Free St. Petersburg: museums, rooftops and flea market

Free St. Petersburg: museums, rooftops and flea market

St. Petersburg is good because some of the attractions from the mandatory tourist program can be seen for free. And we’re not even talking about canals, monuments and 22 thousand old houses that are compactly located in the city center. There are several iconic places that you can visit without spending a single ruble.

Peter and Paul Fortress

Free St. Petersburg: museums, rooftops and flea market

Photo: @vitaliy.karpovich /

The fortification on Hare Island was founded by Peter I himself back in 1703. Now on the territory of the fortress there are the Mint, the Peter and Paul Cathedral, where members of the imperial family are buried, and several museums telling about the history of St. Petersburg and the country.

Entrance to the museums is paid, but you can walk around the fortress itself freely. It is better to arrive at 12 o’clock, when a cannon fires from the wall of the Naryshkin Bastion, making a “midday shot”. This practice was introduced by the commander of the Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Greig, in 1819: firing a gun at exactly noon helped synchronize the clocks on ships, and St. Petersburg joined this tradition in 1865.

Free St. Petersburg: museums, rooftops and flea market

Interesting excursions from local residents in St. Petersburg

If you arrive a little earlier, then take a look at the only sandy beach in the area, which is located behind the wall of the fortress here, on Hare Island. You can’t swim there, so locals come to sunbathe or have a snack near the water with a view of the Hermitage.

Where is: Hare Island

Summer Garden and Field of Mars

Free St. Petersburg: museums, rooftops and flea market

Photo: @lizzflx/@ekaterinapasyutina/

In good weather in the Summer Garden it is pleasant to walk in the shade of the trees and look at the sculptures. For three hundred years, real works by Italian masters of the 17th-18th centuries stood in the park, but in 2011 they were sent for restoration and replaced with exact copies. Now the originals are in the Engineering Castle in St. Petersburg.

Having passed through the Summer Garden, you will find yourself near Chizhik-Pyzhik on the Fontanka embankment. This is the smallest monument in St. Petersburg. There are always several people standing next to him. Everyone tries to get a coin onto the platform in such a way that it remains lying down and does not fall into the water. They say this trick makes wishes come true.

A few meters from the bronze bird is one of the most beautiful squares in St. Petersburg called the Field of Mars. In the center of the square there is an Eternal Flame and a memorial in memory of the victims of the February Revolution of 1917.

Palace Square and the Hermitage

Free St. Petersburg: museums, rooftops and flea market

Photo: @andrei_mikhailov/

Dvortsovaya is the main square of St. Petersburg. On holidays, gala concerts and parades are held here. On ordinary days, an invariable attribute of the square is horse-drawn carriages, a couple of street musicians and doubles of Peter and Catherine, who persistently invite tourists to take photographs.

In the center of the square stands the Alexander Column, erected in 1834 in memory of the victory over Napoleon. This is the world’s tallest monument made of solid granite.

The square separates the Neva from the Hermitage, one of the largest museums in the world. On the first Thursday of the month you can view its exhibition for free; to do this, you need to buy a ticket at the box office before 17:00.

Kazan Cathedral

Free St. Petersburg: museums, rooftops and flea market

Photo: @andrei_mikhailov/

Kazansky is a functioning cathedral in St. Petersburg, so admission to it is free. In the temple there is an Orthodox shrine – the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God and Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov, commander-in-chief of the Russian army during the Patriotic War of 1812, is buried.

The construction of the temple was started by Emperor Paul I. According to his idea, the cathedral was to resemble St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, which is why the façade of the building is decorated with a colonnade of 94 columns.

Address: Kazanskaya Square, 2

House of Books

Free St. Petersburg: museums, rooftops and flea market

Photo: @andrei_mikhailov/

Opposite the Kazan Cathedral is the house of the Singer company, better known as the House of Books, on the roof of which there is a dome, illuminated in different colors in the evenings. This building houses the most famous and largest bookstore in St. Petersburg and one of the largest in Europe – a real paradise for a book lover. A huge number of books of all genres and directions are presented here, presentations of books by world-famous authors and author meetings are held. Also in this building is the office of the social network VKontakte.

Address: Nevsky Prospekt, 28
Store opening hours: daily from 9: 00 to 00:00

“Subscription editions”

Free St. Petersburg: museums, rooftops and flea market

Photo: @emiremarque/

This is a family-owned, distinctive bookstore that opened in 1926. In the first years of its work, “Subscription Editions” was considered a cult place among the St. Petersburg intelligentsia – here one could subscribe to books and magazines, which, by the way, is still possible.

On two floors of the store there are shelves filled to the brim with books and there is a cozy coffee shop where you can look through the copy you like over a cup of coffee. In addition to books, the author’s stationery and souvenirs of our own production are presented here.

Address: Liteiny Prospekt, 57
Store opening hours: daily from 10: 00 to 22:00

Raising bridges

Free St. Petersburg: museums, rooftops and flea market

Photo: @asyatimina/

There are 342 bridges in St. Petersburg. Of these, only 13 are divorced, but the beauty of this action has turned the usual technical process into a major free travel show. You can see it only during the navigation period – from early April to mid-November.

The bridges are raised so that large ships can ascend the Neva to Lake Ladoga. The entire show takes 8-10 minutes. The most convenient place for viewing is the Palace Embankment, since the Palace, Trinity and Birzhevoy bridges are clearly visible from it, and Blagoveshchensky and Tuchkov loom in the distance.

New Holland

Free St. Petersburg: museums, rooftops and flea market

Photo: @confused_lana/@umanskaya_k/

New Holland is one of the coolest public spaces in St. Petersburg. For a long time, the small island was abandoned. Previously, there was a naval prison and Admiralty warehouses; now there are fashionable bars, bookstores, stylish boutiques, diverse recreational facilities and an unusual children’s playground in the shape of a giant ship. Plus, free concerts, lectures and exhibitions are regularly held on the island.

300th Anniversary Park

Free St. Petersburg: museums, rooftops and flea market

Photo: @vladislavkarpyuk/@d.daimon/

The park was opened 15 years ago for the long-awaited anniversary. It is located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland closer to the outskirts of the city, so it is more popular not with tourists, but with local residents.

The main feature of the park is a pleasant sandy beach overlooking 4 new attractions:

  • St. Petersburg Stadium;
  • Lakhta Center skyscraper;
  • Western speed diameter;
  • Seaport, from where snow-white ferries sail towards Finland.

There are three shopping complexes near the park. There you can have a snack and hide from the rain that takes you by surprise.

Flea market

Free St. Petersburg: museums, rooftops and flea market

Photo: @horoshoheh/

In the north, near the Udelnaya metro station, the largest flea market in St. Petersburg is hidden. There’s everything there: from shops with royal coins and antique furniture to warehouses with old tools, Soviet toys and military ammunition. The length of the shopping arcades is 2 kilometers. Just a quick inspection will take you about an hour.

Please note: The flea market is only open on weekends. It’s best to look there before one o’clock in the afternoon, while all the traders are there.

Where is: Fermskoye Highway, 36

Climb to the roof

Free St. Petersburg: museums, rooftops and flea market

Photo: @agrowera/@natali_in_spb/

The easiest option is to visit the equipped roof in the “Floors” loft project. It offers a gorgeous view of the city.  There are comfortable seating areas, and concerts are sometimes held on a small stage.

You can bring your own food and drinks onto the roof, so organizing a picnic in the fresh air will not be difficult. True, entrance to the roof is paid – a symbolic 100 rubles. Sometimes you can get in freely if you first buy a ticket to one of the current exhibitions.

There is a more sophisticated way to admire the roofs of St. Petersburg. You can reserve a table in a cafe with a terrace. This will allow you to watch the sunset accompanied by pleasant music with a glass of wine in hand and a charming view of the old center. Here are three suitable establishments:


The establishment operates on the principle of a time cafe – the client pays for the time spent inside. This is a great place to relax and socialize. It is located near the Admiralteyskaya metro station. The anti-cafe has a small terrace overlooking Nevsky Prospekt and a traditional set of entertainment: board games, X-Box, hookah and mini-cinema.

Address: Nevsky Prospekt, 11
The cost of a minute of stay is 2 rubles, the whole day is 499 rubles.

“Solaris lab”

The cafe is located in a dome on the roof of an old mansion. They serve excellent Italian coffee and luxurious designer desserts. In the distance, behind a series of roofs, St. Isaac’s Cathedral is visible.

Address: Pirogov Lane, 18
Average check: 500 rubles


A cozy restaurant serving Italian cuisine is located right on the roof of a business center near the Sportivnaya metro station. Visitors can expect excellent pasta and panoramic views of the city. It will be best to see the nearby attractions: the bell tower of the Prince Vladimir Cathedral and the Petrovsky Stadium.

Address: Dobrolyubova Avenue, 16 building 2A
Average check: 700 rubles

Text: Mikhail Roskin

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