As you many of you know, I spent the past 6 months living and teaching in Moscow. I had an unforgettable time there. I saw so many beautiful sights that I must share them with you. Here is my personal travel guide for Moscow with tips on where to eat, what to see, and where to party.
Unlike the US, public transport in Moscow is clean, cheap, and reliable. The most popular method is the metro. It may seem scary at first, but the metro lines are color-coded, and station names are usually written in Russian and English. So it isn’t that bad. Plus, the stations are gorgeous! New or old, they are works of art. The metro is a must.
But if you’re too nervous or lazy, there is always Uber and Yandex Go. Book the rides on your phone. They’re cheap and easy, and they run all times of the day. So don’t worry about staying out late.
- Red Square: This should be number one on anyone’s list. All the iconic buildings are there: the Kremlin, St. Basil’s Cathedral, Lenin’s Mausoleum, and the State Historical Museum. See them up close or take some selfies from afar.
- Bolshoi Theatre: If you like ballet or opera, this is the place to be. The Bolshoi is one of the most famous theatres in the world. Its ballet company is the biggest and oldest in the world.
- VDNH: Short for Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy. It is an exhibition center with pavilions to celebrate the republics of the Soviet Union. The architecture is stunning, the fountains ornate, and the gardens gorgeous.
- Gorky Park: Moscow is full of amazing parks. This is the most famous. Situated on the Moskva River, you can walk for hours. There are plenty of pretty gardens, ponds, and statues.
- Moscow City: If you want modern architecture, Moscow City has breathtaking views. But if I’m being honest, there are better places to hang out. So maybe just snap a pic or two.
- Blini: These Russian pancakes are a delight. Fill them with jam, sour cream, or caviar. Don’t bother breaking the bank. You can find them in any cafe, and they’ll be just as tasty. Teremok and Shokoladnitsa are some popular chains. But any cafe works.
- Pelmeni: A meat-filled dumpling. Every culture has its version. Russians eat them with sour cream. Lepim i Varim is the best-known place to have them, but I’ve never eaten bad pelmeni while in Russia. Some pleasures are too simple to spoil.
- Caviar: Fish eggs aren’t for everyone. But Russia is known for them. Red caviar, which comes from salmon, is cheaper. But the black caviar, which comes from sturgeon, is as fancy as it gets. I say, “live a little.” Try it!
- Borscht: Technically, this beet soup is Ukrainian. But Russians love it too. It’s colorful. It’s healthy. And with a dollop of sour cream, it’s irresistible.
- Georgian food: Hear me out! Georgian food is delicious, and there are tons of great places to try it in Moscow. My favorite is Tkemali. The menu is big, so you can find whatever you want.
Bars and Clubs
As in many big cities, Moscow clubs practice face control. Nothing kills a night out like getting stopped because you “don’t fit their image.” Here are some places I know and love that accept everyone.
- Papa Barvillage: Just want to drink? You can sit at one of the bars or find a secluded seat. Want to dance? There’s space for it. The regulars are nice too. One even tried (and failed) to teach me to dance.
- Timeless: This place oozes style. They are especially known for their hookah. It’s not my thing, but if it’s yours, you’ll find no place better. Plus, they have a couple different places around the city. So find the one closest to you.
- Bar Union Profsoyuz: This is my favorite! Don’t know what you’re in the mood for? Profsoyuz is a collection of bars with different themes and drinks. Hungry? They’ve got Brooklyn-style pizza and shawarma. DJs? Check. Live music? Check! I even got to see a famous group perform there. Trust me. You’ll be drinking and dancing until the sun comes up.