Exploring Moscow: Top 15 Best Things to do in Moscow, Russia

Moscow is a lively city and there are many things to do and places to visit that you will be occupied for the whole day. The city of Moscow is a mixture of contemporary and historical sights. There are a lot of engaging things to do in Moscow like exploring the city, going for sightseeing, shopping, engaging in cultural activities in the capital and so on, you will surely want to come back for more after your trip.

Red Square in Moscow
Red Square in Moscow

15 Best Activities and Tourist Attractions in Moscow


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Visit Lenin’s Mausoleum

Lenin Mausoleum
Lenin Mausoleum

This is the ultimate love it or hates it landmark in Moscow as it is a tourist hotspot. This Mausoleum houses a glass sarcophagus which contains the embalmed body of the legendary Russian revolutionary called Vladimir Lenin. When Lenin died in 1924 more than 2.5 million people came to Red Square to pay their final respects and people still comes to see the Lenin’s wax-like body till now. While you visit here, you should have in mind that you will wait in line and go through a thorough body search to get to this illustrious building.

OPENING TIMES: Daily, 10 am to 1 pm, closed on Mondays and Fridays.

Red Square

Moscow Red Square
Moscow Red Square

This is the heart of Moscow and it is the most visited Moscow’s attraction. This is the place where the city and even the country history unfolded and it is surrounded by beautiful architecture. It was once the location where traders sell their goods but it is now surrounded by unforgettable sites like St. Basil’s Cathedral, Kremlin, Lenin’s Mausoleum and some other celebrated attractions.

Moskva River

Moskva River
Moskva River

This river may not get the same attention as some of the notable city in the world like river Thames in London or river Seine in Paris but it is a good place to go for a walk or boat tour. If you prefer to stroll, it will take you about 90 minutes (depending on your walking speed) to stroll between the Gorky Park and Cathedral of Christ the Savior. You can end your tour at the cathedral if you are a fan of the religious building.

You can also go for a river cruise to get a different view of the city, you can book cruises at varying times and location from different companies. You can also go for a night cruise but you should also know that Moscow has a long winter and it can freeze for months, so this will not be possible all the time.

Moscow Kremlin

Moscow Kremlin
Moscow Kremlin

You should try to explore the Moscow Kremlin when you visit the city. This is the biggest active fortress in Europe where you can go for a week in this fortress without getting enough of it. There are five squares to wander around, 20 towers that you will know their names, various buildings to explore, and the world’s largest bell and cannon to see when you get behind this 2,235m long Kremlin walls.

OPENING TIME: Fri – Wed: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Scenic River Cruise in Moscow

Scenic River Cruise in Moscow photo via KLOOK
Scenic River Cruise in Moscow photo via KLOOK

Cruise along the Moscow River, with runs through the city where you can see many famous sites. Embark on this scenic boat tour of Moscow and enjoy the picturesque scenery along the way. Stay inside a comfortable cruise boat and opt to purchase good food found inside. The attentive and friendly onboard service staff will be more than ready to make you feel at home.

Scenic River Cruise in MoscowBOOK THIS TOUR

St. Basil’s Cathedral

St. Basils Cathedral - Best Things to do in Moscow
St. Basils Cathedral – Best Things to do in Moscow

The glistering rainbow domes of the St Basil’s Cathedral will be in your mind forever as the image of Moscow. The onion-shaped domes were designed so as to make the building look like the shape of flame on a bonfire. The cathedral was commissioned in 1500 by Ivan the Terrible and there was a story that the Tsar thought it was so beautiful that he ordered that the architect should be blinded so that he will not produce another work that will be more beautiful than this.

State Historical Museum

State Historical Museum in Moscow photo by Andrey via Wikipedia CC
State Historical Museum in Moscow By Andrey from Russia – Historical museum, CC BY 2.0

The museum is sheltered in a neo-Russian style building which was founded in 1872 by Aleksey Uvarov and Ivan Zabelin. The building was once the Principal Medicine store and it now houses a magnificent collection of relics of the prehistoric tribes that once stayed in the territory of present-day Russia, the country’s largest coin collection, artworks collected by Romanov dynasty and some other impressive treasures.

OPENING TIME: Mon-Wed: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm, Thu: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm, Fri – Sun: 10:00 am – 7:00 pm.

Shop at Gum Department Store

Gum Moscow
Gum Moscow

This is Russia’s main department store and it was built between 1890 and 1893 and was known as upper trading rows until the 1920s. You will be wowed by the stunning interior that houses a variety of high-end boutiques and it is home to more than 200 boutiques that sell different brands from luxurious Dior to the more affordable Zara. This place should be on your to-do list even if you are not a shopping enthusiast.

OPENING TIMES: Mon-Sun: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm

Tretyakov Gallery

Tretyakov Gallery Moscow
Tretyakov Gallery Moscow

If you want to five deep into the Russian art, this is the right place for you. The main historical gallery holds more than 1,300 Russian arts which dated from the 11th century to the early 20th century. You will see unique masterpieces like “Trinity” by Andrei Rublev, “The appearance of Christ to the People” by Alexander Ivanov and some other notable arts which will blow your mind.

If you want to see some modern arts that is from the past 100 years then you should try and visit the New Tretyakovka and it is up to 25 minutes’ walk from the historical gallery and you can then explore works in the avant-garde, socialist realism and some much more here.

Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts by Ghirlandajo via Wikipedia CC
Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts By Ghirlandajo – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

This is the biggest foreign art museum in Moscow and it consists of three branches which house a collection of incredible works by masters of ancient civilizations, the Dutch Golden Age, the Italian Renaissance. Masterpieces by Botticelli, Veronese, Tiepolo, Rembrandt are found in the main building and some of this masterpieces have never been displayed before. The incredible collections of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings are located in the Gallery of European and American art next door.

OPENING TIMES: Fri – Sun: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm, Tue-Wed: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm, Thu: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm 

Gorky Park

Gorky Park Moscow
Gorky Park Moscow

This is the Wi-Fi-equipped epicenter of Moscow’s metamorphosis into a kinder, friendlier urban space. It was opened during the great Terror of the late 1930 and the park showcases Stalin’s imperial style. The park was transformed into the city’s most happening place to hang out as the rusting roller coasters of yore were replaced by cafes, lounge chairs, yoga classes, an outdoor cinema, free dance.

Sparrow Hills

Sparrow Hills Cableway by NearEMPTiness via Wikipedia CC
Sparrow Hills Cableway By NearEMPTiness – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

This is a legendary park is a walk away along the Moscow river embankment from the Gorky Park. The park does not offer many activities like the Gorky park but you can take a look at the tallest of the seven Stalinist skyscrapers, get a cable car ride, or admire the view from the observation deck.

OPENING TIMES: Sun: 12:00 am

Moscow State University (MAIN BUILDING)

Moscow State University
Moscow State University

This is a most notable place that will give you a lasting impression of Moscow. The building is a wide, tall, white behemoth topped by a unique spire with a star. It was considered the tallest building in Europe when it was constructed but it is still the tallest educational building in the world. As a tourist, you will have the close-up view of the communist architecture and a fantastic bird’s eye view of Moscow.

Bolshoi Theatre

Bolshoi Theatre at Night
Bolshoi Theatre at Night

The theatre was opened in 1856 and it is one of the best places in Moscow to enjoy your evening. The building houses two stages which host both the opera performances and ballet. You will enjoy improved acoustics, new seating, and touched up mosaics which was just added after it was renovated and reopened in 2011. You can book for an evening here online and you should ensure you do that early because the ticket can sell out very fast. The theatre is closed till September 12 but you will still marvel at the mind-blowing exterior.

Ostankino TV Tower

Ostankino Tower
Ostankino Tower

It was built in 1967 and it was considered as the tallest free-standing construction in the world when it was built. You will get a breathtaking 360-degree view of Moscow from this tower and you should ensure to book one of the hourly tours where speedy elevators will take you the height of 337m in no time.

OPENING TIMES: Mon-Sun: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm

Cathedral of Christ the Savior

Cathedral of Christ the Savior Moscow
Cathedral of Christ the Savior Moscow

If you are a religious fanatic, this is a must go place for you. The Cathedral of Christ is a remarkable site and it was rebuilt in the 1990s at the same place where it once stood before it was demolished in 1931 by the Soviet authorities. The cathedral was designed to look like the predecessor that was demolished and it also contains the icon Christ Not Painted by Hand by Sorokin that survived the demolition.

OPENING TIMES: Sun-Sat: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Mon: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Best Things to do in Moscow Russia by Nikolay Vorobyev via Unsplash
Best Things to do in Moscow Russia Photo by Nikolay Vorobyev on Unsplash

This metropolis has a big and bold character and grandiose setting that’s definitely worth getting to know. It is a fun and lively place to go for your vacation as there are lots of tourist attractions to explore, nightlife is spectacular, the gastronomy is top notched and many more that will give you a memorable time there and you will surely come back for more.

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