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Top Moscow Attractions

The first time you visit Moscow, or any new destination, the question asked isn’t usually what attractions should be scene but what attraction to see first, what to expect, how to get there, and how much time is needed. We’ve provided tips, advice, and other information about the top tourist attractions in Moscow to help with your itinerary planning.

Red Square Red Square
The Kremlin The Kremlin
Bolshoi Theater Bolshoi Theater
Moscow River Tour Moscow River Tour

Red Square

Easily the most famous landmark in Russia, St. Basil’s Cathedral, sits at one end of Red Square. You will likely want the obligatory picture with the famous onion domes towering above your head. Shoot away, there is plenty of space for photographs. Hours: 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday to Monday, closed Tuesday. Call (095) 298-3304 for excursions.

The square is also home to Lenin’s mausoleum, where the communist leader’s body lays still today. There isn’t a fee to see Lenin, but the line forms at around 8:30 a.m. at the bottom of the hill between the large park and the State Historical Museum. You would be wise to see Lenin soon, talk is circulating that the former leader’s body will be buried soon. The experience is eerie to say the least. Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., closed Monday and Friday. Call (095) 923-5527 for more information.

On the opposite end of St. Basil’s Cathedral is the State Historical Museum. It is home to everything from fossils to possessions of Russian czars. There is even a copy of the Declaration of Independence. Hours: Monday, Wednesday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed the first Monday of every month.

Opposite the Kremlin wall is GUM, a three-story mall that puts most American shopping centers to shame. If you are shopping at GUM, have your wallet ready. The stores are posh. Designer clothing and accessories from across the globe are available. You can also simply walk around the fountains and marbled halls. Above you are glass domes that serve as fountains for a park on top of the mall. There is an internet café on the bottom level of the mall that is fairly priced.


The Kremlin

 Address Red Square
 Hours Friday to Wednesday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Thursday
 Phone Call (095) 202-4256 for excursions, (095) 928-5232 for the ticket office.

When you walk through the Kremlin gate there is a feeling of awe at the historical figures who walked through the same passageway. If you have the chance to buy tickets ahead of time through an agent or English speaking Russian friend you should try to. The people at the front desk are more likely to charge you for more than you want to see. The prices range from a simple tour of the Kremlin grounds to admission to the many churches inside. Inside is the Duma, Russia’s version of the Congress. You can’t walk inside the Duma and armed guards will remind you with sharp whistles if you get too close. The churches are ancient and have beautiful paintings on the outside. Inside are the tombs of Russia’s czars. If you want to take pictures, you must pay for the privilege. In the late morning there is a changing of the guard in the main square. You can also take pictures in front of two giant relics of tsarist Russia. One is a giant cannon and the other a 20-foot tall bell.


Bolshoi Theater

 Address Teatralnaya Pl.
 Phone +7 (095) 250-73-17

The famous opera house is nothing short of breathtaking in person. The architecture is amazing and the performances are exhilarating. The main stage is currently under a massive renovation, but performances are always in production on the smaller stages.

Some of the most famous actors perform at the Bolshoi and Russian opera enthusiasts will flock to a particular performers opening night. Tickets are reasonably priced for upper level seats. Every seat provides a view of the stage and the acoustics in each theater ensure you will hear every note.

Outside the theater is a large square where people gather to eat ice cream, drink beer and socialize. There are many small cafes and coffee shops around the theater. You would be wise to eat at one of these shops because the prices inside the Bolshoi are quite high.


Moscow River Tour

A great way to see the city in a few hours is on a riverboat tour of the Moscow River. There are many stops at key tourist locations in the city and passengers can board and exit the boat at any point. From the boat, which has an uncovered top level and a snack bar on the bottom deck, you can take pictures of the Kremlin, famous skyscrapers, Gorky Park and many more landmarks. If you visit in the summer, the boat tour is a nice way to cool off. It can also serve as an alternative to metro traffic as a means of traveling to a tourist spot. Hours: Every day, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Boats load at piers at 30-minute intervals.


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