Moscow is the capital of Russia. Having played a central role in the development of the Russian state and its history, Moscow was the capital of the former Soviet Union and continues to pave the way as Muscovites move into the 21st century. An 860 year-old city, Moscow has many reminders of its imperial and Soviet past. It is a sprawling city with numerous museums, Soviet-era monoliths and post-Soviet kitsch.
Moscow is the financial and political centre of Russia and the former Soviet Union, with a population of around 13 million, and covers an area of around 1080 km². One-tenth of all Russian citizens live in the metropolitan area. Moscow is in UTC+4 time zone.
For many years since the break up of the Soviet Union, the economy has improved, and the modern era has brought upon a wide variety of construction projects, including the Moscow Monorail, modern architecture and newer transport systems replacing the derelict ones during the soviet times.
Moscow's long time mayor, Yury Luzhkov initiated these changes during his time in office, but was fired in September 2010 for allegedly insulting the president through a scathing letter.
His successor, Sergei Sobyanin, has begun to gradually relax Luzhkov's construction plan, and a majority of Luzhkov's plans have been stopped or abandoned. The new mayor has began taking steps to fight corruption, solve the traffic problems, and rebuild the already dilapidated pavements.
Moscow is a large metropolis on the Moskva River, which bends its way through the city. Most of the main sites are on the northern bank of the river. The other major waterway is the Yauza River, which flows into the Moskva east of the Kremlin.
Much of Moscow's geography is defined by the numerous 'Ring Roads' that circle the city at various distances from the centre, roughly following the outline of the walls that used to surround Moscow. With Red Square and the Kremlin forming the very centre, the innermost ring road is the Boulevard Ring (Bulvarnoye Koltso), built in the 1820s where the 16th century walls used to be. It runs from the Christ the Savior Cathedral in south-west central Moscow, to the mouth of the Yauza in south-east central Moscow.
The next ring road, the Garden Ring (Sadovoe Koltso), derives its name from the fact that landowners near the road in Tsarist times were obligated to maintain gardens to make the road attractive. In Soviet times, the road was widened, and curently you will find no gardens there.
The recently constructed Third Ring is not much use for tourists but is a heavily used motorway which absorbs a bit of Moscow's traffic. It roughly follows the outline of Kamer-Kollezhsky val, the customs boundary of Moscow in the 18th-early 20th century. The outer edge of Moscow is largely defined by the Moscow Ring Road (widely known by its abbreviation: MKAD-Moskovskaya kolcevaya avto doroga), a motorway which is 108 km long and encircles the entire city (similar to London's M25 and Paris' Périphérique). Finally, a Fourth Ring is due to be built between the Third Ring and the Moscow Ring Road in the next years, using in places the right-of-way of the freight rail loop.
As elsewhere in Russia, strict visa requirements apply. See Russia#Get in for details.
Moscow is by far the main air traffic hub of Russia and will continue to be as both Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo are undergoing major development plans.
During the years 1980-1991 all international flights to Moscow landed at Sheremetyevo International Airport, commonly called Sheremetyevo II, which was recently renamed "Terminal F". The home base of Aeroflot, Sheremetyevo II was built for the 1980 Summer Olympics. Sheremetyevo I (now "Terminal B") is an old Soviet era domestic terminal of the same airport. Today Sheremetyevo also has three new terminals - C, D (the new Aeroflot's home) and E.
In recent years, Sheremetyevo has been eclipsed by Domodedovo, which has undergone a recent renovation and has always had a direct commuter rail link to the city. Many international carriers, including British Airways and Lufthansa, have switched to Domodedovo and since 2005 it has catered to more passengers than Sheremetyevo. Aeroflot's biggest competitors S7 (Sibir) and Transaero, along with a slew of minnows, are based at Domodedovo.
If you prefer to go to the airport by car, it is best to call a taxi agency and book a cab. There are many agencies that can provide this service, and the cost ranges from €30-50 or more. Be sure to check the list of official taxi operators on the official websites of airports. , . With telephone or online pre-booking you will be able to get a taxi for a cheaper price. All airports also have taxi kiosks where you can get yourself a driver at a fixed price, but a bit higher than if you book taxi online or by phone in advance. Don't listen to people jumping at you in the terminal as soon as you clear customs with offers of a taxi in several languages - at best it will get you a major rip-off, and may be unsafe to boot. For public transportation see below:
Sheremetyevo International Airport, (IATA: SVO)  has terminals B, C, D, E and F on both sides of the runway . You can walk between terminals B and C; or between terminals D, E and F; but you have to take a shuttle bus  or a taxi to go between the two sites. Sheremetyevo I is the old name for Terminal B, and Sheremetyevo II is the old name for Terminal F.
International flights depart terminals C, D, E and F. Domestic destinations are operated out of terminals B and D. Aeroflot is trying to move most of its flights to the newly built Terminal D (was known during the construction time as "Terminal 3" or "Sheremetyevo III").
Sheremetyevo, north of the city centre, is the closest airport to downtown Moscow but the major road leading to it, Leningradskoye Shosse, is one of the busiest in the city and is normally a giant traffic jam most of the day.
The quickest way to get to Sheremetyevo is to take an Aeroexpress train from Belorussky Railway Terminal (see below). These depart from a dedicated terminal (3d or 4th entrances) from 5:50AM to 11:30PM every 30 or 60 minutes (check their website before you go, there is a 2-hr "window" in the schedule between 11am and 1pm from Smolenskaya, and from 10:30am to 12:30pm from Sheremetyevo), and now connect directly to SVO-2/D/E/F, with a shuttle bus service to SVO-1/B/C. The journey takes 35 minutes and costs 320 rubles one-way (as of July 2011). Keep your paper ticket for the whole of the Aeroexpress journey.
In contrast to many other airports, Sheremetyevo isn't served by a mixture of express and suburban trains, and the Aeroexpress is the only rail link to it.
For leaving a car near the airport for the length of your trip outside Moscow, there are numerous (non)official parking lots between SVO1 and SVO2; rates start from 200 rubles/day and up.
Terminal F (Sheremetyevo II)
Most flights from/to Sheremetyevo II are operated either by Aeroflot or by its partner international carriers, mostly members of the SkyTeam alliance. Check-in starts two hours before departure time (three hours for US-bound flights).
If you fly economy and there are several people in your group, for check-in it's better to have someone to stand in business class queue, especially if you arrive before registration starts: business-class clerk opens first and may take on economy class passengers if there's none (or at least not too many) business-class customers.
Ground-floor is the arrivals level, with departures being one level above.
Driving in to Sheremetyevo II area (going behind toll bar) is hugely overpriced and should be avoided whenever possible. In addition to entry charge of 100 rubles/hour (rounded up to the next hour), after entering the toll bar, there is an extra charge taken, from 100 rubles/hour to 300 rubles/hour, depending on the distance from entrance and the comfort of parking--with an unofficial option of an unlimited-time stay for 300 rubles.
In the pre-check-in area on the departures level, there's only TGI Friday plus six to eight no-name cafes/bars/coffee shops. TGIF can make your coffee to go, but charges about 360 rubles for mid-sized latte and serves it in Coca-Cola-branded paper cups. They also have free Wi-Fi which can be used outside of the restaurant as well. The TGIF serves the same menu as in America, which may come in handy on your way out if you have grown tired of salty smoked fish and warm drinks. There's a cheap self-service cafeteria two levels up (use the elevator or the stairs), where all the airport workers eat, and a more formal 1980's Soviet-retro-chic restaurant above it. Both have nice view of the tarmac.
Most cafes and restaurants beyond passport control are faceless and overpriced. Club Bar boasts Ronnefeldt teas and decent pancakes however. Note that you have to clear customs before check-in so there's practically no going back after you check-in to the cafeteria or the restaurant upstairs.
The airport has banking and currency exchange offices, and ATMs are available in both the arrivals and departures areas. Remember to change your rubles into Euros or USD before departing Moscow, as almost no other country will cash in your rubles for you. Duty-free shops operated by Aerofirst Moscow Duty Free  cover a large space, but merely repeat the same choice in five or six outlets. As elsewhere, only the most popular local souvenirs are sold, still with a huge margin. This terminal also has a hairdresser, pharmacy and a medical office as well as at least two travel agencies. Business and first class lounges are in upstairs.
For transit passangers without a Russian visa a possibility exists to stay the night at Novotel hotel just outside the airport. Report to the 'Transfer/Transit without visa' desk apon arrival. You'll be escorted to the hotel in a private bus and stay in a corridor with personal security guard. Rooms are spacious (two queen size beds) and comfortable. You'll be picked up by Aeroflot staff about one hour prior to departure and the bus will bring you directly to the departure gate. Cost of this service is around RUB 6700 for a room.
The information desk is in the main hall and sometimes you are lucky enough to get someone who speaks reasonably good English. The number is +7 (495) 956 4666. You can also call an Intourist representatives (available in Terminal 2) who can provide tourist information at +7 (495) 578 5971.
Domodedovo International Airport (IATA: DME)  is south of the city center and is the main hub of S7 Airlines and Transaero, the largest domestic airlines in Russia, with the latter also serving numerous international destinations. Many international carriers, including British Airways and Lufthansa, also use Domodedovo and since 2005 it has catered to more passengers than Sheremetyevo.
The airport is most conveniently reached by rail. The station is located directly inside the airport and is served by the non-stop Aeroexpress train as well as commuter trains, both running to the Paveletsky Rail Terminal in central Moscow. The Aeroexpress runs every 30 minutes and takes 45-50 minutes to the centre and costs 320 rubles, whereas the commuter train runs infrequently, takes 65-70 minutes and costs 99 rubles.
A shuttle bus runs from the Metro station at Domodedovskaya to the airport every 15 minutes, taking around 30 minutes for the trip and costing 100 rubles (including luggage). The bus is actually a very comfortable coach service. Domodedovskaya is around 20 minutes from Paveletsky, and if you are getting the metro at the end of your trip it may work out a simpler and cheaper journey than the Aeroexpress. The shuttle bus is numbered 308, and departs from the bus parking on the left around 30 metres in front of the terminal building. At Domodedovskaya take the exit to the south (downtown side) turn right in the underpass, and follow it to the end, then take the stairs. The bus stop is immediately at the top of the stairs.
Vnukovo International Airport (IATA: VKO)  is southwest from the city centre. Take an Aeroexpress train  from Kievsky Train Station, which departs from 7AM to midnight every 60 minutes in peak hours (with intervals of about four hours for off-peak hours). The journey takes 35-45 minutes and costs 300 rubles one-way. There is an express bus connection between Domodedovo and Vnukovo airports, which departs about every 90 minutes.
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Ostafyevo International Airport is located south from Moscow, 3 kilometers to the west from the railway station Scherbinka in Podolsk district and is the home of Gazpromavia airlines. It caters mainly to business aviation.
Moscow is the principal railway hub of Russia, from here you can reach almost all corners of this vast country and far into Europe or Asia. An side-effect of this is that it's often easier for a someone going cross-country to change trains in Moscow, even if it's a little out of the way, as the choice of direct trains is limited compared to the ones going to the capital. This means, unfortunately, that main train stations are always crowded with transients, and are generally about the most unsafe places in the city.
This said, and even with proliferation of large and small air carriers in the post-Soviet Russia and the price of plane tickets coming down considerably (and the price of rail tickets creeping up year after year), train travel still remains the predominant mode of middle- and even long-distance transportation for the majority of Russians. In a day and a night a traveler based in Moscow can cover a significant part of the Eastern Europe; two nights and the intervening day will find you the second morning as far south as the Black Sea and as far East as Ural Mountains.
All long-distance trains are handeld by RZD, tickets can be bought both at stations and on-line if you can read Russian. Notice that tickets bought on-line still needs to be validated at a counter. At the major stations there are often counters with English-speaking personnel. Sometimes these are marked, and sometimes you will be directed by the first person you speak to another counter with an English speaker.
From Saint Petersburg
With the launch of high-speed Sapsan trains Saint Petersburg is now just four hours away. There are seven depatures daily at 6:45AM, 7AM, 1:30PM, 1:45PM, 3PM, 7:25PM, and 7:45PM, with some trains stopping at Tver, Vyshniy Volochek, Bologoe, and Okulovka. Fares varies but usually lands somewhere around 3,000 rubles.
Overnight trains are still very popular however and there are plenty of them, 13 in total. The most famous is the Red Arrow (Красная стрела), departing Saint Petersburg daily at 11:55PM while the song Hymn to the Great City plays.
The newly-launched TransEuropeanExpress traverses Europe, making the run Paris-Moscow up to four times a week via Frankfurt, Berlin and Warsaw amgonst other cities. The train boosts a luxury carriage apart from the normal first and second class and onboard resturant. Travel from Paris takes 38 hours, fares are quite high with second class tickets at €330.
Moscow lies at the western end of several great train journeys across the Trans-Siberian Railway, the main line runs between Moscow and Vladivostok, the principal Russian city along the Pacific Coast. Branded train Rossiya runs every second day and takes seven nights. Stop-overs are made in many important cities in eastern and central Russia including Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Omsk and Yekaterinburg. Additional trains are of course available from these cities too. Prices hover around 20,000 rubles for second class.
More common to travellers is the other route, between Moscow and China. There are two weekly trains from Beijing, the Trans-Mongolian via Ulaanbaatar and Vostok via Manchuria. Both journeys take six nights but the one via Mongolia offers more scenery. Tickets for this route can not be bought on-line and travel agencies often pre-book whole compartments and then re-sell them. This means that unless you're lucky and can buy a ticket early you have to book though an travel agency which can be expensive, up to $800 for a one-way ride.
Train stations in Moscow
Moscow has nine train stations, eight of them offering long-distance and local train services (Savyolovsky Station offers local train service only). All are located relatively in the center of Moscow and have metro stations nearby. Be prepared for enormous queues trying to enter or exit the Metro at peak times, as people are getting off or on the commuter trains.
Three of them; Leningradsky, Yaroslavsky and Kazansky are all located on one huge square, informally known as the "Three Stations' Square". A running joke among Moscow taxi drivers ever since the Soviet times is to be able to pick up a fare from one of them to the other, taking the unwary tourist on an elaborate ride in circles.
Savyolovsky Station. Commuter trains only, to the northern suburbs and beyond. Metro: Savyolovskaya.
Rizhsky Railway Terminal: Relatively small; serves only Riga and other Latvian destinations. Metro: Rizhskaya.
Kursky Railway Terminal: Actually two directions at one terminus. Southeastern branch serves Vladimir and Nizhny Novgorod, but most trains go south, through Tula, Orel, Kursk and eastern Ukraine to the Black Sea and beyond, including Sochi, the Crimea and the Caucasus. Metro: Kurskaya/Chkalovskaya.
Paveletsky Railway Terminal: Serves Voronezh, Astrakhan, and other destinations southern destinations. Metro: Paveletskaya.
Kievsky Railway Terminal: Southwesterly direction. Serves Kiev, other destinations in central and southern Ukraine and southern european destinations such as Budapest, Zagreb, Belgrade, and Sofia. Metro: Kievskaya.
The direct way to drive from Germany, Poland, or Belarus is along the E30 road. However EU or American citizens have to get Belarussian visas to pass through Belarus, so it could be more convenient to go via Latvia (the nearest border crossing between EU and Russia on this direction) using the E22 which starts in Riga.
Easy access from Finland through Saint Petersburg and Novgorod is along the E18 road. This route is also known as Russian Federal Highway M-10. Traffic on the M-10 is heavy and driving less relaxing.
Foreign cars – especially expensive ones – might attract unwelcome attention, and there is cumbersome paperwork involved.
Many entry points to Moscow - that is, the overpasses carrying the major highways over the Ring Road and into the city - feature rotating roadblocks, where teams of traffic police may stop a vehicle. especially if it is not featuring Moscow plates. You may be stopped and questioned; you'll be allowed to proceed if you have all the proper documents.
Intercity busses to Russian and some former Soviet Union cities depart from the intercity bus station (автовокзал) at Shelkovskaya Metro station (the last station of the dark blue line, in northeast Moscow). This is the only place in Moscow from which public transportation is available directly to Suzdal. Also, some intercity buses depart from Komsomolskaya, Tushinskaya, Yugo-Zapadnaya, Vykhino, and Domodedovskaya Metro stations.
Moscow used to be served by regular passenger ships. A system of navigable channels and locks connects the Moskva River with Volga River, which in turn, through the Volga-Baltic channel, provides a way to the Baltic Sea (using the Onega, Ladoga and Neva rivers) and further from Ladoga Lake through the White Sea channel to the White Sea; to the south through the Volga-Don channel to the Don river and the Azov and Black Sea; while Volga itself flows into the Caspian Sea. In the Soviet times this allowed the official propaganda to refer to Moscow as "a port on the five seas". There is no scheduled passenger traffic anymore on any of these routes.
There are 2 river terminals in Moscow, on each end of the series of major bridges over the river; these are not capable of being drawn up, and not all of them are of sufficient height to allow large ships to pass. The North Station, in Khimki neighborhood, provides berths for cruise ships to Saint Petersburg, as well as Astrakhan, Rostov-on-Don and other cities along the Volga. The South Station (closest Metro: Kolomenskaya) ceased to be used commercially, since the Oka River, of which the Moskva is a tributary, has silted to the point of being impassable.
Central Moscow is best to be explored on foot, but as the distances are huge, it's easiest to use the famous Metro system . It is comprehensive, boasts some great architecture, and is relatively cheap.
As of May 2012, a single trip costs 28 RUB. Payment does not depend on the length of the trip. The tickets are sold at manned booths ("kassa") or ticket vending machines within the stations. The vending machines at most stations sell one or two trip tickets only. The ticket machines have buttons in English as well as Russian. A convenient way to avoid queuing is to buy a multi-trip ticket for 5, 10, 20 or 60 trips (10 at 265 RUB) valid for 45 days, or a monthly pass for up to 70 trips; the latter costs almost the same as 60x pass, but is valid for a calendar month, not the 30 days from the date of purchase. Details of prices and multiple purchase discounts are on the official website .
There are no day tickets or similar offers tailored to visitors, but for those who do use Metro really often and for an extended period of time (90 trips per month or more), there is a rechargeable unlimited trips smart-card (small refundable deposit is required), which can be recharged for a period from one month up to one year. However, if you lose it, you will not get any refund or replacement.
You can easily find any station you need on the map .
Rule of thumb for trip time in Metro is usually to take about 3 minutes for every station you pass. However, some parts of the metro are very deep, and some transfers are very long. In the city centre it can save time to go directly to the above-ground entrance of the line you want to take, rather than to enter at a connecting station and transfer underground. The metro webpage estimates travel times between any pair of stations. Some escalators are a two minute ride as the stations in the city center are very deep. On the escalators, stand on the right.
The Metro is open from 5:30 a.m - 1:00 a.m. Station entrances are closed at 1:00 a.m., this is also the time, when last trains start from all of the termini stations of the lines. No one is allowed to start their journey by metro after 1:00 a.m., although trains are still running. Service on the ring line extends for crossing passengers to 1:30 a.m., though entrances are still closed at 1. Short-length escalators and all escalators, running down, are also locked at 1:00 a.m. (although crossings are not closed while there are trains running) and passengers have to step them. However, long escalators running up work to the last passenger. Before 7:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m., the Metro is rarely busy. Between these times on workdays, however, it can be a real squeeze, especially within the ring.
The colors on the signs in the metro don't necessarily correspond to the ones on the maps, so the green line is not necessarily indicated by a green sign (that could be the sign for the gray line). Use the numbers rather than the colours to avoid any ambiguity. There are almost no English signs inside so have your itinerary ready beforehand or learn to recognise your station in Cyrillic. Each metro carriage has a map in latin script, and there is one near the entrance to each platform. Do not intimidated by the huge masses of jostling, rushing, cross people. The Russians also take their time to study the tiny signposts to see where to change trains or which exit to take. To find out in which direction a train is going, look at the signs at the platform or in the front window of the train - the one in the rear window may show the opposite direction. Avoid the Metro if you are claustrophobic since the air is thick, especially at rush hour.
The most interesting stations in terms of decor are Komsomolskaya, Novoslobodskaya and Kievskaya on the ring line, Kropotkinskaya on the red line, Kievskaya, Arbatskaya and Ploschad' Revolyutsii (there are lot of sculptures on sides of this station) on dark blue line, Mayakovskaya on the green line (watch out for the mosaics on the ceiling). The last one is also one of the deepest, which allowed it to be used as a makeshift assembly hall for a Party meeting marking the anniversary of the Revolution during the German bombardments in the winter of 1941.
Pay attention that there are two stations Kievskaya with same name, located on different lines (dark blue and circle lines) and connected into the crossing. But there are also unique two pair of stations called Smolenskaya and Arbatskaya and they are NOT connected at all. Those on light blue line are among the first built
stations in Metro (they were opened in 1935 with first Metro line).
Also you can take a look at architecture of ground entrance building of mentioned Arbatskaya station on light blue line (it's built like red star in plan) and Krasnye Vorota station on red line (it's like a giant portal protruding from underground).
Also there is an unique station in Metro that is located at bridge crossing Moscow River. This bridge also carries traffic road on higher level. There is beautiful view through transparent sides of station. This station is called Vorob'evy gory and located on red line. Great observing point around Moscow is located nearby on Vorob'evy hills.
Lomonosov Moscow State University main building is also located next to
The Metro is relatively safe, although pickpockets are a problem, as they are in any environment where a lot of people are pressed together. Opportunistic petty crime, such as snatching someone's mobile phone and jumping out just as the doors are closing, is also commonplace. Take the usual precautions at the night hours, when the crowds recede to avoid being the only passenger in a car with a gang of inebriated teenagers looking for an excuse to beat someone up.
There is no train guard or conductor, so the first car near the driver may be the safest. Every car is equipped with an intercom to the driver's cabin; they are beige boxes with a grill and a black button near doors, and mostly work, unless visibly vandalized. If you find yourself in a dangerous situation, press the button and wait for the driver or his assistant to reply. The employee might not understand you but will know that there are problems and will pass the information on. At the next stop, someone (it could be even a bored on-duty policeman) might check in on the commotion.
By bus and trolleybus
Every large street in the city is served by at least one bus route. Many of these routes are doubled by the trolleybus routes. Also every large street of Moscow has trolley wires over it. Moscow buses and trollebuses go from 5:30 a.m. till 1:00 a.m. The average distance between bus stops is about 150 m (500 ft). 
As Metro stations outside the city center are far apart in comparison to other cities, up to 4 kilometers (2.5 mi), an extensive bus network radiates from each station to the surrounding residential zones. Even though they have one, buses and trolleybuses usually don't operate on a fixed schedule, mostly due to large Moscow jams, but there are always plenty of them around. Timetable can be observed better in out-of-jam hours, but beware, that in Russia even without any reason, being 5-10 ahead or behind schedule, or completely cancelling some trips at certain times, is common, especially late in the evening. In some directions, the amount of public transport may considerably reduce after 9pm though. Timetable for almost all routes of buses, trolleybuses and trams can be found here:  (in Russian), unfortunately this site is rarely updated and often contains out-of-date information (it is largely out-of-date as of September 2011). However it can give a feeling of frequency of various routes at different times of the day.
One trip costs 28 rubles, if you pay to a bus (or trolleybus) driver. However it is more convenient and less expensive to buy it in the booths, located at the bus stops or near the Metro stations. It then costs 24 rubles. It is also possible to get a multi-ride card in those booths, and each trip would be cheaper. Tickets for bus, trolleybus and tram are unified. The information about the ticket costs is available here: .
In early 1900s Moscow had an extensive electric tram system, which had firstly been opened in 1899. However as Metro was opened (May 1935) and the trolleybus appeared (November 1934), the tram network was radically reduced and the most of the tram rotes became to be served by the trolleybuses. In particular, the B tram route to run around the Garden Ring, was changed by the B-trolleybus-route.
Now tram daily usage by the Muscovites is low (about 5%), although it still remains vital in some districts for those who need to get to the nearby Metro station. Tram fares are same as bus and trolleybus fares. The tram routes and their time-table: .
Marshrutka is a jitney-like mode of transport that falls between private transport and conventional buses. The role of the modern Russian marshrutka is basically similar to the minibus in other countries. It is similar to German Sammeltaxis, Mexican Peseros and American dollar vans. Trip costs can be different, depending on marshrutka line. Usually one trip costs 25 rubles. You give money to the driver after entering the minibus. If you need to get off, you have to shout: "Остановите здесь!" (Astanaviti zdes, meaning "Stop here!"). You should shout it as loudly as possible, because the motor roar and the music sounding from the driver’s audio system muffle the passengers' voices. Sometimes the marsrutkers hang out an inscription: "Тише скажешь – дальше выйдешь", meaning "If you speak quietly, you'll travel far".
You should shout it in Russian, because generally the Marshrutka drivers speak only Russian, and often they even speak Russian poorly.
Generally marshrutkas go a little faster than buses: however they may be operated by reckless drivers and thus become dangerous. Unless you're in a hurry, more convenient buses/trolleys/trams are a safer option.
In Russia and Moscow, the difference between hailing a cab and simply hitchhiking is blurry. It is an old Russian tradition for drivers to offer rides to strangers, for a fee. For many Russians, it is like a second job. Generally, wherever you are, at any time of day or night, you can get a 'cab' in a matter of minutes or seconds by holding out your hand. Hold your hand out low by your hip, not up high as they hail cabs in American films.
Normally, you tell the driver where you're going and negotiate an amount with you naming the first price. For many locations, giving the closest Metro stop is the best plan of attack. If you don't like the amount one guy is charging, you'll doubtlessly find another driver in a minute or two. Sometimes when you tell the driver where you're going, he'll decide he's not going in that direction and drive off. Keep in mind, though, that very few drivers will speak English.
You should be able to get between most destinations within the Garden Ring for 200 rubles or less, unless it is a national holiday or hours when metro is not working. For example, a typical charge for a New Year's Eve is 500 rubles.
There are several taxi services operating in Moscow, the most noticeable on the streets being The New Yellow Taxi (Novoye Zholtoye Taxi). The cars are yellow Fords or Volgas (Russian car brand). They will charge the minimum rate of around 250 rubles no matter the distance. It is, however, possible to negotiate the price with the driver as well as he will basically switch off the meter and pocket the fare.
You can call a cab over the phone, too, but most Muscovites will do it only at night or to get to an airport. On some rare occasions phone taxi may be as bad as illegal as a street ride, but if you take your time researching in internet, you will find many registered taxi companies that offer completely safe and sound western-like services, some will even refuse to drive you if you don't wear seatbelt. Most western embassies will provide you with a list of tried and tested legit taxi companies that will send a cab to pick you up 24/7 anywhere in Moscow in a safe way at a decent price.
If you not good in Russian, there are several English-speaking taxi services operating in Moscow for example Lentaxi - .
If you do use a car to arrive in Moscow, don't even think about driving around. The street system was never designed to accommodate even a fraction of the exploding population of vehicles; the traffic jams on the Sadovoye Ring often do not clear between the morning and the evening rush hours. Most roadways are in a constant state of disastrous disrepair. You will have to compete for every inch of space on the road (quite literally; the proper distance between the vehicles for a Muscovite is close to zero) with seasoned drivers in dented "Ladas" who know the tangle of the streets inside out and will not think twice before cutting you off at the first opportunity.
The drivers of the ubiquitous yellow "marshrutka" route taxis can seem to be nearly suicidal, and account for a significant percentage of all accidents, while buses stop, go and barge in and out of traffic at will, blissfully unaware of the surroundings. One bright spot is the relative dearth of the large 18-wheeler trucks on Moscow roads; they do ply the Ring Road, however. From time to time all traffic on major thoroughfares may be blocked by police to allow government officials to blow through unimpeded, sirens blaring. If you manage to get to your destination, you'll find that there is nowhere to park, or worse, that a space which looked OK to you is either illegal or "belongs" to someone (or both); this would mean finding upon return a smashed-in windshield or slashed tires, to teach you a lesson, or your car being towed ("evacuated"). Any serious altercation on the Moscow roads means dealing with GIBDD, the road police, one of the the most notoriously corrupt institution in the city. Park as soon as you can at a safe place (your hotel, for example) and use public transit.
But if you managed to have driven in Rome or Athens before, then it's not that hard to get accustomed to Moscow traffic. Just don't try to cross the city during rush hours or you can be stuck for as long as 8 h in traffic jams. In the middle of the day it may take as long as 2-3 h to cross the city (and only 1 h by metro).
The safest and easiest time to drive, when the roads are relatively empty and you can reach your destination quite easily, are the following:
in July and August;
during first ten days of January (i.e. from January 1 to January 10, which is holiday time almost every year).
Traffic jam information Anyway, before planning the car trip in Moscow, it's always recommended to check one of the many traffic jam information websites. This way you can immediately see if it worth going by car or if it's better to use a metro. The most popular ones are Yandex Probki  and Rambler Probki .
Gas stations: BP is the most comfortable and rich in value-added services, but also intentionally expensive in everything.
The famous "Raketa" speed ferries, departing to destinations at the suburban beaches, were unfortunately decommissioned following the 2007 season.
There still exists the "river bus" system, in the fashion of the Venetian vaporetti - in the warmer months, of course, since the river is ice-bound most winters. The only regular route has 7 stops , from the quay near the Kievsky rail station, downstream through the center, terminating at Novospassky bridge (about half a mile from Proletarskaya Metro), and back. Ferries (passengers only) depart about once hourly, every day; the fare is RUB400 . The ride is a pleasant diversion on a hot summer day, as you float past the Kremlin walls and under the bridges, but don't rely on it for transportation.
Since 2009 you can make a trip across the Moskva River on the snow-white yachts of the fleet "Radisson Royal Hotel, Moscow". New yachts-restaurants ("Ferdinand", "Bon Voyage", "Selebrity", "Capella" and "Skarlet") unlike other tourist yachts on the Moskva River do not stop navigation in winter: they can move on ice very smoothly so that the waiter can easily pour champagne in crystal glasses on a table. The huge panoramic windows protect passengers from bad weather and city noise. Typical river trip starts from Ukraina Hotel embankment and takes a cruise with duration of 2.5-3 hours with english/russian audio guide onboard.
Other means of public transportation
There is also a short monorail line, running from VDNKh to Timiryazevskaya, one of the mayor's pet projects. A ticket costs the same as the Metro, but the gates don't accept standard Metro multi-trip cards. The Moscow monorail is slow, accident-prone, does not run as frequently as the Metro (every 6 min at peak hours, 16 min rest of the time), opens later, and closes earlier. It is useful to get to the Ostankino Tower, or to get to the exhibition centre from the Metro Silver (9) line.
A convenient way to get around the center is the newly opened (2008) Hop On Hop Off tour bus service operating in the historic city center of Moscow. Buses go every 30 min in a loop around Moscow and stop in front of most of the major hotels. Live English speaking guides on board will answer all your questions. Price is 750 rubles for a ticket valid for 24 h, and you may board and disembark at any stop along the route as many times as you like.
Museum of soviet arcade machines, Baumanskaya ulitsa 11 (Metro station Baumanskaya), . Great new space full of old soviet fun! Go hunting, shoot torpedoes, drive cars, check your strength and much more... Price includes 10 15 kopek coins to enjoy the games. It also features a cozy cafe.300 rub.
Red Square - The heart of Moscow and the first destination for most visitors to the city. Surrounded by St. Basil's Cathedral, the State History Museum, Lenin's Mausoleum and one of the Kremlin's long brick walls. The cobbles that make up the square are black and not red; the name comes from another gloss of the Russian word "krasniy", meaning "beautiful". Metro: Ohotnii Ryad, Teatralnaya or Ploshad Revolutsii.
Lenin Mausoleum - in the centre of the Red Square. Walk past the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin (who actually did not want any monuments to be built for him) and join the debate if it is still him. You must leave all cameras, phones and bags in the luggage office. Free admission. Open 10AM-1PM closed Mondays and Fridays.
St Basil Cathedral - in the south part of Red Square. Built in 1555-61. Inside is a museum, although it looks best from the outside, but if you have the time, take a peek inside.
The Kremlin –  This gigantic site can not be missed. The Diamond collection in the Armoury is worth a visit on its own. There are several stunning churches that warrant a visit. Choose one or two to go inside, then enjoy the rest from the gardens. If you get a chance, the ballet in the Conference Centre has some very cheap matinee performances (and you can change seats in the interval). Tickets are 700 rubles to visit the armory and 350 rubles to visit everything else. Arrive early as tickets go on sale 30 minutes (10AM tour) or 1 hour (12, 14:30, and 16:30 tours) before scheduled tours. There are also rotating exhibitions which cost 200 rubles entry. The ticket office is closed Thursdays. Large bags must be left at a luggage office (60 rubles). Amateur photography and videotaping is prohibited. Metro: for tourist entrances - Biblioteka im. V.I.Lenina, Alexandrovskii Sad, Arbatskaya (Dark Blue line, east exit) or a short walk from Borovitskaya. For rest of the walls additional stations: Ohotnii Ryad, Teatralnaya and Ploschad Revolutsii near norther tip of the Kremlin, following walk through Alexandrovskii Garden or through Red Square.
Old Arbat Street – Walk down this kitschy street and don't forget to look at the small by-streets around the Arbat. They allow you to feel the "old Moscow spirit". Arbat is full of souvenir vendors, tourist cafes, lousy restaurants, artists, etc. The prices of the souvenirs vary from reasonable to ripoff. Many of the vendors offer a very high higher price, but can be talked down if you speak Russian. The stores tend to offer the same merchandise but with fixed high prices. Metro: Smolenskaya (both blue lines), Arbatskaya (both blue lines, from Dark Blue line take west exit).
Bolshoi Theatre – Sit in front of the famed theater near the fountain, or catch a show inside if you can. Tickets start at around 1000 rubles. Metro: Ohotnii Ryad, Teatralnaya or Ploshad Revolutsii.
Tretyakov Gallery – One of the world's greatest museums, this is probably the one to choose if you only want to visit one museum in Moscow. In contrast to the worldwide collection of the Pushkin Museum, the Tretyakov is mostly a collection of Russian art. It has the best collection of Russian icons and many of the most famous pieces of modern Russian artists like Ilya Repin. Metro: Tretyakovskaya or Novokuznetskaya.
(NB: There are actually two Tretyakov museums now, the classic one and the 20th Century one. The classic one is where it has always been, the 20th Century one is in the Artist's House Cultural Center across from Gorky Park. They charge separate entry fees.)
Pushkin Museum is dedicated to Western art and has one of the world's most significant Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections, along with some Old Masters. The Impressionists and Post-Impressionists were rather unfortunately relocated to an annex in 2007 across the street from the main building. Metro: Kropotkinskaya.
Novodevichy Convent – Both a convent and a fortress, Novodevichy was built in the early 1500s and has remained nearly intact since the 17th century, making it one of the best preserved historical complexes in Moscow. The adjacent Novodevichy Cemetery is one of Russia's most famous cemeteries. Famous people buried there include Anton Chekhov, Nickolai Gogol, Konstantine Stanislavski, Nikita Khrushchev, Raisa Gorbachev (the former President's wife), and Boris Yeltsin. Metro: Sportivnaya. Open from 9am until 5pm.
Church of the Ascension
Church of the Ascension (ЦерковьВознесенияГосподня). Built to commemorate the birth of Ivan the Terrible, Kolomenskoye's Church of the Ascension upended the Byzantine style with its wooden conical tower, and proved to be a milestone in the history of Russian ecclesiastical architecture. Since 1994, it has enjoyed a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Metro: Kolomenskaya or Kashirskaya, then walk through Kolomenskoye park.
The Institute of Russian Realist Art (IRRA) – The heart of the collection is presented by paintings of Soviet and Russian masters of ХХ-XXI centuries Sergey Gerasimov, Arkady Plastov, Alexander Deineka, Yuri Pimenov, Gely Korzhev, Victor Popkov, Nikolay Andronov, brothers Alexey and Sergey Tkachev, Victor Ivanov. The paintings exposed at IRRA offer a unique opportunity to get acquainted with important stages of the history of Soviet society. Now IRRA’s collection is considered to be one of the best in the world.
IRRA is located in one of ancient buildings of Moscow cotton print factory in Zamoskvorechye opposite to the Moscow New-Spassky monastery. After re-planning and restoration of outer walls of the factory building constructed at the end of the XIX century, museum premises have been equipped with the most up-to-date engineering and professional museum storage equipment. Now the equipment of the building meets the advanced standards specified for the largest museums of the world. Since December, 2011 the exposition of IRRA is available for the visitors from Russia and abroad, who are interested in cultural tradition of national Realist school. Address: Derbenevskaya street 7, building. 31 (metro stations Paveletskaya, Proletarskaya). Open from 11.00 till 20.00 (–except Monday). Phone: +7(495) 640-14-76. firstname.lastname@example.org, rusrealart.ru.
Ostankino Tower,  – 540 meters tall, with an observation deck 340 meters above ground.
Less essential sites, but very worthwhile if you have the time, include:
New Arbat Street – Located near Old Arbat Street, this street offers a contrast from the touristy pedestrian-only thoroughfare. New Arbat is perhaps where Moscow's rich are the most visible, as some of Moscow's most expensive restaurants and nightclubs are located here. There are some reasonably priced cafes, however. The street is lavishly lit up at night and is always very lively. Also, check out Dom Knigi (House of Books) on New Arbat. It's not as impressive as the St. Petersburg store, but probably the best bet for books in Moscow. Metro: Arbatskaya (both blue lines, take west exit for Dark Blue line).
Tverskaya Street – This street starts from the Kremlin itself and runs northwest in the direction of Tver (hence the name) and Saint Petersburg. For that reason the road was a very important thoroughfare in Tsarist Russia. It is now Moscow's most fashionable street, with several prestigious boutiques. It is also lined with cafes, restaurants, coffeehouses, a couple of theaters, and several hotels, including two locations of the Marriott. Most of the street's architecture doesn't actually have much history to it, though along the way you will find Russia's first, and the world's busiest, McDonalds. The statue of Pushkin at Pushkinskaya Square is a very popular meeting point. Walk its length. From Red Square to Belorusski Train Station is about one hour and is a great way to see the most famous street in Moscow. Take a peek inside the Yeliseev Grocery Store, Moscow's answer to Harrod's food halls, to see the restored ornate interior. Metro south to north: Ohotnii Ryad/Teatralnaya, Tverskaya/Pushkinskaya/Chehovskaya (Puskinskaya Square), Mayakovskaya (Triumfalnaya Square, sometimes called second Theatre square, containing Chaikovskii Concert Hall, Satire Theatre and nearby Mossovet Theatre), Belorusskaya.
Gorky Park – Easily the most well known of Moscow's many parks, Gorky Park used to be packed with theme park rides, but after undergoing major changes in 2011, it became one of the trendiest places in the city. New cafes, places to stroll, a pétanque cafe, an open-air cinema theatre, free Wi-fi, contemporary public art projects, design fairs and a new cafe policy make Gorky Park one of the most popular places in Moscow. In winter it's a popular place to ice skate and it hosts an ice sculpture competition. Metro: Oktyabrskaya, Park Kultury (it's a walk along the Sadovoye Ring Road from either of them - an easier, downhill stroll from the former, or a more scenic route, over the Krymsky Bridge, from the latter).
Victory Park – This massive memorial to WWII was built for the 50-year anniversary of V-E day in 1995. On weekends, it is very popular with newlyweds. The park now has its own metro station of the same name (Park Pobedy, on the Dark Blue line). There is also a museum to WWII worth visiting if you like military history.
Vorobyovy Gory – The best place for a view of Moscow from the ground. Near the main Moscow State University building, there is a popular lookout point where one can see much of the city on clear days. Metro: A walk from either metro Universitet or Vorobyovy Gory. As alternative, trolleybus #7 (only before about 21:30) can also take you from/to Kievskaya, Leninskii prospect or Oktyabrskaya metro
VDNKh, aka VVTs. The Russian acronym "VDNKh" stood for "Exhibit of the People's Economic Achievements". It has been since renamed "All-Russian Exhibition Center" ("Vserossiyskiy Vystavochniy Tsentr"). However, it is popularly known by the Soviet abbreviations. Previously this was a massive exhibit of the advances and progress of the USSR. Now it is largely a marketplace for everything from computers to bicycles. However, many of the monuments and fountains here make the area a nice place to stroll. Bicycles and rollerskates rent is available. The main gates are a short work down the alley from VDNKh Metro station or even close from Vystavochnii Centr monorail station. Various other gates are accessible from Ulitsa Eizenshteina or Ulitsa Akademika Koroleva monorail stations. VVTs is part of large green recreational zone in the Moscow's North-East, including also Ostankino park with historical Ostankino Palace and Botanical Gardens. Access to Ostankino Palace and Park: Ostankino monorail station, trolleybuses and trams from VDNKh metro station (most convinient) or buses and minibuses from Alexeevskaya or Mar'ina Roscha metro stations. Access to Bothanical Gardens: metro Vladykino - central gate, a walk through newly forming park on Yauza river from metro Bothanicheskii Sad (south exit) - to a back gate, ask for directions, a walk from Ostankino monorail station or trolleybuses from VDNKh and 24 bus from Mar'ina Roscha metro to a gate on Botanicheskaya street. The borders of three areas in between have official VVTs to Gardens gate and a couple of semiofficial paths which are periodically closed - follow people trails to find them. Only official gates to Bothanical Gardens in summer half-year take some admission fee (not high).
Christ the Savior Cathedral
Christ the Savior Cathedral – This cathedral, the tallest Orthodox church in the world (the largest being the Temple of St. Savain Belgrade), was blown up on orders from Stalin in 1931, with the view of building the gargantuan Palace of the Soviets, to be crowned by a 100 meter high statue of Lenin. The project ran into engineering and geological difficulties (the area used to be a swamp), then the War intervened, and the place was ceded to a year-round open-air swimming pool. The pool was razed and the cathedral rebuilt only after the fall of the Soviet Union, in the mid-nineties. There is an extensive museum underneath the cathedral documenting its history (the original was started in 1839 and consecrated in 1883). Metro: Kropotkinskaya.
Garden of Fallen Monuments – Where many infamous statues in Moscow were placed after the Soviet collapse. See Dzherzinsky, Stalin, Brezhnev, and others. Adjacent to the New Tretyakov Museum, which houses 20th century art. After the Pushkin Museum and the Tretyakov Gallery, this is worth seeing. Metro: Oktyabrskaya.
Russian State Library — One of the largest libraries in the world. Anyone (Russian or foreign) over 18 can view electronic media for free, other items may be viewed by purchasing a "Reader's Card" (a photo id to gain access to physical materials). Previously received a copy of every book, musical score, & map published in the USSR, it now only receives a copy of every Russian book. The military reading room receives over 15,000 readers a year. Metro: Biblioteka Im.V.I.Lenina/Alexandrovskii Sad/Borovitskaya/Arbatskaya (Dark Blue line, east exit)
Bunker-42 — Decomissioned cold war era soviet underground military nuclear bunker. Metro: Taganskaya (the bunker has an actual underground connection to this station, though it is unusable as a means to get into it)/Marxistkaya.
Parks and gardens
Gorkiy Park (Gorkiy Park), (Metro: Oktyabrskaya), . It's a new renovated park in Moscow (was renovated in 2011) like a Central Park in NYC, but more beautiful and interest for visit. There are a lot of nice cafes and restaurants there (like Hachapuri with cold tomato soap and traditional georgian hachapuri with cheese, Dom ribaka, Lebedinoe ozero and etc.). Also there are a lot of place for relaxing and working - there is also a free open wi-fi working through the whole park. You can rent a boat or bicycle there. Also there is an open cinema theater Pioner. You can see the map and event timetable on the official facebook page of the park.
Kolomenskoye (Kolomenskiy park), (Metro: Kolomenskaya/Kashirskaya. From Kolomenskaya take south exit, then after exit from metro station proper in the underground passage turn left, and then right. Upon leaving underground passage continue going straight for about 300 meters (along east side of Andropov prospekt) to the entrance. Lack of direction signs may be confusing, ask for directions when needed. From Kashirskaya metro walk along the path in general east-north-east direction to the underground passage under Andropov prospekt, the entrance to the park will be right after it. During the summer season special boats operate on Moscow river. There are several loading docks along river. If you are in the center of Moscow, take boat to the south. There is a loading dock right in the park. Not all boats go there, so check it with the crew.), ☎ 8 (499) 612-52-17, . This former imperial estate is now a very popular weekend destination for Muscovites. It is a vast collection of churches and other buildings from the 16 and 17th centuries, including some wooden architecture that was transported here by the Soviet government from Karelia.Free (the park and museum). There are individual fees for each exhibition ($2-$10 per exhibition).
State Museum-Reserve Tsaritsyno, . A beautiful reserve in the southern part of Moscow, its nucleus being the largest palatial ensemble in Russia. Constructed between 1775 and 1796 to be the residence of Catherine the Great, the ensemble was abondoned after her death and turned into ruins during following centuries. A decision had been reached in 1984 to completely restore Tsaritsyno architectural and park ensemble. Majority of the architectural monuments have already undergone restoration, Grand Palace having completed by 2007. Exhibitions and expositions of the museum demonstrate various pages of Tsaritsyno history and rich collections of arts and crafts. Metro: Tsaritsyno, Orekhovo.
Park Sokolniki, Metro Sokolniki (It is a short walk from metro station to main gate along the alley. North of park is also accessible directly from Malenkovskaya train station or via a walk from Moskva-3 train station from Yaroslavl direction train line). A popular recreational park, which also hosts an exhibition centre. The place to go to experience the Russian nature without going far away from the center. THIS is the place to experience Shashlik (Russian/Geogeian kebab) at a very low price (compared with other places) they can be found selling under huge tents all over the park. The park has an amusement park for the kids so they don't get bored. For the want to be hunter there are two Tirs bibi gun shooting ranges with only $1.40 per five shots. If you have a lot of time explore the forest deeper in the park you will find hard-to-find-in-America Birch trees and many people picking mushrooms (a national hobby) if you want to taste real russian spirt this is the best sample. The area is now infested with many high clas hotels , such as Holdiay Inn and others. One might like to try the goring church of the Jesus Christ, adjacent to park.
Off the beaten track parks
Patriarshi ponds area, Metro Mayakovskaya (From metro walk along Sadovoye Ring, passing Satire and Mossoveta Theatres to Bronnaya street, then turn left.). There is only one pond left, but it is squared with buildings so it is quite peaceful here despite hectic Sadovoye Ring nearby. Here you can take a nice walk and enjoy the mysterious atmosphere, for which the area is famous - due to the novel of Mikhail BulgakovMaster and Margaret (Master i Margarita), which is well-known for its combination of demonology, mysticism, humour, satire, art and love as well as wonderful depictions of Moscow of the thirties. Some moscovites are eager to take a sit on a banch with their back to Malaya Bronnaya street, as it is a reference to the novel.
Aptekarskiy ogorod, Metro Prospekt Mira (it even had former name Botanicheskii Sad)/Suharevskaya (From Ring Line exit from Prospekt Mira station, turn left and walk 200 metres. After you'll pass the fence of Bryusov house museum, you'll see contemporary glass building (look for Valiano restaurant and flower shop). Turn left to the rampant after birches. The ticket-offices will be beyond glass doors, the entrance to the garder will be even further. On days of sports or other events in Olimpiiskii Sportcomplex as well as on Muslim holidays, a walk from Suharevskaya metro station is less crowded and more recommended. A walk from Kalanchevskaya train station along Groholskii side street is also possible.), . (approximately) May-Sept 10:00-22:00, Oct-Apr 10:00-17:00. Garden may be closed for 2-3 weeks in April or in other time due to bad weather; for 1-2 weeks in September for gardening works; for day or several hours in case of various events.. One of the few paid-entrance parks in Moscow. Small but very cozy; very carefully maintained; popular for photo sessions on weddings and babies.100 rubles/150 rubles after 18:00.
Japanese garden in Botanichesky Sad, (Closest metro is Botanicheskii Sad and entrance to Gardens via a back gate. Routes from Vladykino metro or Botanicheskaya street gate only slightly longer). Small and well-maintained; excellent for making photos.100/150 rubles for workdays/weekends and holidays. 50/80 rubles for students and pupils. 10/20 rubles for pensioners.
Moscow has many attractions, but many of them are not friendly to a non-Russian-speaker. English-language newspapers like The Moscow Times, Element, Moscow News and others can help to navigate towards English-language friendly attractions and services.
Moscow has two circuses, the Nikulin circus on Tsvetnoi Bulvar (metro Tsvetnoi Bulvar), and the new circus near the University. Tickets can be bought for as little as 200 rubles, and even these seats are good. Touts may be selling tickets outside and can save you a lot of queueing, and they'll speak more English than the ticket office. Sometimes they are selling tickets at the cover price, and sometime at twice the price. Ask and make sure before parting with your cash.
The Obraztsov Puppet Theatre at the very north part of the Garden Ring has performances during the winter in the evening. Everything is in Russian and meant for children, but the stories are simple and quite understandable even if you don't understand Russian. There is a small box in front of the building where a puppet appears every hour and does a performance. At 12 midday all of the puppets appear for a short but entertaining appearance.
The Novaya Opera (new opera) in the Hermitage gardens features operas mainly in Russian most evenings, starting at 7PM. Tickets are normally available from 200 rubles. Ticket office is open from 12PM-3PM and then again from 4PM-7PM.
Make sure you visit a Russian bathhouse(banya) while in Moscow, as it's an important Russian tradition and Russians, especially 40+, go at least once a week. Have a hot steam, followed by a good whipping with birch branches. While its not the most pleasant experience, the benefits you'll receive afterward will enable you to understand why Russians are loyal to their banya. Most famous banya is the Sanduny (or Sandunovskaya banya).
Like any city with snowy winters, Moscow is a great place to go ice skating. Gorky Park is most famous but overcrowded and ice is not always in ideal condition; Bosco rink on a Red Square is glamourous and easy, although bit costly and not too favoured by advanced skaters. Luzhniki has arguably the best ice, although service can be tough and open hours are not always convenient. The winter rinks at Chistye Prudy or Izmaylovsky Park can be other alternatives.
MiGs over Moscow, ☎ +41 44 500 50 10 (email@example.com), . This great adventure started after the end of the USSR, due to the lack of money in the army. In the beginning flights in MiG-21, MiG-23, MiG-25, MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-27 started from Zhukovsky Airbase. Today this base is closed for passenger flights, but flights in MiG-29 Fulcrum and L-39 Albatros jets are still possible from other airbases near Moscow.starting at under €2000 for a flight including transfer from Moscow, interpreter services and all preparations.
Kva-Kva Water Park, Gostinichnaya str., 4/9, ☎ + 7 495 788 72 72, . 10.00-22.00. Water Park affiliated with Maxima Hotels (discounts for guests). There are 7 high trills (90-120 meters length) and a pleasant surprise for extremers – Tsunami trill – unique in Russia. There are also 4-line trills – Multislide and a special area for kids – a small tropical town with shallow pool. Kva-Kva Lagoone offers hydromassage. There’s also pure Russian bath, Finnish sauna, Turkish bath (hamam) and Kva-Kva SPA-salon. Night discos take place every weekend, with free admission for Maxima Hotel guests.225-745 RUB.
Hot air balloon ride (high), Suburban Moscow, . 4400-5000 RUB.
Moscow Zoo, Bolshaya Gruzinskaya str., 1, . The oldest and the biggest zoo in Russia, has over 1000 animal species.
Moscow remains the educational center of Russia and the former USSR. There are 222 institutes of higher education, including 60 state universities & 90 colleges. Some of these offer a wide-spectrum of programs, but most are centered around a specific field. This is a hold-over from the days of the USSR, when Sovietwide there were only a handful of wide-spectrum "universities" and a large number of narrow-specialization "institutes" (mostly in Moscow & St.Petersburg). Moscow offers some of the best business/management, science, & arts schools in the world. Moscow is also a popular destination for foreign students to learn Russian.
Lomonosov Moscow State University, ☎ +7 (495) 939 10 00 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +7 (495) 939 01 26), . The largest school in Moscow (nearly 50 000 students). Mostly liberal arts & the sciences. Courses only in Russian, except:
LMSU Center for International Education, . Russian courses from 4 wks-3 semesters: Pre-university Russian (to prepare for a Russian-language university education, teaches jargon/vocabulary for 6 fields), preparation to be a teacher of Russian, & 6 levels of Russian for fun.
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, . One of the most prestigious science universities in Russia.
Moscow State Institute of International Relations(MGIMO), . On of the most prestigious foreign relations universities in the world, this school of 5000 has trained over two thirds of Russian government officials and many others in the CIS. Courses only in Russian.
Moscow Aviation Institute (State University of Aerospace Technologies), . Specializes in Aviation-related science & engineering. Courses in Russian, but the school has "Pre-school" Russian courses & a tolerance for some English.
Bauman Moscow State Technical University, . Engineering/Technology. Offers courses only in Russian.
Russian State Medical University, Ul. Ostrovityanova, Dom 1 (M. Yugo-Zapadnaya or M. Kon'kovo), . Otherwise referred to as Pirogov institute, it recently celebrated its 100 year anniversary. It has a huge campus for an exclusively Medical faculty. Presumably Russian-language only.
I.M Sechenov First State Moscow Medical University, . As the name suggests, this school offers Medical & Pharmacological degrees exclusively. It claims to be the oldest medical school in Russia and once to be a medical department of Lomonosov Moscow State University. Courses in Russian, but Russian courses for English-speakers offered. First 2-3 years courses can be in English, afterwards in clinical years mainly in russian language.
People's Friendship University of Russia (RUDN), 117 198, Moscow, Miklukho-Maklaya str., 6 (M. Belyaevo, Yugo-Zapadnaya), ☎ +7 (495) 434-70-27 email@example.com, . Comparable to an American public university, this school offers everything from French to Engineering to Hotel Management. It has European accreditation & specializes in teaching foreign students. Courses in Russian, but offers many Russian-language courses.
Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, . World-renowned music conservatory open only to graduate study.
Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, 125993, Moscow, Leningradsky Prospect, 49 (M. Aeroport), ☎ (499) 943-98-55 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: (499) 157-70-70), . The first in the history of Russia specialized financial institute of higher education. Alma mater of many famous russian businessmen and government officials (one of the wealthiest person in Russia Mikhail Prokhorov, Governor of Krasnoyarsk Krai Lev Kuznetsov, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Khloponin, CEO of Gazprombank Andrey Akimov and some others)
You will need a work visa which is not an easy process. The visa needs to be arranged well in advance of travelling.
It is possible to work in Moscow, you just need to find a good company to support you.
Credit cards usage is becoming more and more widespread, but many cheaper stores and restaurants won't accept them, so cash is a necessity. Be sure to break your 5000 or 1000 RUB notes where you can, as the smaller merchants, street vendors and even many metro clerks will likely refuse them. While you are able to get some smaller vendors to accept US dollars and Euros, it is always best to change currency, which is not a problem as currency exchange spots are everywhere, displaying the daily rates in large yellow letters. Read the terms carefully; even if the offer seems attractive, there may be a fixed-sum commission on top of it, or the advertised rate might apply only to large transactions (USD1000 and up), while a less favorable one is in effect for smaller ones. Don't forget to check the change returned to you (the most common scam is to let a banknote "stick" inadvertently to the back of the little turnstile which the clerk is using to pass the money back and forth) and do not simply say yes to what you do not understand. A good approach to exchanging currency is to use bank ("Банк" in Russian) offices. There are lots of them in the center of city (broadly defined as the inside of the Garden Ring). Better yet, use your own bank card from home at an ATM to draw money directly from your checking account, as the machines are almost all compatible with major Western money systems (Cirrus/MasterCard and PLUS/Visa) - not only you'll get a decent fixed bank rate, but also often a screen menu in friendly (albeit somewhat broken) English.
Buying souvenirs can be quite a chore if you do not stay in the centre of Moscow. You can get cheaper souvenirs from Izmaylovskiy Market in Izmalylovo Park although the performing bears at the entrance of the market suggest that it is a tourist trap. Walking out in the middle of a bargaining session will most likely NOT get you the price you want. Instead insults will be hurled towards you.
Evropeiskiy – A new shopping mall opened in 2006 next to Kievsky station, right next to the metro. Many international brand-name shops e.g. Marks and Spencer, Next, Levi's, Calvin Klein, and Swatch can be found here. There is also a multi screen cinema, food gallery, supermarket, opticians, and probably everything else if you care to look for it.
IKEA – There are three large Ikea stores in Moscow, all just outside the ring road, and located in large shopping malls (MEGA, also operated by IKEA). They all offer free bright yellow buses from the nearest metro stations. Metro: Rechnoi Vokzal (North), Lyublino or Kuzminki (South-East), Tyopliy Stan (South)
GUM – Adjacent to Red Square. Once filled with Soviet-era goods of mediocre quality, it is now a mall with international labels and hyper-expensive boutiques. Even if you don't buy anything, it's highly recommended you go inside and look at the architecture. Metro: Ploschad Revolutsii
Detskiy Mir – "Children's World." Has lots of toys but other stores selling books, DVDs, and Peruvian souvenirs. Again, even if you do not buy anything, its worth going to explore this building. Metro: Lubyanka. Now this building is subject to be closed for "renovation", which will probably kill the remnants of architectural and historical attraction of this building, equalling it to regular malls like Evropeiskiy or MEGA. Nevertheless, "Detskiy Mir" extended its network to almost Soviet-era scales, having outlets of different size (but vast choice of childrens' goods anyway) in many malls in Moscow and other major cities of Russia. (Temporaly closed for reconstruction)
GOROD - "The City". Huge mall in the beginning of Ryazansky Prospekt (Ryazan avenue) opened in late 2006. Situated in the former territories of Karacharovsky Mechanical Plant, offers standard range of "everything-consumer-needs", including Auchan hypermarket, fastfoods, boutiques, outlets, cinemas, ice-skating etc. Operated by Auchan group. Metro: Ryazansky Prospekt or Marksistskaya, then trolleybus №63 (add №16 from Marksistskaya) and marshutkas. Consider significant traffic jams caused by the mall itself and intersection with the Third Ring.
Sunrise Pro - Computer, hi-tech and consumer electronics hypermarket, offering advanced automated buying process for the customer who knows what exactly he wants - you have almost no chance to see things before paying for them. Return process/warranty is complicated. Pricewise this is probably the best place in Russia to buy anything working from the electric plug. Credit card payment process is quite complicated, so you need rubles in cash. Metro: Savelovskaya then walk about 15 minutes, or marshrutka from Dmitrovskaya. Actually, as of january 2010 it has gone bankrupt and now is not functioning.
Generally, you can find different sized fully featured malls near almost every metro station, especially in residential areas.
Most tourists will find that going out to eat in Moscow is quite expensive. It does not have to be that way, it's just that the options most visible for the foreigner generally are.
There are a number of American franchise restaurants, such as McDonald's and TGI Friday's; it's a familiar, if boring eat at a reasonable price.
Great American-style breakfasts can be had at either of the American Bar & Grill locations; also serving thick juicy cheeseburgers.
A huge and quickly growing range of restaurants, with a matching range of prices, has developed in Moscow. The average cost per person for a middle to top class restaurant will be $30 to $200 (more if one goes for vintage wines). A quick 'canteen' style meal in a 'Stolovaya' can cost about $3 and is generally underground, near famous monuments and subway stations. These large food courts sometimes also contain a small mall. They will usually include toilets but be prepared to pay around $1 to use them. Lately a lot of new "middle-class" restaurants have opened, filled with families on weekends. The omnipresent McDonald's have outlets near many metro stations.
Non-chain restaurants and cafes promising "European and Caucasus cuisine" are equally bad in either one most of the time; seek a specialist single-region venue instead (Georgian, Russian, Italian, French etc).
Lifetime of an average restaurant or cafe in Moscow is 2 years -- in 2 years the quality decreases, or it changes ownership, name and/or format.
Many small restaurants within the Sadovoye ring are now offering prix-fixe "business lunches" at around RUB200-250, for the teeming hordes of white-collars populating the neighborhood during the day. These deals are valid in the middle of the day (12-3 PM) and include a cup of soup or an appetizer, the main dish of the day (a smaller portion than if you order a la carte; sometimes there's even a limited choice), bread (no Russian eats anything without a slice) and a beverage (soda or coffee/tea; beer costs extra); it is a reasonably priced, freshly cooked quick meal in the middle of your wanderings which will tide you through to the evening.
Waitstaff in Russia are not as dependent on tips for a big chunk of their pay as, say, in the US, so the expected amount is correspondingly less, and you generally will not be looked at with hidden malice even if you take all of the change brought back to you, but tipping is still encouraged. If your total is under 500 rubles, round it up to the nearest fifty; under 1000 - to the nearest hundred; from 1000 to 1500 a hundred-bill is appropriate. If you are going above that, 10% would be reasonably generous; in really swanky places, though, all bets are off. Don't tip in cafeteria-like settings, where you travel along the counter with a tray and pay at the cash register. Throw a couple of tens into the tip jar for baristas. Note: there is no way to leave a tip on the credit card - when you receive the slip for signature, there isn't a place to write the extra amount in, so keep enough small bills in your wallet.
Azerbaijani – Azerbaijani cuisine is probably the most popular in Moscow.You can find Azerbaijani restaurants everywhere in Moscow.It is strongly recommended if you want to try delicious food in Moscow.
Armenian - Similar to Turkish and Azerbaijani cuisine but with an exciting twist to it. Try out their mouth watering charcoal grilled kebabs and fish dishes. Many good restaurants available around Moscow and many of the chefs are actually natives from Armenia, which adds to the authenticity of the food. Try out Restaurant Gavan at the address: “ulitsa Rossolimo 7, gorod Moskva”. Take metro to Park Kul’tury station, also not far away from the famous Gorky Park.
Georgian – Besides Russian cuisine, one variety of ethnic food that is strongly recommended while in Moscow is Georgian. This cuisine is generally spicier than Russian food, and there are a number of reasonably priced Georgian restaurants in Moscow.
Japanese – Muscovites have been obsessed with sushi since late 1990s, and the boom is not over yet. Japanese restaurants are probably most popular among young Russian women, easily competing with Italian and French restaurants. The picture menus are a great help when ordering, and the names of items are basically just Japanese transliterated to Cyrillic. Don't expect a proliferation of raw fish, though; the most popular rolls contain cooked items.
Thai cuisine can be found only in few restaurants, and its authenticity is debatable.
Vietnamese and Chinese cuisines are not popular with Russians, but can be found if you search for it.
You can find "authentic" Chinese and Vietnamese food in Vietnamese/Chinese Markets, such as Izmalovo Market. You will need to do some exploring deep into the markets or maybe ask a few vendors to locate the restaurants. The vendors themselves eat at those places.
Viet Cafe - A modern fusion-like chain of cafes serves Vietnamese cuisine but for a slightly higher price. Normal meal will cost around 500 rubles per person.
Izumrudnaya Reka ("Emerald River") A nice place for Vietnamese food in the Savyolovskiy market, close to Savyolovskaya metro station.
Kharbin (Харбин), Nizhnyaya Pervomayskaya ul. 66 (m. Pervomayskaya). Mon-Sun 11am-11pm. Well outskirts--but worth a dedicated trip. Non-Europeanized authentic Chinese restaurant. with therefore generous portions, each main can typically fill a couple. Both run entirely by and where 80% of clients are Chinese. Try turtle soup; eggplants in caramel sauce. Loud karaoke weekend evenings. No credit cards.1000 rubles per person for a filling dinner w/o alcohol.
Outdoor Stand Up
Free-standing street food is well represented with hot dogs/sausages, meat pastries and doner kebab (shawarma) kiosks (dwindling in numbers, though, as part of the mayor's quest for limiting immigrant businesses under the guise of sanitary enforcement). The latter are tasty, if not entirely authentic, but can be risky; pack Pepto-Bismol. An undertaking to counter with "native" food under the trade mark of "Russian Bistro" (blini, piroshki and so on) seems to have flopped, as very few of them remain (you can still get a taste of the menu on Tverskaya st. near Pushkinskaya Metro station; in summer be sure to ask for a cold mug of kvass, a malted rye soft drink, if they have it on tap).
There are also several chains of outdoor stand-up food vendors, usually located in clusters around Metro stations. A few to look for are:
Kroshka-Kartoshka – These green kiosks sell stuffed (butter, sour cream or bacon) microwave-baked potatoes, as well as toasted sandwiches and a few drinks. Hot and filling, but rather expensive for what is basically just a hunk of root vegetable.
Riksha Ivan ("Ivan the Rickshaw") – Quick Chinese-like cuisine; fried rice with meat to go.
Teremok – These brown-colored kiosks sell large blinchiki, or Russian crepes that come with a variety of fillings.
Muscovites are also fond of their ice cream, consumed in any weather, even (proudly) in the dead of winter, cheap and usually of superior quality; kiosks can be found all over the center and near all Metro stations.
Another cheap option is fast food, a growing trend in Moscow. The likes of McDonald's and Rostiks are seen near almost every shopping mall. While McDonald's and Sbarros Pizzas serve quite a filling serving for a reasonable price (150 rubles for McDonald's and 200 rubles for Sbarros), most other fast food outlets including the local fast food chains will not fill you up in one serving. A potato topped with three choice toppings will cost you 145 rubles which is almost $5. Contrary to most countries, whereby ketchup and various sauces are given for free, you are usually charged 5 rubles for a packet of ketchup.
There are several chains of restaurants that are now very widespread, and again are usually located near metro stations. The 1990 opening of McDonalds was an international event, and now it has over 70 outlets in Moscow. Rostiks is a Russian Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, so it specializes in fried chicken.
Yolky Palky – This chain restaurant offers Russian style food. You can take all-you-can-eat plate for 300 rubles.
Grabli – A chain that opened in July 2006 aims to compete with Moo-Moo. While new, it offers better quality than Moo Moo. It's hard to predict how long its quality standards will live.
Kruzhka – This is a chain of "beer restaurants" which serves cheap food and, as its name suggests, mugs of beer. It can be found in 20 locations around Moscow. The menu is relatively simple, consisting mainly of types of kebab and shawarma, with fries. Sport events are on often shown on televisions or big screen. Recently has become a favorite for labor migrants with a bit of extra cash on hand.
Moo-Moo – This chain restaurant offers decent canteen food, with English menus, for around $10 per person.
Prime Star – A chain of fast-food restaurants specialized in hand-made, natural food. Most is cold (sandwiches, salads etc.) but some hot dishes are available. Around 400 rubles for a cold soup, salad and beverage.
Dyadya Vanya – Pushkinskaya/Chekhovskaya. Literally 'Uncle Ivan's', this place also showcases a nostalgic interior of the inter-war period.
Darbar - Leninsky Prospect, 38 (Hotel "Sputnik"), metro station "Leninsky Prospect", tel. +7 (495) 930-2925; +7 (495) 930-2365, email: email@example.com. It is situated a bit aside from the city-center, but has a very good location with a panoramic view over the city. The cuisine is authentic; arguably it's the best Indian restaurant in Moscow. Average bill for two people is RUB 2 500. Staff speak English. Also a great place to watch the salute away from the crowds.
Hard Rock Cafe – On Old Arbat Street. Serves the same menu it does worldwide for reasonable prices. They are open for breakfast at 6AM and serve traditional Western breakfasts for what works out to be about $8 USD per person. Fresh squeezed orange juice and hash browns are a highlight here. You can eat outdoors and watch the endlessly fascinating parade of characters that walk the street all day and all night.
Korchma Taras Bulba – Petrovka 30/7 near metro Pushkinskaya/Chekhovskaya. Pyatnickaya St. 14 near metro Novokuznetsckaya. Ukrainian chain restaurant with a interior decorated like a Ukrainian house. Dinner costs $25 for two people.
Lavash – Cuisine from the Caucus region. Large menu with pictures, good choice of Russian beer and vodka at reasonable prices. Looks more expensive than it is. Conveniently located 100 metres south of the Nikulin circus on Tsvetnoi Bulvar. Come out of Tsvetnoi Bulvar, turn right, walk 2 minutes.
Mi Piace – A chain of Italian restaurants. Relatively expensive but quite popular among locals and expatriates working in Moscow. Addresses are: 22 Chayanova (250-0893); 13/9 B. Ordynka (951-52-50, 953-96-65); 20 Tverskaya (650-7575); 20 Sadovaya-Samotechnaya (694-0001); 16/16 Pokrovka (623-4411); 7, 1st Tverskaya Yamskaya (970-1129)
The Old Tower (СтараяБашня), Teatralnaja ploščad 5/1 (Театральная площадь, д. 5, стр. 1), ☎ +7 (495) 698-4008, . Russian cuisine with some unusual dishes such as bear and elk, in a medieval setting. Has a huge beer menu which, however, seems not to be always available.
Oprichnik (Опричник). 2, Pyatnitsky pereulok (987-10-05). Ancient dishes of Russian cuisine including game.
Ragout (Рагу). Trendy place for 30-year-olds and up; one of the most moderate-priced French cuisine places. Very friendly to children: weekend drawing classes etc with proficient mentors.
Soup (Суп), 1st Brestskaya, 62/25, bldg. 3 (M. Belorusskaya), ☎ 251 1383. More than a dozen of soup varieties.
Starlite (Старлайт), . 24H. A small chain of American-style diners, where you can still try Russian borsch or pelmeni. Popular among Moscow expats as almost first places run by foreigners; among Moscow middle-class crowd for quality food and fast service.$$.
Carré Blanc (Metro Novoslobodskaya) – French restaurant with an attached and much cheaper bar/cafe which also serves good food. Good wine list. French/English/Russian spoken.
Expedition – Northern cuisine was really excellent though this is really expensive place.
Krasnaya ploschad dom 1 (1 Red Square) – In the heart of Moscow, in the historical museum building on the Red Square to the right hand if you are looking at the Lenin Mausoleum. Quite expensive, but worth visiting; dinner is about $70-80 per person.
Ne dal'nii vostok ("Not far East")  Tverskoy Blvd, building 15. Overall, it's a real splurge but definitely worth the indulgence.
Pushkin, (Metro: Tverskaya, Pushkinskaya). Has a cafe and restaurant (cafe is cheaper). A fake 19th century mansion (built in 1999) that pretends to be a tourist attraction, not just a place to eat. The legend goes that so many foreigners were asking for the restaurant with this name that they finally opened one. With a stretch of imagination the food might pass for what it purports to be, the aristocratic Russian cuisine from the Czarist times. Still, it's probably the only place in Moscow to try true Russian cuisine, as it's cooked at home (at least, it's quite difficult to find another of the same quality).
Riviera – Painfully slow white glove service but it's a beautiful restaurant with a harpist playing throughout the meal and expertly prepared authentic French dishes. Expansive wine list.
Roberto, Rozhdestvensky blvd, 20 bldg. 1 (M. Chistiye Prudy / Tsvetnoy Blvd). Genuine Italian restaurant frequented by Italians.Risotto 400+ R, salads 350+ R, pasta 350+ R, soups 300+ R, mains 450+ R.
Vogue Cafe – Situated right across the street from TSUM on Kyznetski Most Street building 7/9, the restaurant is a great little find but do not be fooled by the word cafe. It is quite trendy inside and can be busy in the evening. The prices are on the lower end of expensive (fish dishes range between 800-1300 rubles) and the wine list is extremely underpriced by Russian standards - like at least 4000 rubles per bottle. Overall, the food is absolutely delicious.
White Rabbit, 3, Smolenskaya Square (Metro: Smolenskaya), ☎ +7 (495) 66 33 999, . Astonishing interiors in fusion style. Combining an old fireplace with fretted designer furniture and an active bar in the middle of the hall with a 360 degree panorama view of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ukraina hotel. You get an outstanding view on the Garden Ring, the New Arbat and the river Moscow through the windows.
There are several bars in central Moscow worth visiting.
Tema Bar – Located near Chistye Prudy Boulevard (Potapovsky pereulok, 5). It boasts quite a long cocktail list, including all-time favorites like Screwdrivers, Cosmopolitans and Manhattans. The bar is packed on Fri and Sat nights.
Fabrique –  This club has nothing to do with the London club, but it is no less happening and lively. Beware of "face control" (Russia's way of letting only the chosen into the club). Mid-priced drinks, shots of vodka are ~200 rubles and mixed drinks are more expensive. Great club atmosphere with generally fantastic dj's.
Gogol' Bar – This bar is on the posh Stoleshnikov pereulok. The street houses deluxe brand shops such as Chanel, Burberry, and Cartier. The entrance to the bar is between Vivienne Westwood and the Lancel boutique. The interior, menu and drinks are quite simple. Musical performances every weekend. During the winter, the small yard is used as a skating rink. There are also Gogol' Bars on Arbat and Maroseika St.
Krizis Zhanra, in a house at the corner of Pokrowski Bulvar and Ulica Pokrowska, enter the house from the backside. See website to see a small map . In the day it offers mediocre Italian-themed Russian cuisine. Cocktails and desserts are on the menu for mid-range prices (300-350 rubles). They play alternative music and on weekends the restaurant is turned into a small rock club (at about 11PM the tables are taken out). The place is popular with students with money but who are not elitny.
Propaganda, Bol. Zlatoustinsky, 8 (M. Kitay Gorod), ☎ +7(495)624-5732, . 11:30AM-6AM Mon-Sun. A great alternative bar with lots of cheap drinks (vodka is 100 rubles and beer is 150 rubles). With great music, a hip and funky crowd, as well as a relatively relaxed door control. Propaganda is a great place to dance all night and have fun. Also very good value-for-money place to eat.
Kruzhka, cheap beer restaurant (65 rubles per half litre) with numerous locations around the city.
Yan Primus, Miklukho-Maklaya, 27A (M. Belyaevo, Vityaz cinema), ☎ (495) 336-5755. 10AM-6AM Mon-Sun. Belgian beer restaurant, a rare women-friendly beer place. Offer table games for large companies. Parking; outdoor terrace (open until 11PM; booking required).
Beer Market, Butyrskaya 69 (M. Dmitrovskaya), . noon-midnight Mon-Sun. Probably the widest choice of beers in the city in the regular menu, plus seasonal extra beer listings, new region every season.+7(495)967-1519.
Simple Things-Nikitskaya (Простыевещи), B. Nikitskaya, 14, ☎ +7 (495) 629 34 94, . Great choice of wines and snacks in a cozy bazement right across Cofemania, with a special person who sit downs to talk (and recommend a drink or two) with you if you're alone.
Moscow has a good selection of tea saloons. Beyond them, high-quality infusion teas like Newby, are widely available in cafes, both packeted and loose.
Asking to add boiling water to the tea you ordered earlier is a practice that some cafes don't welcome, but normally it's acceptable. However, initiative from the waiter is really rare in this respect.
According to Vedomosti (March 2009), best coffee can be found in:
Coffeemania chain, . The most expensive coffee chain in Moscow. The cafe on Bolsaya Nikitskaya 13 next to the Moscow Conservatory serves great breakfasts and is excellent for people watching in the morning and pre-concert coffee in the evening as well.
Coffee Bean, Petrovka 18/3. Petrovka is most coffee-conscious place in the Coffee Bean chain (also Pokrovka, Pyatnitskaya, Leningradsky). Some of the Coffee Bean stores also provide free internet (eg. Pokrovka).
Volkonsky, Maroseika 4/2. For a late night nibble or a quick morning pick me up, Volkonsky is one of the better places in Moscow that doubles as a bakery/coffee shop. Great ambiance and a neighborhood feel.
Starbucks Cafe, Old Arbat Street, 19; Old Arbat 38; Mega-Khimki and Mega-Belaya Dacha; Moscow City; Sheremetyevo-3; Metropolis (M. Voykovskaya); Aeroport Gallery (M. Aeroport), . Starbucks has finally broken the wall into hard ground Russia. Promises to open another 10-20 stores by end of 2008.
Comrade Hostel, Maroseyka street 11, 3rd floor (m. Kitai-Gorod) (in courtyard, second left after you pass McDonald's), ☎ +7 (495) 628-31-26 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkin: 12.00; checkout: 12.00. A nice clean hostel, with an intimate atmosphere, located only 10 minutes walk from the Red Square. The owner Dennis is really helpful. Free internet. *NOTE: Comrade Hostel is not registered to issue Russian Tourist visas. They may issue you an invitation, but it will not be accepted at the Russian Consulate.700 RUB per night in a dorm.
Godzillas Hostel Moscow, Bolshoi Karetnyy 6 apt. 5 (first floor), ☎ +7 (495) 699-42-23 (email@example.com, fax: +7 (495) 699-16-91), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 12PM. Pretty reasonable hostel with decent bathrooms and very friendly staff. It's in a convenient location. Only minutes away from local bars and restaurants and a 20-25 minute walk from the Kremlin. Small number of showers and internet terminals are the only downside.From 725 rubles per night in a dorm or at 1740 per night in a double room.
Host Families Association (HOFA) (From 22 eur. per night), 5 Tavricheskaya str., ☎ +7 (812) 275 1992 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +7 (812) 275 1992), . Since 1990, HOFA provides visa invitations, homestays, apartment rentals, packages in friendly homes in 60 cities in Russia and CIS.From €22 per night.
Moscow Home-hostel, 2-y Neopalimovsky per., 1/12 (m. Park kultury), ☎ +7 (495) 778-24-45 (email@example.com), . checkin: 1PM; checkout: 12 PM. Located in the picturesque quiet park zone within 5 minutes walk from metro station and 20 minutes walk to the Kremlin.Prices start at 550 rubles per night in a dorm or at 2000 rubles per night in a room for two.
Napoleon Hostel, Maly Zlatoustinskiy 2 (4th floor), ☎ +7 (495) 628-66-95 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +7 (495) 624-59-78), . Good hostel with an excellent location in the quiet city center.Dorm prices start from 600 rubles per night.
Suharevka mini-hotel, Bolshaya Suharevskaya Ploshad 16/18, ☎ +7 (910) 420-3446 (email@example.com), . Pleasant mini-hotel with nice location in the center. Private rooms are quite nice for the price (around €60).
TNT Hostel Moscow, 5 Zvonarskiy per., 3rd floor (located at Metro Kuznetskiy Most, on the Purple line. At the metro station Kuznetskiy Most platform between the trains, look for the sign that says 'Kuznetskiy Most'. The sign is in the middle of the platform hanging from the ceiling and is quite small. Follow this sign toward Rozhdestvenka Street and exit the metro station taking the escalators. At the top of the escalators walk through the glass doors, then pass throught the any of two ARCs, turn right and walk about 2 min till you see a 'Lilienthal Bar' from right hand. Turn left to Zvonarskiy side street and walk downwards till you see building 5 (Dom in Russian). Building 5 is next after the Bank UNICOR. The door entry code is ''1 2 3 4'' (or can be not locked at all). Hostel is on the third (pls note, Russian numbering) floor of that building, left door.), ☎ +7 (495) 973-05-01 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkin: 1PM; checkout: noon. Hostel located in the one of the safest places in Moscow, on a small side street within the Central Bank of Russia and Federal Guard Service buildings.430 rubles; privates 990 rubles(per person/night).
The Bogoyavlensky Monastery
There is a big need for mid-range accommodations in Moscow, but nevertheless the curious traveler can find some useful accommodations.
Flamingo Bed & Breakfast, 2-Yamskaya Tverskay-Moscow, ☎ +79197724002 (email@example.com), . The closest Bed and Breakfast to the Kremlin, Flamingo Bed and Breakfast is in the art and cultural area, only 30 meters away from Tverskaya Street and Chekov Theater.
Dorothy's Bed and Breakfast, Fadeeva street, house 7/3, apartment 114 125047, ☎ +79266644118 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Located in the art and cultural area, providing a comfortable atmosphere and and personal service.
Samovar Bed and Breakfast, Staropimenovskiy lane 16, flat 54 127001, ☎ +79266644118 (email@example.com), . Located in the art and cultural area. The decor is a fusion of fresh IKEA design meets Soviet kitsch.
Artel Hotel, Teatralniy proezd, bld.3/3, ☎ +7 495 626 90 08, . Each room at Artel Hotel has been handed over to a local artist, some already well-known and some up-and-coming. No two rooms are alike. Some of its amenities include free Wi-Fi access, airport transfer, and laundry service.Best rates on official website start at RUB 3100.
Aquamarine Hotel Moscow, Ozerkovskaya, 26, ☎ +7 (495) 580 28 28, . 159 exquisite rooms and suites are equipped with the latest multi-media technology and offer state-of-the-art business services.
Hotel Bulvar, 1 Sretenka, ☎ 7 (495) 7767276, . Hotel Bulvar offers cozy hotel accommodations, all of which have air-conditioner, a plasma TV with cable, a telephone, and private toilet and shower. Some of its amenities include high-speed Internet access, dry cleaning/laundry, and massage service.Best rates on official website start at RUB 2800.
Hotel Cosmos, Prospekt Mira 150, ☎ +7 (495) 646-0155 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +7 (495) 646-0155), . Rooms from RUB 5,000. The hotel is right outside metro station VDNKh and next to the All-Russian Exhibition Centre .
Elegant Hotel, 8 Pokrovka str., 32, ☎ +7 (495) 625-98-32, . All rooms have air-conditioning, a cable TV, and an en-suite toilet and bath. Some of its amenities are restaurant and bar, a business center, and a beauty parlor.Best rates on official website start at RUB 2860.
Ermitage Pokrovka Hotel, Durasovsky per 7, ☎ 007 (495) 9171919, . It offers aptly furnished rooms, all of which have a cable TV, a mini-bar, and a telephone. Some of its amenities are dry cleaning/laundry, high-speed Internet access, and room service. While staying here you can visit some tourist spots like The Kremlin, St. Basil's Cathedral, and The Bolshoy Theater.Best rates on official website start at RUB 2,195.
Hotel Izmailovo Alfa, Izmailovskoe shosse 71a, ☎ +7 (495) 646-0155 (fax: +7 (495) 646-0155), . The hotel is right outside Partizanskaya metro station with a direct connection to the Ploshchad Revolyutsii metro station in about 15 minutes. On Sat and Sun there is a Vernisazh market with attractive art and handmade crafts within a five minute walk from the hotel. The hotel is built on the site of the old village "Izmailovo", which was the suburban estate of Russian Tsars (and some medieval buildings still stand there, about 15 min walk from the hotel). Peter the Great spent there his childhood. "Alfa" was built in 1980 for the Olympic games. The project authors were awarded with the State prize. The rooms reveal a panoramic view of the Park and Petrovskii lakes.Prices start at 3,300 RUB.
Hotel Izmailovo Gamma-Delta, Izmailovskoe shosse 71, ☎ +7 (495) 646-0155 (fax: +7 (495) 646-0155), . The hotel is right outside Partizanskaya metro station with a direct connection that takes you to Ploshchad Revolyutsii metro station in about 15 minutes. On Saturday and Sunday there is a Vernisazh market with attractive art and handmade crafts within a 5 minute walk from the hotel. *Note: this hotel cannot issue visa support documents, make sure you have another way to get your Moscow visa voucher.Prices start at RUB 2,300.
Petrovka Loft, Petrovka 17/2, 41 (Teatralnaya, Pushkinskaya and Tverskaya metro stations.), ☎ +7 (495) 626-2210 (email@example.com, fax: +7 (495) 626-2209), . Luxury budget hotel located ten min stroll from Red Square.R3000/dbl.
Proton Hotel, 22, Novozavodskaya st., ☎ 7 (495) 797-33-00, . A/C rooms equipped with tv with satellite channels, free high-speed internet access and shower with bathtub. Some of its facilities and services are business center, bar, restaurant, conference room and fitness room/gym.From RUB 4,400.
Silky Way, 45 Lenina Street, pos. Oktyabrskiy, Lyuberetskiy District, ☎ 7 (495) 225 20 02, . Silky Way proudly stands in an area that was once part of the Great Silk Road. It offers cozy rooms, all of which have air-conditioner, cable TV, mini-bar, and refrigerator. Some of its amenities are restaurant and bar, fitness room/gym, and high-speed Internet access.Best rates on official website start at RUB 3,500.
Soyuz, Levoberezhnaya. St. 12, ☎ (495) 956-29-99, . The hotel complex “Soyuz” is located in a wood-park zone which is only a 15-minute ride equally distant both from the international airport “Sheremetievo-2” and the centre. The hotel's accommodation facilities encompass 29 single rooms, 119 two-person and 10 two-room luxe, All of them are nicety furnished with Italian furniture and equipped with satellite TV.Best rates on official website start at €90.
Hotel Ulanskaya, Ulanskiy pereulok 16, bld.1A, ☎ +7 (495) 632-9695, . Hotel Ulanskaya is located along quiet and picturesque Ulansky Lane. It offers guestrooms, all of which have LCD TV with local and international channels, Internet access, and IDD Telephone. Some of its amenities are airport and city transfers, restaurant and bar, and room service.Best rates on official website start at RUB 5,500.
Hotel-Vintage, Leningradskoe shosse 297, ☎ 007 (495)943--76-59, . Located in a 19th-century building. Just 5 km away Sheremetievo Airport. Free Wi-Fi, satellite TV and a private bathroom with toiletries is included in each room at the Hotel-Vintage. Some have a separate bedrooms and living room. A continental breakfast is available on request in the Vintage’s breakfast room. Room service is available and packed lunches can be organised for day trips. A tour desk offers advice on what to see and do in Moscow. Other facilities include a 24-hour reception, safety deposit box and free newspapers. Sheremetievo Airport is 5 km away. Crocus Expo Exhibition Centre is 35 km from the Vintage Hotel.Best rates on official website start at RUB 2,100.
Hotel Voskhod, Altuf'evskoye shosse 2, . Relatively cheap and modest accommodation in the outskirts of the city. Located near Vladykino metro station (grey line, seven stops to the city center, 20-25 minutes).Price starting at RUB 1,800 per double room.
Baltschug Kempinski, ul. Balchug, 1, ☎ +7 (495) 230 5500 (+7 (495) 230 6500, firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +7 (495) 230 5502), . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. Hotel is located facing the Red Square and St.Basil's Cathedral. It features spacious rooms, good service and a buffet-breakfast.
Golden Apple Hotel, 11 Malaya Dmitrovka, ☎ +7 (495) 980 7000, . 92 individually decorated rooms and suites. Cable&satellite TV channels, and WiFi. Sauna and jacuzzi, laundry, dry-cleaning and valet services, and 24 hours room service. from at RUB 5,500.
Golden Ring, Smolenskaya ulitsa, 5 (short walk to Arbat Street and the Foreign Ministry building), . Disappointing service for a 5 star hotel, although the amenities and breakfast served daily are commendable. Views from the rooms are fantastic, and the hotel is located near all the main tourist sites. Free Wi-Fi access.
Le Royal Meridien National, 15/1, bld. 1 ul. Mokhovaya, ☎ +7 (495) 258 7000 (email@example.com, fax: +7 (495) 258 7100), . Traditional Art Nouveau-style hotel located in city centre next to the Red Square. Rooms are spacious, clean and comfortable, with plasma TV's, minibars and more. Internet use is extremely pricey though at 16 rubles a minute.
Mamaison All-Suites Spa Hotel Pokrovka, Pokrovka st 40, bld 2, ☎ +7 495 229 57 57 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +7 495 229 57 75), . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. In downtown, designed in Art-Deco. Spa by Algotherm. Restaurant "Numbers".
The Ritz-Carlton, Tverskaya ulitsa 3/5. For one of the top hotels in one of the world's most expensive cities, be prepared to pay at the Ritz Carlton. Although completed in 2007, the 19th century styling looks authentic with an old world style, look and feel. The staff are fluent in English and are helpful and professional. The astonishingly high rates for this hotel though, do not feel justified.
Radisson Blu Belorusskaya, No. 26, 3rd Street of Yamskogo Polya, ☎ +7 495 660 6306 (Reservations.Belorusskaya@Radissonblu.com, fax: +7 495 660 6307), . Standing out among Moscow hotels, this accommodation provides a central capital city location near the Kremlin and the main thoroughfares to Sheremetyevo International Airport.
Swissotel Krasnye Holmy, Kosmodamianskaya nab., 52 bld.6 (Paveletskaya, Taganskaya), ☎ +7 495 787 9800 (+7 495 787 9881, email@example.com, fax: +7 495 787 9898), . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. Top notch hotel. A stunning bar on the 34th floor has a complete 360 view of Moscow and the cocktail and wine list is extremely impressive.
Moscow historically enjoyed a low crime rate. However, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the crime rate throughout Russia skyrocketed, and has had a terrible reputation for crime since. However, the crime figures in Moscow are rapidly decreasing, but they still remain a concern.
Drunk people and the police are the most likely sources of problems. A lot of policemen are corrupt, and it is best to avoid them. While traveling in Moscow, as in the rest of Russia, you must always have your passport with you. If you look non-white, your papers may get checked more often than usual.
Usually, the police will demand to see your papers to check if you have been registered within three business days of your arrival into Moscow. Most policemen do not speak a word of English, but they will let you know if your papers are not in order and you must go with them to the police precinct. It may be possible to bribe the police with about 500 rubles to leave you alone. If you are reasonably sure your papers are in order, get out your mobile phone and call your embassy helpline. Most corrupt policemen will be frightened enough to let you go before you dial the number. Still, do not carry large sums of money as it may be taken by pickpockets or the police.
Non-white people should be especially vigilant since the number of violent attacks by skinheads is prevalent, and most minorities are likely to be stopped for document checks by the police.
Women should take caution walking alone late at night since they may receive unwanted attention from drunk men. Women should also stay clear of large companies of men in front of bars, restaurants, etc. It is best to walk with a friend if possible.
Also note that in winter months, streets in Moscow can get very slippery. Take a pair of grippy shoes or, even better, boots (to prevent twisted ankles) and a waterproof raincoat. Take care as ice patches are often hard to spot, even when they appear to have been cleared or melted. Wearing non-grippy shoes could result in injury.
The city's rapidly expanding economy has left traffic poorly handled, and accident rates are very high. Stay safe.
In Moscow there are three main GSM operators (MTS, Beeline, Megafon), and they often have offers that give you a SIM card for free or at least very cheap. If you are planning to stay a while and to keep in touch with Russian people, then you should consider buying a local pay-as-you-go SIM card instead of going on roaming. Almost any European phone, and those from the US which work on a GSM network (T-Mobile, or AT&T), carry the "tri-band" or "World phone" designation and had been unlocked, should work on the Russian standard (if yours is not one of those, a basic new candybar will still run you considerably less than $50 without a contract). If you buy a SIM card from a shop you'll need your passport for identification. It only takes five minutes to do the paperwork and it will cost less than $10. You will receive a number in the "mobile" area code, starting with 9, which has more expensive rates for calls to and from landlines (and from abroad; in compensation, the tariffs for calls to phones on the same network are usually reduced), and your card will be preloaded with a small initial minute allowance. Incoming calls are free (or at least are supposed to be, by law; some companies are trying to find ways around it). Top off at the stores of your chosen company, at shops selling phones, or at newer automated kiosks which accept utility payments (they look like short, squat ATMs with large touchscreens, and display, among others, logos of the mobile operators); the latter charge a small commission fee and accept cash or (rarely) credit cards. Be careful when entering the number: it is possible to add airtime to any phone, not only your own.
For calls abroad there are different inexpensive pre-paid cards (e.g. Arktel), which you can find at many shops and kiosks throughout the city or in any post office.
Public Wifi hotspots
BeelineWiFi (former GoldenWiFi, acquired by Beeline ) is the largest network of Wi-Fi access points, available almost everywhere within a Third Ring Road and a Garden Ring, less frequently outside it. Most of them are free (paid by the venue, e.g. a cafe or mall) - whenever you are at a cafe, ask your waiter for a free WiFi pass slip if your device doesnt connect automatically. Very few require an account. Rates are 50 rubles for an hour, 100 rubles for 24 hours, 500 rubles for 30 days; if you have a credit card, it's a fairly simple process completed entirely online - you are presented with the payment choice screen as soon as you connect. Airports are flooded with the paid access, so as to drown the (few) free choices. In some places, pre-paid cards can be acquired at the cashier's desk (e.g. Starbucks) or in outlets selling mobile phones.
McDonalds has free (as in a 30-minute voucher with every meal) Wi-Fi in nearly every other of their locations in the city (and in most of them within a Garden Ring)--operated also by BeelineWiFi.
Look out for "Free WiFi" sign in most of the malls. At least one free-for-all WiFi spot is located in "Respublika" bookstore on Tverskaya near Mayakovskaya metro - you can use it without limits as long as you're about 15 meters from the store's entrance. Benches are provided and often packed with trendy-dressed Muscovites and Muscovite-wannabees who hope to look cool with their pads surfing I-net on Tverskaya.
There is also a mobile Wimax provider called Yota  available in Moscow and some other cities. You can buy their USB modem in almost every outlet selling mobile phones(Euroset, Svyaznoi, I-on etc.) as well as in any computer related store. Available plans : 900 rubles/month or 90 rubles/day. Average download speed - 0.6-3Mbits /sec depending on how busy the base wimax station is. Connection can be problematic roughly between 16:00 and 21:00 on workdays, however.
Mobile internet connection
The 3G(HSDPA) coverage is also available in some areas provided by MegaFon, MTS, BeeLine. HSDPA (GSM) coverage is limited through Moscow and the traffic there is very expensive if you didn't purchase a "traffic package" beforehand. There is also a CDMA (EV-DO rev. A) wireless internet available provided by Skylink  but you have to buy their hardware (450Mhz) like USB modem for 1890 rub to use it (runs at 450MHz and it's not compatible with CDMA equipment used in the US etc.). It's much cheaper than HSDPA (GSM) connection: CDMA is 4.6/2.5 rub per MB in daytime/nighttime (and even less if you first pay 640 rubles for switching to Легкий Интернет tarif). Average download speed with Skylink - 0.7-2.0 Mbits per second, and it's much more reliable than Yota. Compared to HSDPA (GSM), CDMA coverage is almost equal to MTS and Beeline, and frequenly better than Megafon.
Moscow is one of the global diplomatic capitals, competing with Berlin, Paris, London, and Washington D.C.. Most of the world's countries have their embassies in the city.
Since Moscow is the biggest transportation center in Russia and one of main the points of entry for the foreign tourists, it is a convenient starting point for exploring much of the European Russia. Even travelling through Moscow to Ukraine and some Caucasian and Central Asian countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan etc.) could be cheaper than direct flights from Europe/North America. Travel deals to Moscow are not rare and ticket prices are often pretty low within former USSR.
Saint Petersburg - 13 different overnight trains leave Moscow for the 7-hour (or thereabouts) journey, arriving the next morning. Don't try to save on sleeper accommodations; you won't like the coach car unless you aren't counting on getting any sleep at all (but in this case, you'd be better off taking one of the daytime high-speed Sapsan trains - they take around 4 hours, and the vistas rushing by on the other side of the window are lovely). You might even consider paying the extra money for a first class sleeper cabin which has two comfortable beds. Included in the price is a small snack for supper and breakfast. There is also an attendant for each carriage who is willing to make tea in classic metal and glass tea glasses. Very civilised way to travel.
Arkhangelskoye - One of the finest of Moscow Oblast's usadbas (estates) is only a short elektrichka ride away from Moscow and makes a fine day excursion.
Golden Ring - Old cities and towns rich in historical buildings, situated in the heartland of Muskovy Russia. There are many tourist companies organizing guided tours, but travellers with rudimentary knowledge of Cyrillic alphabet can do it independently. Many guidebooks are available in English.
Kubinka Tank Museum - One of finest armour collections in the world. About one hour west of the city. Access is restricted, visitors must apply for a permit , but it worths the bother for any self-respecting tank buff.
Leninskiye Gorki - An old country estate, expropriated by the Communist authorities after 1917 and used by V. Lenin as his country residence when he became ill. Large museum, although pretty decrepit now.
Borodino battlefield - This is the site of the famous Battle of Borodino. Museum and national historic site . Commuter trains from Belorussky Station; 2-3 daily, travel time about 2 hours.
Melikhovo (Chekhov's country house south of Moscow)
Sergiev Posad - Famous old Orthodox monastery (Troitse-Sergieva Lavra). Commuter trains from Yaroslavsky Station, several daily; travel time about 1 1/2 hours.
Kolomna - A nice medieval town (about 2 hrs from Moscow) with a number of very interesting churches and monasteries
New Jerusalem Resurrection Monastery - A monastery-fortress (male, working) with a number of museums inside and next to the walls: Wooden architecture museum, local history museum, Art and History museum etc. The monastery was founded in 1656 by Tzar Alexis II and Patriarch Nikon (his "cell", a three-storey house stands in the park outside the monastery walls) to resemble the original Jerusalem. The place is roughly between Novoierusalimskaya (15 min on foot) and Istra (15 min by bus) elektrichka stations, around 60 km from Moscow.
Savvino-Storozhevskiy monastery - A beautiful monastery with interesting history, closely connected to Russian Tzars. Commuter trains from Belorussky station to Zvenigorod, several daily; travel time about an hour, but the terminus of the elektrichka is 2 miles from the town, which boasts a number of historically significant churches itself, and about 3 miles from the monastery, which is on a nearby hill.
Dmitrov - A town about 65 km North from Moscow (trains from Savelovsky station, several daily, travel time 1 1/2 hours), on Moscow Channel, with old churches, interesting sculptures in the streets and a number of museums
Snegiri - Settlement about 40 km from Moscow (Volokolamskoe hwy) that boasts a monument to the Defense of Moscow during WW2, with a good collection of tanks, and a museum. Trains from Rizhsky Station, several daily, travel time about an hour.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!