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Moscow see + do

Sightseeing in Moscow is both rewarding and frustrating: To explore the city's rich history and dramatic transformation to a market economy, you have to deal with its rough-and-tumble pace, lapses in service, unreliable schedules, and price gouging. If you're traveling on your own and want to see more than Red Square and the Kremlin, plan on spending at least five days in Moscow; seven if you want to explore sights outside the city. While some top attractions (Red Square, the Kremlin) are stunningly obvious, others, such as such as Winzavod (a trendy contemporary art center), the Tolstoy House-Museum, and the river boat tour, can be hard to locate. Once you find your destination, expect to pay a stiff premium at the ticket office unless you can speak Russian without an accent, or are accompanied by Russian friends. And carry your passport and hotel registration slip at all times. The police are known for shaking down tourists: If anything is out of order—and even if it's not—they may demand a "fine," often $100. But it's not all gloom and doom in the capital. The city is trying to become more visitor-friendly by installing English-language signs and developing a tourist route that links central sites with pedestrian bridges. You can walk across a bridge near the Kremlin to the Tretyakov Gallery, for example. For visitors who want to explore the city with fewer hassles than they might encounter on their own, Patriarshy Dom Tours offers a daily selection of tours in English, starting at about $20 plus admission fees.

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Novodevichy Monastery, Moscow

Staying sane in rough-and-tumble Moscow means knowing where to find the city's oases. Novodevichy Monastery is one of them. Despite the name, it's actually a...more

Editors' Pick
Palaces in Moscow, Moscow

St. Petersburg may be where palace lovers flock, but Moscow has a few royal residences worth visiting as well. When the czars still lived in Moscow,...more

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Red Square (Krasnaya Ploshchad), Moscow

The site of extravagant military parades during the Soviet era, this may be the most famous square in the world. The Kremlin walls and Lenin's tomb stand on one...more

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River Tour, Moscow

Moscow's streets are so congested that a tour bus risks never reaching the sights. For a more stress-free form of sightseeing, board one of the riverboats that...more

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Sandunovskiye Bani, Moscow

Russians are passionate about their steam baths, and believe them to be a cure for almost any ailment. The 19th-century Sandunovskiye Bani (Sanduny for short)...more

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State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

Located directly across the street from the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts is one of Russia's top museums. As part of a...more

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State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

In 1882, private collector Pavel Tretyakov created this gallery—the country's main repository of Russian art—by presciently donating his collection...more

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Tolstoy House-Museum, Moscow

It's no secret that Russia reveres its writers, and Moscow is full of museums devoted to its most famous authors. In fact, there's an entire genre called...more

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Winzavod Moscow Contemporary Art Center, Moscow

Russia's economic boom may not have lasted long enough to see its planned skyscrapers to completion, but it did finance an architectural trend that has left its...more

Editors' Pick
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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