When you are in St Petersburg, the things to do in the city is something that you should not worry about as there are just plenty of things you can do and experience in the City of Tsars!
To kick off your activities in the city, you can start exploring the various museums and architecture in St Petersburg – there’s a lot, so be prepared to pick your choice! You can also find out places and sights in the city designed for kids. If you are traveling with your little ones, this may be a perfect itinerary. To experience what is like to party and celebrate in this Russian city, you can also take part in many city festivals.
At night, there are a number of restaurants ready to let you get a taste of the city’s gastronomy. After a sumptuous dinner, you can then head to one of the many nightspots in St Petersburg. The city’s nightlife does not lose vigor so be prepared for an all-night party.
Aside from the food and party, shopping in the city will not be a disappointment. If shopping isn’t your cup of tea though, you can simply catch or learn a sport in the city. You can also opt to get fit in St Petersburg as there are several fitness centers around.
For an alternative activity, you can also bring your family and friends to one of the theaters in St Petersburg or enjoy listening to the city’s music.
Don’t worry if you are in a budget! There are many things to do in St Petersburg that are free of charge! So there is practically no reason not to enjoy this marvelous city!
Traveling into a foreign city, one would always want to try out various restaurants to get a taste of their unique cuisine and get a feel of the city’s culture. Travelers would always want to try out new dishes unique in the city. Some travelers are even curious to try out even the familiar dishes as they are sure that this city has a different way of preparing it.
When in St. Petersburg, you will have a great number of restaurants to choose from. The city now has a lot of varieties of restaurants that are available. Whatever type of cuisine you would want to try out, there are a number of restaurants ready for you to serve this. May it be Oriental, Chinese, Indonesian, Mexican or Mediterranean all these can be tried out in the restaurants of the city. And of course, European and Russian cuisine is very much available in the various establishments.
If you would want an authentic culinary experience and try out Russian cuisine in St. Petersburg there are a number of places that you can go to. Palkin, the oldest restaurant and one of the best in the city, is one of them. In Palkin, you not only get to eat excellent Russian cuisine, but you also get to dine in a place that attempts to recreate the old days of the city. Demidov, a traditional Russian restaurant, is another great restaurant to try out.
Food, more than anything is the most important basic human need, it what keeps humanity survive. And Russian culture won’t be left behind of some of the most sumptuous and delectable food ever prepared.
Given the fact that Russia is geographically located in the northernmost part of the world, with long-lasting below normal temperatures, the food must give enough energy and warmth to survive during the wintertime. Thus, the essential components of Russian cuisine are the ones that provide more carbohydrates and fat rather than proteins. So, the top five components of a Russian meal are potatoes, bread, eggs, meat (especially beef) and butter.
Soups have always played an important role in Russian meal. One of the most famous soups in Russian cuisine is Borcsh, it is made of beet and meat usually served with sour cream. Vegetable soup (shie), on the other hand, is made of cabbage, potato, and meat. There is also the specification called “shie postie” the same soup but without the meat. Another soup which is a popular countryside dish is Noodle soup, which is made of homemade noodles, potatoes, and meat sometimes.
The main courses are eaten at dinner (afternoon meal) and supper (evening meal). Oftentimes, they include meat (beef, chicken, and fish) or vegetables, and served with various garnishes and dressings. In traditional Russian cuisine three basic variations of meat dishes can be highlighted:
- A large boiled piece of meat cooked in a soup or porridge, and then used as the second course or served cold (particularly in jellied stock).
- Offal dishes (liver, tripe, etc.), baked in pots together with cereals.
- Whole fowl dishes or parts of fowl (legs or breasts), or a large piece of meat (rump) baked on a baking tray in an oven, so-called “zharkoye” (from the word “zhar”(жар) meaning “heat”).
Russian Cuisine is one mouth-watering cuisine that is certainly worth tasting.
You will get to see and appreciate the great architecture of St. Petersburg as you see the great edifices from the past that still stand today. Looking at the great structures you will be at awe at the beauty and the intricacy of the buildings.
Back then, the city of St. Petersburg was considered as a modern European city. Very different from what it originally was before the great structures of the city were erected, a swampy place that seems to be in the middle of nowhere. After The Emperor, Peter the Great, had ordered to build a city on the swamp the city rose to become a great city. It was considered as the “window to the west.”
Most of the buildings that were erected in the city were masterpieces of Italian architects. This is why the city was considered as a modern European city during the early days. Most of the buildings that were put up had a style of neoclassical architecture as well as baroque architecture.
The Imperial Estates in the city’s suburbs is also a testament to the great architecture that can be found in the area. The Peterhof, home of Peter the Great; the Tsarskoe Selo, which is home to the famous Catherine Palace; and the Pavlovsk, home of the neoclassical styled palace and English styled gardens are only some of these.
Visiting museums is always a treat. You get to get a glimpse of a city’s culture through various displays that are featured in exhibits and galleries that are showcased in museums. In St. Petersburg you won’t run out of museums to visit. They’ve got over two hundred museums! So read on and take your pick on which museum to visit. If you have the time, go visit them all!
The Hermitage Museum is the biggest and perhaps the most popular museum in St. Petersburg. It is also the most visited and it is already considered as a trademark of the city. It has almost 3 million items on display and has the biggest painting collection in the world. It is also considered as one of the biggest and oldest museums in the world. It is truly one of the must-see attractions of St. Petersburg.
The Russian Museum houses the biggest Russian fine art collection in St. Petersburg. It was established in 1895 to commemorate Alexander III. The Black Square by Kazimir Malevich is part of the many great pieces of art included in the museums’ fine art collection.
Aside from Hermitage Museum and Russian Museum, the notable museums that are worth visiting are Central Naval Museum, Zoological Museum, Museum of contemporary art Erarta, Railway Museum, Saint Petersburg Museum of History, Artillery Museum, and the Museum of the Siege of Leningrad.
Various festivals are held in Saint Petersburg year round that is why the city has attracted hundreds of tourists every month especially when there are celebrations observed. White Nights Festival—an annual international arts festival, is one of the most awaited celebrations in the city. It is composed of opera and music events, classical ballet and it features great performances by well known Russian singers, dancers, and other artists.
Millions of locals and tourists also witness the Scarlet Sails celebration which is named as the culmination of the White Nights season. In Russia, it is famous as the “Alye Parusa” festival and it is famous for its impressive fireworks and enormous show that celebrates the end of the school year.
Every summer, the city celebrates International Film Festival. The city also has a Beer Festival which is held in June. In August, they never fail to hold the Russian’s Fair and Sailing Week. If you love to watch concerts and jazz festivals, you should never miss out on any show at the Philharmonic Hall located at Zagorodnii Prospekt.
If you are into sports, Kirov Stadium is the best place to visit. It is situated at Morskoi Prospekt and it is a vast area that can accommodate 80,000 audiences.
Spending Christmas in the city is also a fun experience especially when you witness the DJ Parade where all the DJs from Russia gather at the Iubileinyi Sports Area, Dobroliubova Prospekt. Arts Square Winter Festival is also observed every December to early January. This event feature performances at the Shostakovich Theatre. Folklore shows, troika rides, and many exciting games, on the other hand, are held during the Russian Winter Festival.
Without a doubt, Russia has a rich culture with regard to arts and literature, it is home to various poets, literary authors, and prolific playwrights. Thus, it is no wonder why St. Petersburg is surrounded by several theaters. Here you can watch classy musicals and plays.
Priyut Komedianta Theatre
This delightful theatre’s name means ‘the actor’s shelter’ and it does a pretty good job of fulfilling its role, providing refuge for some of the city’s best up-and-coming directors and producers. Recent successes have included Peter Shereshevsky’s adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Eternal Husband and Georgy Vasiliev’s ambitious staging of Viktor Yerofeyev’s Moscow Stations, a sort of Russian Trainspotting.
This austere neoclassical theatre – once the private theatre of the imperial family – stands on the site of the original Winter Palace of Peter I. At the behest of Catherine the Great, Giacomo Quarenghi designed the theatre to resemble an amphitheater, with statues of Apollo and the Muses occupying the niches. During the Soviet period, this hall was used more often for lectures and such, but it reopened as a theatre in the 1980s. Appropriate for the setting, performances range from Tchaikovsky to Tchaikovsky. Some of the music festivals also use this venue for performances.
Yusupov Palace Theatre
Housed inside the outrageously ornate Yusupov Palace, this elaborate yet intimate venue was the home entertainment center for one of the city’s foremost aristocratic families. While you can visit the theatre when you tour the palace, seeing a performance here is a treat, as you can imagine yourself the personal guest of crazy Prince Felix himself. The shows are a mixed bag – usually a ‘Gala Evening’ that features fragments of various Russian classics.
Explore your artistic side by watching word-class performances in these St. Petersburg theaters.
If you love going to live concerts and jazz clubs, then St. Petersburg is the perfect place for you. The city is known for giving the best live rock and alternative music concerts in Russia. It is also home to a lot of great jazz clubs. Jazz and blues are really popular in the city and because of this a lot of clubs have sprung up.
Among the places that you could visit to experience the Jazz and Blues scene in St. Petersburg are the Jazz Philharmonic Hall Venue, owned by renowned musician David Goloshyokin; Khrapkoff Club, a dance school by day and club by night; JFC Jazz Club Club, a club hosting classic to modern jazz concerts; and Red Fox Club, a simple little café that offers great live jazz nightly.
If you would want to experience the dance club night scene in the city though, there are also a lot of places to go to. Most of the places are known to have a relaxed atmosphere. Among the place to try out are: Cosmonaut Club; Troica Club, where you can dance to indie and electro music; 2nd Floor Club, a branch of Dacha where you can experience not only dancing to music but also watching live concerts; and the Daxphi Club, which offers house music and live concerts.
If you’re in search of wonderful leisure and good drinks, or just want a cozy place to unwind and free all those stressful vibes, then Saint Petersburg is a perfect place, for it offers a handful of bars to satisfy your relaxing needs.
St. Petersburg is mainly famous for its small den-like bars, scattered across the center. Here are some of the well-known establishments in the city, which proudly carry the name “pub” on them.
O’Hooligans Irish Pub
It has proven to be popular with locals and tourists. The staff is friendly and welcoming, and the food is delicious as well. Live music is performed occasionally, and football games are shown. But the main goal of this pub is to meet new friends and converse over a drink or a meal. It seems to be a social place where it is impossible to leave without meeting someone new.
It boasts an “authentic” English pub atmosphere, decked out in dark oak with deep blue seat coverings and a homely feel. It even boasts a small beer garden which completely concreted, that reminiscent of a true English pub. There are plenty of beers from all around the world, including more than ten on tap, and a lot of superior whiskeys. The snacks and food are good, too, which come in huge serving.
The Shamrock Irish Pub
This pub is a tad pricey but popular Irish pub with a long history in St. Petersburg. Live music almost every night of the week and 16 types of beer on tap to help draw in big crowds and make for a lively atmosphere. Beer is a bit more expensive than the average but there are some cheaper options, as well as 25 types of whiskey. The food menu goes beyond standard pub grub with options including steaks, pasta, and more broadly European dishes.
St. Petersburg bars along with its wide array of an offering of food and drinks will give you an exceptionally good time.
Bring out the inner dancer in you and dance the night away with St. Petersburg’s top of the line clubs. From techno music to live punk or jazz, St. Petersburg has a nightlife that will appeal to anyone. It has also become the place to go for live alternative and rock music concerts, and “arty” clubs, where you can have a beer and meet a lot of people over one evening. Dance clubs are also widely popular.
Below are some of the diverse clubs to choose from
If house, techno, breaks and drum N bass music make you groove, then The Tunnel Club is the club for you. It is the first techno club to open in Russia back in 1993 and has enjoyed a tumultuous history ever since, closing down in ’97 and finally resurfacing in 2002. Legends about the excessive hedonism that has taken place in the erstwhile bomb shelter are two a penny and much of that pioneering party spirit still survives. The music varies depending on the event, but expect the very best tunes blasted out to a young and crazy crowd.
Very similar to a lot of other bars around town, Hallelujah Bar is a little place that goes wild on weekends with youngsters getting hot and sweaty to the music of the 1980s, 1990s, current Russian rock bands and occasionally the Ghostbusters theme tune to amuse the students. It can get hot as hell in here, but on the upside, you may dance wherever you want, be it the street or the table. There’s also a Fussball table if you are not feeling quite yet in the mood to join the party.
These clubs and their wide range of music genre will surely provide you with a party of a lifetime.
As the number of tourists that visit St. Petersburg has grown over the years, the number of stores has also grown. You will find everything you want in the city. You will find a lot of shops that you can choose from that offer handmade arts and crafts, and also great souvenirs that you can take home with you.
The best place to be in if you want to go shopping in St. Petersburg is in Nevsky Prospekt. This central road offers a line of shops that will give you what you need. One great thing about Nevsky Prospekt is that the shops are arranged in an old 18th-century setting. So you will surely feel like a true resident from St. Petersburg shopping in the old days.
A very important reminder for tourists, be sure to bring your passport with you if you are planning to have your money changed. They have a policy in Nevsky Prospekt that they will only exchange money if you have a passport. The best thing is they offer the best exchange rates.
If you would want to purchase art and antiques in the city, there are also a number of shops that you can go to for this. You will find a lot of shops that sell rare antiques as well as original artworks from renowned artists.
The city of St. Petersburg is committed to providing safe avenues for its residents and tourist alike to enjoy the indoors and outdoors through various sports activities, such as Figure Skating, Hockey, Soccer, and Tennis. Go out and watch or cheer for your favorite sports and its teams, or better yet get involved and play.
Russia is one of the world’s premier figure skater factories and St. Petersburg has produced many of the country’s top skaters. Come during one of the figure skating tournaments, which are held in January and February.
Ice hockey is a crucial sport in this northern city. Viewing the big matches became a lot more pleasant with the construction of the Ice Palace/Ledovy Dvorets for the 2000 Hockey World Cup. For more casual viewing pleasure, come in winter and visit the bigger city parks, where a match is nearly always underway on the ponds.
Soccer is the Russians’ favorite sport. St. Petersburg’s premier soccer club, Zenit, is finally emerging from the shadows of its Moscow rivals. If you’re in town during a Zenit match, head for Petrovsky Stadium, 2 Petrovsky Prospekt and be prepared for some raucous behavior. City parks host informal soccer (called futbol here) matches year-round — even in the snow.
The St. Petersburg Open, held at rather run-down Peterburgsky Sports Complex, 8 Ulitsa Gagarina), is the main venue at which to catch top-ranked Russian ATP stars on their homeland’s courts. The Davis Cup also sometimes comes here.
The sports in St. Petersburg will add some sporty experience for both the sports fans and non-sports fanatic.
Just because you’re on a vacation and having a good time, doesn’t mean that you have to forget your well-being, especially your health and fitness. There are several fitness gyms to enrolled in order to burn those unwanted fats and extra calories.
If you want different activities that suit your fitness need then Planet Fitness is a must-try. The city’s biggest Planet Fitness outlet is on the Petrograd Side in the prestigious City Centre business center. Its facilities include a big swimming pool, tennis courts, and the requisite machines. Classes include standards such as yoga and spinning, as well as more exotic fare like kickboxing and karate. For relaxation, finish up with a massage or a visit to the sauna. Rates are cheaper before 5 pm.
However, if the Finnish sauna and Russian steam room are what your body needs, the Second Courtyard can provide it for you. Located behind an apartment block on the Vasilevsky Island embankment, the small but sparkling facility also includes a small plunge pool. A public banya by day, in the evening you can book the whole place out for your private party (up to eight people).
Or better yet, prepare those walking shoes as you tour with a twist. Peter’s Walking Tours lets you walk around the city while enjoying a tour. Operating for over 12 years, Peter Kozyrev and his brilliant band of guides can give you an insight into the city like no one else. The standard walking tour (R500) departs from the HI St Petersburg Hostel at 10.30 am. Also on offer are lots of cool itineraries, around themes like Dostoevsky, Rasputin, the Great October Revolution and food, all in English, as well as a regular bike tour. Private tours kick off at R900 per hour for up to four people from May to November.
St. Petersburg for Kids
Bringing your kids to Saint Petersburg will absolutely help them in exploring the historical city and this will also teach them on knowing the city’s language, cultural heritage, landmarks, and lifestyle.
Great Explorations Children’s Museums is noted to be a great avenue for your children to enhance creative thinking, discovery, and problem-solving. It is situated next to the historic Sunken Gardens on 4th Street North and according to sources, it is named as one of Florida and America’s top museums for children.
If your kids love to see the underwater world, you can bring them to The Pier Aquarium (800 2nd Avenue NE Suite 3002). They are open daily from 10 am until 8 to 9 pm. It is a private, non-profit organization created to promote aquarium and marine education, especially to children.
Another nature trip that you and your children can enjoy in Saint Petersburg is in Sunken Gardens (+1 727 551 3102). Many tourists say that the garden is a botanical paradise situated in the middle of the busy city. It currently has 5,000 plants, trees and flowers, rainforest information centers, butterfly aviary and wonderful displays of animals and insects.
Swimming is also one of the best ways to bond with your children while in Saint Petersburg and the Beach Drive Papery (2435 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr St N) is absolutely one of the best places that you can send them to. Based on reviews, the place has very nice and clean water but it is not an ideal place for surfing.
These places and more will remarkably make your family stay in the city worthwhile.