Moscow is so huge that it’s easy to get lost and miss the best attractions. As a metropolis, it’s also fairly expensive. Fortunately our local editor Polina has come up with a list of 10 things one can enjoy for free in this pulsating city.
1. Attend a free concert at Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory
Moscow Conservatory is not only one of the finest higher music education institutions in Russia, it’s also a concert venue for world-class musicians and composers. This place should definitely be on your must-visit list if you appreciate classical music – just remember to check the programme in advance to find out which concerts you can attend for free.
Photo credit: mosconsv.ru
2. Keep fit at Sokolniki Park
Located just a little bit outside downtown Moscow, Sokolniki is a huge park perfect for long walks, jogging and even skiing during the winter. It also boasts various new attractions including a swimming pool complete with deckchairs, an observatory, winter ice-skating rinks and an extreme sports zone. There’s even free Wifi!
Photo credit: park.sokolniki.com
3. Listen to live music for free
There are many bars, pubs and clubs in Moscow that occasionally host free concerts. Polina has put together a list of places here. Please note that not all concerts at these venues are free – check out each venue’s webpage for a list of free gigs.
Photo credit: vk.com
4. Join the Moscow Free Tour
The concept of free tours has rapidly spread across the world, and nearly every city that’s a tourist destination has at least one free tour operator. Of all the free tour operators in Moscow, this one has the highest rating on TripAdvisor. It truly is a great way to get to know our gigantic city. Note that pre-bookings are required for this tour – you can do so via their website.
Photo credit: moscowfreetour.com
5. Stroll around Kuzminki Homestead
This beautiful homestead complex is surrounded by vast parkland and a forest. Besides the architecture, it offers a huge variety of entertainment throughout the year. During summer you can enjoy the flowerbeds of the Festival of Flowers, while in winter you can admire the magnificent ice sculptures of Ice Town.
Photo credit: Maarten
6. Get cultural at ZIL Culture Centre
Renovating old Soviet buildings and turning them into science and culture hubs is the hottest trend in Moscow right now. Besides showcasing cool Soviet architecture, ZIL Culture Centre hosts various cultural events and gatherings, some of which are free. Of course most of the events are in Russian, however there’s a free movie discussion club and occasional lectures in English.
7. Take advantage of the freezing Russian winter and go ice-skating on Chistye Prydi
This is a naturally formed public ice-skating rink conveniently located in the centre of the city. Surrounded by cosy lights, it has a real fairy tale charm. Remember to bring your own skates as there’s no rental service. It’s open 24/7 as long as there’s solid ice.
Photo credit: afisha.ru
8. Appreciate nature at Kolomenskoe
Formerly a royal estate, this nature reserve is located several kilometres from the city centre. Even though the royalty left long ago, the area still has a certain regal atmosphere. It’s the perfect place for taking a serene walk or for simply relaxing by the riverside.
Photo credit: Alexander Baranov
9. Explore Moscow’s artistic metro stations
It’s fairly well known that Moscow has one of the most beautiful and ornate metro systems in the world. If you do a little research online and create your own itinerary, you won’t need a guided tour to discover some fascinating art. The only expense for this one is of course a metro pass. A tip: avoid rush hour!
Photo credit: Martin Deutsch
10. Escape the city buzz and head to Neskuchniy Garden
Whether you’re planning a romantic date or you simply need some time out, Neskuchniy Garden is just the place for it. Although it’s an extension of Gorky Park, it has a totally different atmosphere that makes you feel as if you’re miles away from the city. To avoid the crowds come here during the daytime on weekdays.
Photo credit: Sergey