An Alternative Guide to Moscow


Photo by islandworks

Unusual things to do in Moscow off the beaten path:

  • Contemporary art galleries: VR, recycled waste and 3D printers are all used to make dreams reality at Moscow’s many cutting-edge art galleries.
  • Creative Clusters: Witness Moscow city’s transformation from dirty industrial center to innovative hub firsthand at one of the numerous dilapidated factories that have recently been transformed into hip communities combining a love of art, design, culture and food. 
  • Secret Gardens: Have fun with the locals at Moscow’s many secret and not-so-secret uber modern, green places.
    Local Markets: Savour local delicacies and sip on hand-crafted tipples at Moscow’s gourmet markets. 

When visiting Moscow it can be far too easy to get stuck on the well-trodden tourist routes and never see anything remotely close to the real Moscow. Though no doubt the Red Square is a must-see for any first time visitor to Moscow and a ballet at Bolshoi will indeed be spectacular, unless you’re mad about 15th century religious icons and weapons you needn’t spend half the day wandering round the vast expanse of the Red Square. To get a feeling of the rhythm of Moscow city and get to know the +10 million people who go about their everyday lives in Europe’s biggest city, take a step off the tourist trail and wander into the hipster corners and beautiful parks of this mega polis.

Moscow Alternative Culture


ArtPlay, Moscow

Photo by @huzkky

This bright and cheery place is just as the name suggests: a place to enjoy art without the usual sobriety and stuffiness found in most art galleries. Apart from the exhibits, there are dozens of shops showcasing works of the local creative community that range from eco-fashion to interior design. Concerts and festivals take place frequently within its large halls and inside you’ll also find a drool-worthy selection of restaurants, like MOD the only vegan bar/restaurant in the city.

Address: 10 Nizhnyaya Syromyatnicheskaya Ulitsa
Opening Hours: Daily, 10:00-21:00 

Krasny Oktyabr (Red October)

Krasny Oktyabr (Red October), Moscow

Photo by alenio

What once pushed out thousands of iconic Red October chocolate bars each day, now pumps out the best sick-beats, hot-bites and hit-fashion from its resident shops, cafes and clubs. But first-time visitors beware; being an old Soviet factory, the place is a veritable rabbit warren, so take a good look at the map at the entrance or you might get lost!

Address: 6 Bersenevskiy Pereulok
Opening Hours: 24/7

The American Centre in Moscow

The American Centre in Moscow

Photo by nsokolov114

Though not necessarily an attraction, the American Centre hosts some of the best talks and clubs for foreigners who would like to find out more about Russian culture. Everything is for free and almost everything is in English. Take a look at their website for a full list of activities and, should you decide to visit, make sure to bring your passport as the fact that is located within the American Embassy means security is tight!

Address: Novinskiy Boulevard
Opening Hours: 24/7

Flacon Design Factory

Flacon Design Factory, Moscow

Photo by islandworks

Red October’s chief rival claims to be even more niche and we think we have to agree. The boutiques are all so kinky, the art-exhibitions rock and in summer there is even a mini-pool!

Address: Bol'shaya Novodmitrovskaya Ulitsa
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 11:00-19:30

Winzavod Contemporary Art Centre

Winzavod Contemporary Art Centre, Moscow

Photo by @huzkky

Also housed in a converted factory, Winazovod is another great place to see the works of Russia’s up-and-coming artists. The exhibits refresh regularly, so it might be a good idea to check the program online but whenever you go you can be sure to experience something out of the ordinary.

Address: 1/8 4th Syromyatnichesky lane
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 12:00-20:00

Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design

Strelka is hands-down Moscow’s most forward-thinking university and what’s great about it is that everyone is welcome to enter. Throughout the year, there is a jam-packed schedule of events, most in English, that never fail to challenge and stimulate. And should be in search of inspiration, there’s no better place to go than Strelka bar for a sip of some rather creative juices!

Address: 14/5 Bersenevskaya Naberezhnaya
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 09:00-00:00, Sat-Sun 12:00-00:00

Garage Comtemporary Art Museum

Garage Comtemporary Art Museum, Moscow

Photo by @alex_dr

With an owner like Abramovich, it’s little surprise that the Garage Comtemporary Art Museum is one of the world’s best contemporary art museums. The exhibitions are never anything short of impressive and the building itself, surrounded by the lush greenness of Gorky Park, is a sight to behold. International events of note are often held here so be sure to visit their website.

Address: 9/32 Krymsky Val st.
Opening Hours: Daily, 11:00-22:00


Gorky Park

Gorky Park, Moscow

Photo by @darya_kraplak

Though for six months of the year this park can be a little bit grey, in summer it turns into a hive of activity. Kids zoom round on rollerblades, students play ping-pong under the trees, festivals and parties take place almost every weekend and the planetarium inside the park opens up its ceiling to the starry sky after dusk. Don’t forget to bring some sort of ID that you could use as deposit to rent out one of the many wheeled contraptions available.

Address: 9 Krymsky Val
Opening Hours: 24/7

Zaryadye Park

Zaryadye Park, Moscow

Photo by @kirsimakov

Right under the Kremlin’s red walls, sprawls an other-worldly land encompassing all of Russia’s biodiversity zones planted in one park - Zaryadye Park. The winding paths that go through tundra, steppe and meadows offer a perfect escape from the chaos of the city and the record-breaking glass bridge that floats above the Moscow River as well as the subterranean ice-cave make this park worth visiting in all seasons. Check out the line-up of music concerts on their website.

Address: 6 Varvarka St.
Opening Hours: 24/7

Hermitage Garden

DEPO Food Mall, Moscow

Photo by Elena Koromyslova, Photobank Lori

The culture crowd in Moscow gathers in summer at the Hermitage gardens to swing along to live jazz, appreciate unorthodox performances at the Hermitage Theater and savour good food and wine under the starry sky. Join them, and feel yourself a local.

Address: 3 Karetnyy Ryad St.
Opening Hours: 24/7 


Danilovsky Market

Danilovsky market, Moscow

Photo by @vincentdoerig

If there is one place which a food-lover in Moscow must visit, Danilovsky market has to be it. For decades the best of local farmers have been selling their produce in this UFO-like structure to locals and a few foreigners in the know. Recently, it has received a much-needed facelift and along with the fresh fruits and veggies it now boats twenty or so gourmet eateries. Make sure to leave some space in your bag for the wonderfully colorful Kazhastani dried fruits and spices that are sold at this lovely market to take home for friends.

Address: 74, Mytnaya Ulitsa
Opening Hours: Daily, 08:00-21:00

DEPO Food Mall

DEPO Food Mall, Moscow

Photo by @lvn1303

In the sheds of an ex-tram depot lies a gourmand’s paradise. Filled with over forty different stalls cooking up the hottest, most Instagrammable dishes from around the world, you definitely won’t find your typical grimy shawarma or golden arches at this food court. Having only opened a year and a half ago, DEPO still is the ‘it-place’ for young people to meet up and hence it can get rather busy on weekends so, should you be averse to crowds, it might be better to come on a weekday.

Address: 20/3 Lesnaya St.
Opening Hours: Daily, 10:00-23:00

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