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Top things to do in Moscow in Winter

Last modified on 23 Jul 2017

Ice Skating

Skating Ring on VDNKHSkating Ring on VDNKH

The beginning of winter marks the kick off for one of the most popular activities in Moscow: outdoor ice skating. The city boasts a large number of popular skating rinks that will provide quality winter-time entertainment for guests of all ages.

One of the most well-known rinks in Moscow; the Red Square’s skating rink is located at only 5 minutes’ walk from the hotel. The skating rink opens daily from December to March from 10 am to midnight. The skating rink on Red Square combines a high quality skating surface, incredible views of the Red Square and impressive service with affordable ticket prices. Visitors can also expect a possible celebrity sighting, as professional figure skaters and hockey stars frequent this world class rink.

Another important place, sometimes known as Moscow’s green lung and home to another famous skating rink is Gorky Park. It was opened in 1928 and is particularly popular for its ice disco with lights and music which lends to the ice skating rink an exceptional ambiance during the cold winter evenings. For those that are not as skilled on skates, the park also has giant Ferris wheel that provides great sweeping views of the city.

Best public skating rings in Moscow:

  • MegaIce Skating Ring, Aviapark trade center, Dynamo/Aeroport metro station
  • Skating Ring on the Red Square, Metro Ploshad Revolutsii, Red Square. Might not be open to public during some days
  • Gorky Park (Park Kultury) Skating Ring, Metro Oktyabyrskaya/Park Kultury, inside of the park
  • VDNKH Skating Ring, Metro VDNKH, Main Alley

Street Fairs

Street Fair on the Red Square, near Moscow KremlinStreet Fair on the Red Square, near Moscow Kremlin

In Moscow, traditionally there are many fairs during winter months. The most notorious of all is the Christmas Fair near the Moscow Kremlin. A rows of stands offer traditional food, beverages, unique hand-crafted souvenirs along with classic Christmas gifts. All stands, lanterns and even trees are decorated with colored garlands, Christams-themed desorations create a truly winter fairytale atmosphere. It is located on the Red Square, and some parts of the fair located at the Manezhnaya square, near Alexandrovskiy Garden and Okhotny Ryad.

Russian Orthodox church celebrate Christmas on 7th of January, insted of western canon of 25th Januuary. But regardless, Christmas fairs are undergoing in Moscow during the most of  December and January. Here are the dates of  most popular fairs in Moscow:

  • Christmas Fair on The Red Square: 30 November — 28 February, Moscow, Red Square near GUM
  • Sokolniki Christmas Fair: 18 December— 11 January, Moscow, Sokolniki Park, Metro station "Sokolniki"
  • VDNKH Christmas Fair : 12 December — 11 January, Moscow, VDNKH Complex, Various pavillions

Vodka & Bania

Cold Water Pool Inside of Sanduny Bathing ComplexCold Water Pool Inside of Sanduny Bathing Complex

There’s no better way to finish a day of sightseeing in a wintery Moscow than to go to a banya. 

Russian Baniya (or, casually speaking, "bania"). This is like a sauna, but with national specifics. The one thing the foreign visitor should experience in Russia to discover a real Russian spirit! And speaking of other spirits, in Russia banuya you are expected to drink alcohol, and mixed men/women bathing are also a thing. Russian banya is best to be experienced in Russia - because in the West, so-called "Russian" banyas are more like finnish saunas, without much national color.

Locals come to Sanduny, the largest and most popular banya in Moscow, for a relaxing detox. The setting is grandiose and palatial with mosaics, marble columns and the Poseidon statue. They also go to do some nude celebrity spotting. Many Russian actors, singers and politicians come to this 200-year old institution regularly. Don’t leave without a bath besom session and a shot of vodka at the adjacent restaurant. This is a mandatory part of the banya program, if you want to go local.

Banyas in Moscow:

  • The Sanduny: Neglinnaya st. h 14, building 3-7. Phone: +7 (495) 782-18-08
  • The Vorontsov Bathhouse: Voronstsovskiy st., h. 5 building 7, Phone +7 (495) 663-99-01
  • The Soloviyov Bathhouse: Bolshoi Cherkasskiy st., h 15, Phone +7 (495) 649-01-16

Moscow museums

Treasures of Russian Tzars Exhibited in Kremlin Armory MuseumTreasures of Russian Tzars Exhibited in Kremlin Armory Museum

If it is cold and snowy outside, then why not choose to explore the inside of Moscow maginificent museums?

A city with more than 850 years of history, it have many unique Museums, expositions and exhibitions, than could satisfy the most demanging of art lovers and critics. There is a wide range of various Museums, from classic Museums like Kremlin Armory, Pushkin Museum or Politechnic Museum, to smaller and more dedicated Museums, which include Tolstoi house, 1812 Borodino Panorama War Museum, Stalin Bunker and many other venues. At Pradiz, we can arrange a private tour for you, like our best-seller Kremlin & Armory Museum Tour, Stalin Bunker Tour or a Custom Tour to the location of your choice, accompanied by one of the best guides in town.

Ride a real Soviet tank

Christmas fairs and skating rings are not enough fun for you? You are aspiring for some more unique, true Russian experience? Something you can't find anywhere else?

Our tank tours will take you west from Moscow, to the Alabino Training Fields. This facility has a functioning military base, used by the Russian military and weapon manufacturers to test, and then to show-off the newest military eqipment to the rest of the world. There is also a fascinating museum of Red Army history, with many of old tanks and self-propelled guns, still in operation.

Ride a tank, shoot from PTRD anti-tank rifle, try traditional Soviet army food and uniforms, and of course don't forget a shot of vodka "for bravery" . Winter, endless plains covered with snow, and you - on a tank, with a gun - simply amazing, brilliantly unique.

Glass of vodka and bear hide on your shoulders are optional! 

About the author

Diana Zalenskaya, a travel professional and destination expert for Moscow, Russia.