Love it or hate it, shopping for souvenirs is an unavoidable part of travelling. Whether you’re a natural born gift-hunter or someone who grabs the first thing on street vendor stalls, it always feels good to bring something back from a trip. So if you’re planning a Moscow vacation any time soon, here are the best places to get memorabilia from Russia’s capital.
Red Square Market
Right opposite the entrance side of Teatralnaya metro station, there are rows of colorful tents selling every cliché Russian souvenir in the book. The Red Square may not be the best place to stock up on cheap souvenirs, but if you only have time for a basic Kremlin tour and do not plan on doing serious gift-shopping, this is where you can buy obligatory but terribly overpriced matryoshka dolls and ushankas.
No Moscow tour is complete without taking a leisurely stroll down this beautiful historic street. Located in the very heart of Moscow, the city’s most famous pedestrian avenue offers all kinds of entertainment, from live music performers and tattoo artists, to caricaturists and souvenir shops. Here you’ll find a much wider variety of gifts to take home than at the Red Square market, and at more reasonable prices too.
One of Moscow’s most symbolic attractions, Sparrow Hills is where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city, see all seven of Stalin’s skyscrapers at once and take a closer look at one of them – the Moscow State University. Tourists can also take a ropeway ride or a boat tour to view the city from different angles. No wonder the place draws crowds and sells millions of souvenirs every year, the prices are decent but the offering will only satisfy those whose ambitions don’t go beyond fridge magnets.
Museum of Moscow
If you’re looking for exquisite Moscow inspired gifts, then you should go straight to the Museum of Moscow. No hideous ushankas and kitschy souvenir plates here: rare books on Moscow history share shelf space with designer stationery and jewellery. Mandatory posters, maps, totes and fridge magnets are also available here, but they are so tasteful, your friends back home will literally fight for them.
If you’re willing to take a metro ride to the east of Moscow, you’ll be rewarded by getting straight into a gift-shopper’s paradise. The biggest and most popular flea market in Moscow sells almost every souvenir imaginable: from Soviet antiques, to paintings to Asian rugs. The further you go in, the lower the prices and the more likely you are to get great deals.