What are the best things to do in Moscow? What to do in Moscow? First, I will list the main places to visit by theme, passing by the must-sees, but also more unusual places in Moscow. Then, I will describe what to see in Moscow in one day and how to visit Moscow in 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 days. Let’s go!
Good to know. For more information, click on the places to open the dedicated blog posts.
Main places to visit in Moscow & best things to do in Moscow
I worked in Moscow and I loved this city for its dynamism and energy. We find there from time to time to see friends, remember good memories and enjoy this giant city! Then the time has come for us to share with you our practical guide.
TOP 5 must-see places in Moscow
Places of cultural, historical and religious interest in Moscow
- Novodevichy Convent and cemetery
- Tretyakov Gallery
- Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
- Kremlin Izmaïlovo (pseudo-historic place, recently built in the image of the old, one of the best things to do in Moscow for your Instagram account 😉 )
- Park and ancient village of Kolomenskoye
Visit Moscow of the Soviet era
- Moscow State University and Sparrows Hill
- VDNKh and the Museum of Astronautics, one of the key landmarks of the Soviet era in Moscow
- GULAG Museum
- Metro stations
- Bunker 42
- The Stalinist skyscrapers, scattered all over the city
Less touristy places in Moscow
- Gorky Park and the GARAGE museum
- The old Krasny Oktyabr factory
- Zaryadye Park
- Center for Contemporary Art, WINZAVOD
- Business center, Moscow City
Main districts of Moscow to visit
- Patriarch Ponds
- Tchistye Prudy
- Kuznetsky most
- Arbat Street
However, regardless of the length of your stay, whether you are going to visit Moscow in 4 days or in 2, you need a visa. The article Obtaining a tourist visa for Russia could then be useful in any case.
What to do and see in Moscow in one day?
List of things to see and do in Moscow in one day:
- Go to Red Square
- Visit St. Basil’s Cathedral
- See Kremlin walls (but not to visit)
- Visit Cathedral of Christ the Savior
- Discover Kuznetsky most districts and see Bolshoi Theatre building
- And if you have time at the end of the day: go to the Sparrows Hill or to the Moscow City for a beautiful view
- If you lack of time, you can book a private guided tour in English. That could be easier to discover places.
Things to do in Moscow in 2 days
If you want to visit Moscow in 2 days, there are 2 purposes: do not miss the essential places of Moscow and optimize travel.
- First day: Red Square, Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Zariadye Park, Bolshoi Theatre, Kremlin
- Day 2: Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the former Krasny Oktyabr factory on Balchug Island, Gorky Park, Moscow State University (one of the Seven Sisters buildings) and Sparrow Hill
As 2 days os really short, be sure to choose an accommodation in the best districts where to stay in Moscow.
Walking on Red Square in Moscow: one of the unmissable things to do in Moscow
Iconic place and one of the must-see places in Moscow and even in Russia! Besides, if there was only one place to visit in Moscow in 2 days, this place would then be Red Square, without hesitation. Therefore, starting the city tour with Red Square is ideal. Several buildings are on the square, but not all of them have to be visited. Check out my blog post about Moscow’s Red Square in detail to learn more and not miss anything.
Visiting Saint-Basil’s Cathedral inside
Even more emblematic than Moscow’s Red Square! Built in the middle of the 16th century under the orders of Tsar Ivan Le Terrible, this cathedral is one of the most beautiful monuments of Orthodox art, and definitely one of the unmissable places in Moscow. Visiting Saint-Basil’s Cathedral inside is one of the most beautiful things to do in Moscow!
- Visit estimate time: 1h30
- Entry ticket: 700 RUB. Tickets can be purchased on the cathedral’s official website 45 days before the tour.
- Audio guide (recommended): 500 RUB
- Opening hours: June to August 10 am-6pm; from November to April: 11 am-5pm; May, September, October 11 am-5pm. Cathedral closed on Wednesdays. Entrance is closed 45 minutes before closing.
- Find out more in the dedicated article: Saint Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow
Take a walk in Zariadye park: one of the coolest things to do in Moscow after visiting Red Square
Zaryadie Park is just a 10-minute walk from St. Basil’s Cathedral, so it’s easy to include in your itinerary if you’re going to visit Moscow in 2 days. From its heights, you can see the red walls of the Kremlin. But, the most impressive point of view is the platform which overlooks the Moskva river. A must see! And clearly one of the coolest things to do in Moscow!
- Open 24 hours a day
- Good to know! Park Zaryadye is also a place to visit in Moscow in winter. Find out more here: What to do in Moscow in winter?
See the Bolshoi Theatre and discover the Kuznetsky Most district
The Bolshoi Theatre is the most famous Russian theater in the world. The most economical way to see a presentation at the Bolshoi Theater is to take the tickets on the theater’s official website in advance, so here is our tutorial to help you: How to buy entrance tickets to the Bolshoi? In addition, several pedestrian or one-way streets
The Bolshoi Theater is the most famous Russian theater in the world. The most economical way to see a presentation at the Bolshoi Theater is to take the tickets on the theater’s official website in advance, so here is our tutorial to help you: How to buy tickets to the Bolshoi? In addition, several pedestrian or one-way streets are located north of the theater. It is therefore very pleasant to find them to leave the main axes of the megalopolis.
Visit the Moscow Kremlin
Visit Kremlin is on top of things to do in Moscow. A place of power for centuries, the Kremlin then shows us a whole different image when viewed from the inside. If you want to visit Moscow in 2 days, the Kremlin is certainly one of the must-see places in Moscow.
- Opening hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Thursday.
- See our blog post about visiting the Moscow Kremlin
Visit the Cathedral of Christ the Savior
This impressive Moscow Cathedral is the seat of the Russian Orthodox Church. It is a must see if you visit Moscow in 2 days and clearly one of the things to do in Moscow. The Cathedral of Christ the Savior was first built in 1883 in memory of Russia’s victory over Napoleon’s Grand Army. Then in 1931 Stalin ordered its destruction. It was then rebuilt again (identically) only in 2000.
- Where? Ulitsa Volkhonka 15. At the foot of the Kropotkinskaya metro station.
- Opening hours. Daily: 10: 00-17: 00, except Monday: 13: 00-17: 00
- Free entry (some closing restrictions, for example a short)
Good to know! In orthodox religious places, one must avoid excessively uncovered clothing. Women should cover their heads. After visiting the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, you can explore Bolotny Island and Gorky Park. This is one of the routes our guide to Moscow.
The old Krasny Oktyabr factory: one of the coolest things to do in Moscow
If you cross the Moskva River by a pedestrian bridge which is located just in front of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, you will enjoy a beautiful view of the city and at the same time you can discover Balchug Island. Furthermore, if you want to visit Moscow in 2 days, you can include this island in your itinerary between the cathedral and Gorky park. Here is the old confectionery factory Krasny Oktyabr, which has gradually turned into a fashionable micro-district. There are then some elements of street art, cafes and restaurants and some Moscow bohemian side. At the end of the island you can see a gigantic 98-meter-high monument dedicated to the Russian reforming tsar Pierre The Great.
Good to know! You can find on this island are the trendiest nightclubs in Moscow. On weekends, there are taxi caps after midnight so there are so many people. On the other hand, if you go there in winter and during the day, the island is quite empty and less interesting to see.
Gorky Park is one of the TOP places to visit in Moscow, because it allows you to better understand the life of the locals and their rhythm. In fact, it’s a huge entertainment park. For example, in winter there is a giant ice rink and in summer – free dance or yoga lessons, sandy beaches for playing volleyball, an outdoor cinema. So, like the locals, have a Stakantchik (ice cream or cooked corn), and enjoy the atmosphere of the place: that’s one of the interesting things to do in Moscow to discover the city.
- Where? Krymsky Val 9. 20 minutes’ walk from Krasny Oktyabr, along the quays.
- Open 24/24
Sparrow Hill and Moscow State University
The Sparrow Hill, Vorobiovy Gori in Russian, is the highest point in Moscow. It is rather known to Russians, but less to travelers. A nice view on Moscow opens from the hill, and in particular on the Luzhniki Stadium. In addition, on the hill itself is the Moscow State University: an impressive skyscraper from the Soviet era.
- How to get there? By bus T7 (35 min) from Oktyaborskaya station, near Gorki Park. By metro (Vorobiovy Gorki station) + climb the hill on foot. On foot along the Moskva along the Gorky Park (1h30) + climb in funiculars.
- Open 24 hours a day
Good to know! It is possible to cross the Moskva river by funicular. We actually tested it and it was pretty cool! That is one of our favorite things to do in Moscow!
What to do in Moscow in 3 days?
If you are going to visit Moscow in 3 days, it would be interesting to dive into the Soviet era which strongly marked the country and the city. After the Bolshevik Revolution, the capital was transferred from Saint Petersburg to Moscow, in order to mark the change of power. Moscow then became the world showcase for communist ideology. Here are the best things to do in Moscow for 3-day-trip!
VDNKh, visit Moscow of the Soviet era
VDNKh is a large exhibition center in the north of Moscow, where there are still several striking witnesses of the USSR. The most interesting are the Museum of Cosmonauts and the Statue of the Worker and the Kolkhozian, which will certainly impress you with its size!
GULAG History Museum
The explanations of the museum are very well done. We really have the feeling of going back in time. If you are going to visit Moscow in 3 days and you are interested in history and this subject in particular, I recommend this museum. Visit the GULAG History Museum is one of the most interesting things to do in Moscow.
Discover the Patriarche Pounds district
It’s a nice neighborhood in Moscow where you can come across rather affluent locals, but not necessarily very bling-bling. Take a walk in this area is really a cool thing to do in Moscow! In addition, the Ponds of Patriarch is one of the places of Bulgakov’s novel “Master and Margarita”. As this is an interesting area to see, we have included it in a walking tour of Moscow. The route ends at the Moscow Kremlin, which is very convenient, because you will be able to visit Moscow in 3 days by optimizing your trips.
What to visit in Moscow in 4 days: TOP things to do in Moscow in 4 days
If you want to visit Moscow in 3 days, you will already see a lot of things. On the other hand, if you stay one more day, you have plenty to do! The Novodevichy Convent, the Tchistie Proudy district and the Izmaylovo Kremlin are very good candidates for you, if you are going to visit Moscow in 4 days.
Visiting Novodevichy Convent in Moscow
The Novodevichy Convent is one of the most brilliant examples of Russian architecture, according to UNESCO. This beautiful complex was built in 1524 and today consists of the convent, but also of a cemetery whose status could be compared to that of Père-Lachaise in Paris. Visiting Novodevichy Convent is one of the great things to do in Moscow, if you want to go a little bit outside of the center!
Discovering Tchistye Proudy district
It’s one of the most popular areas of Moscow, with many cafes, restaurants and bars nearby. It is therefore a place to discover if you want to visit Moscow in 4 days. It is just as pleasant for a stroll as for the discovery of local life. For example, in winter the pond turns into an ice rink.
Visiting the Izmaylovo Kremlin, one of the coolest things to do in Moscow!
The Izmaylovo Kremlin is more of a tourist than a historic place. On the other hand, it is a pretty impressive place to discover, especially on weekends. Inside the Kremlin, there is a flea market where you can find a little bit of everything, but mostly good souvenirs to bring from Moscow. For example, chapka, traditional Russian scarves or matryoshka (Russian dolls). Add the Kremlin and the Izmaïlovo market to your itinerary if you are going to visit Moscow in 4 days, because it is a nice and very colorful place! Visiting the Izmailovo Kremlin is one of the things to do in Moscow, if you want to put colors in your Instagram account! 😉
In 4 days, we will have the opportunity to see several Moscow: Classic Moscow, Moscow of old Russia, Soviet Moscow and a little bit of the new Moscow. So what to visit in Moscow on the 5th day of travel?
What to visit in Moscow in 5 days?
Art lovers will be delighted to discover the Tretyakov Gallery and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, while others will prefer to stroll along Arbat Street, see the buildings of Moskva-City or visit Bunker 42.
Admiring Russian art at Tretyakov Gallery
Founded in 1856 by an industrialist and great lover of art, the gallery has grown over the decades, and then bequeathed to the state. Today the collection includes more than 140,000 pieces, 15,000 of which are paintings. Visiting the Tretyakov Gallery is one of the things to do in Moscow if you want to discover Russian art!
- Where? Pereoulok Lavrouchinski 10. A 5-minute walk from Tretiakovskaya station
- Opening hours. Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Closed on Mondays.
- Entry tickets. 500 RUB.
Visiting the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
The Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts presents the treasures of ancient Egypt, the paintings of Rembrandt and Cézanne, a fine collection of Impressionism.
- Where? Ulitsa Volkhonka 12
- Opening hours. Daily: 10: 00-20: 00, except Thursday: 11: 00-21: 00. Closed on Mondays. The boxes close an hour before closing.
- Entry tickets. The prices vary according to the collections from 300 to 750 RUB.
Walking on Arbat Street
All Russians know Rue Arbat. So, walking on Arbat street is one of the things to do in Moscow. However, after the years, little by little it became very touristy. This is a pedestrian street only. There are souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes there, but it is no longer the most authentic neighborhood in the city.
Seeing the buildings of Moskva-City (Moscow City)
Moskva-City is Moscow’s business center, much like Paris’s Defense district. The skyscrapers of Moskva-City are among the tallest in Europe: 373 meters high! Very nice place to see at dusk.
Good to know! You can admire a nice view of Moscow City from the docks of Tarasa Shevchenko. It’s especially beautiful in the evening with all the lights on.
Bunker 42, one of the most unusual things to do in Moscow
Bunker 42 is a secret military complex which was to be used by the Soviets in the event of a nuclear attack: a space of 7000 m² 65 meters underground!
- Where? 5 Kotelnitcheski Lane, 11.
- Prices. 2200 RUB per person
- Opening hours. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Restaurant inside. Original, but rather a tourist trap.
What to visit in Moscow in 6 days or more?
There are still so many places to see, because Moscow is a big megalopolis and there is always something exciting to do there. For example: the ancient Kolomenskoye village or the WINZAVOD contemporary art center.
If you are interested in history and want to see Russian cities on a rather “human scale”, it would certainly be interesting for you to discover the cities of the Golden Ring. For example, it is very easy to get to Sergey Posad from Moscow (less than 2 hours in train). Visiting the Golden Ring is one of the best things to do in Moscow if you are staying more than a 5-6 days.
There are still plenty of places to see in Moscow, however I did my best to list here the best things to do in Moscow, what to see in Moscow in one day, but also in 2, 3, 4 or 5 days in Moscow!