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A must visit for all those who love big cities, Moscow is much more than the capital of Russia. One of the largest cities altogether, Moscow’s as influential in Eastern Europe as New York is throughout the West. Moscow sightseeing includes some of the most iconic buildings on the planet. Plus, Moscow by night is never-ending! And, of course, there are enough museums in Moscow to satisfy all art and history lovers. Here, you can satisfy any whim under the sun, as shopping in Moscow is a unique experience and if you like food, you will be swept away by the wide range of top notch restaurants and roof tops in Moscow!

It’s a gargantuan city that was built to impress. Everything here is huge, often bordering on kitsch. It bears architectonic testimony to centuries past, including majestic buildings from the 20th century. Moscow sightseeing is a journey into the incredibly active recent history of Russia and even world politics. 

Red Square December Night Moscow
Red Square by Night in December!

The city’s Russian Orthodox cathedrals are the most beautiful I’ve seen, a testament to the power of religion. Also, among the most astonishing bits of Moscow sightseeing are the Seven Sisters. Built under Josef Stalin’s vision, they’re seven massive skyscrapers overlooking the city.

This is a megalopolis, an amazing city unlike any other, and it will forever stay in your heart. Since it’s such a huge place, I’d recommend staying for at least 3 full days. Explore and fall in love with Moscow with my Moscow travel guide!

You want to know where to stsay? Have a look at my  Moscow Hotel Review of the Radisson Royal – A Russian Luxury Experience!

Bloom in Moscow
Moscow in Bloom – Almost like a Fairytale!

5 Things to Know Before Reaching Moscow

Before you begin to play your Moscow sightseeing, keep in mind that:

  1. Make sure to check Visa well in advance: Check online or at your nearest Russian consulate, but you’ll most likely need a visa. Avoid misunderstandings by having all the necessary information and paperwork long before hopping on the plane.
  2. Keep Cash at Hand: Russia’s still a very cash-oriented country, so be sure to have your share of rubles with you. This is currently changing, but you still need cash to get to know Moscow by night and do enough shopping in Moscow!
  3. Google Translate will be Your Best Friend: This is also improving, but it’s a matter of giving it a try around the city. Just start talking and hope for the best! If you ask beforehand, Moscovites will always say they don’t speak the language.
  4. Download Uber but also Explore the World Down Under: Taxis are very cheap & of course Uber works here. Do not expect any luxury from UberX class though.  If you want to avoid tracffic jams, then the metro is the best choice. Nowadays it is easier to navigate as most signs are bi-lingual and some staff even speak English!
  5. Pick the Right Airport: As a huge city and portal between East and West, Moscow has 4 airports. Whenever possible, arrive via Sheremetyevo, which has the best terminal and is easiest to access. Domodedovo is much more crowded and farther from the city, so not recommended. Book a taxi ahead, so you won’t get overcharged by drivers outside the terminal.

    Moscow River
    A Windy Day by the Moscow River!

Top 10 Things to Do in Moscow

1. Red Square, Kremlin & Surroundings

The Majestic & Historic Downtown

The most iconic landmarks of any sightseeing in Moscow tour are located in the city center. You should spend one or two days here, depending on how many museums in Moscow you want to visit. 

 Must sees includes the Kremlin, the red “fortress inside a city,” which has been the seat of Russian politics for centuries. It has housed tsars, Soviet comrades and, currently, President Vladimir Putin.

Kreml Moscow
Kreml from a Distance!

Steps away lies the Red Square, another Moscovite icon. Once home to the main city market, the Red Square is now best known as a Soviet landmark. Throughout the 80 years of communism, it was the site of government and parades. The square is oozing with history and remains, to this day, Vladimir Lenin’s resting place. 

Red Square the Historic Musuem Moscow
A Beautiful Day @Red Square – Matching the Historic Musuem in the back!

The Red Square is lined by the most iconic land marks in Moscow like the historic museum –  also a red beauty and the most recognized building in town – St. Basil’s Cathedral. A unique Byzantine-style church, it’s been around since the 16th century. Confiscated from the Russian Orthodox Church in the early Soviet years, it remains a State property.

St Basil Cathedral by day
The Most Famous One – St Basil Cathedral!

Another not miss is the Boloshoi Theater which lis located just a couple of minutes walk from the red square. A unique Moscow by night experience, art lovers shouldn’t miss a ballet performances here but be sure to book 3 to 6 months in advance!

Magnificent Bolshoi Theatre Moscow
The Magnificent Bolshoi Theatre

Beyond History

Once seen all these majestic buildings, take a break from history and enter  GUM, the most iconic Russian department store. All the fanciest brands are here! In any case, it’s a great place to stop for a cup of coffee in a cute café and a must see to indulge a bit in Russian luxury! Next to  Bolshoi you will find the second big mall in Moscow – TSUM. Another upscale mall, where you can find anything from premium brands to affordable options like Zara and Nike.

shopping in Moscow
The Red Square comes alive during christmas time

If all this sightseeing and shopping makes you hungry, there are many great eateries here. If you want an in-depth Russian cuisine experience, go to Dr. Zhivago. They serve classic Russian flavors with a modern twist, in an almost kitsch décor with lots of red and gold. For a relaxed lunch, Jamie’s offers great Italian.

Once you’re done eating, go up the Ritz Carlton Hotel’s O2 rooftop. Enjoy an exquisite view, perhaps of Moscow by night!

Best View of the Red Square - Moscow
Quite a View from the O2 Roof Top!

This whole area is filled with so many wonders and it is easy to understand why it is  an UNESCO World Heritage Site!

2. Christ the Savior, Gorky Park & River Cruising

Your first next landmark should be the Christ the Savior Cathedral. Built after the fall of the Soviet Union, it’s the most impressive church in Moscow. It was built after Russia opened up to religion after a near-century against it, and you can tell by the grandeur. It is for sure worth a visit inside.

Luxurious Moscow!
Christ the Savior – The most Impressive Cathedral in Moscow & My Neighbor!

The bridge behind the cathedral is the perfect walking route to Gorky Park – a nice walk along the river for 20 to 30 minutes.  Gorky Park   is a must see and Moscow’s equivalent to Manhattan’s Central Park.

Picnic at Moscow River
Picnic Time by the Moscow River

This is the ultimate Moscovite weekend hangout. There’s always something to do here, between its kid-friendly fair attractions and its beautiful gardens and lakes. The park is a point of pride for locals and do not miss its majestic entrance! In the winter Gorky turns into a big scating rink!

Gorky Park in Moscow
Hello Gorky Park

Once you’ve enjoyed the vibes and nature, it’s a great time to walk by the Moskva River. You can even take a boat ride along its waters: I’d recommend the Radisson’s. If possible, do this after sunset for a gorgeous view of Moscow by night!

Popular Moscow River
Popular Moscow River – Cruise Time?

If the promenade has awakened your hipster senses, be sure to drop by Red October afterwards. The city’s party island is the place to see the young vibe. You can also check out one of the most impressive museums in Moscow here! The Tretyakov has the largest collection of Russian fine arts on Earth. There’s also an exhibition outside, in case you’re not up for the inside tour.

If you’re visiting in summer, go to the area’s iconinc bar & terrace – Strelka! Have lunch or an early drink here, and prepare for the ultimate Moscow sunset!

Sun Set Place in Moscow
Strekla Time – The Best Sun Set Place!

3. Arbatskaya – Where Moscow’s Art Scene Lives

This is a small and artsy area around Novy Arbat street, with a lot of tourist-focused shops. Here you can find souvenir shops, cafés and art happenings. To get away from crowds, navigate the smaller inner streets to find where artists live!

There’s so much art to see in Moscow
Artsy Arabatskaya!

4. Moscow City – Another Side of Town

As it happens with all metropoles, Moscow is more than one city: it has many faces. One of the newest is Moscow City, a sort of mini Dubai due to its skyscrapers and modern look. First and foremost, this is where you should see Moscow by night: the best rooftops, Ruski and Sixty, are here!

Moscow City View
Dinner with a View @Ruski

It’s also a great area to do some shopping in Moscow. The most modern malls in town are around here, including Afimall City, home of many international brands.

5. Metro Hopping on the World’s Most Breathtaking Subway

An 80-year-old system, don’t let the Moscow metro’s old age fool you: it’s still magnificent. Inaugurated during Stalin’s leadership, it shares the grandeur of all architecture from the period. The stations resemble underground palaces!

Each station has a distinct look and feel, but seeing as there are over 200, you should prioritize. The most impressive are Komsomolskaya, Mayakovskaya, Kropotkinskaya and those around/below the Red Square.

It’s easy to navigate the metro thanks to its color coding; plus, the signs are also in English but unfortunately the trains are not as impressive as its stations!

Metro Subway in Moscow
The World Down Under

6. Travel Back in Time at the Russian Market- Shopping in Moscow

Izmailovsky Market is a must visit for lovers of unique objects. The definite shopping in Moscow experience, going there is like taking a time machine to another era. The place is beautiful: a colorful extravaganza with castles straight out of a fairytale!

The most unique shopping in Moscow can be done here. Find great bargains on iconic Russian items like Matryoshka dolls and fur hats. When visiting, try the delicious Russian barbecue, shashlik, at a food stand!

Russian Market in Moscow
Like a Fairytale World!

7. Unmissable Museums in Moscow

The hometown of great writers and all types of artists, the Russian capital is a very cultural city. There are endless museums in Moscow to choose from, both traditional and contemporary.

Among must-visit museums in Moscow is the Tretyakov Gallery, hosting the largest collection of Russian fine art. There’s also, of course, the Kremlin, with centuries of history. Other personal favorites include Pushkin, Tolstoy (both traditional) and hip ArtPlay block, right outside city center.

retyakov gallery moscow
The Fountains outside Tretyakov Gallery!

5. Moscow State University’s One-of-a-Kind View

Located in the tallest of the Stalin-built Seven Sisters skyscrapers, Moscow State University offers a privileged view. Once the tallest building outside NYC, it still offers a magnificent panorama of old Moscow. Grab some lunch here at Grill Bar & Terrace Sparrows, with the park and fountains beneath you. Plus, this is Russia’s most prestigious university, with 13 affiliated Nobels!

On Sundays, it becomes a meeting point for motorcycles and race cars – perfect for auto enthusiasts.

Moscow State University
I guess you can say Moscow has stolen my heart!

9. The Best Places to Eat in Moscow

Wonderful Russian restaurants like Café Pushkin, Dr. Zhivago and Turandot, or dinner among the clouds at Sixty, Russki or White Rabbit. There are also delicious options of international cuisine, like exceptional Italian Probka. Moscow has everything!

Dome in White Rabbit in Moscow
The Famous Dome in White Rabbit – One of my Favorite Moscow Restaurants!

If you’re into unique little eateries, the Patriarshiye Prudy neighborhood is the place for you to visit. Hipster restaurants, burger joints and Asian fusion await! It’s a unique Moscow area with narrow little streets and lots of great places. Hip and cool, perfect to get the Moscow vibe!

Hotspots in Moscow
Hip Uilliams – One of the Hotspots in Moscow!

10. Moscow by Night

Patriarshiye Prudy has many great bars to spend the night drinking with friends. If dancing is your thing, small private club Klava has a great vibe and eclectic crowd!

Red October Island is the party classic, with stylish bars and clubs. So the hottest is Gipsy, a great experience in the hotter months because it’s on a rooftop. Jagger, a bit outside city center, is fantastic to party, with strong garden vibes. SohoRooms provides a traditional Moscovite extravaganza, including all-night go-go dancers – like entering another world!

red october in moscow
Red October – Where the Party Never Ends!

Always dress to the nines when partying in Moscow, as a casual look will keep you out of clubs. Also, groups with more men than women will get into places easier! 

Moscow is a city like no other, a city built to impress and I hope this guide has helped you to get the most out of your Moscow trip!

Want to read more about how it is to live in this cosmopolitan city in the East? Then have a look at all my posts about Moscow Living – to see Moscow from a local’s eye!

Living in Moscow
Moscow Dressed in Bling Bling for New Year!

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44 Comments

  1. Wow!!! I’m blown away by this blog post. Artfully written, well constructed with lots of info. I was literally “seeing the city “! I didn’t know Moscow is this beautiful. I was think in terms of cold when I think Moscow but now I know differently from your post! Thanks for sharing! Keep up the good work.
    P.S your photos are beautiful too!

    • Linda Reply

      Hi Jennifer! I’m so glad you felt this way and enjoyed this post! I really appreciate you taking the time to read 🙂

  2. Many people told us that Moscow is a really nice city. We would like to visit it. Russia should be a really beautiful country. This post is very good to get to know more things about Moscow.

  3. Hi Linda, this is a really cool post with so many tips! But wow, what surprises me the most are the colours 🙂 Built to impress? Yes, but I’ve never imagined Moscow to be so colourful! 🙂

  4. This is a really thorough guide, thank you for sharing. I would LOVE to go to Moscow sometime. Red square is one of those places that has been on my bucket list since I was very young but I’ve never made it.

  5. I love how you’ve captured the city in different seasons! It looks just as gorgeous covered in snow and ice as it does with those lovely spring flowers.

  6. Your pictures are amazing!! Wow! Those cathedrals are world famous for a reason. I had no idea Moscow was the New York of Europe. Fascinating!

  7. Oh my gosh the photos at Christmas are just stunning – I thought it was Disneyland for a second lol (Ive only seen pictures as Im in Australia) Russia is not somewhere I have ever thought of to visit but your photos have shown me how beautiful it is 🙂

  8. You have really great stunning photos! I love to travel in Moscow too. Hope to be there on September. Thank you for sharing your fun and exciting travel experience here.

  9. Charmain payne Reply

    I never realised Russia is so scenic. The Red Square looked amazing at night. I would love to check it out over there.

  10. I am in love with all of the photographs in this post! They are absolutely stunning and make me want to book my ticket to Moscow now!

    Also, the tips leading into your post are incredibly helpful.

    And the photos with the flowers very much looks like a fairy tale. 🙂

  11. Needed this content today. After a tough day spending time with quality travel blogs is really a great refreshment. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  12. Beautiful city! I have never been to Russia before. I love visiting famous university just to get some motivations. Thank you! Those pictures are really beautiful. I am glad that you have had a great trip

  13. Your pictures are amazing – it almost brings Moscow to life, especially in the night! So much to see and do, definitely adding Moscow on my list for places to visit!

    • Linda Reply

      Thank you so much! I’m glad you took the time to read and found this useful. Thank again dear 🙂

    • Linda Reply

      Thank you so much! Yes not the biggest country for tourism, but it has its own charm 🙂

    • Linda Reply

      I hope you get to visit Moscow soon! Thank you so much 🙂

  14. what a complete itinerary in moscow and it is not too jampacked and loaded. You cover all the top tourist sites and i love that you mention the restaurants and shopping places to visit.

  15. Nice! Haven’t been in Moscow for 7 years and I have to say it looks better to me. I am originally from St. Petersburg and never liked Moscow much., but maybe I should reconsider.

    • Linda Reply

      Moscow seems to be improving every year, definitely worth a visit 🙂

  16. Meagan Badore Reply

    Wow there is so many beautiful and exciting things to do in Moscow. It looks beautiful in every season.

  17. wow babe!! You described so many good things in Moscow and I agree with you in everything. We should meet soon!

    • Linda Reply

      Moscow is such a lovely city actually, I’m glad I got to show you a different side to it! 🙂

  18. Nice article! I’ve heard great things about Russia from friends who have visited

    • Linda Reply

      I also have my fingers crossed you get to visit dear! 🙂

  19. You mentioned in the last part that groups with more men than women will get you in easily? Is this true or is it just a typo? From where I come from, clubs actually have this rule that they let a man in for every two ladies that gets in.

  20. Linda Reply

    No it is not a typo… in Moscow it is the other way around. It is easier to get in if you are a man than a woman… :(.

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