How to Spend 3 Days in Moscow
After collecting tones of documents, filling endless visa applications and other electronic forms, going through numerous interviews and passing the most frightening border officer in your life, you are finally here, in Russia.
And each minute you spend on this land must worth all the effort you put to come here! But what to start from? What if you have only a few days to explore Moscow? This article will help you out to spend the best long weekend in the capital of Russia! Let’s start!
Moscow is a 15 million people cosmopolitan city where 1 day wouldn’t be enough to explore all the sights. If you still haven’t planned a number of days to spend in Moscow we suggest you allocate at least 3 days before going further across Russia or back home. If you have only 24 hours, check out this article.
Day 1. Friday
10 AM – 1 PM: greeting the city
A different alphabet, lack of English speaking people might make your first day in Moscow quite stressful.
The best way to start your time here is to take a walking tour Moscow Behind the icons, which starts daily at 10 AM. During this tour you will walk along the Russian Broadway – Tverskaya street, visit the very first Mc’donalds built in USSR and discover why this fast-food restaurant has become a symbol of democracy for Russians. Next, you will discover one of the fanciest grocery stores in your life – Eliseevsky grocery shop where you will feel for a moment as a Russian aristocrat from the XIX century. Tverskaya street hides lots of secrets, your guide will share with you some of the most shocking facts about this street and let you try delicious Soviet street food pie called Cheburek. Going down the street you finally end up on the Red Square. Wait for a moment. You’ve been waiting for this minute for a long time, haven’t you? So enjoy!
Here you have a great variety of options to explore on your own:
1 PM – 6 PM: time for museums and parks
- Go to GUM – the main department store and try there a famous ice cream produced with the old soviet recipe.
- Visit the Kremlin – the territory behind the walls of the fortress which was a residence of Russian tsars from 14th to 17th century. It includes the Armory chamber and Cathedral square full of the most ancient churches of Russia dated back to the 14th century. You can buy tickets online on the official website.
- Make a selfie next to St. Basil Cathedral. Don’t even try to resist your temptation!
- Visit Lenin Mausoleum… yes he is still there, our “Sleeping beauty”, and you can see him absolutely for free, just need to go through the long line (open daily from 10 AM to 1 PM except for Mon and Fri)
- Have a rest in a brand new modern park Zaradjie located just behind the St. Basil Cathedral with a famous Flying bridge, whose authors also built High Line Park in New York.
- Walk along Nikolskaya street – this street became famous worldwide after World Cup 2018 when crowds of football fans chose it for their open-air parties. It’s also a good place for your lunch break!
- Сheck our list of original and not boring museums in Moscow, maybe you will decide to visit them!
- Varenichnaya (map) – a Soviet-style decorated restaurant that serves traditional Russian dish Vareniki.
- Taras Bulba (map) – great Ukranian restaurant near Alexander garden, a perfect place to try your first borsch!
- Visota 5642 (map)– probably the best restaurant serving Caucasian/Georgian food
If you are vegetarian, feel free to check this wonderful post about the best veggie cafes in Moscow.
7 PM – 11 PM: A night out at Bolshoy theatre
Watching Ballet in Bolshoi theatre would be a perfect ending of your first day in Moscow. But in order to buy tickets at a reasonable price, you should think about it for a few months in advance. No need to chase for “Swan Lake” and “Nutcracker” tickets – all ballet shows are excellent and you won’t see a big difference unless you are a ballet expert! Another great theatre to try is Stanislavsky music theatre, normally they have more affordable prices for the same quality of art pieces. Don’t forget to dress well and get a glass of champagne and sandwich with salmon during the break, as all the locals do!
Day 2. Saturday
10 AM -1 PM: Exploring Moscow metro
One of the nontypical sights that you can visit in Moscow is the Moscow underground system. It is one of the most beautiful and mind-blowing places in Moscow, 20 stations are included in the Russian Heritage list. Most of them are located on a circle brown line and can be explored within 1-2 hours on your own. But if you wonder what is hidden behind those statues and beautiful mosaics, you should consider taking the Underground tour! On this tour, you will explore 10 the most beautiful metro stations and 3/7 Stalin’s skyscrapers meanwhile listening about the fascinating history of the Soviet Union. You will learn how to navigate in the metro, basic rules, and local tricks and how not to get lost in this underground world! This tour includes lunch, so no need to think about a place to eat after the tour.
1 PM – 3 PM: Getting lost in Patriarch ponds
Not so far from the ending point of the Metro tour, there is a nice area that is rarely explored by tourists. Patriarch ponds district is a quiet and authentic residential area that managed to save the spirit of old Moscow. Here you can seat down next to the Ponds watching the locals feeding the swans and get lost in the well preserved side streets full of cute cafes and bars. Grab a coffee in a legendary Moscow coffeeshop Double-B (map) The owner of this place has invented a new type of coffee called Raf. Wonder what it’s made of? Try it, we guarantee you will love it! Double-B is a wide network, so you can look for it everywhere in Moscow.
3 PM – 5 PM: Try Russian food
It’s time to explore Russian food! Diverse, multicultural and always surprising! The best way to get a sense of local food is to visit one of the markets – such as Danliovsky, Ushakovsky, and Central markets. A great option is to take our Eat like a Russian tour which starts daily at 3 PM. During this tour, you will try food from different parts of Russia as well as ex-Soviet Union republics.
7 PM – 11 PM: Time for Party!
Spend the rest of the day breaking the stereotypes about Russians! Saturday night is a perfect time to discover drinking traditions and try your first (or maybe not) vodka shot! During the More than just Vodka spirits tour, you will visit several bars and restaurants, learn how to drink Vodka properly and get to know Russian people’s mentality. Attention! This tour might completely break all your stereotypes about Russians! Don’t stay too long out after the tour – there is a day ahead to explore Moscow!
Day 3. Sunday
On your last day in Moscow, we suggest to go beyond the city center and explore a bit of the living districts of the town. Get prepared for a perfect Sunday in the capital of Russia!
10 AM -12 PM: Morning after party
Go for one of the Best Breakfast in Moscow served in Doctor Zhivago Grand Café(map). This cozy Soviet-style restaurant won’t leave you indifferent. Many Russians come here to feel nostalgic about the old Soviet times. Here you can try great food made with old Soviet recipes and enjoy a great view of the Red Square.
12 PM- 3 PM: Explore Modern and Bohemian district of Moscow
Enough of history, now it’s time to see the modern life of Moscow! Go to Kursky metro station to explore famous modern Art classes Art play and Winzavod. Walk around Atrium shopping mall which recently became the biggest open-air street art museum in Moscow covered with murals of talented international street artists. If you want to learn more about the modern lifestyle in Moscow, join our tour Art, Design&Wine, that covers all the mentioned spots.
3 PM-6 PM: Add some sports on your trip!
Explore the rest of the Moscow sights by bike!
The enormous size of Moscow won’t let you go through all of it in 3 days. So why not explore it by bike?
Moscow by Bike tour will cover some of the iconic sights of the city such as Christ the Savior Cathedral, as well as residential districts full of Parks, and Gardens where you can find only the locals. In case of good weather, you can have a nice picnic on a pond next to Novodevichy Monastery –one of the oldest buildings in the city.
Biking the city is possible only during summertime, due to rather cold winters in this region. If you are visiting Moscow in winter, you definitely should go for Ice skating to VDNKh park or Gorky Park. Dress warm enough and prepare for a great activity full of Christmas lights and glühwein shops! After sports activities, you may go to another famous Russian attraction – public banya, read about it here.
7 PM -10 PM: Last dinner in the city that never sleeps
Moscow is the city that opens from a new sight each time you visit it, so we hope you won’t wait for too long and after your first trip to Moscow plan the next one! And remember that you can always contact the Moscow Urban Adventures team for having the BEST.DAY.EVER!
written by Aleksandra Boldyreva, local guide