What to do with a few hours in Moscow?
March 25, 2013 12:43 PM   Subscribe

Hey, I'm going (with a group) to Moscow from this Wednesday to Friday. Thing is, I get there in the evening and leave early Friday, and so I really only have Wednesday night, maybe three hours Thursday afternoon, and then Thursday night. (I guess I also have very early Thursday and Friday mornings, although seems unlikely I'd really be up for anything.) Anything that I absolutely need to see/do/eat in those windows? I'm interested in mostly arts/cultural/architectural/food/drinks things, but I'm not sure what I can fit into those spaces in the day/night. Thanks.

Also, I don't speak Russian. I'll try to learn to read Cyrillic before I go though. If it matters, our hotel is near Krasnaya Presnya Park.
posted by Busoni to Travel & Transportation around Moscow, Russia (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Having just returned from my first visit there yesterday, I have a few recommendations! That Thursday afternoon, definitely go to the Armory at the Kremlin. It's full of Russian tsarist artifacts (crowns, clothes, weapons, shiny things). You are only allowed in for 1.5 hours so after that poke around the cathedrals in the Kremlin for another 1.5 hours and take in some icons. Heading out, go peep St. Basil's and Red Square for more architecture.

There is a fancy mall/arcade thingy called GUM (pronounced "goom") just to the north of St. Basil's--if you go to the very top floor on the south end, there is a cafeteria that is cheap (don't let the rest of the otherwise luxury-mall fool you) with super yummy traditional Russian food--it's great for lunch after a museum tour. Food is listed in English there.

If you need to kill a little more time, head south across the Moscow River and pop onto the island made by the Moscow river and the canal just south of it. (Walking directions: Head south from St. Basil's, down the big street, cross the bridge over the river and the canal, take a right after the bridge. A few blocks down, you'll see a foot bridge crossing the canal to the island that has trees made of locks. Cross that.) On that island (a right off the foot-bridge) there is a fun little park with weird sculpture on the east end. The west end of the island (left off the foot-bridge) holds an arts/social complex called Red October. Head to Strelka Bar there for dinner or later-evening drinking. Also look up what else might be happening there in the evenings to fill your other nights. Here's an NYT article.

From there you can also head over to what I called the Pussy Riot Concert Venue, aka Cathedral of Christ the Savior, and look inside at the over-the-top Russian Orthodox style. You can also spy the awesomely bad sculpture on the river of Peter the Great perched on this this big ugly boat.

As for other night-life stuff, I was being taken around by friends to night-spots all over and all night, most of which I can't remember the name off.

Learning how to read Cyrillic is definitely helpful, but if you only have a few hours and stick to the more touristy/cultural places, you'll probably be fine just learning the phrase "do you speak english" in russian in case you need extra help. Good luck and have fun!
posted by greta simone at 1:56 PM on March 25, 2013

Just noticed that the Kremlin is closed on Thursdays, so scratch that. But if you can go on one of the other days, you should really try.
posted by greta simone at 2:25 PM on March 25, 2013

Like greta simone, I just returned from Moscow last weekend (yay for mistake fares!). I second everything she wrote, but i wanted to add a dinner suggestion- take the metro or a cab over to Ragout for dinner one night as its absolutely lovely. Really good Russian and European cuisine, and quite affordable.
posted by TestamentToGrace at 8:06 PM on March 25, 2013

Response by poster: Of course it figures that the Kremlin is closed the one day I can go! Thanks for the suggestions all the same.
posted by Busoni at 1:11 AM on March 26, 2013

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