Tel: 7 495 788 4343
Short for State Department Store, GUM (pronounced "goom") was the original Russian shopping malla prerevolutionary shopping arcade that became the central Soviet store. There are modern malls now: Yevropeisky, located in front of the Kievsky train station, is a phenomenal specimen that's almost worth a stop on the tourist circuit for a firsthand look at Russia's newfound consumer culture. But GUM is still the mall, at the very least for its Red Square address. In Soviet times it went from a showcaseone of the few places with any goodsto a symbol of what went wrong as the shortages took hold. Now controlled by Mikhail Kusnirovich, the chief of Bosco di Ciliegi, a luxury importer, it's gone way upscale, and there are outposts of Cartier, Hermès, and Antonio Marras, and an Emporio Armani boutique and café. At night, the exterior of GUM is lit up like something from a fairy tale, and during the Christmas season, costumed chamber musicians perform and Bosco sets up a skating rink right on Red Square.
Open daily 10 am to 10 pm.
Izmailovskoye Shosse 73ZH
Tel: 7 495 166 5580
Part flea market, part exquisite crafts fair, Izmailovo (located behind the Izmailovo Hotel) is the one-stop shopping mecca for souvenirs from Russia and the former Soviet Union. The selection is endlesseverything from lacquer boxes to Orenburg goat-down shawls, Turkmen carpets, Soviet watches and, naturally, matryoshki (nesting dolls) are on display at the vernisazh, as it's called. The grounds have been turned into a kind of Russian Disneyland, with a re-creation of an ideal Russian town (featuring a vodka museum; www.vodkamuseum.ru). But to get there you have to pass through a gauntlet of impromptu merchants, including hard-up pensioners selling Soviet trinkets. Sometimes treasures can be found there too.
Open daily 9 am to 6 pm.
Maly Gnezdnikovsky Pereulok Dom 12/27
Tel: 7 495 629 9732
For proof that Soviet nostalgia has turned into marketable irony, visit the Ministry of Gifts (Ministerstvo Podarkov). A red carpet leads to the ministerial rostrumno, wait, it's the cash register. Choose a gift first: There are clocks made of packs of Belmorkanal cigarettes (named after the canal built by Gulag prisoners), tins of caviar, pillows embroidered with Soviet slogans, and hollowed-out copies of Marx's Das Kapitalperfect for squirreling away some cash.
Open Mondays through Fridays 10 am to 9 pm, Saturdays 11 am to 9 pm, Sundays 11 am to 8 pm.
Ulitsa Neglinnaya Dom 29/14
Tel: 7 495 694 3510
A journalist turned art gallery owner, Leonid Shishkin brings together two eras: 19th-century Russian realist painters and their counterparts in mid-20th-century Stalinist Russia, masters of socialist realism. Exporting works by the former is extremely problematic, but paintings less than 100 years old can be taken from the country. The gallery can handle the formalities and ship paintings abroad. Monthly themed auctions are held in the showroom, and an up-to-date Web site presents the gallery's latest acquisitions.
Open Mondays through Fridays 11 am to 8 pm, Saturdays noon to 6 pm.
Ulitsa Rochdelskaya Dom 15
Tel: 7 499 252 1291
What a difference a decade can make. Not long ago, the company store of this prerevolutionary textile plant seemed hopelessly Soviet. Now, it looks like an American department store's household linens department. For souvenir hunters, the Russian-themed tablecloths and apron and towel sets are a treat. Fortunately, prices are reasonable, even inexpensive, and the store takes credit cards.
Open Mondays through Fridays 9 am to 8 pm, Sundays 9 am to 6 pm.
Ulitsa Tverskaya Dom 14
Tel: 7 495 209 4643
As was the case with GUM, the faded glory of this prerevolutionary food store was dusted off a few years ago and it's now the most beautiful food store in Russia, and perhaps in the world. Locals shop for eggs, for example, amid wood paneling, gilt, marble, and chandeliers. For visitors, there are dozens of vodkas to choose from and gourmet Russian chocolates. In the back of the store, there's a selection of souvenirsthe usual scarves and boxes are pricey, but not ridiculously so, and convenient, since the store is open 24 hours. Look to the bakery section for pastries and very tasty meat, mushroom, or cabbage piroshki.