Moscow is one of the world’s great capitals—not only the seat of government, but a culture capital par excellence. This incredible (and, in my opinion, underrated) city offers the opportunity to enjoy high-quality musical performances of all kinds alongside Russia’s fascinating, complex history and a trove of homebound art treasures. Some of my favorite Moscow cultural tips:
The Armoury: Important Kremlin collection of artifacts of the tsars, with highlights including royal ceremonial apparel and ambassadorial gifts received by the Russian imperial family. I do recommend a guide to fully enjoy Kremlin visits and you should allow the better part of a day to see it all. The New Moscow by Yuri Pimenov (above), can be seen alongside many other Russian masterworks at the State Tretyakov Gallery. This art is rarely lent outside Russia so be sure to take time to enjoy both branches of the Tretyakov. The Gulag History Museum: A thoughtfully-presented and moving look at Russia's repressive history under Stalin. The Bolshoi Theater: Home to some of the world's finest ballet and opera productions, the Bolshoi actually comprises multiple performance spaces. Even if you don't attend a show, do take a tour of the historic main theater. Ask Mon Voyage about recitals and concerts at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, too.
Moscow Metro: Chandeliers? Statues? Mosaics? Explore (and gawk at) what may be the most extravagantly designed subway stations in the world. A great way to spend a rainy day!
Cosmonautics Museum: Super cool collection dedicated to Russian/Soviet space exploration, from Sputnik to the Space Station. If you want a truly special experience, think about visiting Moscow in mid-January, just after the Russian Orthodox Christmas. The city is most likely sporting a beautiful blanket of snow as it twinkles with thousands of Christmas lights. Some people feel that visiting Moscow at this time is the best way to experience it: Dr. Zhivago-style. With appropriate winter gear, you won't even notice the weather.
For an action-packed night on the indoor ice, I suggest taking in a local professional KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) hockey game at the VTB Arena (for the Moscow Dynamo team) or CSKA Arena (for CSKA, the "Red Army" team). Both arenas are easily accessible by public transport.
LavkaLavka: Put away your preconceptions about Russian food because this tiny restaurant is one of the shining stars of Moscow's farm-to-table cuisine movement. You'll know who grew the vegetables on your plate or whose cow gave the cream or whose chicken laid the eggs for the meringue on your dessert. There's also a small retail shop in the courtyard carrying those locally-produced items. Why not pick up a jar of the delicious "forest trees" honey to take home in your suitcase? (I did!)
Mon Voyage is French for "My Trip"--and your trip is all about you: your travel style, your interests, your budget.
I plan customized travel itineraries for history, arts, and culture enthusiasts to destinations in Europe and beyond. I also offer escorted Small Group Trips, where you will engage with other curious travelers as we explore the world together.
Let's make that dream trip to Moscow come to life! Contact me today if I can help you with Russia or any other travel planning, domestic or international.
Last but not least: never forget that looking forward to travel has been scientifically proven to be good for your mental health!