly be plenty more Moscow activities this summer but if you  want to get away from the crowd and find some true gems in this huge city find some inspiration below. 

Red October – The Creative Party Island in the Moscow River!

 

Beyond the most obvious (and must-visit) Moscow tourist attractions are some of my favorite places in the city. For me, the best Moscow activities will take you well inside the city’s confines, where locals enjoy their everyday lives. Promenades, parties, shopping – the best things to do in Moscow are just a few lines away. Enjoy my Beyond the Crowds Moscow travel guide!

Gorky Park in Full Bloom

Best Things To Do In Moscow Beyond the Crowds

1. Patriarshiye Prudy – Moscow’s Hipster Area

This is the rare Moscow travel guide that will show you around the up-and-coming neighborhood of Patriarshiye Prudy. Known in English as Patriarch Ponds and commonly called Patriks, this is my favorite area in Moscow. It’s really different from the rest of the city, an oasis of quiet among the noisy streets of the megalopolis. While you won’t find many Moscow tourist attractions here, it’s a great place to see the Boho side of town.

The Patriarshiye Prudy neighborhood is truly a special part of the city

Built in the first few decades of the 19th century, Patriarshiye Prudy was created to be residential. At the turn of the 20th century, the buildings around the ponds were occupied by students. Later, in the Soviet years, apartments became communal. 30 years after the perestroika, it’s the HQ of hipster Moscow activities!

The buildings tell a story of their own

The Best Food in Town

The heart of Moscow’s foodie scene resides in this old neighborhood. These days, you can find a multitude of small eateries here, with fascinating concepts and fusions. There are amazing options for every meal, and you’ll always be surrounded by the hippest crowds. This is where young Moscovites and expats hang out, so the vibe is always lively and fresh.

Some of my favorite restaurants in the city are located within this area. You can spend a whole day here restaurant hopping and you’ll never get bored!

Start the day choosing between the two breakfast places close to my heart, depending on how you want your morning. Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy I Love Cake, where the marshmallow pancakes are to die for. Healthy breakfast eaters should head to Fresh, where plenty of delicious and freshly-squeezed juices await.

Once night falls, there are multiple options to try. Pinch, a small hipster restaurant, offers delicious Asian fusion at the hand of an Italian chef. Saxon & Parole is a fantastic New Yorker dining experience; the chef has a few Michelin stars under his belt. Lastly, there’s Cutfish Bistro, an amazing sushi place with all-fresh fish and truly authentic Japanese food.

Time for a meal at CutFish

While many of the best things to do in Moscow include eating, there’s plenty more to do at Patriarshi. You can pamper yourself in one of the many neighborhood mani-pedi places. There are also a lot of design boutiques and charming little shops of all sorts. It feels almost like a great western Europe city like Paris or Vienna . A unique area in this Moscow travel guide!

2. ArtPlay – Get Inspired by Moscow’s Art Scene

Just 20 minutes away from Moscow city center stands ArtPlay, the artsy district par excellence. Architecture and design lovers will feel right at home here, surrounded by exhibition spaces, showrooms and art schools.

A prime example of the constant change big cities go through, ArtPlay was an old factory not too long ago. From tea factory to creative cluster, it now occupies an entire block in the city.

A leisurely walk down ArtPlay

Located in the Kurskaya/Chkalov area, it’s a trendy rendez-vous for creative types living in or passing through Moscow. Here, away from the more traditional Moscow tourist attractions, lies the city’s artistic heart. Aside from the artsy shops and offices, here you can find many cute little cafés. Come to this very special spot and mingle with Moscovite artists and expats from all over the world!

Found My Spot!

The authentic industrial design of what is now ArtPlay shows through among all its modern artfulness. This is particularly dreamy in the summer, as they have a lot of fairs in the hotter months. A top creative cluster, ArtPlay has some of the best things to do in Moscow for those with artistic souls.

Home for the Artistic Soul

3. The Hip New Food Markets

There’s an ongoing worldwide trend favoring everything organic, going back to a simple time when it comes to food. Russia’s megalopolis is no stranger to this practice, and it’s translated to lots of new food markets. These places don’t just offer a glimpse into the city’s traditional trade, they’re also hot spots for foodies. These various markets offer a really fascinating variety of food stands from around the globe. You can try different flavors while you’re doing grocery shopping!

You should definitely add a tour of food markets to your list of Moscow activities. My two favorite are the Danilovsky and the Usachovskiy, both worth a visit. The latter is however currently closed but will re-open 1 July (2018). 

Fresh Fruit to Start the Day!

Make sure you do not miss the Vietnamese one food stand in the Danilovsky. It serves authentic and absolutely delicious food from the Southeast Asia country – including pho soup! There’s usually a queue to try out the pho, but the taste is definitely worth it.

Danilovsky – The prettiest market in town

The Usachovsky market offers a more eclectic mix of flavors, from oysters to more casual options like burgers and pizza. Newly renovated for hipster sensibilities, you can find the freshest produce here. If you want to take home Russian products like local cheese, no Moscow travel guide will recommend a better spot.

4. Shopping From Dusk to Dawn

In the decades since the dissolution of the USSR, there’s been an insane growth of malls in Moscow. It’s like they’re making up for lost time in capitalism! Because of this, one of the ultimate Moscow activities is, of course, shopping. It’s something you can do all over the city, thanks to the almost excessive amount of malls. It feels as though every rich guy in Russia needs to open his own mall in the capital!

Luxury Over Load at Famous GUM

Patriarshiye Prudy Shopping

If you love design clothes, including locally-made and unique items, Patriarshiye Prudy should be your spot. As I mentioned before, it’s a common area for Bohemians and hipsters from all walks of life. The area has a lot to offer to shoppers, and it’s the best place to catch the local trends and designers but the prices here are high. 

Pink Dreams in Patriarshiye Prudy

Podium Market

In terms of favorite malls I have two. One is  Podium Market. A Russian department store, you can find it in several locations across the city. The one nearest the major Moscow tourist attractions is at the Four Seasons building, next to the Red Square. In this chain, you’ll find some a cool mix of national and international designer brands. It’s an easy and efficient way to get your shopping in the city done in just one place!

A Day at Tsvetnoy

The second is Tsvetnoy Central Market. A total hipster paradise and a must in every Moscow travel guide, this place has a lot going on. A coll designer shopping experience first and foremost, you can find most of the upscale European brands here mixed with local designers. There are also a lot of cute little boutiques and pop-ups around here, so it’s a feast for the eyes. Plus, you can find a good rooftop bar and restaurant the on the 6th floor.  The most exotic side to this place is, however, its actual old-fashioned market. On the fifth floor, there’s a pretty fancy and all-organic food market, with fresh produce and meats and here you will also find one of the most instagramable cafes in Moscow. 

However, for a truly delicious Italian lunch cross the street and head over to Probka, the best Italian in town. Their truffle pasta and pizza are absolutely amazing!

5. Party ‘Til Daybreak at Red October 

Like it’s happened with many up-and-coming areas in the city, Red October island was once industrial. Back in the USSR, this was a large chocolate factory, having turned recently into a party spot. As I’ve mentioned before, visiting is one of the main Moscow tourist attractions for those looking for the city’s nightlife. While it’s not one of the best-known Moscow tourist attractions, you can’t miss the scene!

Street Art in Every Corner @ Red October!

Even during the day, there are many cultural Moscow activities here. Art happenings, galleries and hipster spots of all types are abundant here. It’s also a great area for cafés and restaurants, with some sweet rooftops with a view. One of the best things to do in Moscow is have a drink facing the skyline.

moscow tourist attractions
Hipster paradise for sure!

One place I can recommend with my eyes closed  is Strelka. A total must in the Moscovite summer.  The food and wine are good  and their terrace is the best sunset spot in Moscow, not to forget the lovely and vibrant vibe!

Strekla – Our Favorite Moscow Summer Spot!

Moscow is a city full of hidden gems and if you want to read more about them and how I spend my weekend in this cool city have a look at my Moscow Living Posts. I hope you enjoy my Moscow Gems as much as I do and that you get a great time in this cool city!

A Day by Moscow River!

39 Comments

    • Linda Reply

      What better time to go than now during the world cup dear 🙂

  1. I have a few friends that I met in the US that area actually from and live mainly in Moscow. They’ve always had a lot of really great things to say about it – and it looks like they’re right! I enjoyed your pictures and your detail about the cool things to see. I would love strolling the food markets, I bet.

    • Linda Reply

      Many expats live in Moscow and that’s one of my favourite things about the city! You should visit dear 🙂

  2. I’ve never been to Moscow, but it does look really beautiful and I am sure i would enjoy a visit there. Hopefully I do that very soon.

  3. Moscow looks like such an amazing and lively place to go and visit. I love these ideas of things which perhaps we wouldn’t all think of.

    • Linda Reply

      I hope you use these tips during your next Moscow trip dear 🙂

  4. That market looked so lovely! I hope someday to visit that part of the world. Beautiful pictures.

    • Linda Reply

      Thank you dear! I’m sure you’d love it if you did visit 🙂

  5. This place look absolutely amazing. The Danilovsky – The prettiest market in town is a must and I’m going to arrange a trip with my best friend this coming autumn. Thx!

    • Linda Reply

      Fantastic! I’ll have a few Moscow restaurant review posts up soon so I’m sure those will be helpful for you too dear! 🙂

  6. Wow! Moscow looks so incredible! Loved this travel guide, thanks so much for sharing!! Also, loved all of the outfits you were wearing!

    • Linda Reply

      Thanks so much dear! Hope it is helpful for your Moscow trip!

  7. Thanks for sharing this information and photos of your trip! I have never been to Moscow but love these pictures. Even the graffiti wall looks like it would be something memorable!

    • Linda Reply

      Thank you dear! Glad you found this useful. Yes, Moscow is such an artsy city! I love it 🙂

    • Linda Reply

      Lovely, you will definitely enjoy moscow! I have lots of other Moscow posts so I’m sure you’ll find those useful too 🙂

  8. Kamapala Chukwuka Reply

    The pictures you used to write this beautiful post are stunning! I’ve heard from friends that Moscow is a beautiful city to visit but I’m always of the impression that it’ll be too cold for me 🙂 I love how informative this post it. Great read x

    • Linda Reply

      It’s actually quite lovely in summer dear, you should definitely visit 🙂

    • Linda Reply

      Moscow is such a multi-faceted city – so much to see and do 🙂

  9. It is wonderful to be in the energy of crowds, but there’s something about the serene atmosphere of quiet places. I love the photos and places you shared – feels expansive, allowing my soul to roam. Moscow is quite the place!

    • Linda Reply

      Couldn’t agree more! Thanks for readings dear 🙂

  10. I had no idea the Fifa was in Moscow! can you tell I don’t follow sports? haha. The Danilovsky market looks like a nice place to visit!

    • Linda Reply

      It will be in Moscow in June! Haha don’t worry dear, I’m also hopeless in sport

  11. Oh wow Moscow looks absolutely incredible. Usachovsky market reminds me so much of a market I went to in Vancouver. Love going to the markets and just seeing all the foods and produce.

    • Linda Reply

      Moscow actually has so many lovely markets dear 🙂

  12. I’ve always thought it would be interesting to go to Moscow but I’ve not been brave enough to take such a long trip yet. I’d want to try all of these and more if I ever let loose and just go.

    • Linda Reply

      Moscow is such a great city, I’m sure you’ll love it 🙂

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