Irkutsk can be reached from either of the two major Airports in Moscow, Domodedovo or Sheremetyevo 1. Arranging to be picked up at the airport prior to departure is recommended since both flights get in early in the morning and English speaking taxis are hard to find. If travelling in the winter bring warm clothing on the plane, as you will most likely deplane onto the tarmac.
Workcamps from the soviet-time.
Lake Baikal- there are several minibus trips to the Lake throughout the day. The ride costs about $2.00 and starts out at the Irkutsk bus station. It's about an hour and a half/two hours out, and be prepared for motion sickness on the rolling terrain. The minibus route ends in Listvyanka, on the lake's edge, and there are several stops before that. There are a few hotels in Listvyanka, such as the Hotel Baikal (more expensive than others but with more amenities), hostels, and rooms available at the Park center for $10 (though it doesn't advertise the room's availability). The upper-end hotels have English-speaking attendants, but even the non-English speakers at the other hotels are patient and can understand what you want. The smoked Omul sold by several fish sellers on the edge of the lake is wonderful, and there is a resteraunt on the lake's edge with good fish, along with several bars and small groceries. Everything in Listvyanka is within walking distance, including a small post office. Souvenirs are sold near the omul sellers, and tend to be cheaper than in other Russian cities. There are several boats at the main dock who take on tourists when not fishing. The prices are negotiable, try to find other tourists who want to ride and get cheaper prices by being in a large group. Sometimes a kid with broken English acts as an intermediary for the price haggling. Try to schedule an afternoon flight out of Irkutsk, because it will take a few hours to get back to Irkutsk from Listvyanka even if you take the earliest bus out.
In the winter, the central park has many ice sculptures as well as an ice castle that you can walk around in. There are ice slides in this park also. Most Russians stand up and slide on the soles of their shoes. The park is very lively at night with tourist, even though the temperatures drop well below -20 degrees C.
Visit Lake Baikal which is about an hour outside of Irkutsk depending on weather conditions.
Some locals have rooms for rent.