Stay: MaMaison Pokrovka Suites
This 84-room boutique hotel is somewhat unusual for Moscow where the credo of “bigger is better” typically reigns. The Zen-like guest rooms and the location—just a short drive east of the Kremlin—make this hotel a top choice for savvy travelers. The minimalist style carries over to the award-winning restaurant, Numbers, where executive chef Aleksandr Kutepov’s signature fusion of Mediterranean, European and Eastern cuisines is available 24 hours a day. The on-site spa is perfect for a relaxing massage after a long day exploring the city.
40 Pokrovka Ulitsa, +7 495 229 5797 pokrovka-moscow.com
It’s hard to find a better symbol of change than the famous TSUM department store. Built in 1857, TSUM (along with its rival across the street, GUM) fell victim to the Soviet economy after the revolution. Now, following a massive renovation in 1997, it’s a vast shopping palace with over 400 brands on display, and can hold its own with counterparts in New York and London. TSUM now offers everything from apparel to perfume, carrying the most vaunted brands in the world. While definitely not a value paradise, it’s well worth a visit to browse and watch Moscow’s nouveaux riche shop.
2 Petrovka St +7 495 692 1157 tsum.ru
This former winery is now the centre of Russia’s growing contemporary art scene. Some of the country’s most prestigious galleries occupy this 215,000 sq. ft. area, together with stores and a stylish art-café. Picture Toronto’s Distillery District meets Soho way back when.
Perfect for spending some hours browsing through the diverse galleries and figuring out how to bring your new favourite piece home.
4th Syromyatnicheskiy Lane 1 +7 495 917 4646 winzavod.com
Cafés are abundant in Moscow and offer more than the regular caffeine fix. Besides a variety of hot beverages, most serve food as well. The most popular destination is Coffeemania, near the Moscow Conservatory, which is buzzing from the morning through the late night with a diverse and beautiful crowd. If the weather’s nice, get a table on the terrace for great people watching.
Bolshaya Nikitskaya St. 13 coffeemania.ru/eng/
With its lavishly decorated interior, this haunt of Moscow’s elite looks more like a palace than a restaurant, exuding the atmosphere of imperial Russia in the 19th century. Try the legendary dishes based on traditional Russian recipes in either the “chemist” hall on the first floor or the more upscale “library” upstairs. Those who arrive early for breakfast can revel in the aroma of freshly baked bread.
Tverkoi Bulvar 26a +7 495 739 0033 cafe-pushkin.ru
Drink: Simachev Shop & Bar
Located in one of the most upscale shopping areas in the heart of Moscow, this unusual combination of bar and boutique is the place to be for lunch or a drink at night. On the ground floor, trendy regulars relax on the patio, unwinding after their latest shopping marathons, while the second floor houses the collection of famed Russian designer Denis Simachev. This darling of the Moscow fashion scene is known for edgy suits, stylish t-shirts combining new trends with Soviet legacy and tough leather jackets. Open round the clock (and closer to a nightclub after 10 pm) the place is a favourite of both the creative crowd and upscale fashion enthusiasts.
Stoleshnikov Lane 12
Do: River cruise
One of the best and most relaxing ways to explore the city from a different perspective is a cruise on the Moscow River, which runs through the centre of the city. The tour takes visitors past some of Moscow’s most famous and historic sites, including the Kremlin, the statue of Peter the Great and Gorky Park. For the best views, make sure to get a seat on the open top of the boat. For a stunning view of the city skyline, disembark near the Moscow State University and wander up to the main building, a massive Stalin-era skyscraper.
Garage Center for Contemporary Culture
Garage CCC is the most fashionable address in Moscow’s art scene. It is housed in a former bus depot, built in 1926, considered a landmark of early 20th century Russian architecture, where owner Daria Zhukova (also editor of the British style magazine Pop) displays various contemporary art collections. After wandering through the vast 90,000 sq. ft. space, the Garage Café offers an international array of tantalizing dishes, the perfect setting to discuss the latest exhibition.
Obraztsova St. 19A +7 495 645 0520 garageccc.com/eng/