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St Petersburg I © shbs / Pixabay
St Petersburg I © shbs / Pixabay

An Alternative Guide to St Petersburg, Russia

Picture of Anastasiia Ilina
Updated: 6 November 2017
With extra time to spend in St Petersburg it can be pleasant to step off the beaten track and go searching for some of the hidden gems of the city. If you want to experience St Petersburg as the locals do, check out our insider’s alternative guide to the best-kept secrets in town.

Relax on the rooftop of Loft Project Etagi

Loft Project Etagi has become an institution in St Petersburg -there is always something going on at this hotspot, be it an exhibition, a garage sale, or festivals. As the project developed over the past 10 years, the site grew and expanded to having its own café and even a rooftop overlooking the city. Perhaps in the winter it is advisable to stay indoors, but on a warm day the rooftop makes for a perfect getaway, well-hidden from busy tourists.

74 Ligovsky Avenue, St. Petersburg, Russia, +7 812 458 50 05

Take a tour of the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines

Dive into a Soviet childhood at the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines, a spot favoured by many locals. As part of the experience a guide gives a tour around, after which you’ll be free to explore at your leisure. There are now 40 machines as part of the exhibition, some of which still work for visitors to try out. A special treat are the machines with mineral water, just like on the streets a few decades back.

2 Konyushennaya Square, St. Petersburg, Russia, +7 812 740 02 40

Раньше было лучше!

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Enjoy a private screening at Pandora Cinema

Going to the cinema may not seem so exciting, but having a cinema all to yourself and deciding which movie to watch certainly is. Pandora Cinema takes the movie experience to a new level – they have rooms of all sizes available for hire, perfect for a date, a party with friends and even a kids’ party. There are all sorts of extra services available, ranging from various desserts to performances by magicians, all of which add a certain magic to the experience.

32/34 Nevsky Avenue, St. Petersburg, Russia, +7 812 981 54 34

Друзья, Пандора поздравляет Вас с уже наступившим НОВЫМ 2017 годом – годом Петуха. Этот год – огненный год Петуха. Пусть он принесет Вам удачу во всех направлениях, здоровье и много-много счастливых мгновений в Вашей жизни. А мы будем радовать Вас романтикой своих залов и сюрпризами для Ваших любимых 🎀🎈❤️ #пандора #кинотеатр #новыйгод #годпетуха #счастье #кинотеатрдлядвоих #счастье #счастливыемгновения #здоровье #удача #романтика #радость #влюбленные #двое #любовь #др #праздник #свечи спб #питер #этопитердетка #друзья

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Learn about dreams at the Freud Dreams Museum

Unlike other Freud museums around the world, St Petersburg was not a place were Sigmund Freud lived. And the museum is not dedicated to the life of the psychiatrist, but rather to just the part of his work dedicated to dreams. The museum was opened on the 100th anniversary of the book The Interpretation of Dreams – Freud was the first researcher to prove that dreams were not a spontaneous occurrence, but rather provided a pathway into the study of the human subconscience.

18A Bolshoy Avenue PS,  St. Petersburg, Russia, +7 911 784 21 17

Поздравляем всех С Новым годом! С годами люди меняются, меняются времена, вопросов о человеке, о психике, о человеческих отношениях как минимум не становится меньше. А идеи, вопросы, размышления Фрейда остаются актуальными инструментами для осмысления человека, САМОГО СЕБЯ! чем вы занимаетесь в морозные праздничные дни? Мы познаём себя 😉 #kudagospb#spbmuseum#музеиспб#музейсновиденийфрейда#freudsdreamsmuseum#психоанализ#кудапойтиспб#самопознание

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Have a drink or two at a hidden bar

St Petersburg has plenty bars to choose from, but why settle for the easy option? For true wine devotees, the Big Wine Freaks bar opens its doors Tuesday to Saturday. It is highly advisable to give the bar a call beforehand to book a table, as not only does space tend to be limited, but it’s also useful to get directions, since the entrance is well-hidden. Be aware that though their bar snacks are all well-made and on point, if you’re after a full meal it’s a good idea to eat before hitting the town.

3 Instrumentalnaya Street, St. Petersburg, Russia, +7 921 938 60 63

Saturday vibes #bigwinefreaks #bwf #realwine

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Stargaze at the planetarium

A trip to the planetarium may sound like it’s just fun for the kids, but don’t be too quick to judge. The Saint Petersburg Planetarium has expanded over the years, and now offers a variety of different programmes, be it an introduction to astrology or a physics course in electrodynamics. The only issue is the programmes only run in Russian, but even then just enjoying the view of the sky can be a change of scenery on your trip.

4 Aleksandrovsky Park, St. Petersburg, Russia, +7 812 233 49 56

Льготные сеансы в Звёздном зале планетария! 🌟 Внимание! Один раз в месяц, по субботам, в 10:30 Петербургский Планетарий проводит льготные сеансы для детей 5-7 лет. Стоимость билетов – 100 рублей (такая же цена для сопровождающих их взрослых). Ближайший сеанс – 25 ноября. Вы увидите программу «Плоские» фигурки на «плоском» небе»☁ Яркие звёзды на ночном небе складываются в причудливые фигурки. Люди издревле называют их созвездиями. Но что это такое на самом деле? Неужели небо и правда состоит из различных фигурок? 🐘 Напомним, что Звёздный зал Планетария – самый большой по вместимости. Интересные рассказы сопровождаются демонстрацией слайдов, видеоряда под его куполом. И, конечно, ни одна лекция не обходится без вида звёздного неба! #планетарий #льготы #звёздныйзал #дети #длядетей #детскиеразвлечения #звёзды #космос #лекция #образование #обучение #школьники

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Visit John Lennon Street

Did John Lennon live in St Petersburg? No! But many dedicated fans of The Beatles did and still do. Due to the determination of one particular Russian fan, Nikolai, John Lennon Street appeared, hidden away in a courtyard and shielded from the ever-present eye of the law. As the place became more popular, bars, cafés, restaurants started appearing here, creating an art space. Today visitors come here to see the iconic Yellow Submarine and pay homage to the legendary band.

53 Ligovsky Avenue, St. Petersburg, Russia