Wintertime Moscow is a real miracle! Here’s what you definitely must visit: where to go and what to see. Festive mood guaranteed!

Wintertime Moscow is dazzlingly great

Wintertime Moscow is an absolutely fabulous city: its parks, squares, and churches are so lavishly snow-covered the snow looks like powdered sugar, so shiny and iridescent in the sunlight. However, these beautiful sights are only enjoyable as long as you are properly dressed: don’t forget to pack a warm coat, comfortable underwear (thermal underwear preferable), and durable waterproof shoes.

Where to Stay in Moscow This Winter

Find a hotel closer to the downtown to get immersed in the winter fest without wasting too much time en route

The best hotel district in Moscow is inside the Boulevard Ring. Everything is a walking distance away from here: the city’s main attractions, cafes for any taste and budget, metro stations for traveling to remote locations, and, most importantly, a great range of accommodation options, from grand hotels and hostels to private apartments. While staying here might seem costly, finding a relatively cheap accommodation next to the Red Square is possible!

If you cannot yet afford to stay in the downtown, try to find something closer to the Garden Ring, the area that provides enough public transit options to reach the city’s main attractions easily. If you like the merry old Moscow, check Zamoskvorechye: despite the Tretyakov Gallery being located there, this area is less tourist-flooded and is therefore quieter.

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What to See in Moscow in Winter 2018-2019

Walking in the downtown Moscow will always grant you a festive mood

The unique ice rink on the 86th floor of the Oko skyscraper in Moscow City is one of the most anticipated sensations of the upcoming winter: it’s a whole 700 sq.m. of icy happiness to be inaugurated by December 1. Meanwhile, the Sokolniki Park is preparing its own winter entertainment program: they are constructing a 1.5 km long ice path in the forests and creating an original iceblock construction set for kids; the park is also planning a series of varyingly-themed humorous ski racing events. Aside from that, the park is always a nice place for wintertime walking in Moscow!

The capital’s concert grounds are preparing something special as well, so wintertime entertainment won’t even be a question! Luzhniki is sticking to its long-time tradition of hosting a new show by Brothers Zapashny, the famous wild animal tamers. On the New Year’s Eve, the New Opera Theater is hosting a humorous classics vs jazz battle, an event to be continued by the Moscow Conservatory with its Jazz-Style Ditties Christmas-themed program.

Where to Go in Moscow in Winter 2018-2019

If you haven’t decided yet whether to have a lavish New Year feast or just a romantic Christmas dinner, take a look at our list of the capital’s top bars as well as popular restaurant and cafe rankings.

If you want your winter stay in Moscow to be not also pleasant, but also culturally enriched, pay attention to the Moscow Pass. It allows entry to the Tretyakov Gallery and to the Kremlin. The Pass includes an icebreaker cruise along the Moscow River, the covered decks of which give a nice view of the city while protecting you from cold. Want to go to a cafe? Moscow Pass entitles you to a plenty of discounts. Buy your Pass today at www.moscowpass.com

We chose ten must-see locations for your wintertime Moscow stay, a time when the city feels especially romantic.

1. Sparrow Hills

Moscow State University in the Sparrow Hills

The Sparrow Hills give a magnificent overlook of the city and are located in the vicinity of the MSU Main Building.

The Moscow University is one of the Seven Sisters, the first Moscow skyscrapers built in the so-called Stalinist Empire style. The Sparrow Hills offer a fantastic view of wintertime Moscow, but it’s not just about the view: there’s also a gorgeous park here. Albeit full of students, you can always find a quiet spot here. Winter sports enthusiasts can try the local ski track.

Location: Sparrow Hills
Closest metro station: Sparrow Hills / Vorobyovy Gory

2. Red Square

The Red Square ice rink is placed you can spend a whole day in

You haven’t been to Moscow unless you walked the Red Square, and no harsh weather is an excuse for you. This stunningly beautiful yet somewhat gloomy square is a giant pedestrian space next to the Kremlin wall. “Red” is sometimes synonymous to “beautiful” in the Russian language.

Over its long and complicated history, the Red Square has been used as a marketplace, an execution spot for chopping off some unruly heads, as well as a ceremonial place for coronations, military parades, and rock concerts. Making an ice rink there has become a good tradition: try to perform a double toe-loop jump and take a picture of it on the backdrop of the Kremlin wall—and you’ll have a great story for your grandkids and great-grandkids. Isn’t it the first thing to see in Moscow?

Location: Red Square
Closest metro station: Okhotny Ryad

3. St. Basil’s Cathedral

What’s that, a wedding cake? It’s the Cathedral of St. Basil, Moscow’s most important sight.

St. Basil’s Cathedral truly looks like a giant wedding cake that somehow made it to the center of the Red Square. No wonder why Le Corbusier dubbed it “the delirium of a drunken confectioner.” The Cathedral was built in the mid-16th century, and legend has it Ivan the Terrible ordered to poke the eyes of the architects so that they’d never create such a masterpiece again.

The fairy-tale temple consists of nine churches grouped around the towering Church of the Intercession of the Theotokos. Come in to warm up and walk through its narrow passages and galleries, enjoying the murals, frescoes, and icons. In the 30s, the Cathedral was scheduled for demolition, but it was saved and is now one of the most miraculous places in wintertime Moscow!

Location: Red Square
Phone: +7 495 698 33 04
Closest metro station: Okhotny Ryad

4. Red October

Krasny Oktyabr, or Red October, is the sweetest factory in the world

Its twenty-three red-brick buildings on Bersenyovskaya Embankment now host cafes, malls, hostels, design bureaus, bars, and nightclubs with vibrant social life; but just a few years ago, the place produced Alyonka chocolate and other sweets that the Red October confectionery factory was famous for. Now it’s one of the hot-spots of the city, warm even in the coldest days, a must-visit place of wintertime Moscow! The capital city’s yuppies work here, eat out here, have fun, and even spend nights here. We don’t know for how long tho, as they say, the Red October buildings are to be transformed into an exclusive and overpriced condominium overlooking the Kremlin.

However, the transformation isn’t taking place yet, so Red October is still worth visiting, and not just once.

Location: 6 Bersenyovskaya Embankment
Closest metro station: Kropotkinskaya

5. Novodevichy Convent

The Novodevichy Convent looks like a stage set for a Russian folktale-based drama

The building is so beautiful it leaves people speechless. Founded in 1524 and preserved to the present day in its initial form, it was given a UNESCO World Heritage site status in 2004.

For many centuries, the white-stone and red-brick convent with its golden domes and carving-decorated towers was home (or, actually, prison) to many female members of the royal family. However, the holy abode doesn’t look scary, it’s beautiful and airy, we’d say it looks ethereal. And when it snows, the Novodevichy Convent transforms into a fairy-tale castle where a beautiful damsel is in distress.

Take a snow saucer or just a piece of cardboard and enjoy gliding down the hills around the Convent! It’s also one of the best places to go out to in wintertime Moscow!

Location: 1 Novodevichy Proyezd
Phone: +7 499 246 85 26
Closest metro station: Sportivnaya

6. Cathedral of Christ the Savior

Cathedral of Christ the Savior is gold and snow

The snow-white Cathedral of Christ the Savior with its giant golden dome looks like a palace of ice with wintertime Moscow around it. Its history is really complicated. Initially conceived to thank God for saving Russia from Napoleon, the Cathedral took 44 years to construct. In 1931, the Cathedral was destroyed to make room for the Palace of Soviets, which was never constructed. Then Khrushchyov decided to build the world’s largest outdoor pool there. However, Russians aren’t famous for being consistent: in 1990, they decided to remove the pool and re-construct the Cathedral. More advanced technology helped finish it in just three years.

Location: 15 Volkhonka
Phone: +7 495 637 12 76
Closest metro station: Kropotkinskaya

7. Gorky Park

Nighttime skating at Europe’s largest ice rink

Thinking where to take your kids in wintertime Moscow? Don’t hesitate to go to Gorky Park! Just a few years ago, this huge Soviet-star park was just a terrible pile of shawarma stalls, rusty and unsafe amusements, “complete” with excessively loud music, a place where thousands of people would try to have some fun. However, changes in the Moscow government brought changes in the park as well, effectively reviving it.

Shawarma stalls and old amusements were removed, the Soviet buildings were cleaned up and restored, new and much more pleasant cafes and restaurants were opened instead. Gorky Park regularly hosts dance classes, ping-pong and chess competitions, a year-round running club, and Europe’s largest ice rink during the cold season. So don’t forget about Gorky when going to Moscow in winter!

Location: 9 Krymsky Val
Phone +7 495 995 00 20
Closest metro station: Park Kultury

8. Garage Museum of Contemporary Art

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art is an absolute must-visit in your Moscow schedule

Feeling cold in Moscow’s harsh winter? Don’t hesitate to go to Garage. Actually, do it even if you aren’t cold. It occupies the building that used to belong to the Vremena Goda (Four Seasons) restaurant, a major catering company of the Soviet era. It was Dutchman Remment Koolhaas’ idea to preserve this shell from the 60s and arrange the city’s most advanced, state-of-the-art museum inside.

The three-storey building contains five exhibition venues, a design room, a children’s room, a lectorium, a shop, and a cafe. This single museum has so much interesting stuff to show it’s should absolutely go on your “what to do in wintertime Moscow” list.

Location: 9 Krymsky Val, bld. 32
Phone +7 495 645 05 20
Closest metro station: Park Kultury

9. Hermitage Garden

A small and cozy ice rink in the Hermitage Garden

If you find yourself in Moscow in winter, don’t hesitate to go to the Hermitage Garden. It’s a small park, but it offers a lot: nice cafes, three theaters, a concert and festival stage, and a great playground for kids. Hermitage frequently hosts culinary, music, and children’s festivals, while its main selling point in winter is the ice rink. Surprisingly, the ice rink is nice, cozy, and quiet even on weekends when it’s full of people. Of course, it’s a great place for walking in wintertime Moscow!

Location: 3 Karetny Ryad
Phone: +7 495 699 04 32
Closest metro station: Pushkinskaya

10. Sanduny Baths

Warm at the Sanduny Baths

After you’ve seen wintertime Moscow’s main sights, the best thing you could do is going to a bathhouse to blow off the steam. The Russian bath is a good cure for cold and is proven to remove toxins from the body; it’s also a great place for chatting, gossiping, or even business discussions. The Sanduny Baths look like a palace with mosaics, marble columns, and a Poseidon statue.

Sanduny is the Russian capital’s biggest and best-known bathhouse. One can often spot famous actors, singers, and politicians there who frequent this 200-year old institution. Ask the bathmen to whip you with a bath broom and don’t leave unless you drink a shot of vodka at the local restaurant. This is an absolute must for your warm-up program in wintertime Moscow.

Location: 14 Neglinnaya, bld. 3 to 7
Phone: +7 495 625 46 31
Closest metro station: Kuznetsky Most

 

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