You won’t wonder what to do in Moscow for long because there are activities everywhere. It’s the largest city on the European continent, and one of the most vital on Earth. While it’s 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.
What to do in Moscow? An Insider Guide!
This year, Russia will be receiving millions of tourists because it’ll host the FIFA World Cup. Therefore, Moscow’s stadium, Luzhniki, will host plenty of matches, including the opening and final. If you want to get away from the crowds and find some gems in this city, find some inspiration below.
There are so many things to do in Moscow but beyond the most obvious attractions are some of my favorite places in Moscow. Why? Because you’ll see that nothing is more thrilling than finding an extraordinary new place!
For me, the unmissable things to do in Moscow will take you away from cliché spots. Most importantly, in these places, you’ll find yourself where locals enjoy their everyday lives. Promenades, parties, shopping – the best things to do in Moscow are just a few lines away. Enjoy my guide of what to do in Moscow beyond crowds!
5 Top Things To Do In Moscow Beyond the Crowds
1. Patriarshiye Prudy – Moscow’s Hipster Area
Known in English as Patriarch Ponds and commonly called Patriks, this is my favorite area in Moscow. It’s different from the rest of the city because it’s an oasis of quiet among the noisy megalopolis. It’s a great place to see the Boho side of town. Soaking up the vibe here is one of my favorite things to do in Moscow!
Patriarshiye Prudy was created to be residential, in the first few decades of the 19th century. In the Soviet years, apartments became communal. 30 years after the perestroika, if you’re craving some hipster vibes, you’ll always find what to do in Moscow here!
The Best Food in Town
Moscow’s foodie scene resides in this old neighborhood. You can find a multitude of small eateries here, with fascinating concepts and fusions. There are fantastic options for every meal, and the hippest crowds will always surround you. Patriks is where young Moscovites and expats hang out, so the vibe is lively and fresh.
If you’re wondering what to do in Moscow, the answer is simple: eat! Some of my favorite restaurants in the city are in this area. You can spend a whole day here restaurant hopping, and you’ll never get bored.
Breakfast and Dinner Time
One of my favorite things to do in Moscow is to start the day choosing between the two breakfast places close to my heart. All depending on how you want your morning. Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy I Love Cake, home of incredible marshmallow pancakes. Healthy breakfast eaters should head to Fresh, where plenty of delicious and freshly-squeezed juices await.
For dinner, options abound. 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, a fantastic sushi place with all-fresh fish and authentic Japanese food.
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 designer boutiques and charming little shops of all sorts. It feels almost like a great western Europe city like Paris or Vienna . A unique area with an eclectic variety of activities for those looking for what to do in Moscow!
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 Saturday or Sunday here is for sure one of my favorite things to do in Moscow!
A prime example of the constant change big cities go through, ArtPlay was an old factory not too long ago. Nowadays, this is a hub for hip youngster finding what to do in Moscow beyond clichés.
Located in the Kurskaya/Chkalov area, it’s a popular rendezvous for creative types living in or passing through Moscow. Aside from the artsy shops and offices, here you can find many cute little cafés. Come to this extraordinary spot and mingle with Moscovite artists and expats from all over the world!
The authentic industrial design of ArtPlay shows through among all its modern artfulness. ArtPlay is particularly dreamy in the summer, as they host a lot of fairs then. Here you’ll find some of the best things to do in Moscow for those with artistic souls.
3. The Hip New Food Markets
Moscow is no stranger to the organic trend, and it’s translated into 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 provide a fascinating variety of food stands from around the globe. You can try different flavors while shopping for groceries!
You should add a tour of food markets to your list of what to do in Moscow. My two favorite are the Danilovsky and the Usachovskiy, both worth a visit.
Make sure you do not miss the Vietnamese food stand at the Danilovsky. It serves authentic and delicious food from the Southeast Asia country – including pho soup! There’s usually a queue for the pho, but the taste is worth it.
The Usachovsky market offers a more eclectic mix of flavors, from oysters to more casual options like burgers and pizza. This place is on top of my list of favorite things to do in Moscow. Newly renovated for hipster sensibilities, you can find the freshest produce here. If you want to take home Russian products like local cheese, this is the spot.
4. Shopping From Dusk to Dawn
Shopping the obvious among things to do in Moscow!
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! Now, you can shop 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 mall here!
Patriarshiye Prudy Shopping
If you love designer clothes, including locally-made and unique items, you’ll love Patriarshiye Prudy. It’s a common area for Bohemians and hipsters from all walks of life. It has a lot to offer to shoppers, and it’s the best place to catch the local trends and designers, but the prices are high.
I have two favorite malls in Moscow. One is the Podium Market. A Russian department store, you can find it in several locations across the city. The one nearest downtown is at the Four Seasons building, next to the Red Square. In this chain, you’ll find 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 – A Favorite Among Things to do in Moscow
Tsvetnoy Central Market is a total hipster paradise, and a lot is going on here. A cool designer shopping experience, you’ll find most of the upscale European brands here, mixed with local designers. There are many cute little boutiques and pop-ups around here, so it’s a feast for the eyes. There’s also 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 Instagrammable cafés in Moscow. So if you wondering what to do a day in Moscow, head over here and enjoy the latest fashion!
For a truly delicious Italian lunch cross the street and head over to Probka, the best in town. Their truffle pasta and pizza are amazing!
5. Party ‘Til Daybreak at Red October
Red October island was once an industrial area. Years ago this was a large chocolate factory. Now, it’s a party island and an unmissable visit for night dwellers! A must among things to do in Moscow for the hip crowd!
If you’re more into seeing culture than partying, Red October also deserves some love. Art happenings, galleries and hipster spots of all types are abundant here. It’s also an excellent area for cafés and restaurants, with some sweet rooftops with a view. One of the best things to do in Moscow is having a drink facing the skyline here.
What to do in Moscow a spring or summer afternoon? Head to Strelka! A must visit for those wondering what to do in Moscow, especially if coming in the summer. The food and wine are good, and their terrace is the best sunset spot in Moscow. Plus, the vibe is lovely and vibrant!
More on Things to Do in Moscow
Moscow is a city full of hidden gems and if you want to read more about them, what to do in Moscow and how I spend my weekends in this wonderful city have a look at my Moscow Living Posts. I hope you enjoy my Moscow Gems and things to do in Moscow beyond the crowds as much as I do and that you get a great time in the Russian capital!
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