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Things to do in Moscow

Things to do in  Moscow

Welcome to Moscow

The capital of Russia, superstate and global superpower, does not disappoint. In Moscow, imitable architecture—think onion domes, candy-cane stripes, and imperial grandeur—competes for attention with Communist monuments and political powerhouses. Due to the complexity of its history, Moscow’s captivating historic center is best discovered on a guided sightseeing tour. Cover the vast Red Square (Krasnaya Ploschad), the trippy St. Basil’s Cathedral, the handsome mansions of Nikolskaya Street, and the Bolshoi Theatre. In-the-know travelers opt for early morning tours of the Moscow Kremlin—home to Faberge eggs, royal crowns, and opulent jewels—in order to avoid crowds; while first-time visitors typically select a Moscow metro tour, which reveals the opulent decor and statues peppered across the network’s 180 stations. The art and artifacts inside the Tretyakov Gallery, the Gulag History Museum, and the Kolomenskoye Museum and Reserve will wow culture connoisseurs; thrill seekers can shoot Soviet army weapons during a visit to the Central Shooting Club; and foodies can sample staples of Russian cuisine, including borsch (beetroot soup) and schnitzel (breaded meat) on a culinary tour. Popular day trips from Moscow include Suzdal and Vladimir, rural, medieval towns and UNESCO World Heritage sites; and Sergiev Posad, all part of Russia’s Golden Ring travel route. Plus, with St. Petersburg only a four-hour train or one-hour plane journey away, Moscow serves as a convenient gateway to the rest of the former USSR.

Top 10 attractions in Moscow

#1
Moscow Kremlin

Moscow Kremlin

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An imposing red-brick fortress stretching along the banks of the Moskva River, the Moscow Kremlin is the grand centerpiece of Moscow and one of Russia’s most recognizable landmarks. Originally the seat of the Russian grand dukes and later home to Soviet leaders such as Lenin and Stalin, the Kremlin is now the Russian president’s official residence.More
#2
Red Square (Krasnaya Ploshchad)

Red Square (Krasnaya Ploshchad)

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Red Square has been Moscow’s historic and cultural epicenter for centuries, holding everything from a medieval marketplace to Soviet military parades to rock concerts. No visit to the Russian capital is complete without a stroll through the square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that's encircled by some of Moscow’s most iconic landmarks.More
#3
Moscow Metro (Moskovskiy Metropoliten)

Moscow Metro (Moskovskiy Metropoliten)

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With its underground network of trains and tunnels stretching for more than 190 miles (305 kilometers) across 200-plus stations, Moscow’s metro system covers a lot of territory. It’s more than just a transport hub though. Many metro stations are architectural landmarks, built in Soviet times and dubbed "the palaces of the people."More
#4
St. Basil’s Cathedral (Pokrovsky Sobor)

St. Basil’s Cathedral (Pokrovsky Sobor)

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Completed in 1561 after it was commissioned by Ivan the Terrible, St. Basil’s Cathedral is one of the most recognizable and iconic landmarks in Moscow, and perhaps in all of Russia. Officially named Intercession Church, St. Basil and its nine, colorful onion domes reside on the southern end of Red Square, marking the geometric center of Moscow.More
#5
Kazan Cathedral (Kazansky Kafedralny Sobor)

Kazan Cathedral (Kazansky Kafedralny Sobor)

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Moscow’s Kazan Cathedral (Kazansky Kafedralny Sobor) was built between 1633 and 1636 to celebrate Russia’s liberation from Polish invaders in 1612, the end of the Time of Troubles. Prince Dmitry Pozharsky often prayed to a holy icon of Our Lady of Kazan, to which he attributed his success in removing Polish occupiers. Kazan Cathedral housed the icon for two centuries.In 1936, the church was intentionally demolished as part of a greater plan to remodel Red Square to host military parades for the Soviet Union. Using measurements and photographs of the original church, the All-Russian Society for Historic Preservation and Cultural Organization built a replica of the cathedral in 1993.Services are held within the cathedral twice each Sunday, as well as for vespers on Monday evening.More
#6
GUM Department Store

GUM Department Store

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GUM is an abbreviation meaning “Main Universal Store”, from the Russian “Глáвный универсáльный магазѝн”. It is the name of a private shopping mall located in central Moscow, just opposite Red Square. The building is a trapezoidal shape, with a steel framework and a glass roof. This made it quite unique at the time of construction, in the 1890s. From 1890 to the1920s, the Red Square GUM was known as the Upper Trading Rows and served as a State Department Store. It was built to replace the previous trading rows, which were destroyed during the 1812 Fire of Moscow. However, GUM hasn’t always served as a shopping destination.In 1928, Joseph Stalin converted it into office spaces, and it only reopened as a department store in 1953. It then became one of the only stores in the former Soviet Union not to suffer from consumer goods shortage, often resulting in long shopper queues spilling into Red Square.More
#7
Bunker-42 Cold War Museum

Bunker-42 Cold War Museum

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Hidden beneath the unassuming façade of a residential building, Bunker-42 was once one of the USSR’s best-kept secrets—a nuclear bunker buried 197 feet (60 meters) underground. Now preserved as a museum, the site offers insight into Soviet-era Russia and the Cold War.More
#8
Cathedral of Christ the Savior (Khram Khrista Spasitelya)

Cathedral of Christ the Savior (Khram Khrista Spasitelya)

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The Cathedral of Christ the Savior (Khram Khrista Spasitelya) was originally commissioned by Tsar Alexander I after Russia’s defeat of Napoleon, but work did not begin on it until 1839. Designed by a famed St Petersburg architect, it was modeled on the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.The cathedral was eventually consecrated in 1883, but its tenure was short-lived as the Soviets destroyed it in 1931 to make way for what would have been a Grand Palace of Soviets. However, the palace was never built and instead a swimming pool stood in its place for several decades. In the mid-1990s, Moscow’s mayor joined with the Russian Orthodox Church to rebuild the cathedral and construction began in 1994.With donations from more than a million Moscow residents, the new church followed the original design, but with modern day improvements. At 103 meters tall, it is the tallest Orthodox church in the world and can accommodate nearly 10,000 church-goers. A highlight for visitors is undoubtedly the panoramic view from a 40-meter-high observation platform inside the bell tower.More
#9
Bolshoi Theatre

Bolshoi Theatre

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An architectural landmark and one of Russia’s most prestigious venues, the Bolshoi Theatre is home to the world-famous Bolshoi ballet and opera companies. With a legacy dating back to the late 18th century, the theater hosts regular performances of classics such asLa Traviata,*Carmen,Swan Lake, andThe Nutcracker*.More
#10
Lenin's Mausoleum

Lenin's Mausoleum

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Lenin’s Mausoleum is the current resting place of Vladimir Lenin, the former leader of the Soviet Union. Lenin’s embalmed body has been on display since he passed away in 1924 and his tomb has been visited by millions. Located near Red Square in the center of Moscow, the tomb is a small granite building that features elements derived from ancient mausoleums such as the Step Pyramid in Egypt and the Tomb of Cyrus the Great in Iran. Although a bit morbid, a visit to Lenin’s Mausoleum is considered a must for visitors to Moscow.More

Trip ideas

Top Historical Sights in Moscow

Top Historical Sights in Moscow

How to Spend 3 Days in Moscow

How to Spend 3 Days in Moscow

Sergiev Posad Day Trips from Moscow

Sergiev Posad Day Trips from Moscow

Recent reviews from experiences in Moscow

star-5
Great night tour around Kremlin area
Tobias_D, May 2021
Private Tour: Moscow by Night with Friendly Local Guide
She contacted me beforehand to check for special requests on what to visit.
star-5
Thank you, Daria, for making my walking tour in Moscow relaxing and enjoyable
Jelica_C, May 2021
Moscow Must-Sees Private Tour with Local Expert Guide
Her English was perfect, we talked about history and most of the attractions of Moscow.
star-5
It was an amazing experience.
fmicheviz, Mar 2020
Moscow in 3 days comprehensive tour
Also perfect english.
star-5
Amazing tour with Daria
aeyaaeya, Nov 2019
Moscow Private 2-Day Tour with Local Expert Guides
this is the best way to see the highlights of Moscow when you're short in time!
star-5
Amazing tour guide
Edward M, Oct 2019
Moscow Private 2-Day Tour with Local Expert Guides
Daria was more than a tour guide, she was a friend in Moscow, wonderful English, knowledge of moscow and russian history.
star-5
Tour of Moscow Metro
trmooney2019, Sep 2019
Private Tour of famous Moscow Metro. Explore the Underground World!
Alexandr is very knowledgeable about the history & architecture, & with his good command of the English language made our tour all the more interesting.
star-5
Great day with Julia
chrisfowler120, Sep 2019
One-Day Trip to St Petersburg from Moscow by Train
Julia was delightful and enthusiastic making sure we got to see as much as we could possibly do in the time we were there.
star-4
Moscow bliss
Z9946PMdavidm, Sep 2019
City Sightseeing Moscow Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour with Optional Cruise
so much to see and do...
star-5
Great time with personal guide Polina
SM-0681, Jun 2019
Private Moscow City Tour with Red Square and Kremlin
As Polina speaks fluently german and english my parents also could talk with her and ask their questions.
star-5
Excellent experience
Coastal16761519886, Jun 2019
Moscow by night, onboard a Soviet van
Got to see many parts of Moscow I wouldn’t have otherwise seen.
star-5
Private Transfer from Airport to City Hotel
Glenn4533, Oct 2018
Private transfer from Domodedovo Airport to the city center
A clean car and English speaking driver who provided great advice for our Moscow stay.
star-5
Highly recommend my tour guide Katya...
John g K, Oct 2018
Moscow 2-day Private Tour
She was so personable and tailored my tour to additional sites that I wanted to see in everyday Moscow life.
star-4
Walking about Moscow with English...
ehlimchrischan, Dec 2017
Moscow Ultimate 3-Day Tour
Walking about Moscow with English speaking local guides Julia, Kateya and Elena (3 days) turned out to be a great way to take in the sights and get to know the city on our first visit.
star-5
This tour was amazing! No better way...
Brian R, Jun 2017
Private Tour: Moscow by Night with Friendly Local Guide
My tour guide spoke perfect English and was very knowledgeable about Moscow.
star-5
This tour give you a complete...
Alberto Jose F, Jul 2017
Private Moscow City Tour with Red Square and Kremlin
At the end, she recommended us a fantastic russian restaurant and other places to visit.
star-5
You'll be able to see all of...
trtarbox, Jun 2017
Moscow Ultimate 3-Day Tour
You'll be able to see all of Moscow's sights with this private tour.
star-5
i only have one word for this tour...
Shendy R, Jul 2018
Private Photography Tour in Moscow with Personal Guide and Photographer
if you wanna find best activities while in Moscow, this tour is highly recommend and one of best tour i had.
star-5
We had a lovely afternoon with...
Jessica R, Apr 2016
Izmailovo Kremlin and Flea Market Private Tour
Her English is superb and she made dinner reservations for us at an incredible restaurant for dinner!
star-5
Excellent cruise which allows to see...
PAUL J, Sep 2016
Moscow Scenic River Cruise with Guide
Excellent cruise which allows to see the best parts of Moscow.
star-5
A great and informative tour from...
Natasha V, Sep 2016
Private Tour of Moscow's Museum of Cosmonautics and VDNKH
As there is not much explanation in English at the Space Museum, it was great to have someone to show me around.

All about Moscow

When to visit

Unless you’re used to freezing temperatures or prepared to brave the cold for a fairy-tale vacation over the holidays, winter in Moscow is best avoided. Late spring and early fall are some of the best times for sightseeing trips, as the weather is moderate, but attractions and popular traveler routes are far less crowded.

Frequently Asked Questions
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