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Red Square, Moscow | © Valerii Tkachenko / WikiCommons
Red Square, Moscow | © Valerii Tkachenko / WikiCommons

Everything You Need to Know About Moscow For Russia 2018

Picture of Dasha Fomina
Updated: 8 December 2017

Set to host 12 games of FIFA World Cup 2018, Russia’s busiest city is sure to only get busier as the tournament approaches. Here’s your essential guide to Moscow for FIFA 2018.

Where to eat

With over two thousand restaurants to choose from, you’ll never go hungry in Moscow. But choosing just one restaurant may be a daunting task. To help you on your way, we’ve narrowed down all the available options to a list of Moscow’s 10 best restaurants. Russia’s capital is home to a heap of food places, ranging from the Michelin-starred restaurants to quirky eateries for budget travelers. Whether you opt for elegantly cooked authentic Russian food, set off on a quest for perfect pelmeni, or soothe your exotic cravings with hearty Uzbek soup, you won’t be disappointed.

Where to drink

Moscow may not have the atmospheric bar scene of St.Petersburg, but there are still legendary drinking places that locals frequent: stop at Mayak or Petrovich and you’re sure to bump into some Russian celebrities. Moscow has some of the best places in Russia to get an authentic vodka experience, and some of them like Saratov or Grand Cafe Zhivago are mere steps from the Red Square. Have a midnight cocktail craving? Make a stop at one of Moscow’s hip 24-hour bars like Denis Simachev Shop & Bar or Tema Bar. And of course there are buzzing sport bars like Liga Pap, since beer and football go so well together

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What to see

A capital city with 870 years of history, Moscow has so much to offer when it comes to historic sites, iconic buildings and famous monuments. You’ll need weeks to discover all architectural gems of Moscow’s centre alone, and no matter how much time you have, there’s always Moscow Kremlin, the best-known of Russia’s medieval fortresses, Red Square, GUM Department Store and Lenin’s Mausoleum – all located in the very heart of Russia’s capital.

Moscow is a paradise for architecture-lovers, where onion-shaped domes of orthodox churches share the skyline with peaks of Stalinist skyscrapers. Looking for a green respite before the game? Stroll around one of Moscow’s parks: Gorky Park is convenient part of a vast pedestrian zone, stretching from Muzeon Art Park to Vorobyovy Gory.  If you have a day to spare, there is Nikola Lenivets Art Park just outside Moscow, where you can experience rural Russia, which is so different from the buzzing metropolis.

What to do

Russia’s capital reportedly never sleeps, so here you can have fun 24/7. Start by touring a plethora of Moscow’s museums: admire the world’s largest collection of Russian art at the Tretyakov Gallery, visit the world-famous Pushkin Museum, explore the monumental Victory Museum or give in to Soviet nostalgia at the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines.

Apart from being a museum-lover’s paradise, Moscow is undeniably Russia’s capital of shopping, with three of its best shopping malls, GUM, TSUM and Okhotny Ryad, being situated a stone’s throw from the Red Square. To cleanse your body and calm your soul after emotional turmoil of football watching, head to Sandunovsky banya – Moscow’s oldest and most spectacular bathhouse, just be sure to read this first-timer’s guide to Russian banya.

Up for a night of dancing? Check out Moscow’s legendary nightclubs like Propaganda or one of annual summer festivals. Even if you’re too pressed for time, there are iconic landmarks right under your feet – soak in the Soviet grandeur of Moscow’s metro stations for less than a dollar.

Fan zone

Moscow FIFA Fan Fest zone will be arranged at the foot of a spectacular Stalinist skyscraper that is the Moscow State University’s main building. Situated across the river from the Luzhniki Stadium, the 40,000-capacity area will be open every game day and will close a couple of hours after a match. To get to the MSU from the Universitet Metro Station, you can take buses 1, 113, 119, 661 and get off at the stop ‘Dom Kultury MGU’.

Moscow State University, 1 Leninskiye Gory, Moscow, Russia

Stadiums

Unlike the other ten FIFA World Cup 2018 cities, Moscow boasts two stadiums where football drama is set to unfold. The first is the 81,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium, set to host seven of the tournament’s games, including the opening and final matches. Located relatively close to the city centre, the stadium is easy to get to – the best ways are either using Moscow Metro or Moscow Central Circle – or on a good day you can even take walk to the stadium from the Gorky Park. The second is the more remote Spartak Stadium, aka Otkritie Arena, which will host five games. The 45,360-capacity stadium is a five-minute walk from Spartak Metro Station and a 10-minute walk from Tushinskaya Metro Station.