43 Amazing Things to Do in St. Petersburg
If you’re looking for awesome things to do in St. Petersburg, Russia, we’ve got quite the list for you. This massive city is packed with culture, architecture, and intriguing sites. It’s a city mixed with old and new, making a visit to the classic tourist attractions as well as the modern sites are a must. This city has a fascinating history and a quickly changing youth scene that you’ll want to get to know. If you’re visiting St. Petersburg, here are 43 amazing things to put on your itinerary.
Take A City Boat Cruise
The city features small rivers that are perfect for a boat cruise. You can check out the historical centre from the water so you can rest your feet, kick back, and watch the sites as you float by.
Museum of Sound
A specialty museum that is filled with handmade musical instruments, and unusual sounds. You’ll likely be treated to instruments you didn’t know existed.
Watch The Bridges Open
The bridges over the Neva river open and close from April through October. The Palace Bridge is one of the best to watch as it opens up for the cargo ships. It’s a fun way to spend the evening as the sun goes down.
Ride The Metro
No, not just to get to your next destination but to see how beautiful it is. The St. Petersburg metro is said to be one of the deepest in the world. And, it has some gorgeous stops that you must see. Avtovo and Spasskaya are two that you should make a point to see.
See A Russian Opera or Ballet
You haven’t seen St. Petersberg unless you’ve seen one of these performances. Check out the Mariinsky Theatre or the Mikhailovsky Theatre for the best quality shows.
The Hermitage Museum
This is one of the city’s most important sites as it’s full of galleries featuring famous Russian artworks. You’ll also see western artists meshed with those from the east.
Peter and Paul Fortress
This must-see site was once a prison. It’s now a historical relic that offers a Prison Museum and the Peter and Paul Fortress. There is more than one attraction to see here so give yourself plenty of time to explore.
See The Art
Visit the State Russian Museum and the State Hermitage Museum to see some of the best in Russian art. Keep your eyes open because St. Petersburg features art all over the city.
This palace complex is a beautiful place to walk around, get some fresh air, and learn a bit about history. If you’re visiting in the summer, make sure to check out the fountains. You can pay to go inside and tour the Peterhof, which can be a little pricey but definitely worth it.
This open-air museum features wooden architecture that originated in the Karelia Region of Russia. It’s particularly impressive because these structures were built without the use of nails. All of the wood is carved to fit perfectly together. Make sure to check out the most photographed structure, the Church of the Transfiguration which was built in the 17th century and features 22 onion domes.
John Lennon Street
It’s quirky and a little strange but there’s an entire street dedicated to John Lennon in St. Petersburg. You’ll find the street at the art centre Pushkinskaya 10. The entrance is from Ligovsky prospect.
The Russian Museum
This regal museum holds one of the largest collections of Russian art in the entire world. You’ll see Byzantine-style work as well as Socialist Realism that became popular during Stalin’s Era. Even if you don’t like art, this is quite the site for the architecture alone.
The Bronze Horseman Statue
This bronze statue is a symbol of St. Petersburg and a must-see while you’re visiting. The statue features Peter the Great sitting atop a horse which is meant to resemble Russia’s greatness. The statue is situated on the ‘Thunder Stone’ which was brought from afar to compliment the statue.
Lazarus and Tikhvin Cemeteries
Aside from being beautiful and a bit quirky, these cemeteries hold some pretty famous residents. They are the burial sites for some of Russia’s most renowned artists, writers, and composers. You’ll definitely want to bring your camera.
Roam Along Nevsky Prospect
It’s the main street in St. Petersburg and it represents the city’s long history. A walk along this street will yield statues, shopping malls, boutiques, cafes, bookstores, ancient sites, and more. Expect to see the Kazan Cathedral, and a Catherine The Great monument.
Alexander Nevsky Monastery
This monastery was named after the St. Petersburg Patron Saint. It’s one of the most well-known and respected religious destinations in the city and is the oldest monastery. The exterior is yellow and pink and there are mosaics and artwork both inside and out. Touring the monastery is free but you must pay admission to cemeteries which hold the burial grounds for some famous Russians.
Freud’s Dream Museum
This museum is dark, eerie, and brings visitors deep into the subconscious. The rooms are small, dimly lit, and otherworldly, representing different parts of the subconscious for visitors to explore. Images, lights, and sounds make this place just like a dream.
Check out The Views At Strelka
For incredible views of St. Petersburg you’ll want to visit Vasilyevsky Island where you can visit Strelka. It’s the island’s eastern tip and is considered a famous landmark as it was one of Peter the Great’s favorite spots.
The Catherine Palace
Also known as the Summer Palace, The Catherine is part of a complex of parks and historic buildings. Russian royalty once lived here, which isn’t surprising given how intricate and beautiful the exterior is. The interior is pretty incredible too so make sure to take a tour.
Check Out The Peterhof Fountains
Have you heard of Versailles? Peterhof is considered the Versailles of Russia and the fountains here are definitely worth a visit in their own right. The royal gardens are completely free, so if you’re on a budget and don’t want to pay admission, the palace is a great option.
Tour The Aurora Battleship
This ship was built in 1900 and played a crucial role in the Bolshevik Revolution during 1917. It’s now docked in St. Petersburg and offers a free museum to visitors.
Take a SUP Tour Around The City
Rent a stand-up paddle board and cruise around the city by river. It’s a great way to be active, see the city, and spend time outdoors
See The Bolshoy Dom
Also called the Big House, this regal building was constructed in 1932 for the State Security Committee. Tour the inside and see the former workplace of Putin.
Visit The Pushkin Duel Site and Park
This site is dedicated to the famous Russian poet, Pushkin. It’s said that he battled in 29 duels before his death at the age of 37. And, according to the stories, the man who killed him was trying to seduce his wife. You can now visit the site of the duel and see the beautiful landscape.
See a Russian National Library Exhibit
This is a great place to spend a rainy afternoon when you want to relax but still experience the culture. Check out the immense book collection as well as the many exhibits of rare books, photography, and manuscripts.
Russian Vodka Museum
This museum focuses on the creation, culture, and ritual of vodka. You’ll find the museum full of bottles, stoppers, and other drinking paraphernalia. Take one of the tours and learn all about vodka’s history. You’ll get to sample vodka too!
Church of Our Savior on the Spilt Blood
It’s hard not to notice this impressive church when traveling in St. Petersberg. The exterior features onion domes, colour, and sparkle while the interior is full of beautiful artwork. After you finish taking photos in front of the church, make sure to head inside to see the artful mosaics and other works by famous, Russian artists
F. M. Dostoyevsky Literary Memorial Museum
Visit the home of the famous author to see where he was when he penned his last novel. The house is also full of books which any literature lover will be happy to see. The exhibit is home to the writer’s former residence, a literary exhibit, and more than 24,000 volumes of manuscripts.
The Grand Maket Rossiya
It took five years to build this massive, miniature model of Russian. It took 400 artists, modeleres, and computer scientists to build this model that represents the whole country. It also took 11 tons of plaster and 500,000 LED lights to make it look like the day is changing to night. It’s an incredible, interactive display that feels and looks real. They even rent binoculars to visitors so they can see the whole thing.
Russian Museum of Military Medicine
Visitors will find old medical instruments, rare documents, and eerie specimens. It opened in the 1940s and has become one of the world’s largest medical museums. Check out the rare books, documents, gas masks, and soap made of human fat (yes, really.)
Street Art Museum
This open-air art gallery is located at the site of a plastics factory. Artworks can be found all around the grounds but also in some of the buildings as well.
This is a replica of the straw hut where Lenin hid and disguised himself as a hay farmer in 1917. It’s a small site but worth visiting just for the photos you’ll get.
Walk Over The Kissing Bridge
You’ll find the Kissing Bridge over Moika River. It has been historically known as the place for lovers to go for romance with their special someone. Legend has it that those who visit the bridge together will stay together for a long and happy relationship. The longer the kiss, the happier the couple is said to be in the future.
The Wax Museum
It’s very random, and slightly creepy, but this wax museum is a must-see when in St. Petersburg. You can find them in the outdoor walkway of one of St. Petersburg’s shopping centers. The wax figures feature Harry Potter Characters, Lord of The Rings Characters, and Putin on a tiger.
Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry
This is the world’s largest seed bank. The workers here gave their lives to save the seeds and now the collection can be viewed by the public.
A small yard filled with colorful ‘junk’ that looks more like an intentional art display. It’s filled with oddities like stuffed animals, musical instruments, and old bikes.
An entire city block that is packed with mosaic sculptures. They are full of colour and seem quite out of place, which makes this courtyard especially interesting to see.
Vladimir Nabokov is famous for writing Lolita and also for his butterfly collection. Visit his childhood home to see tons of beautiful specimens that he collected himself.
Visit Dvortsovaya Ploschad (Palace Square)
This massive, public square, dates back to the Imperial days of Russia. You’ll find it where the St.Petersburg’s main street, Nevsky Prospect, meets the Neva River. You will know you’re in the right place when you see the column in the center which commemorates Russia’s victory over Napoleon in 1812.
Museum of Hygiene
This strange museum is dedicated to reminding people how to stay in good health. There are tons of grim displays as well as the taxidermied version of one of Pavlov’s dogs.
You can find this exhibit on the second floor of the St. Petersburg Anthropology Museum. It’s an intriguing display of medical oddities that are just as morbid as they are interesting.
They’re located inside the Yusupov Palace and can’t be seen with general admission. Make sure to ask the staff if you can get a separate ticket to the Rasputin Rooms where you can learn all about his history and death.
Walk The City Roofs
You’ll find these walkable roofs in the city centre. They’re safe for standing, offer fantastic views of the city, and are still very popular with the locals.
St. Pertersburg is full of the strange, weird, and wonderful. Spend some time exploring the city’s main attractions as well as the more quirky sites to get the full picture of what it’s all about.