At the very center of the city is the Kremlin and Red Square, two of the city’s most important landmarks. History buffs will love this part of town, so be sure to visit Lenin’s mausoleum. Stroll through the Old Arbat area, rife with buskers and entertainers and food stalls. Relax in sprawling Gorky Park. Take in the art at Tretyakov Gallery. Go club hopping until sunrise with the locals. Whatever it is your heart desires, you’ll find it all in Moscow.
Places to Visit in Moscow
- Red Square
- Lenin’s Mausoleum
- Old Arbat
- Gorky Park
- Tretyakov Gallery
- Alexander Garden
- St. Basil’s Cathedral
- Sergiev Posad
Unique Things to See and Do in Moscow
- Learn about Russian history at the State Historical Museum
- Eat traditional Russian pies and borscht
- Visit the artisans in the Zamoskvorechiey district
- See Kilometre Zero
- Watch the changing of the honor guards
- Catch a show at the Bolshoi Theatre
- Explore medieval Varvarka Street
- See the New Maiden Convent, a UNESCO site
- View the city from Sparrow Hills
If you’re a history buff, you’ll love Moscow. Back in 1147, Prince Yury Dolgoruky created a moat-ringed palace at the current Moscow site because it was ideal for trade at the confluence of the Moscow and Yauza Rivers. The city bloomed from there, and hasn’t slowed down since.
The city was burned to the ground in 1236 by a Mongol-led army. Known as the Golden Horde, the group took control of the city for quite some time. The 1380 Battle of Kulikovo reclaimed the city, although the Golden Horde burned the city to the ground again. Ivan III liberated Russia from Mongol control, and then built the Kremlin’s massive brick walls and watchtowers. Moscow soon became a political capital. In the 1450s, religion gained power and many magnificent fortresses and stunning churches were erected. By the 17th century, Moscow was the largest city in the world with 200,000 people.
In the 1700s, Peter the Great began modernizing Russia and built Moscow’s tallest building, the Sukharev Tower. The city fell to bubonic plague and didn’t recover until the turn of the 19th century, when Moscow became the first city in Russia to have its own university, museum, and newspaper. An art and literary scene developed, and Russia began distinguishing itself from the West. After Napoleon Bonaparte attacked Moscow because of a treaty violation, the city commemorated its victory by building a Triumphal Arch, and the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
After three years of fighting in WWI, Josef Stalin initiated an industrial revolution in the 1930s that saw a wave of immigration. The city’s population skyrocketed. Many historic structures were razed to the ground, including the cathedral, and in their places skyscrapers and metro stations were erected. After WWII, Nikita Khrushchev began reforming the city to improve living conditions before the Cold War began. Once communism collapsed in Russia, Moscow emerged as the affluent city capital. Today Moscow has a high cost of living, but the lifestyle is worth it. Moscow is ever-changing, ever-developing, and easily one of the most interesting cities in the world.
Getting Around Moscow
Moscow is easily accessible by the international airport, public transit, or rental car. The best way to get around the city is by metro – it’s the fastest and easiest way to go, and is quite an efficient system. There is also an extensive system of trolley buses and trams.
Did you know…?
Moscow has the largest number of billionaires in the world. There are apparently over 80 billionaires in the city, with a combined wealth of 367 billion dollars.
Did you ALSO know…?
Lenin Library is the largest library in Europe, with 43 million objects in storage. This includes maps, sheet music, sound recordings, rare books, and newspapers.
Note: even all the public transit signs are in Russian. Getting around can be a pain if you don’t know some basic Cyrillic, so be sure to spend some time learning in advance.
Best Time of Year to Travel to Moscow
Springtime in Russia is the best time to visit Moscow. April and May are fantastic months, as temperatures warm up significantly, but hotel prices and travel costs haven’t peaked for the busiest season yet. Things get super busy in the summer months, and July and August are the hottest months. If you prefer the hustle and bustle of Moscow at its busiest, this is the time to come.
Don’t overlook autumn, either. Temperatures are still pleasant, although the season is rainier. Winters are brutally cold, but if you want a true glimpse of Russian life, it’s worth visiting Moscow during the winter months.
Ready to plan your visit to Moscow? Check out these popular guides and trips.