Moscow’s Most Magical Winter Activities

St. Basil’s Cathedral in winter
St. Basil’s Cathedral in winter | © Sergey Rodovnichenko/Flickr
Rika Schoeman

It doesn’t matter if you want to kick back or have a ball, Moscow has a ton to see and do even during the winter. Check out our list of the top things to do in Moscow this winter.

A glimpse of the new VDNH ice-skating rink

Be Captivated By The VDNH Ice-Skating Rink

The dynamic VDNH Park (pronounced ‘vedeenkha’) is now equipped with a big ice-skating rink. Be thrilled as you skate around ancient monuments mingling with contemporary artistic constructions and light shows. Whether novice or knowledgeable, be swept away by the glorious surroundings. No skates? No problem. The VDNH also has rental skates available. If ice skating is not your forte, wander between the dazzling lanes of snowy white and blue lights with glimmering gold from the famous ‘friendship of people’ fountain, or rest at one of many vendors selling just about everything from coffee to corn. For more solace, have a seat at the quaint outdoor restaurants, or go for a walk between the serene snow-capped trees and head deeper into this enormous park. The VDNH is a short walk from the VDNH metro station.

The entrance of Gorky Park in early winter

Be Stunned By The Splendor Of Gorky Park

An all-around family favorite, Gorky Park is usually filled with vibrant artists, mingling music, dance lessons and many other activities. In winter, Gorky Park also offers ice skating, a writer’s club, guided tours, and the Muzeon — a place full of statues, with this year’s ice statues being located just across the street. After skating, enjoy a leisurely walk along the bank of the Moscow River, or opt to try the mouthwatering food and drinks from the carts and cafés scattered throughout the park itself. There are also several enthralling exhibitions taking place inside the park. Gorky Park is a brisk 5-10 minute walk from Oktyabrskaya or Park Kultury metro station.

A sneak peak at the first floor of the Lunarium

Play At The Planetarium

Take an enthralling look at the depths of the universe in this interactive spot, which also presents the occasional music performance. The Planetarium offers a glance at the marvels of several fascinating aspects of space — including a glimpse of the dazzling night sky at the Large Star Hall — entertaining games, and an illustrated explanation of scientific theories and ideas of space at the Lunarium. All of the Lunarium’s illustrations are also available in English, Chinese, German, and Russian. There are also guided tours available in English and Russian. As you exit in your undoubtedly star-struck state, have a snack at the Planetarium’s very own café, which offers a lovely view of the exhibits inside.

The interior of the Stanislavsky Theatre

Be Enchanted By The Stanislavsky Theater

Standing in the center of Moscow, just down the street from Pushkinskaya Square, the Stanislavsky Theater produces contemporary and classical ballet plus opera and theatrical pieces. Once you enter the theater, a cozy ambiance awaits you with a soothing blue and white interior, but that’s only a small peek at the captivation this theater has to offer. Awaken your inner artist as this place offers top-notch entertainment at affordable prices — rumor has it that the dress code isn’t even that strict. This winter, be spellbound by operas like Les Contes d’Hoffmann or revisit the beloved classics like The Nutcracker. The theater is located between Tverskaya and Mayakovskaya metro station.

The view from the second floor of the Museum of Soviet arcade machines

Have a Blast At The Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines

At this museum, individuals get the chance to play Soviet-style arcade games, which are fun regardless of your age. Once you buy a ticket, you’ll be given 15 kopek coins to play the arcade games. Be thrilled by a hilarious game of Python or an old-school racing game. There are also more modern games like Foosball, and across the hall, there is a collection of computer games. Bring out your inner child at one of the most fascinating and fun-filled museums in Moscow — a place where gamers are encouraged to play any day of the week. The museum is a 15-minute walk from Lubyanka metro station.

Datsyuk and Gusev locked in a battle for the puck

Enjoy An Exciting Hockey Match At The CSKA Ice Palace

Roaring fans and the fresh icy smell of the arena — the excitement of a hockey game is the perfect way to knock out the dull winter blues. CSKA is home to one of Moscow’s most famous hockey teams and often hosts matches between Moscow clubs as well as other national teams. As you sit enthralled on the edge of your seat, marvel at the speed and prowess of local Moscow teams, who are said to fight all the way to the end and show an amazing presence. In between the action-packed match, indulge in a soulful snack or meal at one of many restaurants and cafés inside the stadium or shop for souvenirs. CSKA is fairly priced, even for decent seats, and promises an experience you will remember. The CSKA Ice Palace is located between Aeroport and Dynamo metro station.

Delight Your Taste Buds At Sokolniki Market

A short walk from Sokolniki metro station, you can hear a liveliness in the air as shoppers haggle over the price of local produce. Each stall has mountains of handmade items plus different colored fruits and vegetables like firm red tomatoes, sweet red berries and leafy green spices of all shapes and sizes. The smell of barbeque in the chilly air mixes with the aroma of strong, fresh coffee that wanders with you as you browse around for the next big bargain. If you miss this market, have no fear, as there are many Christmas fairs springing up during the festive season at places like Gorky Park, The Red Square, Pushkinskaya Square, and many more.

Outside MMOMA

Marvel At The Moscow Museum Of Modern Art (MMOMA)

Be captivated by the modernization of art at MMOMA, which hosts a permanent collection of the development and formation of the avant-garde. MMOMA offers a glance into the colorful and vivacious inner world of modern Russian artists like Ilya Kabakov and Vladimir Yakovlev plus other renowned artists like Henri Rousseau, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dalí. MMOMA also hosts several events, creative workshops, stimulating studies of new technologies in visual arts, and even provides informative guided tours in English or Russian. Currently, MMOMA is featuring 200 Keystrokes per Minute. Typewriter and the 20th-Century Consciousness, Mirrors, and various other thought-provoking exhibitions.

St. Basil’s Cathedral in winter

Stand In Awe Of The St. Basil’s Choir

Multi-colored domes with different textures, tourists fluttering around with their cameras, the foreboding red walls of the Red Square — everyone knows the legendary St. Basil’s Church, with its picturesque array of colors and rich history. The real secret though is nestled inside this glorious church — Doros, an all-men’s choir performs spiritual Russian songs almost daily inside of this iconic location. Feel yourself enamored by the rich surroundings as the enigmatic voices transport you to a hidden place of harmony and rhythm. The cherry on top is the ice-skating rink, amusement park, and market currently running just outside St. Basil’s Church.

A glimpse down Tverkskaya Street

Wander Down The Ever-Appealing Tverskaya Street

One of the most stunning views in Moscow lies in the very heart of one of Russia’s most famous streets. Tverskaya Street plays host to an array of cozy coffee shops, cool clubs, restaurants of every color and flavor imaginable, along with many famous museums. Indeed, Tverskaya Street ends at the Red Square, The Bolshoi Theatre, and GOOM shopping center. Tverskaya Street in winter is a feast for the eyes and a wonderful spot to take pictures. So, treat yourself by simply strolling down the street and reveling in its shimmering splendor; relish in the knowledge that adventure can be found around every corner.

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