17 Places to Visit in Moscow on a Budget
Looking for honest, low-cost tips on what to do in Moscow? Here is my suggestion on places to visit in Moscow, which I created during my three-month stay in this Russian metropole.
Before we jump to the top places to visit in Moscow let’s talk about the transportation you will need to use. Ideally, you should get a map of Moscow that includes the metro map. If you love to carry a printed version with you, I suggest getting the Lonely Planet Moscow Travel Guide that includes the metro map. If you are fine without it, you should at least download the offline version of Google Maps to make it easier to navigate in Moscow.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the best things to do in Moscow.
1. Visit the Red Square
The Red Square is without a doubt the most iconic place to visit in Moscow. It is located in the heart of Moscow close to the metro station Ploshchad’ Revolyutsii (blue line), surrounded by the Kremlin and the famous shopping center GUM.
From the Red Square you can also visit further points of interest such as the St. Basil’s Cathedral, Kremlin, the Lenin Mausoleum or the Bolshoi Moskevsky most, which is a great spot to take pictures from.
The Red Square is on top of the list of places to visit Moscow since you can’t skip this when doing some sightseeing in Moscow.
The St. Basil’s Cathedral is beautiful to look at but not as breathtaking from the inside. If you are on a budget it is not a “must-visit” place in Moscow.
2. Visit Lenin’s Mausoleum
Right in the middle of the Red Square, you will notice a strange building which will remind you on a pyramid. This is Lenin’s Mausoleum.
I highly recommend you to not skip this tourist attraction in Moscow. It’s an experience by itself. The area is surrounded by Russian soldiers which monitor every step you make.
Just make sure you are polite and show some respect when visiting Lenin’s Mausoleum.
There are no entry fees and it’s open daily from 10:00 to 13:00h. Be aware however that it is closed on Mondays and Fridays.
3. Try Russian Food at Teremok
The easiest and cheapest way to try local food is to go to the Russian fast food chain Teremok. You can find them everywhere. There is also one located close to Red Square.
It is a great opportunity to grab some food if you plan on taking the free walking tour, that ends right at Alexander’s Garden. Even if you like to explore Moscow on yourself. Alexander’s Garden is a great spot to watch the change of the guards, which might be of interest to you.
When it comes to Russian food I suggest you go for the Blini (Russian pancakes filled with various toppings) and Syrniki (Russian dessert made from cheesecake).
You can find the Teremok food court in the underground shopping mall next to the Alexander Garden. Learn more about the food I tried in Russia here.
4. Walk Through the City Center
The great things about Moscow city center are that you can walk to many points of interest by foot. Be aware however that the city center is quite big. Bring enough water with you to keep hydrated. Especially during the summer, it can get very hot.
From Alexander’s Garden, you can walk up the street to Bolshoi Theater and Tverskaya street. I personally enjoyed exploring the side streets where there isn’t too much traffic. You will find a lot of coffee places and local shops that will give you a sneak peek into Russian culture.
If you decide to visit the Bolshoi Theater you can view what’s being performed here. The tickets are usually around 3ooo rubles.
5. Walk to the Arbat Street
When exploring Moscow you should not miss the Arbat district with its icon Arbat street.
This one-kilometer long street belongs to the oldest streets in Moscow and is the place where you can spot local artist and musicians.
It is one of my favorite streets as it is for pedestrians only so you will not be bothered by any traffic. The best way to get there is by taking the metro blue line to Arbatskaja or walk from Red Square.
6. Visit “Moscow City” the Highest Towers in Europe
If you want to admire some “modern” architecture, go see the Moscow city. It’s a complex of the highest skyscrapers in Europe. Apart from the skyscrapers, there is however not much to see.
If you have the budget and enjoy a nice view of the city you can visit the rooftop bar called, Sixty Bar which is located on the 60th floor in one of the towers at Moscow City. , The closest metro station to Moscow city is called Vystavochnaya (light blue line).
If you are on a tight time schedule, you can skip this attraction.
7. Visit VDNKH and the Museum of Cosmonautics
A place yo need to visit in Moscow is the VDNKH complex and the Museum of Cosmonautics. It is one of my favorite places to visit in Moscow.
The Museum of Cosmonautics tells the story behind Russian space exploration. You can also learn about the two dogs Belka and Strelka that made it to space. The entrance is only 200 rubles which is a good deal.
VDNKh is an amusement and exhibition park and in winter the home of the largest ice skating rink in Russia. The atmosphere at VDNKh is great.
Both points of interest are close to each other. The closest metro station is called Prospekt Mira.
8. Visit Zarizyno Park
Moscow is full of beautiful parks, one of them is called Tsaritsyno. It’s located approximately one hour south of the city center. If you feel like escaping the noise of busy Moscow this is the place to relax and connect with nature.
You can get to Zarizyno Park with the green line all the way to the Metro Station Tsaritsyno.
Be aware that the visit of the Zarizyno Park will probably take you at least 4 to 5 hours as the park is quite big and it takes a while to get there.
9. Visit Kolomenskoye
Another place to visit in Moscow is the former royal estate complex called Kolomenskoye. This place is a bit off the beaten path and is usually not visited by many tourists. You can connect the visit with the above mentioned Zarizyno Park if you have some days left in Moscow and you need a break from the city center.
The walk around Kolomenskoye gives you a better impression of the Russian culture as it is located in one of Moscow’s suburbs.
10. Visit the Gorki Park the Riverside of Moskva
Closer to the city center, right next to the river Moskva you will find Gorki Park. In summer this spot is the place to go, relax, socialize and enjoy the vibes at the river. In winter it’s a great spot for ice skating.
It is a good place for a date as well :)
11. Watch an Ice Hockey Game
If you happen to be in Moscow around the ice hockey season you need to visit one of the games. A thing to do in Russia is to see a KHL ice hockey game.
The atmosphere is absolutely worth it. The tickets start at 200 rubles and you can buy it in front of the stadium or buy it online. View the schedule of upcoming games here.
12. Visit the Moscow State University MGU
The building of the Lomonosov Moscow State University is one of the seven sisters, a group of seven skyscrapers which look the same. If you ever visit Moscow you will notice that there are few buildings which look alike.
This one is located south of the city close to the metro station Universitet and Vorobyovy Gory. You will need to walk for another 40 minutes from the metro station to get there.
The building is quite impressive, unfortunately, you can’t access it without a valid student ID, but you can enjoy the view over the city from the observation deck in front of it.
I would suggest visiting this place also only if you have more days to spare in Moscow as it’s quite far from other points of interest.
13. Izmaylovo Kremlin and Market
A place that you should however not skip is the Izmaylovo Kremlin.
Did you know that Moscow has more than one Kremlin? This one is located in the east at the metro station Partizanskaja (dark blue line).
I personally prefer this Kremlin over the one on Red Square, which is not worth visiting in my opinion. Izmaylovo Kremlin is however definitely a place to visit in Moscow.
At the Izmaylovo Kremlin, you can find a market where people sell various Russian products. It’s also a great place to buy some souvenirs for a much better price than in the center. Here you can always negotiate if you dare :)
Apart from the market, you need to try another Slavic specialty Shashlik, the best one I have had in Russia was here. The Izmaylovo Kremlin is a must-visit place in Moscow.
You can also walk through the nearby park from where you can have a quite impressive view on the Kremlin.
14. Visit Krutitskoe Podvorye
Krutitskoe Podvorye is another off the beaten path attraction. It’s a historical building, built some 400 years ago although it looks much older.
It’s really impressive and worth the visit if you have time to spare in Moscow. It’s a few minutes walk from the metro station Proletarskaya (purple line).
15. Explore Novodevichy Convent
Similar to the visit of Krutitskoe Podvorye Novodevichy Convent is also a place to visit if you have planned more time for Moscow. It is probably the best-known cloister in Moscow.
It’s interesting to look at and surrounded by a lake which creates a cozy atmosphere. From here you can also get a nice view of the skyline with the Moscow City in the background.
16. Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is by far the most impressive cathedral in Moscow. It’s gigantic and absolutely worth the visit.
You should definitely include it to your list of things to do in Moscow. It’s just a short walk from Kremlin and the entrance is free.
17. Moscow’s Metro Tour
If you have not noticed yet, Moscow is also known for the most beautiful metro stations.
All of them are unique in their own way. My favorite is the Mayakovskaya station (dark green line).
You can read more about metro sightseeing in Moscow in my post about Metro sightseeing in Moscow. If you happen to be in Moscow on a rainy weekend, driving around and do some sightseeing of Moscow’s metro station can be a fun thing to do. During the week it’s mostly too crowded to be able to even take a picture of the metro station.
If you are intersted in to learn about the stories of Moscow’s metro, I suggest you book a guided tour.
Planning a short trip to Moscow?
As you can imagine, to visit all of the above-mentioned places in Moscow is not possible within a few days. If you plan to stay in Moscow just for about three to four days these are the places you need to visit in Moscow.
Places to visit in Moscow in three days:
- Red Square, Alexander’s Garden, Lenin’s Mausoleum, Cathedral of the Christ the Saviour
- Izmaylovo Kremlin and Market, Gorki park, Arbat street
- VDNKH and the Museum of Cosmonautics
Here are a few suggestions for accommodation for your trip to Moscow:
This post about things to do in Moscow covers the most interesting places I have visited during my three months stay in Moscow.
What I love about this city is that most of the activities are for free compared to many other western cities where you need a much higher budget.
Travelers who only have a few hours to explore Moscow should book a tour to get the most of their time. This Moscow Tour covers all the major sights of the city in one day.
If you plan to visit St. Petersburg don’t forget to check my post about cool places to visit here.