WHEN TO GO
Midwinter temperatures are cold here, sure, but nothing a New Yorker or Midwesterner couldn't handle—in January, they average 19.5 degrees F and rarely drop below 15 degrees F, though the dreaded windchill factor can bring that way down. Winter has its definite advantages, too: snowcapped beauty; fewer tourists and lower hotel rates; a frozen, strollable Neva; and starry night skies—a lot of night. There are also a couple of winter festivals just outside the city limits, complete with horse-drawn sleigh rides and performing bears. The hands-down highest of high seasons is late June and early July: the White Nights. There's a massive arts festival and much unofficial revelry, but the city is never more packed. The tourist season keeps going for the rest of the none-too-hot summer (with temperatures in the 60s). Spring is a good time to visit. April is still cold (in the 40s) and even snowy, and May temperatures usually hover around 60 degrees F, but by then the days are stretching out, and while you won't get a mere half-hour dusk, it's still pretty cool to be out in the daylight…at 2 a.m.
HOW TO GET THERE
Pulkovo Airport is ten miles south of St. Petersburg (8-812-704-3822 or 8-812-704-3444). There are no nonstop flights from the U.S. to St. Petersburg, though Aeroflot has direct service from most major cities to Moscow for a connecting flight (7-495-223-5555; www.aeroflot.ru/eng/). Taxis are available, and there are also plenty of minibus taxis (Marshrutnoye taksis) departing from outside the terminal to Moskovskaya metro for not much more money than a local bus ticket.View Russia Factsheet