What to do in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the January holidays

What to do in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the January holidays

Winter holidays are a great opportunity to go on a short trip, enjoy the fresh air and attend interesting events. Christmas markets will traditionally be held in Moscow and St. Petersburg, a lot of entertainment awaits guests and residents in city parks, and the rich cultural program has not been canceled. We have prepared 11 ideas of what to do in two capitals during the January holidays.


What to do in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the January holidays

Going to the skating rink is one of the main attributes of the winter holidays. In Moscow, at VDNKh, the largest ice arena for folk skating has been operating for many years now. A fabulous atmosphere is created by evening illumination under the ice, light arches, huge Christmas tree balls and performances by animators. You can also skate in Gorky Park, where the ice has heated benches and an area with live fire, or at the Giant skating rink in Sokolniki Park. And on Red Square there is the famous GUM Skating Rink, surrounded by New Year’s illumination, the ensemble of the Moscow Kremlin and the main Christmas tree of the country.

In St. Petersburg, go skating on Konyushennaya Square, where the skating rink is being built to match the historical appearance of the city center – in a classical style with elements of Peter the Great’s Baroque. And in Sevkabel Port, the most romantic ice rink in the city, “Skating Rink by the Sea,” opens with a panoramic view of the Gulf of Finland. Group skating on all holidays will also take place in New Holland, on Sennaya Square and on the largest skating rink in the city in the Kirov Central Park of Culture and Culture on Elagin Island.

Go to museums

What to do in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the January holidays

In the capital, visit the renovated memorial apartment of the Moscow House of Dostoevsky, where installations about the writer’s work and the interior of the 19th century are interesting. And at the Museum of Moscow on Zubovsky Boulevard you can get acquainted with the history of the capital in a fascinating way from the Stone Age to the era of Peter I, take a walk at street exhibitions and even attend film screenings. New Year’s programs for adults and children will be held at Moskvarium, the Big Fun network of entertainment museums and at the “Christmas Tree Toy Factory” in Sokolniki.

In St. Petersburg, visit the colorful exhibitions of the Russian Ethnographic Museum, which  they talk about the life and history of different peoples in the 19th century – Russians, Moldovans, Belarusians, Balts or inhabitants of the tundra in the harsh Arctic. You can look at the luxurious architecture and interiors of past centuries at the Yusupov Palace on the Moika, and at the same time get acquainted with the exhibition about the murder of Grigory Rasputin. And to see the largest collection of Russian art in the world, go to the Mikhailovsky Palace (one of the branches of the State Russian Museum). In St. Petersburg you also have the opportunity to see the whole of Russia by visiting the Grand Model of Russia Museum. A layout with an area of ​​800 square meters has been created here. m with a panorama of the expanses of the country from the Far East to the Baltic Sea. 

Look at the exhibitions

What to do in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the January holidays

In Moscow, at VDNKh (pavilion No. 33), the interactive historical exhibition “Treasures of Tutankhamun’s Tomb” is open all holidays, where golden sarcophagi, royal jewelry, statues and unusual household items are presented. In the Traveling Palace of Vasily III you can get acquainted with one of the world’s largest private collections of sculptures by Salvador Dali and ceramics by Pablo Picasso. And at the exhibition “Frida. Viva la Vida! at the Artplay cultural center you will see a multimedia performance of animated paintings by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.

All holidays in St. Petersburg at the Lumiere Hall there will be a large-scale exhibition with 3D paintings “Aivazovsky, Kandinsky. Living canvases.” “Sevkabel Porto” will host an unusual exhibition “Find Banksy”, where graffiti, installations, sculptures and paintings by the mysterious street art artist from England will be shown. And you can look at classical art and get acquainted with the life of merchants, nobility and clergy at the exhibition “Mirror. Russian provincial portrait of the 18th-19th centuries” at the Manege Central Exhibition Hall.

Walk at the Christmas markets

What to do in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the January holidays

The most popular GUM fair will be open in Moscow until the end of February. Here you can warm up with mulled wine and delicious sbiten, try street food and buy traditional Russian folk crafts. Fair performances and sales of souvenirs are planned on Tverskaya and Nikolskaya streets, Manezhnaya and Luganskaya squares, and near the Ploshchad Revolyutsii and Kuznetsky Most metro stations. And at VDNKh, behind the Agriculture pavilion, you can enjoy dishes from different nations of the world and purchase products made of ceramics, wool and wood.

To plunge into the fabulous New Year’s atmosphere in St. Petersburg, go to Elagin Island in the Kirov Central Park of Culture and Culture. The park will be decorated with thousands of garlands and there will be shopping arcades where handicrafts, delicious pastries and holiday souvenirs will be sold. Throughout the holidays, a New Year’s market will be held in New Holland, and on Manezhnaya Square, Malaya Sadovaya and Malaya Konyushennaya streets, fairs will be decorated with photo zones, souvenir shops will be installed and Christmas music will be played. And in DLT on Bolshaya Konyushennaya they organize a colorful fair surrounded by huge figures of New Year’s toys.

Warm up among the New Year’s decorations of the shopping center

What to do in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the January holidays

In Moscow, visit the GUM on Red Square, which in the winter season 2022-2023 was transformed into a fairy-tale forest. Here, in the middle of the pedestrian zone along the shopping alleys, there is an exhibition of New Year trees in different styles – butterflies, cups and even giant scissors are the decorations. Traditionally, festive decorations await visitors to the Central Children’s Store on Lubyanka. This year, the interiors here were decorated based on the famous “Nutcracker”, and during the holidays there will be an exhibition of chocolate figures, a show of waltzing snowflakes and creative master classes. New Year’s fairs, photo zones and activities for adults and children have been prepared in the shopping center “Metropolis”, “Aviapark”, Vegas Crocus City and “European”.

In St. Petersburg, the Galereya shopping center traditionally transformed itself on New Year’s Eve, and the main feature of this season was a huge installation of reindeer and an ice market with souvenirs on the ground floor of the South Atrium. During the holidays, Christmas photo zones, fairs, competitions and interactive programs await visitors to the Leto, Europolis shopping centers and the Mega shopping center chain. And stunningly decorated facades can be seen on the building of the Nevsky Center shopping center near Vosstaniya Square.

Walk through the parks

What to do in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the January holidays

Go to the capital’s Zaryadye Park, which on the eve of the New Year holidays turns into a fairyland. Here you can enjoy the excellent illumination, stroll along the soaring bridge, as well as attend master classes, concerts and take excursions through the park area. And from January 2 to 7, the Zaryadye Concert Hall will show “The Nutcracker” performed by opera and ballet dancers. Mass celebrations, photo zones with beautiful street trees and art objects, and a generally pleasant holiday atmosphere are also prepared for Muscovites and guests of the capital at VDNKh, in Sokolniki, Gorky and Pobeda parks on Poklonnaya Hill.

In St. Petersburg, folk festivals, illumination and entertainment programs during the holidays are planned in the New Holland Park, Sevkabel Port and the Kirov Central Park of Culture and Culture on Elagin Island. In Saltykovsky Park next to the Hermitage, stroll through the light gallery and admire the winter fountain with colored streams of water. And this year Kazan Square is decorated with a bright installation “Christmas Nativity Scene” – in a glass ball the scene of the birth of Christ in the Bethlehem cave is depicted.

Arrange a theater program

What to do in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the January holidays

Fairytale productions are planned at the Maly Theater on Teatralny Proezd in Moscow from January 2: “The Snow Queen”, “Cinderella”, “The Tale of Tsar Saltan” and “Pinocchio”. The Moscow Operetta Theater will host repertoire performances “The Courtesan”, “Jane Eyre”, “Queen of Czardas” and “Montezuma’s Daughter”. The Modern Theater of Teresa Durova prepared the premieres of good and family performances “Princess Nesmeyana” and “New Year on Penguin Island”. And at the Pushkin Theater on the main stage there will be colorful performances of “The Three Ivans”, “Treasure Island” and “O. Henry’s Christmas”.

The Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg is scheduled to show Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s ballet “The Nutcracker” all holiday mornings and evenings. New Year’s productions of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Swan Lake” will be held at the Anna Pavlova Russian Ballet Theater. In the oldest drama theater in St. Petersburg, Alexandrinsky, you will have the opportunity to take a tour of the interiors of the theater and the exhibition “Museum of Russian Drama” twice a day, as well as see the play “The Nutcracker” performed by the L. Jacobson Ballet Theater.

Look at the city from above

What to do in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the January holidays

In Moscow, visit the observation deck on Vorobyovy Gory. It is located at an altitude of 80 meters above the city level, and from here a beautiful panorama opens to the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, the high-rise buildings in Moscow City, the Ostankino Tower and the bend of the Moscow River. There are also free viewing platforms on Poklonnaya Hill, near the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and in Gorky Park. And having bought an entrance ticket, you can view the city from the roof of the Central Children’s Store on Lubyanka. The Moscow City skyscrapers contain several of the capital’s highest observation platforms: PANORAMA360 (on the 89th floor of the Federation-East tower) and “Above Only Love” (a circular panorama from a height of 354 meters on the roof of the OKO tower).

You can admire the beautiful architecture of winter St. Petersburg on specially equipped observation platforms near cathedrals, temples and other buildings in the historical center. The highest of them is located on the Smolny Cathedral, and the city recently opened a long-awaited observation deck on the colonnade of the famous Kazan Cathedral. There is also an opportunity to see the main architectural sights of the Northern capital from above on the observation deck of the City Duma tower on Nevsky Prospekt, 33 – you will see a panorama of the Kazan Cathedral, Gostiny Dvor, St. Catherine’s Basilica and the Singer House.

Skiing, snowboarding and cheesecakes

What to do in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the January holidays

If you plan to engage in winter sports, go to the Moscow sports club “Lata-Track” in Krylatskoye, the Kant ski complex near the Nagornaya metro station or the sports and entertainment complex “Vorobyovy Gory” near the Sportivnaya metro station. For lovers of cheesecakes and ice cubes, slides have been prepared in the Skazka amusement park, at VDNKh and Revolution Square, as well as in the Kolomenskoye, Izmailovskoye, Krasnaya Presnya, Sokolniki and Aqueduct parks.

In St. Petersburg you can go skiing or snowboarding in Okhta Park, and slide down a big slide on a cheesecake, looking at the ice town along the way – on the territory of the Peter and Paul Fortress. In the historical center of the city, Nikolsky Rows, there is traditionally a high slide, and inflatable cheesecakes are given out when purchasing a ticket at the site. Also, tubing slopes in the 2022-2023 season operate in the Babushkin Park (9-meter ice Tsar Hill), at the Ice Palace, in the Apple Garden and in Victory Park.

See ice and circus shows

What to do in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the January holidays

Grandiose ice shows during the January holidays will be held in Moscow in several places at once – at the Luzhniki Sports Palace they will show “The Wizard of Oz” directed by Ilya Averbukh, and at the VTB Arena stadium you can see “The Snow Maiden” from Evgeni Plushenko. Circus performances are planned at the Yuri Nikulin Circus (program “Two from the Casket”) and at the Great Moscow Circus (show “Bewitched” from the Zapashny brothers). And on the Music Media Dome stage you can see the show “Conquerors of the Elements 2.0” from the famous illusionists the Safronov brothers.

Fantastic performances will take place in St. Petersburg at the street skating rink on Konyushennaya Square from the Children’s Ice Theater. On the stage of the Ice Palace from January 4 to 7, the New Year’s show “Swan Lake” from Evgeni Plushenko is expected, and at the Yubileiny Sports Complex from January 2 to 8 – “The Sleeping Beauty” staged by Tatiana Navka. Circus performances in the Northern capital can be seen in the Circus on Fontanka (program “Make a Wish”), in Avtovo (show “New Year’s Tale” in the circus) and in Yesenin Park (“New Year’s Express” of the Mansurov brothers’ tent circus).

Visit Santa Claus

What to do in Moscow and St. Petersburg during the January holidays

In Kuzminki Park, visit the Moscow estate of Father Frost, which resembles a magical city with a lot of entertainment for every taste and age. Throughout the holidays, interactive Christmas programs, quests with fairy-tale characters, and even individual meetings with Santa Claus are held here. On holidays, temporary residences of the country’s main wizard will appear in the central atrium of the Riviera shopping center and in the Snow Queen’s castle on the territory of the Dream Island amusement park.

In St. Petersburg from December 31 to January 8, Santa Claus will be waiting for guests in Nikolsky Rows. Here, in the courtyard of the former historical market in the very center of the city, in addition to meeting the character, the organizers prepared colorful decorations in the style of the Arctic winter. Around are figures of polar bears, icebergs and symbols of the Far North. And on January 6 and 7, the festive train of the main Russian Father Frost from Veliky Ustyug will stop near St. Petersburg at the New Peterhof station. The event program includes games, quests, sweet gifts, a New Year’s feast in the dining car and photographs for memory.

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