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Moscow: Like a local

Insider Tips

Picture of moscow city centre during sunset

Moscow like a local

For this month’s edition our Guest Service Supervisor, Polina, from Pentahotel Moscow gave us some seriously amazing and detailed insider tips. Moscow is not only the capital and most heavily populated city in Russia but also its industrial, cultural, scientific, and educational capital. With a history that dates over eight centuries, it is an upbeat, vibrant city where there is always something going on (exhibitions, festivals, performances, sports, concerts, the list goes on). Moscow is of course renowned for the Red Square, the Kremlin and St. Basil’s, but Polina gives us some deeper insights into what makes Moscow the ultimate travel destination. 


1. The right spot for people watching.

It’s not just the Red Square that’s great for people watching (that would be too easy!). For somewhere less well known, Patriarch's Ponds is a park with a lake located in the centre of Moscow, where you can sit by the pond and soak up the atmosphere (and people watch of course) as well as check out popular shops, restaurants and bars. To check out the crowd and soak up some culture at the same time, the Historical Moscow Museum is for people who interested in Russian history and culture. 


2. Where to go to get away from the crowds.

Arbat is often considered to be one of the most architecturally beautiful areas of Moscow and surprisingly, even though we are in the historical centre of the city, there are still quite places just a few steps from the hotel. New Arbat Avenue (where Penta is located) runs parallel to the picturesque Arbat Street, and the two are connected by the old, narrow streets of the Arbat District. Enjoy a wander down these lanes and quiet streets and take in the atmosphere and architectural heritage of old Moscow. 


3. Any indie shops you recommend?

It’s too hard to name just one! Go to the biggest art and indie locations in Moscow, like Flacon, Artplay or Arma. These are former manufacturing areas, transformed into art clusters with small cafes, shops and young designers’ showrooms. 


4. Unmissable galleries or museums for any self-respecting art buff?

The city of Moscow is a fast-growing centre of contemporary art, with its own art festivals (like Cosmoscow and Blazaar, which take place each September and attract collectors, gallerists and artists from all over Russia and abroad). We also have many must-see galleries, museums and art centres, like Garage and Winzavod (for Russian contemporary art) and Tretyakov Gallery (for Russian fine art and one of the most famous galleries in Europe). 


5. Where to go after dark.

After dark take a romantic stroll down Nikolskaya Street, which is lit up with hanging garlands of thousands of lights. Head down to Red October (a huge redbrick compound that used to be a chocolate factory) where the most popular clubs are located and dance until morning. 


6. Tips for a rainy day.

You can still find many places to visit when it is raining and we certainly have a few tips! The historic Khudozhestvenny cinema is just a 10-minute walk from Penta and shows classic films in multiple languages. The Perlov Tea House in the Chistye Prudy area is a cosy cafe in a traditional Chinese teahouse where you can enjoy and purchase various types of teas and coffees. And finally, Sanduny is a true Russian bathhouse, to warm the cockles of the heart. The building is a cultural and architectural landmark in Moscow. 


7. What’s unique to your city?

The most unique custom for Russian people is definitely ice swimming to celebrate the feast of the Epiphany. You can see this (or take a dip yourself if you are brave enough) every year on January 19th. 

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