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Russia Travel

30 Awesome Things to Do in St Petersburg

Although it wasn’t even until last year that St. Petersburg made it onto my bucket list, I’m glad I got to go visit rather quick. Due to time constrictions, I spent quite some time looking up things to do in St Petersburg in advance. I absolutely wanted to get the most out of the city in the little bit of time I had!

St. Petersburg, one of Russia’s major cities, is filled with gorgeous sights to see and delicious affordable food that’ll get your mouth salivating. If you’re a fan of culture and architecture, or delicious food and charming cafes, or both, then St. Petersburg is an excellent holiday destination for you. Here’s my list of awesome things to do in St Petersburg whilst there!

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What to See in St. Petersburg

OK, so, St. Petersburg has a lot of beautiful historical buildings and intriguing museums to immerse yourself in. I found St. Petersburg wonderfully easy to walk around, and majority of the sights were also located within walking distance of one another – at least in my books.

1) Aleksander Nevsky Lavra

Address: 1, Monastyrka river embankment
Opening hours: daily 6:00 ~20:00
Entrance: N/A
More info:

This monastery was built in 1710 by Peter I and is still the most important orthodox monastery in St. Petersburg today. It’s architecture is also stunning in its own right.

2) Aurora Museum

Address: Petrogradskaya embankment
Opening hours: 11:00 ~18:00 (closed Mon & Fri)
Entrance: RUB 600 (+ RUB 100 for photos and RUB 200 for video)
More info:

This unique museum was built inside of a cruiser which became famous for playing a part in the October Revolution. It’s free to enter, but for an additional fee you can tour around the engine room.

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3) Church of the Savior on Blood

Address: 2, Naberezhnaya Kanala Griboedova
Opening hours: daily 10:30~18:00 (closed on Wednesdays)
Entrance fee: RUB 250.00
More information:

If you can get past the dramatic name of this orthodox church, you’ll easily find it one of the most gorgeous churches in Saint Petersburg. It got its name because Tsar Alexander II was assassinated at this spot in 1881 and his son built the church in his memory. It’s possible to visit the cathedral indoors, and you absolutely should for its quite stunning and colorful.

4) Dostoevsky Museum

Address: 5/2, Kuznechny Pereulok
Opening hours: daily 11:00~18:00 (13:00~20:00 on Wednesdays, closed on Mondays)
Entrance fee: RUB 200.00
More information:

If you’ve ever heard of Dostoevsky, and especially if you’re a fan of his work, then this museum can be an intriguing visit. A portion of the museum is a reconstruction of the Dostoevsky family home, while the rest is dedicated to showcasing Dostoevsky’s literary life, as well as some temporary art exhibitions.

5) Faberge Museum

Address: 21, Fontanka river embankment
Opening hours: daily 10:00~20:45 (the ticket office closes at 20:15)
Entrance fee: RUB 450.00/RUB 700.00 with guided tour
More information:

The Faberge Museum focuses on decorative art, specifically the famous and gorgeous Faberge eggs. This museum was founded to preserve and promote Russia’s cultural heritage.

6) Galeria Shopping Mall

Address: 26-38, Ligovskiy Av.
Opening hours: daily 10:00~23:00
Entrance fee: N/A
More information:

Galeria Shopping Mall is the largest as well as the most famous shopping mall in St. Petersburg. It’s located near the center of the city, making it easy to get to. There’s more than 300 shops at this mall so you definitely won’t run out of things to check out; and if you somehow managed to do that, there are nearly 30 restaurants and cafes to hang out at, as well as a cinema with an IMAX screen.

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7) Hermitage Museum

Address: 2, Palace Square
Opening hours: Tues~Sun 10:30~18:00 (closed on Mon, open until 21:00 on Wed)
Entrance fee: RUB 300~RUB 700
More information:

Hermitage Museum is one of the world’s largest culture and art history museums, so if you have the slightest bit of interest in museums, this is a must stop on your visit to St. Petersburg! However, you will want to go there first thing in the morning and pretty much reserve the entire day for it because you’ll likely spend quite a while waiting just to get in, and then it’ll take a couple of hours to explore. If you don’t have the time to spare, the building complex is absolutely stunning even just to admire from the outside.

8) Loft Projekt Etagi

Address: 74, Ligovskiy Pr.
Opening hours: daily 09:00~21:00
Entrance fee: N/A
More information:

Located just a couple minutes away from Galeria Shopping Mall, Loft Projekt Etagi is another small shopping center, though entirely different in style. It hosts a lot of small, independent stores focusing more on small items and jewelry, as well as quite a few international restaurants. The center expands to a couple of additional small shops and restaurants and cafes in outdoor cubicles, and with a ticket you can also gain access to the rooftop for some higher viewings of the city below.

9) Lopukhinskiy Sad Park

Address: 13, UlitsaAkademika Pavloka
Opening hours: N/A
Entrance fee: N/A
More information: N/A

One of the loveliest parks Saint Petersburg has to offer. It’s also small enough in size to be easy to see and walk around. Unfortunately it’s not located at the center of the city.

10) Mariinsky Theatre

Address: 1, Theatre Square
Opening hours: N/A
Entrance fee: N/A
More information:

It’s the most popular theatre in St. Petersburg for ballet and opera. Even if you just walk past, its colorful exterior can be fun to see. The theatre is still active and you know Russia knows what it’s doing especially with its ballet scene, so you just might want to spare some time in your schedule for seeing a show.

11) Mikhailovsky Palace

Address: 4, Inzhenernaya Str.
Opening hours: Wed-Mon 10:00~18:00
Entrance fee: RUB 600 (RUB 300 for students)
More information:

Not only is it another gorgeous piece of architecture in Saint Petersburg, it is historically intriguing, as it used to be the residence for the royals. After the death of Paul I, it was abandoned until it became the army’s Main Engineering School. Today it hosts Russian Museum’s Portrait Gallery.

12) Museum of Russian Art

Address: 4, Inzhenernaya Str.
Opening hours: Wed-Mon 10:00~18:00
Entrance fee: RUB 600 (RUB 300 for students)
More information:

The St. Petersburg Museum of Russian Art is the biggest art museum in the world concentrating on Russian art. It is so big, in fact, that it’s spread across four buildings. The Mikhailovsky Palace holds the main exhibition for the Museum of Russian Art, and the other buildings with different theme focuses are located on the same lot, with them all together referred to as “Arts Square”.

13) Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines

Address: 2b, Konyushennaya Ploshchad
Opening hours: daily 11:00~18:00
Entrance fee: RUB 450
More information:

As far as museums go, this is one of the quirkier and fun ones you have a chance to visit in St. Petersburg. Perhaps even all of Russia! Located nearby the Church of the Savior on Blood, the museum holds a collection of USSR-produced arcade machines, the oldest ones dating back to the 1970s.

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14) Palace Square

Address: Palace Square
Opening hours: N/A
Entrance fee: N/A
More information: N/A

The Palace Square of St. Petersburg is the spot from where you get the most amazing outdoor views of the Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum. Here is also where the Alexander Column, built in the honor of Alexander I, is located in. If you are visiting the Hermitage Museum, or just Winter Palace, it’s impossible to miss this square.

15) Panteleymonovsky Bridge

Address: Panteleymonovsky Bridge
Opening hours: N/A
Entrance fee: N/A
More information: N/A

This bridge replaced the originally wooden bridge back in 1823. It is named after St. Pantaleon. It’s a lovely looking bridge and gives you nice views of the river.

16) Peter and Paul Fortress

Address: Zayachy Island
Opening hours: Thur-Mon 10:00~18:00 (until 17:00 on Tues)
Entrance fee: RUB 350
More information:

Located on Saint Petersburg’s Hare Island, this fortress was built by Paul the Great in early 1700s. Although originally built to protect the city against attacks, it has more notably operated as a prison. Nearly all of Russia’s tsars are buried on the grounds of its cathedral, and today it operates as a museum and a sight to see.

17) Rotunda

Address: 57, Gorokhovaya st.
Opening hours: N/A
Entrance fee: N/A
More information: N/A

This is called one of the most mystical places, if not the most, in St. Petersburg. It draws a lot of crowd because of how picturesque it is from indoors. Alternatively spelled as Rotonda.

18) Russian ethnographic museum

Address: 4, Inzhenernaya str.
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 10:00~18:00, Tues 10:00~21:00
Entrance fee: RUB 250 (+RUB 150 for photography, +RUB 350 for video)
More information:

This museum has existed for more than a decade already, having been set up as the ethnographic department of the Russian Museum since the beginning. It now houses more than half a million items showcasing the ethnography and anthropology of those who lived during the Russian Empire and Soviet Union. Although it still serves the same purpose as when it first opened, the museum is no longer affiliated with the Russian Museum.

19) Souvenir shops

I’ve travelled quite a bunch and St. Petersburg has honestly been one of the few locations where I’ve found items of interest besides magnets to purchase at the souvenir shops. You can imagine, though, how expensive even “fake” faberge eggs can be. But, hey, even if you buy nothing, you may find all the Putin merchandise available to be of amusement to you.

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20) St. Isaac’s Cathedral

Address: 4, Isaakievskaya Square
Opening hours: daily 10:30~18:00
Entrance fee: RUB 250 (children for RUB 50, Colonnade RUB 150, summer evenings RUB 400, summer evenings for Colonnade RUB 300, white nights for Colonnade RUB 400)
More information:

Another gorgeous church in the center of Saint Petersburg, and among one of the largest cathedrals in the world. It no longer functions as a church, but you can visit inside to see the museum. Do also take the stairs up to the top of the cathedral for some cool views.

21) St. Vladimir’s Cathedral

Address: 26, Ulitsa Blokhina
Opening hours: daily 8:00~until end of services
Entrance fee: N/A
More information:

This church finished building in 1789, although it wasn’t the first church to exist on the site. Both the outside architecture as well as the indoor interior follow a rather simple and strict style that is yet impressive to look at. It was built in the honor of St. Prince Vladimir, who ruled Russia from 980 to 1015.

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22) Winter Palace

Address: 32, Palace Enbankment
Opening hours: N/A
Entrance fee: N/A
More information:

The Russian Emperors and their families lived in this palace between 1737 and 1917. Today, along with other buildings in the complex, it forms the Hermitage Museum. If you’ve ever heard of the story of Anastasia, and especially if you fancied the animated movie made of it, this is a must for you to check out!

23) Yusupov Palace

Address: 94, Naberezhnaya Reki Moiki
Opening hours: daily 11:00~17:00
Entrance fee: RUB 700 (children RUB 500, Rasputin’s murder exhibition RUB 400/RUB 300)
More information:

Continuing on Anastasia’s story, the Yusupov Palace is the backdrop to where Rasputin allegedly was assassinated. It is the former residence of the wealthy Yusupov family and among the few aristocratic homes that still holds many of its original interiors. The palace today holds multiple different functions and charms you simply with its gorgeous interiors.

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Where to Eat in St. Petersburg

In a city the size of St. Petersburg, you are bound to find several spots to your liking when it comes to food. However, when pressed for time, you may find the amount of options to be overwhelming, which is why it’s always good to bring along a small cheat list of restaurant options just in case. Here are a few I can recommend to be added on it!

24) Banshiki

Address: 1A, Degtyarnaya St.
Opening hours: daily 11:00~23:00/24:00/01:00

Not only is this restaurant’s interior sleek and stylish, but its menu, which focuses on Russian cuisine, is diverse in its selection and affordable in its price. It’s also a great spot to chill at when you’re more in the mood for drinks and snacks than a full meal.

25) Bar-Restoran Schast’ye U Isaakiya

Address: 24, Malaya Morskaya St.
Opening hours: daily 09:00~24:00 (until 01:00 on fri & sat)

Located nearby St. Isaac’s Cathedral, this restaurant – also complete with absolutely gorgeous interior – is one that’s easy to visit as you explore the city. It was recommended to me by a family friend who used to live in St. Petersburg, so you can truly count on it to be a good one. He said especially to give a try to the “Oliver Wilde”-cocktail, but do take precaution to the fact it’ll be a strong one.

26) Georgia Restaurant

Address: 11, Gorokhovaya St.
Opening hours: daily 11:00~24:00

This is another restaurant that’s both close to St. Isaac’s Church and was recommended to me by a local to the city. As the name suggests, the food they serve is closer to Georgian cuisine than Russian, but the two are fairly similar to one another. The dumplings here were amazing!

27) Katyusha

Address: 22/24, Nevskiy Ave.
Opening hours: daily 12:00~01:00

If you are open to a slightly finer dining experience, then Katyusha is a great option to go with. You may have noticed by now that I take special interest in interiors of the properties I visit, and Katyusha is no different. Even their dishes are beautiful!

28) Senoval

Address: Several locations
Opening hours: daily 11:30~23:30

Although Senoval focuses more on offering a mix of European and Asian cuisine rather than local food, it is a great spot to visit for those who are budget conscious. Especially vegetarians can find it easy to navigate through the menu to find a dish to eat, and locals love to come here to eat as well.

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Cafes to Visit in St. Petersburg

Sometimes, you’ll feel the need to sit while taking a break from sightseeing, but you may not be hungry enough to eat just yet. In those moments, a cafe just may be what you need to revitalize and refresh yourself. These two are my favorites:

29) Green Room

Address: Ligovsky pr. 74 (Loft Projekt Etagi, 3rd floor)
Opening hours: daily 11:00~23:00

Located at the top of Loft Projekt Etazhi, this cafe charms you with its decor and atmosphere as soon as you walk in. They have an intriguing and affordable selection of coffee beverages, and their desserts are delicious. Their staff may not always be the best speakers of English, but you’ll do just fine either way.

30) Cafe Rasputin

Address: 37, Embankment River Moyka
Opening hours: daily 10:00~23:00

Right around the corner from the Winter Palace, towards the Moyka River, lies Cafe Rasputin. Not only are their interiors impressive, their coffee is excellent, too. They offer food as well, including breakfast options, if you happen to be in need of food after discovering the Winter Palace and its Hermitage Museum.

I truly hope this guide helped you in planning for things to do in St Petersburg! And if you don’t have one planned yet, what are you seriously still waiting for?! Get to booking those tickets! (Or a cruise if you’re coming from Helsinki, Tallinn or Stockholm.) And you can browse for activities and tours here!

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