Things to do in St. Petersburg
Called the "Venice of the North," St. Petersburg gave birth Russian ballet and literature. It's also a beautiful city, with intricate palaces, bridges, and canals. While it may not be as vibrant as it once was as the country's capital, there's no shortage of exciting things to do in St. Petersburg.
The Mariinsky Theatre is the home of the world-renowned Kirov Ballet and Opera company; tour the building or buy tickets to a performance.
The Leningrad Zoo, in Alexander Park, is not only the sole zoo in the city, but it's the second largest zoo in all of Russia. It's a great family outing.
The Winter Palace, open to the public as part of the State Hermitage Museum since 1917, reflects centuries' worth of architecture and Old World glamour.
Located near the Summer Palace of Peter the Great, the Summer Garden is filled with rare flowers. If your image of Russia is a snow-bound land, a trip to the Summer Garden will change your mind entirely.
Stay up until 2 a.m. to watch the drawbridges open along the Neva River.
Take tea at a teahouse or luxury hotel.
If you want to link to another destination, ride the Trans-Siberian Railroad.
Wine bottles line the wall and the menu lists single malts by region, but in a town just discovering cocktails, Korovabar is known for having the best mojitos in town.
The chocolate-toned, candlelit subterranean hangout on the Moika Canal is a fine place for Earl Grey during the day or stiffer drinks at night (absinthe is on the menu). Cherished by expats, it's got a distinctly bohemian air.
Well-priced caviar, vodka, and pickled herring are among the offerings at this gourmet food market, housed in a newly restored 1903 Art Nouveau building. It's the only grocer in town with antique bronze lamps and intricately patterned painted windows.
The hand-stitched cotton dresses with elaborate embroidery have a distinct air of yesteryear, and the designer displays her garments like museum objects.
Pick up the perfect fur pillbox or trapper hat. Reasonably priced mink, arctic fox, and trimmed beaver-pelt caps in black and russet or gumdrop pinks and greens line the walls.
Climb the 250 steps to the colonnade surrounding the gilt dome for 360-degree views of the city. Then descend to the spectacularly lit cathedral, a breathtaking space of gold-embossed arches and soaring malachite pilasters.
Founded by the royal family in 1744, the china here is literally fit for a czar.
Housed in the Mikhailovsky Palace, the Russian works here—which include 6,000 religious icons—makes an interesting complement to the Hermitage's foreign treasures. Liszt and Berlioz gave private concerts in the impressive White Column Hall, a music parlor dating from the 1820's.