The Top 10 Unusual Things to do in Moscow
1. Explore the Local Life
It's not easy but it's the most interesting thing in every new country! Do you want to know how all these Russians spend their normal Wednesday? There's several options! It would be great if you find someone who will invite you on evening. However, you can learn a lot even without local people. How? Just dig deep into the city at least 30 minutes from Kremlin. You will see sleeping disctricts, local schools, ordinary people within small quiet streets or skyscrappers of new appartment complexes. Our non-touristy Moscow tour may help you, too
2. Go down to the Bunker-42
Bunker-42 is an unique Stalin’s anti-nuclear bunker of The Cold War times situated 65 meters under the ground! This bunker was build in 1962 (our "CrazyBu" car was designed at the same time), so it should be very authentic journey. What our toursits love? Maybe the feeling of being 65 meters underground. Maybe the funny board game "Press button to fire a nuclear missile to America"
3. Explore the wild catacombs of Moscow
Do you want to wander along in the ramified network of underground caves. It is even more adventurous than visiting famous Paris catacombs, and what is more important, there will be no crowds of people and cameras! Easy. Just find them using coordinates or join out tour.
4. Ride the Soviet style car
For Siberian part of Russia, off-roading is just a part of their everyday routine or everyday survival (depending on the season). But you will hardly experience the challenges of everyday life staying in a Moscow hotel... Just join us and go. Combined with four-wheel drive, our UAZ 452 van was born to endure any off-road condition!
This is a private historical interactive museum that keeps a collection of arcade machines that were produced in the USSR since the mid-1970s. You can actually play with them and it is very fun!
6. «Danilovsky» marketplace
It's more or less modern marketplace with traces of Soviet era. A lot of people still goes there for shopping... only 20 years ago it was a main place to buy the food! It still hasa very special atmosphere. What's more? It is surrounded by typical 5-block houses, so you can see the local life just walking to the Shabolovskaya metro station. I also love a very strange house of the Soviet era. It looks awful but very authentic.
7. Drink as in USSR in a very authentic cafe
Just imagine! Soviet times, food deficit, no money and no food. A lot of boring work. Cold War. People wanted to drink, but restaurants were unaffordable. What to do? Proletarians went to the place like this (hundreds of them) to have a drink, eat a «cheburek», spend almost no money and time on it and go home. No waiters, no nice decorations, no chairs near high tables, nothing unnecessary. Just you and your thoughts. Cheap and Robust. Place to take your last drop. Small shard of the country that does not exist anymore. Cheers.
8. Local garages
Oh, I have one there. A lot of people have them! They attract local "rednecks", especially in the summer – they repair their cars drinking beer and making a barbecue 50 meters from dirty and noisy railways. Creepy places… Very local and very authentic!
9. Explore the Rusty Belt of Moscow
Usually, Metro stations are located underground. However, The Central Circle was build recently from the industrial railways. So it is located above the ground and goes through the rusty belt of Moscow (industrial areas near the center of the city). So riding the train, you can easily see non touristy Moscow... sleeping districts, strange houses, factories and so on. The real Rusty Belt of Moscow! Everything we love so much being scared of coming too close! We even have a tour there...
10. Visit the last traditional village of Moscow
This Local village located at the edge of the sleeping district… People still have no central water supply there, so they need to bring water from standpipes several times a day. All my tourists are always surprised to see such a previous era life just 40 km from Kremlin!
Moscow facts (only interesting information)
What is Moscow? How big is Moscow? When was Moscow founded? When did Moscow became the capital of Russia? Is Moscow in Europe or Asia? And, finally, Moscow tourist attractions and travel guides... All of this information can be found here in a single article. Read it and be ready for your Moscow vacations!
Moscow (or "Moskva") is the capital of Russia (or "Rossiya"), the capital of the former USSR and most populous city in Russia. Although little known, Moscow is the largest city in Europe with about 15 millions of people! Moscow is also the northernmost and coldest megacity and metropolis on Earth. Can you imagine that 15 million Russians live in the place with only 4 months of summer?
Officially, Moscow was founded at 1147, but recently archaeologists found that the city can be more than 1000 years old. Moscow history is very complicated. Moscow withstood numerous internal conflicts, control by the ‘Golden Horde’, the ‘Plague’, the ‘Great Feudal War’, numerous fires, Polish occupation, another new plague, French invasion of 1812 and whole 20th century. The history of Moscow’s eminence reminds us of a typical Hollywood movie where with millions of challenges the main hero finally beats evil! I mean, there were large chances that Moscow could have been destroyed and forgotten, but it was not!
Moscow is situated on the Moskva River so it is also Europe's most populated inland city. Its location was never something special - forests and mid-sized Moscow river - but nothing prevented it from becoming the capital of the largest country. Nowadays Moscow is a really big modern city with its size reaching 40 km width and 50 km length.
Despite the climate and location, Moscow is rich and bustling; it has one of the world's largest urban economies. The city is really expensive (but Zurich is far worse...), but it's worth it! Moscow's architecture is world-renowned. Elegant onion domes of medieval churches, Stalin's monumental buildings, plus modern architecture combine in an amazing mixture of epochs. During your Russian vacations you can spend a week walking around the largest avenues and smaller city streets and always run into something new.
However, many foreigners come here and still do not know what to expect from the Russian Capital.
How to make the most of your time in Moscow
We recommend spending the first day of your Russian vacations wandering around Red Square. There are a lot of museums, churches and other sights to see nearby. You can easily walk from one to another while experiencing the city. This map may help you to visit all nearby tourist attractions.
For the second and third days we recommend that you visit less popular landmarks of the Russian Capital. There are a lot of options depending on your wishes. If you are interested in Soviet Moscow, a good choice is to visit Victory Park, Sparrow Hills and Stalin's skyscrapers. Having a tour guide is perfect for those who want to learn more about the former USSR times and its impact on modern Russia. Sometimes it is better to take a minivan tour which can save both your time, in case of right itinerary, and your morale, in case of bad weather.
If you have more than 3 days, we recommend seeing the countryside because Real Russia is not Moscow at all. Sometimes you just need to move only 50 km from Moscow to see authentic towns and villages. Golden Ring cities are perfect for those who prefer picturesque small towns full of medieval architecture. Vladimir and Suzdal tour is one of the best options in this case. We recommend the Dacha Ecotour if you want to see rural landscapes and learn more about keeping households and farming in Russian countryside. Russian countryside tour is perfect if you are continuing on to St. Petersburg because the tour’s final destination (Tver' town) is only 3 hours from St. Petersburg by high speed train.
If you need some help in planning your trip - email us! Our Moscow guides are ready to share their secrets with you :)
Moscow tourist maps
Tourism in Moscow is so popular that you can easily find a lot of information about Moscow landmarks. For your convenience, we offer here several tourist maps which are accurate and clear: Moscow map, Moscow map, Red Square map
However, if you have a mobile phone, Google and Yandex maps will make your life easier. You can find more information about these and other useful mobile application for Moscow tourism here.
Independent tourism in Moscow is impossible without using the metro or Moscow subway system which is the easiest, the cheapest and the safest way of moving in Moscow center. More information and travel tips can be found here.
You don't need a tour guide to find all this locations or to make the right itinerary! Just use one of these maps and some descriptions from Wiki or Tripadvisor. Nevertheless, using a private tour guide (sometimes it's free) is the right way to see the city in a limited time.
List of Moscow attractions
The most popular sightseeing:
- Red Square (St Basil’s cathedral, Lenin's tomb, Kremlin, GUM, State Historical museum)
- KGB headquarters
- Moscow metro stations
- Christ the Savior cathedral (very beautiful but new)
- Tretyakov gallery (amazing paintings)
- Bolshoi theatre (its a legend...)
- Arbat and Tverskaya street (nice streets for walking)
Less popular sightseeing:
- Novodevichy convent (ancient beautiful monastery in the centre of Moscow)
- Sparrow hills (Moscow University - monumental building of Stalin's epoch)
- «VDNH» (Museum of Space Exploration - monumental building of Stalin's epoch)
- Victory Park (memorial complex of Stalin's epoch)
- Secret Soviet bunker (65 meters by stairway to secret soviet bunker)
- Eliseevsky grocery store (shop with amazing interior left from 19th century)
- Gulag museum (dark sides of soviet history)
- Tsaritsino and Kolomenskoye parks (nice parks for walking in good weather with royal palaces)
- Moscow zoo (best place for families with children)
- Izmaylovo palace (modern but nice!)