Nizhny Novgorod — Russia's fourth largest city, the regional capital, located at the confluence of the Volga and Oka Rivers, and the hub for the Volga Region; be sure to visit the kremlin and the Sakharov Museum
Arzamas — the region's third largest city is most notable for its grandiose Resurrection Cathedral, built to commemorate Russia's victory over Napoleon in 1812
Balakhna — a small historic city with several noteworthy architectural monuments, including the 16th century Saint Nicholas Church
Bogorodsk — a small town with a pretty, well-preserved central square and cathedral, as well as several 19th century estates outside the town that have been converted into parks
Bolshoe Boldino — a historic village that served as the estate of one very famous A.S. Pushkin; the village now has several worthwhile museums dedicated to the poet and hosts the All-Russia Poetry Prize Festival each year on the first Sunday of June
Dzerzhinsk — the region's second largest city is one of the world's most polluted, due to its history as a major chemicals production site, and has life expectancies of less than 50 years for both men and women; the city was until very recently closed to foreigners, but is now open for those who wish to see its singular and towering hyperboloid Shukhov Tower on the banks of the Oka River
Kstovo — a small, old city that is home to the World Sambo Academy and is near several important churches in adjacent villages
Gorodets — an 850 year old historic town, founded by Tsar Ivan Dolgorukii, which unfortunately lost its most important cultural monuments to state-sponsored cultural vandalism under the USSR, but fortunately retains some wonderful fairytale-like wooden houses
Sarov — a small closed city, formerly a secret city known as Arzamas-16, which serves as a major center for Russia (and the USSR's) nuclear program, has rather European architecture since it was built by German POWs, and is located near the holy Sarova monastery; in reference to the US nuclear program at Los Alamos, researchers here fondly call the city "Los Arzamas"
Kerzhensky Nature Reserve
Makaryevsky Monastery — a huge and beautiful monastery on the Volga River, which is easily reached by a summer 3 hour long hydrofoil from Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod Oblast is one of the most populous and economically important regions of the Volga Region, centered on its capital Nizhny Novgorod. Aside from the capital itself, the region is perhaps best known outside of Russia for its tradition of making painted, wooden matryoshka dolls.
The city of Nizhny Novgorod is one of the first major stops from Moscow on the Trans-Siberian Railway (8 hour trip) and receives many trains from Moscow daily. Nizhny Novgorod's airport has expensive direct flights to/from Frankfort on Lufthansa, as well as far cheaper domestic flights from major Russian cities—the flight from Moscow is as cheap as $35.
Nizhny Novgorod is frequently included as a stop on summer boat cruises on the Volga River.
Russia's Golden Ring is nearby and its prominent attractions at Vladimir and Suzdal can be daytripped from Nizhny Novgorod by bus.