What to do in Moscow in one day

Moscow is known for its varied history. As the capital of Russia it’s seen a lot, from wars to Soviet reign. Its weather is constantly varied, from boiling hot summer days, to sub zero winters. It’s definitely the place where you’ll have to research the weather before you go, and pack accordingly.

You’ll be staying in the wonderful Golden Apple hotel, not far from the famous Tverskaya Street. Shop whilst you drop, and have a look at the museums and monuments. Next ry some food at the Café Pushkin, before heading to the world famous Red Square. You can spend hours exploring this famous area, with all the churches and historic buildings – and the shopping malls, with cafes including Bosco Cafe and Coffee Mania, perfect for an afternoon snack. Spend some time at the St Basil Cathedral and in the Kremlin learning more about the history, and admiring the architecture. Head to the State Tretyakov and admire the Russian artwork. After an excellent diner at Noah’s Ark restaurant, begin the night at the Bolshoi, before heading out for a couple of drinks at the White Eagle Pub and then ending the night at the Krysha Mira nightclub.

09:00 – Stay at the Golden Apple Boutique Hotel

There’s nothing better than an affordable hotel, in the centre of town.  Built in the nineteenth century, it’s a very popular five star hotel, just over a twenty-minute walk from the Red Square.  Book either direct with the hotel on their website, or dig around on Google and find some better deals. They have a range of rooms available; the cheapest option is the single room – just a single bed, small bathroom, and your own mini bar and satellite TV

There’s also the deluxe room with a double bed (and the option to add another bed for another guest), a view of the city, a tea station and a mini bar.  There’s also the business deluxe room, with a heated floor, your own workspace and a view of Degtyarny Lane, and your own coffee machine.  The Chekhov Room is one of the most exclusive rooms in the hotel, situated in the older part of the building. It’s the room where Anton Pavlovich Chekhov stayed, with the perfect writing space built in for to try emulating his success. It’s got a perfect lookout over Malaya Dmitrovka Street, and its own built in mini bar and coffee machine

The hotel also has its own gym, open 24/7, with everything you need for a good workout – weights, cardio trainers and yoga mats. There’s also a restaurant and bar, with breakfast options, and the option for room service as well. There are plenty of vegetarian options, as well as traditional Russian dishes // Golden Boutique Hotel – Ulitsa Malaya Dmitrovka, 11, Moscow

09:30 – Warm up your legs on Tverskaya Street

Just a five-minute walk from the Golden Apple Boutique Hotel is Tverskaya Street. It’s the main street in Moscow running from Manege Square in the northwest of the city, to the Golden Ring, in the Tversky district. Despite originally being built over 300 years ago, it was demolished in the 20th century, and rebuilt in the Stalinist style. Near the hotel you can find Tverskoi Boulevard, a perfect green inner-city area. Spend some time in the Novopushkinskiy Skver, with plenty of fountains and benches to sit on and just appreciate the area

There’s also the Hermitage Garden, with theatres and concert buildings surrounding, and sculptures lining the paths. If you’re there in summer, you may be lucky enough to see the paths lined with cherry blossom. The road itself also has monuments, including the Monument of the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko – the founders of the Moscow Art Theatre, which the statue stands in front of. There’s also a statue of Yuriy Dolgorukiy, one of the founders of Moscow

Keep walking down Tverskaya street at you’ll find the Government offices, old churches and more museums than you can count.  It’s also one of the best shopping areas in Moscow.  The closer to the Red Square, the more upmarket the shops become. But don’t just stick to Tverskaya Street itself, take the time to wander up and down the side streets, and see what they have to offer. You can also find things like the Monument to victims of the Terrorist Attack, as well as Okhotny Ryad, a major shopping centre  // Tverskaya Street  – Moscow

10:30 – Order a classic at the Cafe Pushkin

Not far off of Tverskaya St you can find Café Pushkin. The café was opened in 1999, after it was featured in a French singers song over fifty years ago, and tourists where disappointed when they arrived in Moscow and discovered the café didn’t exist.  The food served is a mix of French and Russian cuisine, inspired by the story that led to its opening.  Although it paints itself these days as a café, it’s actually a five star restaurant that’s open 24/7, so you never have to rush to there on time

It’s designed to look like a Russian aristocrat’s house, so feel free to make yourself feel like you’re at home once you arrive. Feel relaxed once you’ve arrived, and bonus, the staff speak English too. They’re known for there Russian pancakes (blinchiki) which is served with black caviar, and also their Borscht, a Russian beetroot soup and their dumplings (pelmeni). And if you’re really in the mood, ask the waiter for their vodka recommendations and try two or three

But it’s not just the vodka they can recommend; they can also suggest the best main meals you should try. If you do not want a full meal, they also have a breakfast menu, which of course starts with champagne and cocktails. They have a great range of more traditional breakfast options, like yoghurt or cottage cheese, as well as some more obscure items like baked milk curd or fried cottage cheese. There is also, naturally, the choice of caviar, as well as eggs, pastries and porridge // Café Pushkin – Tverskoy Boulevard, 26А, Moscow

11:00 – Stop at the unique and monumental Red Square

Just a twenty-minute walk back down Tverskaya Street is the world famous Red Square. It was originally just a shantytown outside the Kremlin walls, but that was soon demolished, yet remained a prevalent place. It was once known as the Fire Square, due to the amount of fires that were burning in medieval Moscow. In the 20th century it was the site of military parades, with there being two notable parades – one in 1941, and another in 1945. In 2000, troops returned to the Red Square, to commemorate 50 years since the end of World War 2

There are a lot of famous buildings surrounding the Red Square. Of course, there is the Kremlin with all its castles and church spires. There’s the Kazan Cathedral, which was rebuilt in 1993, after being destroyed in 1936 by the communists, who wanted to clear space for military parades. There is also the State Historical Museum, a museum on the Russian history, with everything from the prehistoric history to present day Russia

There’s also a monument to Minin and Pozharsky, who helped remove the Polish invaders in 1612. There’s also the Lobnoye Mesto, which is an important raised permanent stage, for any important award ceremonies or displays.  There is also GUM – the historical main department store in cities of the former soviet. It is now currently just a modern shopping mall. Opposite GUM is the TsUM, one of the most renowned high-end department stores in Moscow // The Red Square – Moscow

12:30 – VIP Lunch at Bosco Cafe Restaurant

On the edge of the Red Square is the Bosco Café, situated between Max Mara and Hermes.  The menu is also written in English, and the waiters are fluent too – you can easily make an order and enjoy your meal. It’s the perfect blend of Italian and Muscovite style, in a two story decorated space. The top floor contains a VIP room and a patio. And on the ground floor, you can find all the confectionery and patisseries

You have the choice of sitting inside, admiring the architecture of the restaurant, or, sit on the beautiful flower lined patio, and admire the red square around you. Enjoy your meal whilst listening to the piano in the background and feel like royalty whilst drinking coffee out or china cups.  There’s also a beautiful, unique chandelier, straight from Venice, and you can even watch the chef work his magic through a large glass window

As you can imagine, with its amazing location, it can get very busy very early on in the day. As usual for Russia, you can order caviar, or just stick to a tasty sweet treat and a coffee. Enjoy the view out to the Red Square, and appreciate all the amazing Russian architecture and history // Bosco Café – 3 Red Square, Moscow

14:00 – An orthodox visit at St. Basil’s Cathedral

The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, or as it’s usually known Saint Basil’s Cathedral, is in the south of the Red Square. It was completed in 1561 and contains 8 smaller churches, centred around one larger church.  A bonfire and its flames reaching upwards inspired its design, and it is completely unique to every other building in Russia. It’s been part of a UNESCO world heritage site since 1990

You can spend some time in the cathedral yourselves, or you can also hire a private tour guide, and spend some time with them learning the history of the building and all the history it has witnessed. If there’s one thing you have to do in the Red Square, is to spend time inside the Cathedral and to take in all the beauty. It’s full of intricate artwork and mosaics, and you could spend hours taking in all the details

Entry is only US$7 equivalent, or 400 rubles. Which, for the amount of history the Cathedral contains is a great deal. There are also exhibitions and collections on display throughout the Cathedral from the history of the formation of the state, to the culture of ancient Russia. The Cathedral is also adapted for disabled visitors, with adaptations for accessibility, and braille texts, and replicas of the artwork and monuments so you’re able to touch them // St Basil’s Cathedral – Red Square, Moscow

16:00 – Back to the future at Coffee mania

Once you’ve cultured yourself out at the St Basil’s cathedral, it’s time for another coffee and cake stop. Head towards the GUM shopping centre, and you can find Coffee Mania. Coffee Mania’s one of Russia’s coffee chain stores, and is perfect for a quick pit stop. Again, you can stop for a drink, whilst looking out over the historic Red Square. It’s more of an off the beaten-track café, so you’re more likely to find the locals hanging out for a quick drink and a catch up with friends than you are likely to find tourists having a quick stop

Again, they have menus in both Russian and English so you can’t accidentally order the wrong thing – or order something you’re not wanting to. Order a latte and you can have milk alternatives too – soy, almond, coconut. They also offer a choice of coffee beans, so you can pick your favourite blend and enjoy it with a view. They also offer different tea blends, and varying flavours of coffee blends. If you’re not in the mood for a hot drink, they can also make you a fresh juice or smoothie

They are also known for their extravagant desserts, like the Love me, love me not, – a strawberry mouse, or a sour cream baked pie, as well as pastries from around the world; a Spanish Romero (caramel and vanilla mousse with white chocolate praline), a German Strudel, Italian Tiramisu or French éclairs and ‘happiness’, a caramel cake with cream. They also have a range of ice cream and sorbets // Coffee Mania – Red Square, Moscow

17:00 – Moscow Kremlin, where it gets serious

The Kremlin is famous worldwide. Inside the red brick walls, there are five palaces, four cathedrals as well as the twenty Kremlin towers. It is where the Russian government is based currently. It was built between the years 1482 and 1945, under the request of Grand Prince Ivan the third. There are seven museums within the Kremlin. First is the Armoury chamber with over 4000 exhibits, then there’s the Assumption Cathedral, which is the burial place for notable Russians

Then there’s the Annunciation cathedral, which is a private chapel for grand princes and Tsars, there’s also the Archangel cathedral, the burial place for the first Russian Tsars. There’s also the Church of the Deposition of the Virgin’s Robe, the private chapel of metropolitans and patriarch of Moscow, and lastly the Ivan the bell tower ensemble, containing the museum of the Kremlin Architectural Complex

For US$7 entry you can walk through the cathedral square, see the Cathedral of the Dormition, the Cathedral of the Archangel and the Cathedral of Annunciation. Cathedral Square is the famous site of coronations and funeral processions. Tickets can be ordered online, through the Kremlin’s website, or through other websites organising the tours. You can also find out about the collections on show ahead of time through the website, to prepare you for the day // Kremlin – Red Square, Moscow

18:30 – Learn about Russia art history at the State Tretyakov

The State Tretyakov is an art gallery, about half an hours walk away from the Kremlin, across the Moskva River. If you’re wanting the scenic walk there, you can also pass by the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, another famous cathedral in central Moscow – it’s the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world. The stunning gold dome is made from actual gold electroplated on and not paint

The art gallery is full of Russian artworks, collected over a couple of hundred years, and now houses over 130,000 artworks and sculptures.  In 1985, the gallery merged with a contemporary art gallery, although this mean inheriting some socialist sculptures. There’s a lot to see and the best way to see as much as possible, and learn as much as possible is to join one of the organised group tours – but be careful to book these a few days in advance.  As well as the traditional Russian art and the modern art, you can also visit the houses of many of the artists featured in the gallery

Along the way, you can stop for a drink in the café or restaurant and you can even check out the gift shop and pick up a souvenir along the way from the gift shop. If you do not want to join a full tour, you can also hire an audio-visual guide and still get to learn all about the art displayed. Be careful though- you’re not able to take your backpacks into the gallery, so make sure you’ve checked them into a locker before you’ve started exploring // The State Tretyakov – Lavrushinsky Ln, 10, Moscow

19:30 – Deluge of great food at the Noah’s Ark Restaurant

A half hour walk away from the State Tretyakov is the Noah’s Ark Restaurant. On the way there, you’ll cross over the Bolshoy Ustyinskiy Bridge. It’s a famous steel arch bridge, crossing the Moskva River, whilst looking out over three smaller bridges. You will also pass the Monument to the Fatherland Border Guards, built out of red and black granite, and bronze. You’ll also pass Khitrovka kaya Square, surrounded by manor houses and churches

Noah’s Ark is known for its Armenian inspired cuisine. Once you’ve arrived, it’s like you’ve stepped back 2000 years in Armenian history, with the restaurant decorated with gold, drapes and carpets. The waitress are dressed up as well, in full Armenian attire. It all adds to the cosy, immersive atmosphere. They’re known for their beef stroganoff, a Russian favourite, as well as their beef fillets. As well as the inside seating, there’s the option to sit outside on the veranda as well

They do offer menu in English, however the waiters English isn’t as good as it has been in other places you’ve visited today, so be patient, try some of your Russian, or at worst, use the menu to assist you. You can also make reservations with the restaurant if you’re not confident that you’ll get a seat on the day – it is a popular restaurant. Of course, you can also try some Russia Vodka whilst you’re waiting for your meal to come out // Noah’s Ark Restaurant – Malyy Ivanovskiy Pereulok, 9, Moscow

21:00 – Watch the best ballet in the world at the Bolshoi Theater

The Bolshoi theatre is either a 15-minute taxi ride, or a 25-minute walk away from Noah’s Ark. The Bolshoi was opened in October 1856, and is known for its opera and ballet performances.  The Bolshoi Ballet and Bolshoi Opera are two of the most renowned companies in the whole world.  The ballet company is the biggest company in the world, with over 200 dancers.  The Bolshoi Ballet Academy also trains at the Bolshoi theatre. The theatre was reopened in 2011 after six years of renovation, including restoring the décor and paintings that had been lost during the Soviet Era

The Ballet has a repertoire of different performances, and chooses two to perform each day, including Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and The Nutcracker. The company has toured internationally, mainly after the fall of Stalin.  The opera specialises in Russian opera, often performing Tchaikovsky. They also perform Italian operas, including works of Puccini and Verdi. If you’re lucky, on occasions, the opera and ballet perform together on stage

You can find tickets in the balcony from US$25, which is very affordable. Of course, the closer you want to get to the stage, the more expensive the tickets become. But if you just want to experience the Bolshoi, a ticket anywhere is worth it.  If you do not want to experience a performance there is also a museum within the theatre, so you can learn all the history of the theatre, whilst being inside and admiring the architecture // Bolshoi Theatre – Red Square, Moscow

22:30 – White Eagles Pub, where the east meets the west

A fifteen minute walk from the theatre, you’ll find the White Eagles Pub. On the way, you’ll pass the Moscow Art Theatre, and walk up the Tverskaya Street. The White Eagles Pub is known for its Irish and British cuisine. They have an amazing range of beers, so you’ll never be stuck for choice. You also have the choice of sausages and mash or club sandwiches – it’s like you’ve stepped back into the United Kingdom. It’s also decorated like a traditional British pub, which adds to the experience

There are two floors of seating, so you also have plenty of choice of seats. There’s also outdoor patio seating available as well. The staff is friendly and attentive, and will be able to help you with everything and anything. They’re also able to give you recommendations, from food to beers, as well as cocktails. The menu isn’t available in English, but they are able to translate and talk you through it. They’re not known for their wine, but try their vodka and lemon instead

You may be questioning why you’d head to an English bar whilst you’re in Moscow, but their range of on tap beers is unbeatable. They’ve got a range of British and Irish beers; so don’t be afraid to try one or two, or even more. It’s popular with both tourists and locals so don’t be afraid to have a conversation with who’s sat next to you, you never know what you may learn from them // White Eagles Pub – Kozitskiy Pereulok, 1a, к. 2, Moscow

23:59 – Look over Moscow at the Krysha Mira Nightclub

Once you’ve sampled a range of beers and tried some more vodkas, it’s time to dance the night away. The Krysha Mira Nightclub is an hour’s walk across town, or a more convenient 30 minute taxi ride, or if you’re feeling risky, its 25-minutes via public transport. It’s a beautiful rooftop bar, giving you views across the Moskva river in front of you, and over to the city and beyond.  Don’t worry though; there are tented seating areas, in case of rain. It’s known across Moscow as the ‘roof of the world’

Don’t worry if you ever run out of drink, there is always a bartender there, happy to help whether it’s just a refill or a recommendation for a new drink altogether.  Unsurprisingly, it’s not the easiest club to get into.  Make sure you’re dressed to the nines, you’re over 21 and you have your original passport or ID. As well as the rooftop bar, the floor below contains a dance floor, so you can literally dance the night away – they are open until the early hours of the morning. There are known for being very strict, so don’t get put off if it takes them a moment to decide whether to let you in

 

Although the outside may seem a little dodgy – it is built in an industrial area, don’t let it fool you. During the day, it actually operates as an Asian fusion restaurant. It’s known for its electronica and dance music so there’s no excuse to sit down. If you are tired, though there’s plenty of seating, mainly on the roof. If you’re not in the mood to dance, don’t worry, just sit back and relax and just watch the night pass // Krysha Mira NightClub – Kutuzovsky Ave, 12, стр. 3, Moscow

We mapped out your day trip in Moscow

Each highlight of your day trip is numbered, simply follow the guide

What you should absolutely know about Moscow

City highlights, food & drinks, expressions, weather, how to get there and how to get around

Moscow is a truly amazing city, and is in a period of rebirth. What once was factories and warehouses are now art galleries.  Wander down the streets, buying fresh moist cheeses, homemade jam, honey, and sauces, or fresh fruits and vegetables. This city is great for food lovers, supplying a variety of bars. Spend your nights dancing and sipping cocktails at one of Moscow’s many nightclubs. You will see during your Moscow day trips that it is a city with rich history, so take time to learn about the city in the many museums and churches. Catch a theater show at the famed Bolshoi Theatre or read in the Russian State Library

While in Moscow, visit The Kremlin and its many beautiful churches. Embrace the vastness of Russia and its history in the Red Square. Tour the Tretyakov Gallery in Lavrushinsky Lane to get a feel for Russian paintings and sculptures or picnic in Kolomenskoye Park

On a colder day, warm up with a bowl of borsch (beet soup), Russian dumplings, stroganoff, or mini-pies. Sample freshly made honeycake and Russian pancakes for breakfast or a snack. Smoked salmon and salted herring are considered a delicacy, and have a nice taste

Russian is a difficult language to learn, but try to master these basics. “Доброе утро” (pronounced Dobraye ootro) means “Good morning” and “Goodbye” is “До свидания” (pronounced Da svee-daneeya). Good luck with that!

Summers are warm and mildly humid. Fall is rainy, chilly, and quite windy. Winters in Russia are severe, with temperatures averaging 15 degrees and lots of wind and snow. Spring still brings some snowfall, but starts to warm up toward March

There are many ways to get from one the airports to the center of Moscow. Taxis are frequent, but expensive (54 Euros per ride) and often are stuck in traffic. The Aeroexpress train will cost 6 Euros to get you into the city

The metro is the cheapest way to travel around Moscow. Hailing a cab or riding a bus also get you around the city. Traveling by trams or trolleys are a great alternative or take a mini-bus shuttle for a more private tour of the city

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