A First Time Guide to Moscow

A First Time Guide to Moscow

Written By: Merci

When I first made travel blogging my priority, the first thing I did was add Moscow to my list of must-see destinations. Aside from being one of the more popular locations for Europeans and international travelers, Moscow always seemed to give me a sense of mystery, culture and worldly intrigue. I spent three weeks traveling around the city enjoying the gorgeous architecture and immersing myself in everyday life.

While not everybody has three weeks to spend in a single city, I thought that I would come up with some of the must-see places to visit if you’re limited on time or money. Moscow isn’t like many other cities with a rich cultural history, it’s one of those places that you need to visit in order to understand just what it is about Moscow that makes it so appealing for travelers around the world. For me, it was about crossing a major city off my list, but once I was there I was completely captivated by everything that it had to offer.


Of course, you cannot go to Moscow without visiting The Red Square. This Square was quite honestly the main reason I wanted to travel to Russia -- seeing it was on my bucket list and it was just as breathtaking in person as it’s ever been in photographs. The unique thing about The Red Square is that all of the city streets and highways start from this center. It’s also the destination for many historical settings and events and you can still get a sense of history from the location, starting from the cobblestone streets to the stunning architecture that spans hundreds of years. If you do nothing else in Moscow, you must visit The Red Square.


Since Moscow is so rich in culture and history, it also makes a perfect destination if you’re interested in the arts. There are many art museums and galleries located throughout Moscow, perhaps one of the most famous being the Tretyakov Gallery, which houses an extensive collection of Russian artwork and historic fine arts. Spend a day walking through the gallery to see some of the most breathtaking pieces and if you still want to see more of the art scene in Moscow, there are quite a few art destinations cropping up in the city, especially those in once industrial areas.


Whether you have a huge shopping budget or you’re on a more limited spending spree, there are many shopping destinations in Moscow to enjoy. High end shopping centers feature luxury brands, while flea markets and boutique stores located around Moscow allow you to pick up trinkets and other beautiful handcrafted goods for a more affordable price. If you like to window shop, be sure to check out the swanky TSUM and GUM shopping centers, which feature some of the most luxurious fashion brands in a stunning center that rivals many other shopping destinations.


Of course, ballet is still considered a focal point in Russia, so I always highly recommend visiting the Bolshoi Theatre to watch a performance -- they run most evenings and if you happen to be in town when Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker is playing there is truly no better place on earth to watch that performance than the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. The theater itself is beautifully adorned with gold details and plenty of luxurious accents that create quite an experience that you’ll definitely want to enjoy while you’re in the city.


If you’re limited on money, there are still plenty of things that you can do in Moscow that will suit your budget without lacking in interest or entertainment. Even after a day of exploring, a quiet stroll through one of Moscow’s beautiful parks is the perfect end to an afternoon or a great way to start the morning. There are also many architectural details found throughout Moscow’s parks, as well as outdoor cafés, so you can just sit down and enjoy coffee or other beverages as you people watch and escape the bustling city.

If you’re traveling to Moscow I recommend picking a few of the destinations I listed above in order to get a well-rounded experience in the city -- Moscow is one of the most popular destinations for a reason and is filled beautiful art, culture and history. While you’re there, be sure to enjoy some of the traditional Russian cuisines, including meat dumplings which are known as pelmeni and, of course, if you want to get really fancy, caviar!

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