Things to Know Before You Go to Moscow, Russia

Beyond the Red Square and the echoes of the Kremlin’s bells, there’s a whole city teeming with secrets just waiting to be discovered. ThisCityKnows is here to give you the scoop on all the things to know before you go to Moscow, ensuring your visit is as epic as the city itself.

The St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow
The St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow

Let’s begin with a quick heads-up: 

While we share our insights and experiences on the world’s premier travel destinations, it’s always crucial to prioritize your local government’s guidance on current travel advisories.


As you set your sights on this city where majestic historical architecture stands side by side with sleek, modern skyscrapers, it’s essential to arm yourself with some key insights. From navigating the labyrinth of the Kremlin to experiencing the bustling nightlife of the Arbat, these essential things to know before you go to Moscow will ensure your adventure is as seamless as it is exciting. 

For example, did you know that the Moscow Metro serves as one of the deepest underground systems in the world, and during WWII, its stations doubled as bomb shelters? This blog explores similar interesting facts and more, serving as your virtual passport to discovering everything fun and unexpected about Russia’s dynamic capital!

When To Go & How To Get Around Moscow

If you’re planning a trip to Moscow, timing is everything. April and May are ideal months to explore, with temperatures in the comfortable 50°F to 60°F. The sun sticks around for the better part of the day, and you won’t have to elbow through as many tourists since peak hotel rates haven’t kicked in yet. 

Summer sees the city at its most vibrant, but for those looking to dodge the highest prices, the shoulder seasons of spring and early fall are your best bet. 

Meanwhile, brave souls willing to endure the frost might find winter’s charm in the historical air that thickens around Red Square’s icy paths— there’s nothing quite like experiencing Moscow wrapped in snow!

When getting around, The Metro is your golden ticket. It’s not only faster than trolleybuses and trams but also a moving museum decked out with stunning ornamentation, sculptures, and mosaics. 

Also, you may want to skip on renting a car altogether. That’s because navigating the jam-packed roads can be quite a nightmare. Unless you’ve brushed up on your Russian, the street signs won’t be much help either. Most visitors touch down at Sheremetyevo International Airport, with several buses and a metro line connecting travelers to the heart of the city.

Pro-tip: Familiarize yourself with a metro map quickly; it’s your best friend in this bustling metropolis.

The Red Square in Moscow at night
The Red Square in Moscow at night

Know Before You Go: Top Things To Do in Moscow

Moscow is a treasure trove of experiences, from theatrical performances to historic explorations. 

Here’s a quick list of fun things to know before you go to Moscow, each offering a unique slice of the city:

CULTURAL LANDMARKS

  • Red Square: Begin your exploration at this historic plaza, the heart of Russian power and history.
  • The Kremlin: Marvel at the vast, imposing fortress that is home to Russia’s top governmental offices and several ancient cathedrals.
  • St. Basil’s Cathedral: Don’t miss this iconic cathedral with its colorful, onion-shaped domes located in Red Square.

HISTORICAL EXPERIENCES

  • Lenin’s Mausoleum: Visit the resting place of Vladimir Lenin, a key figure in Russian history, located in Red Square.
  • Arbat Street: Take a historical walk through one of Moscow’s oldest streets, now a pedestrian zone filled with shops and cafes.
  • Museum of Cosmonautics: Discover the history of space exploration, which holds a significant place in Russian history.

ART AND CULTURE

  • Bolshoi Theatre: Experience a world-class ballet or opera performance at one of the oldest and most renowned theaters in the world.
  • Tretyakov Gallery: we recommend you visit this gallery on a rainy day to truly see one of the world’s best collections of Russian art.
  • Moscow State Integrated Museum-Reserve: Explore a collection of historic buildings, art, and regular cultural events offering a deep dive into Russian heritage.

SHOPPING AND LEISURE

  • The GUM: Shop in a historic setting at Russia’s most famous shopping mall right on Red Square.
  • VDNKh All-Russian Exhibition Centre: Explore this monumental complex blending art, culture, and recreation, with plenty of shopping and dining options.

Where To Stay in Moscow

And definitely, knowing where to stay is also one of the essential things to know before you go to Moscow. Whether you’re looking for bustling city vibes or a quieter, more scenic setting, each neighborhood offers unique experiences and accommodation options to enhance your visit.

TVERSKAYA

In the heart of Moscow’s shopping and dining scene, Tverskaya offers easy access to major attractions with quieter side streets teeming with stylish boutiques and bars. Here, luxurious hotels like the Ritz-Carlton coexist with well-appointed apartments, providing a range of choices for every traveler.

KITAY-GOROD

A picturesque neighborhood filled with Orthodox churches and historic buildings, Kitay-Gorod is ideal for those looking to dive deep into Moscow’s past without straying from its vibrant present. The area offers charming boutique hotels like the Standart Hotel, which provides a cozy, culturally rich experience.

CHISTYE PRUDY

Known for its tranquil residential atmosphere along a scenic pond where locals enjoy relaxing or engaging in seasonal activities like ice cream in summer and ice skating in winter, Chistye Prudy is perfect for those seeking a quieter visit. Here, apartments and vacation rentals are popular for a more authentic local experience.

People walking along the halls of the Moscow Metro
People walking along the halls of the Moscow Metro

Navigate Moscow With Ease with ThisCityKnows

As you prepare for an exciting trip to Moscow, remember that each step through this historic yet pulsating city promises an adventure like no other. From the echoing halls of the Kremlin to the serene walkways of Chistye Prudy, Moscow is a city that never stops giving. 

Have fun discovering its vast cultural tapestry and don’t forget— no matter where you roam, ThisCityKnows is here to ensure you’re well-prepared with all the essential things to know before you go, not just in Moscow, but all those cities around the world that are worth visiting.

Ready to start your Moscow story? 

We can’t wait to hear about your experiences. Dive into your journey, explore with gusto, and share your Moscow stories with us. Comment below, or reach out— we love seeing the city through your eyes. And who knows? Your tips might just be the secret gems future travelers are looking for, which we can then feature next! 

So, pack your curiosity and let Moscow amaze you at every turn!

Katie
Author: Katie

Katie is all about hitting the road solo, always on the lookout for spots the internet hasn't fully discovered yet. She’s the one turning left when the map says right, hunting for those genuine, "you had to be there" moments. With a style that's as engaging as a late-night chat by the hostel fire, her stories aren't just about places, but the raw, unfiltered joy of exploring them on your own terms.

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