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Things to do in Moscow

Whether you want to immerse yourself in high culture at the Bolshoi Theatre, explore the city’s history in the Kremlin or have a designer shopping splurge at TSUM, you’ll rarely lack things to do in Moscow.

Sightseeing here can involve something as somber as visiting Lenin’s Mausoleum or as light-hearted as ice-skating in Gorki Park, now a popular meeting spot for fashionable Muscovites. After dark you can choose from designer restaurants where even the doormen look chic, and homey, no-frills places serving hearty traditional food. Nightlife can mean both the dressed-up, look-at-me dancefloor at The Most or the dressed-down cool of the Red October Chocolate Factory’s music shows and club nights.

Moscow sightseeing.

Moscow sightseeing

Start with the cathedrals and palaces within the walls of the Kremlin, which also displays national treasures including the imperial crown jewels in its armoury. Head next for St Basil’s nine unmistakable onion domes and Lenin’s Mausoleum on Red Square. Other sights well worth visiting are the exquisite 16th century Novodevichy Convent and the Tretyakov Gallery, the world’s best collection of Russian art.

Moscow restaurants.

Moscow restaurants

It may seem unlikely, but sushi is a Russian obsession and upmarket society restaurant Vanil is a good place to find it, alongside other Asian fusion dishes. For a romantic, more obviously Russian meal try TsDL, a restaurant housed in a castle-like old building, where Russian and Italian dishes are served in a dining room lined with oak and sandalwood. To discover a home from home, the living room-like Mari Vanna is hidden behind an unmarked door and serves dishes intended to recall the Soviet era, such as horseradish borscht and salmon fishcakes.

Moscow shopping.

Moscow shopping

Once you’ve tried Red Square’s huge but elegant GUM department store, consider heading over to the similarly named TSUM, a pricier take on Moscow designer fashion, or the designer boutiques clustered around Stoleshnikov Alley. For something more down to earth, the Izmailovsky Market’s stalls sell traditional fabrics, paintings, wooden ornaments and Soviet bric-a-brac.

Moscow nightlife.

Moscow nightlife

The Swissotel’s City Space Bar attracts Moscow’s high glamour and expense account crowd with its cool, retro-futurist décor and 360-degree view of the city, while The Most’s plush Belle Epoque décor has drawn the likes of Roman Abramovich and Dmitry Medvedev to its restaurant, bar and nightclub. For something cheaper and somewhat edgier, check out the concerts and arty club nights at the converted Red October Chocolate Factory or one of the hipster-friendly all night parties at shabbily elegant Kitay-gorod townhouse Solyanka.

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