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Moscow was the starting point of our trip to Russia and wow – what a great start! There are so many amazing places to visit in Moscow, with world famous highlights such as the Kremlin and the Saint Basil cathedral. Besides the touristic spots in Moscow, there are also plenty of unique places to visit. Russia’s capital is undoubtedly a very cool city, with many unique things to do.
In this article you can find popular sights to visit, but also more unique places to visit in Moscow. From Instagrammable bars, cafés and restaurants to photogenic supermarkets, huge flea markets, interesting malls and beautiful metro stations. And from the most beautiful cathedrals to the famous Moscow kremlin. You’ll definitely have a blast if you visit these 27 amazing spots in Moscow!
27 Places to visit in Moscow
1. Café Pushkin
Café Pushkin is probably a dream come true for book lovers from all around the world. In this incredible restaurant you basically eat in a library. The restaurant is located in am impressive Baroque mansion with three levels. You can choose to eat in the Library Hall and the Mezzanine, the Fireplace Hall or the Pharmacy Hall – the library is up the stairs – and I definitely recommend the library. It’s just more of an experience! Here bookcases rise to the beautiful high ceilings.
Café Pushkin opened its doors in 1999 and is based on the famous French song about Moscow by Gilbert Bécaud called “Natalie”. The location of the Café is also very significant, as you can find Pushkin Café on the Tverskoy Boulevard, where Alexander Pushkin could be found on a regular basis.
We went to Café Pushkin for lunch, as we thought dinner might be a bit above our budget. Café Pushkin is also more expensive than most restaurants in Moscow, but if you can afford it, it’s definitely worth a visit. The restaurant is very fancy and the dresscode is smart elegant. We had a great time here and it was such a unique experience to have lunch here between all the old books!
2. White Rabbit
White Rabbit in Moscow is considered to be one of the best restaurant in the world. At this famous restaurant you can enjoy a world-class European menu with Russian influences. Next to the food, the view is the biggest reason that many people visit White Rabbit. The restaurant is completely located under a glass dome on the 16th floor of Smolenskiy Passage. Go here during the sunset and your mind will be blown by the beautiful view.
The name White Rabbit (based on the famous Alice in Wonderland) is very fitting, as it was quite a hassle to actually find the restaurant. We went into Smolenskiy Passage and asked a lady at the information desk where we can find it. She brought us to a “secret” elevator that brought us to the 16th floor. So if you can’t find it on your own, ask someone!
3. Strelka Bar
We wanted to visit the beautiful Cathedral Of Christ The Saviour, and found Bar Strelka, an amazing hotspot in Moscow. Bar Strelka has a terrace that offers a great view over the Moskva river and the Cathedral. We went here quite spontaneously during sunset and there wasn’t a table left for dinner, but luckily it was possible to have a drink here. Actually, when you go for a drink, you can get one of the best seats available, as you can just take a seat on one of the barstools at the far end of the terrace (see the picture above!).
We ordered white wine (sauvignon blanc) for about 6 euros per glass. Bar Strelka also offers all day breakfast, lunch, dinner and tapas. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset in Moscow!
4. Varenichnaya №1
One day my boyfriend and I were walking back from the Kremlin, hungry and a bit tired after all the sightseeing, and we just wanted to sit down and order food and drinks. Varenichnaya №1 was the first place we stumbled into, and even though it didn’t look like much from the outside, I was pleasantly surprised once we took place at our table. And I was even happier when the food came, because it was delicious. Especially the Russian dumplings!
I soon learned that Varenichnaya №1 is actually a chain restaurant with 15 locations around Moscow. After our initial visit we also went to another location. Each location has a different interior, but all in the theme of a typical Soviet flat. The restaurants are decorated with colours and cool items from the Soviet era, such as old televisions, camera’s, pictures and books. Even the waiters and waitresses wear old school uniforms from that era.
On their very extensive menu you can find authentic Soviet cuisine such as pelmeni and vareniki dumplings, which I can highly recommend. It might be a chain restaurant, but it’s a great and accessible place to try Soviet dishes.
5. Eliseevsky Store
If you need to get some groceries in Moscow, be sure to pick the right supermarket with the best produce. Eliseevsky Store isn’t an ordinary supermarket, no. It looks and feels more as if you’re standing in a grand palace, with beautiful neo-baroque details, big chandeliers and even painted portraits.
Eliseevsky Store is located in a historic mansion, right in the historic center of Moscow on Tverskaya street. Even though it may feel as if you’re in a grand palace, it really is a supermarket where locals do their daily shopping.
Another impressive place to go shopping is the famous GUM department store. This mall can be found in many Russian cities and is known as the State Department Store. The most famous GUM department store is pictured above and can be found in Moscow near the Red Square in the Kitai Gorod area.
The impressive building with three parallel arcades was built at the end of the 19th century by architect Alexander Nikanorovich Pomerantsev. After a renovation in 1953, GUM in Moscow became the biggest and fanciest department store in the Soviet Union.
At GUM you can find many expensive luxury stores with famous brands. I wasn’t able to afford anything here, but it’s definitely still worth a visit. Just walk around and admire the impressive architecture. Also, be sure to visit Gastronom No. 1. Here you can buy all sorts of Russian delicacies of high quality.
7. Izmailovsky Kremlin
Izmailovsky market is a fantastic large, outdoor shopping market to get Russian souvenirs, paintings, old camera’s, propaganda posters from the Soviet Union, second hand clothing and more. It’s located a bit out of the city center of Moscow, but definitely worth a visit. I would even say that it’s one of the top spots to visit in Moscow.
You can find a flea market and the Izmailovsky Vernisazh at the Izmailovsky Kremlin. The latter offers lots of souvenirs and all sorts of (handmade) items from all over Russia. At the flea market you can buy all sorts of antiques, camera’s, old books, furniture and more.
It was definitely one of the most interesting flea markets I’ve ever been, mostly because its located inside the Izmailovsky Kremlin (kremlin is the Russian word for fort). With the Izmailovsky Kremlin they wanted to imitate the Russian architecture of the 18th century. While you walk around the stalls and browse through the Russian handcrafts, your attention will also be drawn to all the beautiful architecture and details of the kremlin.
Next to shopping, you can buy some popular Caucasian food at one of the stalls. Perfect if you’re hungry after all the souvenir shopping!
TIP: The best time to visit the Izmailovsky market is during the weekends, as there are a lot more stalls. Also, if you’re planning on buying a matroesjka doll, make sure to check how many dolls it contains. Some matroesjka dolls only have three inside them, which isn’t really what you want of course.
8. Cathedral Of Christ The Saviour
Cathedral Of Christ The Saviour is a popular sight in Moscow. It’s a beautiful piece of Russian Byzantine architecture, with golden domes, statues and intricate details. This Russian Orthodox church is the seat of the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow, making it the most important cathedral in Moscow.
You can find the cathedral (the official name is Cathedral Temple of the Christ the Saviour (the Redeemer) of the Patriarch of Moscow) in the center of Moscow next to the Moskva River. The cathedral is easily located close to the Kremlin and the Peter the Great Statue.
9. Peter the Great Statue
This photo of Peter the Great Statue was taken from the bridge that takes you to the Cathedral Of Christ The Saviour.
The Peter the Great Statue is a 98 meter high monument of Peter the Great located next to the Moskva River. Peter the Great was a Russian czar in the late 17th century and one of the tallest rulers in Russian history.
The statue has actually gotten quite a bit of controversy when it was built, as it’s considered to be one of the ugliest statues in the world. It has even been named the Moscow Monster and it’s hated by most Muscovites.
I must confess that it isn’t one of the most beautiful statues I’ve seen, but a quick glance from the bridge opposite the statue doesn’t hurt. The fact that many find it so ugly made it even more interesting to me.
10. Saint Basil’s Cathedral
The world famous Saint Basil’s Cathedral is a true landmark of Russia and can be found on the Red Square in Moscow. It was originally built between 1555 and 1561 to celebrate conquering the city of Kazan by Ivan the Terrible.
The design of the Saint Basil’s Cathedral is based on Russian old wooden churches. The colourful cathedral is certainly an eye-catcher and one of the most touristic spots we’ve encountered in Moscow.
11. Kremlin and the Red Square
At the center of Moscow you can find the famous Kremlin and the Red Square. The Red Square can be visited day and night. During our visit a part of the Red Square was closed to the public for a few days, as there was a military event. I’ve read that there are often all sorts of events held at the Red Square so be sure to check beforehand.
The most popular sight in Moscow is definitely the Kremlin. Inside the walls you can find a beautiful collection of churches, palaces and more. Every tourist in Moscow has the Kremlin high on its list, that’s why it’s a great idea to buy a ticket beforehand, so you can skip the line.
If you’re planning on buying your tickets on the spot, be in for a bit of a hassle. The tickets can be bough at the official ticket office at the Alexandrovsky Sad (Alexander Garden) right of the entrance. Here you can buy not just one, but all sorts of tickets, so be sure to know what you want to visit before you buy your ticket.
The four next spots can all be found in the Kremlin of Moscow.
12. Cathedral of the Annunciation
This beautiful Russian Orthodox church can be found in the Kremlin of Moscow. It’s dedicated to the Annunciation of the Theotokos. It once used to be the personal chapel for the Muscovite tsars, nowadays it serves as a part of the Moscow Kremlin Museums.
13. Cathedral of the Dormition
Another beautiful piece of architecture that can be found in the Kremlin of Moscow. The Cathedral of the Dormition is also known as the Assumption Cathedral or Cathedral of the Assumption. This Russian Orthodox church is dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos.
14. Ivan the Great Bell Tower
The Ivan the Great Bell Tower is a church tower inside of the Kremlin in Moscow. As the three Russian Orthodox cathedrals don’t have their own bells, it was built for in 1508 with the purpose to be their belfries. The tower is actually the tallest building inside the Moscow Kremlin.
15. Tsar Bell
The famous Tsar Bell is the biggest bell in the world. It has never been used. Back in 1737, while the bell was still in the workshop, a large fire raged in the Kremlin. Firefighters, who meant well, put the bell under water, which is how a big chunk of the bell broke off.
16. Kitaj Gorod
On the east of the Kremlin you can find Kitaj Gorod neighbourhood. If you take a stroll around this neighbourhood, you will find lots of churches, shops and government buildings. Kitaj Gorod is actually one of the oldest areas of Moscow. Because of all the narrow little streets, it feels a bit different than the rest of the big city.
17. VDNCH Park
VDNCh park is a huge permanent exhibition and amusement park in the North of Moscow. If you translate the abbreviation the name means: Exhibition of Achievements of Nationa Economy. Here you can find all sorts of buildings, fountains, botanical gardens, restaurants, museums and more.
TIP: Be sure to take your time (start early!) and plan your visit wisely. Especially if you’re planning on doing some activities or eating at one of the restaurants. During our visit to VDNCh park, we tried to get a table at two different restaurants for lunch and we eventually had to wait about one hour before we actually had our food.
18. Museum of Cosmonautics
If you’re looking for a fun and interesting museum, then be sure to go to the Museum of Cosmonautics. The museum is located close to the VDNCh park, so you can make a whole day out of it! Once you get out of the VDNKh subway station, you can easily spot this 107 meter high structure with a rocket on top of it.
Underneath this impressive structure you can find the Museum of Cosmonautics. Here you can get a glimpse of the glorious years of the Soviet Union space program. There are lots of space objects to admire, such as space suits, old satellites and more. I though it was really interesting and worthwhile.
19. Gorky Park
The famous Gorky Park, or its full name: Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure, is a big central park in Moscow. This eco-friendly park has had a complete transformation since the Communist times in the Soviet Union, and there are no longer funfairs or stalls with junkfood.
Now when you visit Gorky Park you can enjoy the beautiful rose gardens, trees, fountains, cafés and lots of areas where you can really chill out. There’s even a beach with a beach bar, skate park, beach volley bar field, ice rink and you can play table tennis.
But it’s simply also the perfect area for a stroll in nature. Because Gorky Park is so big, you can really take a breath here and distance yourself from the busy city of Moscow.
20. Children Are the Victims of Adult Vices on Bolotny Island
On Bolotny Island you can find a special group of bronze statues with a special message. These sculptures are made by Russian artist Mihail Chemiakin. The 13 statues portray the defects of adults, such as prostitution, drug addiction, alcoholism, indifference, sadism, war, theft and more. In the middle of these statues stand two children, a girl and a boy, who are unaware of all that is surrounding them. The centrepiece is the sculpture that depicts indifference. It’s an interesting work of art that definitely makes you think.
21. Bolshoi Theatre
If you want to experience more of the Russian culture, why not visit the Bolshoi Theatre? Here you can enjoy ballet and opera performances in one of the most historic buildings of Moscow. Watching a ballet or opera here is definitely a bucket list activity, as the Bolshoi ballet and Opera are amongst the most renowned ballet and opera companies in the world.
This historic building was opened on Tsar Alexander II’s coronation day, which as on 20 October 1856. Throughout time the building was rebuilt and renovated several time. Also, did you know that this landmark is printed on the Russian ruble banknote?
22. Komsomolskaya Station
One of the things that I found so interesting about Moscow were the gorgeous metro stations. Instead of just being plain and functional, lots of the metro stations have beautiful chandeliers, Soviet mosaic decorations, classical paintings, large statues and beautiful details. The last few places to visit in Moscow in this list are all beautiful metro stations. Buy a metro card and start exploring!
Komsomolskaya Station is pictured above and is definitely one of the most famous metro stations in Moscow. The yellow ceiling and impressive chandeliers bright up the station hall. Lots of gold and beautiful details adorn the walls, pillars and ceilings.
23. Novoslobodskaya Station
Another impressive metro station in Moscow is Novoslobodskaya Station. The pillars of the station are decorated with illuminated colourful stained glass. In total you can find 32 of these pillars with impressive glass decorations and at the end of the station you can admire a mosaic with the name Peace Throughout the World.
24. Kiyevskaya Station
At the Kiyevskaya station you can find beautiful paintings on the ceilings. The chandeliers illuminate the station hall beautifully. The most impressive part of the station is the huge mural at the end of the central hall.
25. Ploschad Revolutsii Station
Ploschad Revolutsii Station is one of the most famous metro stations in Moscow. It’s named after the Revolution square, which is right above the station. In this hall you can find 76 bronze sculptures, depicting the people of the Soviet Union, such as soldiers, writers, athletes, industrial workers and schoolchildren.
One thing you’ll notice here is that people rub the nose of the dog statue, which is why the bronze colour has faded. The same is the case for the rooster sculptures in the Ploschad Revolutsii Station. The belief is that patting the dogs nose and the rooster brings you good fortune, so it’s worth a try. Right?
26. Prospekt Mira Station
The impressive chandeliers and gorgeous off white ceiling is what makes Prospekt Mira so beautiful. The marble pillars are beautifully decorated. Because the station is located near the Botanical Garden the decoration is depicting harvest and agriculture in the Soviet Union.
27. Belorusskaya Station
And the last metro station in this list is the Belorusskaya Station, filled with gorgeous mosaics and incredible details. The main theme in this station is Life and Culture of Belorussia, the biggest ally of Russia. In this station you can also find an impressive statue that depicts Belorussian guerrillas.
Enjoy Moscow! Hopefully these 27 popular and unique places to visit in Moscow will make your stay even more memorable.