Winter Capital of Christmas: 5 Places you Need to Visit in Moscow this Season

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The New Year usually starts with the new year’s resolutions and new promises. However, clocks are ticking on that and the first month of 2020 is almost on its deathbed. If you missed some snow-covered festive paradise, the Russian capital gives you an exciting chance to use a little bit more of that New Year’s Eve magic and catch up the first month of the new decade.

01Journey to Christmas Festival

The most popular event for winter in Moscow is the Journey to Christmas Festival, which runs annually from the middle of December to the end of January.

There are also a lot of open-air Christmas markets, which are featured souvenirs, Christmas tree decorations, knitted gloves and socks, beverages, and snacks from all parts of Russia and even abroad. Don’t forget to buy gifts for loved ones and try delicious holiday treats!

The biggest Christmas fairs on Manezhnaya Square and Rozhdestvenka Street are joined by free winter sports venues on Novy Arbat Street and little houses for workshops and masterclasses on Kamergersky Lane and Tverskoy Boulevard. To be fair enough, daytime and nighttime events are organized around the city as well.

02VDNKh and GUM Ice Rinks

The ski that loved by both children and adults alike, is one of the “must-do” activities in winter. As far as millions of tourists come to Moscow during the New Year holidays, the GUM ice rink was ranked Russia’s first skating arena. Gliding on the ice with spectacular views of the Kremlin and Saint Basil’s Cathedral, the GUM ice rink has become one of the most popular places for winter activity.

However, if you are looking for dancing, especially on ice – there is one place for the best ice performance. No doubt, it is the VDNKh ice rink! Being renovated for the park’s 80th anniversary, the VDNKh ice rink has become the largest artificial ice rink in Europe. As well as the GUM ice rink, the VDNHk rink has many palaces or nearby attractions to enjoy and breathe a festive atmosphere in.

03Luzhniki Winter Outdoor Swimming Pool

The first month of a new decade is a great chance to get off the standard range of winter activity. As far as the long nights and winter events create an energetic and festive atmosphere, open-air sports facilities are highly recommended.

Being a country that is associated with snow and cold, Russia can warm you even in January. Do you believe that in winter the water is warmed up 27 and 29°C? Well, it’s not an alcoholic drink as you ‘guessed’ before.

After the Luzhniki Aqua Complex was renovated in 2019, the open-air sports center offers two open-air swimming pools and steam baths. The eight-lane swimming pool area has a large 50- meter sports zone, which 1.8 meters deep.

Moreover, today the facility can receive up to 10,000 people daily. Here, you will find everything to fulfill just about any imaginable winter outdoor swimming experience.

04Sanduny Baths (Sandunovskie banya)

The banya or also known as a traditional national spa is one of the most important all-season activities in Russian. The traditional Russian banya always includes saunas, massage, and different kinds of relaxation therapies. However, it is not only about a healthy way of life, but also is about a leisure pursuit. For most Russians, the banya is also a place to meet good friends with who they share meat and drinks.

Welcome to the most famous and most iconic bath complex in Moscow. The Sanduny baths are located in the heart of Russian capital on Neglinnaya Street and open since 1808. Here, you will find everything from beautiful Beaux-Arts style monuments to ancient Roman pools and Turkish baths. This luxurious place to heal and cleanse one’s body and soul has been known by actors John Travolta and Dolph Lundgren, as well as supermodel Naomi Campbell.

05The Bolshoi Theatre

The Nutcracker ballet performance is always one of winter's premier attractions in Russia. Being premiered on December 18, 1892, at the Mariinsky Theatre’s main stage in Saint Petersburg, “The Nutcracker ballet” performance achieved the gold standard only in 1966 when it was featured by Yuri Grigorovich at the Bolshoi Theater. Since that time “The Nutcracker ballet” is still an ultimate New Year’s hieratical show.

Unfortunately, during recent years it’s been all but impossible to buy tickets in January. “The Nutcracker ballet” winter performances are usually sold out in the middle of fall. Nevertheless, it is worth visiting the Bolshoi Theatre even if just for purely aesthetic reasons, as the building is a real gem of interior and architectural design.

(by Daria Strelavina)

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