Let's admit one little fact: Moscow is huge. Yes, HUGE. There's a lot of places to visit, most of them parks and museums, but there are so many more unknown, unpopular, places that deserve the attention as well. Here I plan to talk about them and hopefully give you all the information you might need to have yourself a little fun tour when visiting Moscow.
Main and Most Common Attractions
We'll start with the most famous place in all Russia - The Red square. And no, it's not called red because of communism. In fact, It has always been called red even when the Kremlin was still white (the bricks are white, they painted them after). This is because red in Russian "Красный" (Krasnyj) can also mean "beautiful" So, probably, the better translation should be "Beautiful Square", but that's a different subject. Since we started with Red Square we must continue with the Lenin Mausoleum and the cemetery under the Red square (yes, we have a cemetery on the main square of Russia) in my opinion, those two are not interesting places or at least not that interesting. A cemetery and an open casket, are you sure that's how you want to spend your day? Exactly, so let's move on.
After visiting the Red Square, I would recommend taking a walk in Alexander's Garden on the other side of the Kremlin. There are much more things to look at there, alive things I might add. You could also go right to the Kremlin or to St. Basil's Cathedral which actually isn't a cathedral to St. Basil. Its official name is - Cathedral of the Intercession of the Virgin on the Moat, but not a lot of people know it. Its popular name appeared because of one crazy person, said to be respected by Ivan the Terrible, named one of the towers after him: Basil. And that's how it slowly became the name of the whole church. Moscow is truly a city of wonders, isn't it?
Now, let's have a quick tour of the old-architecture monuments and mansions with long stories and famous people in it
Кусково (Kuskovo) - one of the oldest mansions saved in Moscow, built by the Sheremetyevo dynasty (one of the most famous dynasties in Russia). It was famous in the 19th century being almost the center of all Moscow art, where the first "serf theater" (which was insanely popular in Russia) appeared. Today it's a porcelain museum and it has one of the coolest monuments of 18th century architecture.
Измайловский остров (Izmailovo Island) - this is where Peter the Great spent his whole childhood, a Romanov residence since 1565. These days, it has become one of the most progressive places in Russia with a lot of exhibitions and excursions happening throughout the year. You can probably see the Izmailovo Kremlin from the Island, I don't recommend this place for a visit, the reason? It's a new building made for tourists and not really a landmark. If you happen to have an interest in the study of making soap, then a visit could be fun.
Seven Sisters - these are seven huge skyscrapers built in Stalin's time, they started of as a building which never got built the "Palace of the Soviets" with a giant Lenin on the roof and much bigger than all buildings of the time. Now, in that place, you can see the Cathedral of Christ the Savior (a good place to visit) which was destroyed and replaced by a public pool and then rebuilt in 2000. Here's a list of all "sisters":
Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Apartments
The Kudrinskaya Square Building
The Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya Hotel
Ministry of Foreign Affairs main building
Moscow State University
Red Gates Administrative Building
Every building has an interesting interior, but not in every one of them has the entrance open for tourists.
If you want something to eat, you can always go to Depo - the first and biggest food-mall in Moscow. Built in the old train station building, this place has dishes from different parts of the world (if you miss your country you might find a bite right here) you can find this same place at Zarjadie park - the small park near the Kremlin which was built on the site of the old "Rosija" Hotel. It's a nice place to spend some time, pretty popular and offers an absolutely amazing views.
The Cultural Side of the Capital
The Tretyakov gallery was built by Pavel Tretyakov, who had a passion for paintings, he bought hundreds of paintings which he later added to his own public gallery, at this moment it belongs to the state. It has about 106 halls with dozens of pictures from different painters from Russia and other countries. The new Tretyakov gallery, that was opened just a couple of years ago, is in the "Museon" park, there you can enjoy the constant exhibits with works from the XX-XXI centuries and those more recent from many artists with exciting different directions in painting.
And going to rebuild factories and train stations. "Flakon" (Флакон) - It's a trade, exhibition and office complex. Built in the Butyrsky district of Moscow on the territory of the former Crystal Factory its a now a place that changed the image of Moscow. You can find here almost everything street art, little cafes, a good place to relax. This place is extremely popular with the locals and not quite famous in tourist circles, like VDNH.
Places to Hide from Society
The VDNH (ВДНХ) stands for "Exhibition of the National Economy" the closest translation for this abbreviation. A big park complex with dozens of exhibitions for any taste you may have, one of the best parks in Moscow and personally my favorite. There's beautiful architecture from the Soviet period representing some ex-Soviet republics, a fountain with weed... Wait, WHAT? Yes, It's not a joke, there are cannabis plants inside the Дружбы народов (Friendship of Nations) fountain. Don't believe me? You can go check it out for yourself!
A little extra bit about another park - Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure. (Парк Горького) The most popular park in Moscow, and one of the best made in Russia, has an amazing view of the Moscow river and its surrounding places. A great place to take outstanding pictures.
Don't be Afraid to Visit Russia
Moscow is a beautiful place, with its special and unremarkable atmosphere. And I can't even say, what places I like the most, I really like this city as a whole, with its contrasts in absolutely everything. These places are just a small part of a huge capital, and I can say for sure - you will definitely find something for yourself here.
So don't be afraid to try Russia as a touristic destination, now you know how amazing a nice walking tour of Moscow can be!