The 12 million residents of Russia’s culture-rich capital know there’s much more to Moscow than the Kremlin’s iconic domes, Red Square, and caviar. For a truly local experience in this historic city, check out these tips from Muscovite Maria Balashova, Head of Marketing at Crowne Plaza® Moscow – World Trade Centre. Her insider scoop can help modern business travelers blend world-class leisure into their visit to this fascinating destination.
Explore Moscow Nature by Foot or Bike
Located in Moscow’s Central District right along the Moskva River, Crowne Plaza Moscow – World Trade Centre is surrounded by plenty of nature, including Park Krasnaya Presnya. A 17th-century manor once occupied the land, but now it’s an exceedingly popular green space. “It’s great for jogging, ice-skating, photos, and walking with pets,” Balashova says.
If bicycling is more your speed, one of Moscow’s best, most scenic bike routes runs right along the river embankment, adjacent to both the hotel and park. Those seeking a heartier workout can bike 16 kilometers from Gorky Park to Victory Park.
“The city is full of bike-sharing stations thanks to Velobike,” Balashova says. “It’s a convenient app with a search feature for station locations, route planning, and even assistance in case of breakage.”
Discover a World of Culture Underground
Beyond its functionality for getting around, Moscow’s extensive metro system is a destination in itself thanks to architecturally stunning, Instagram-worthy stations, which range in style, including dramatic Art Deco, classic USSR, and ultra-contemporary international.
Some of the most historically prominent are genuine tourist attractions, including the Circle Line’s Stalinist Empire-style Komsomolskaya and the Zamoskvoretskaya Line’s futurist-Soviet Mayakovskaya, where Stalin celebrated the Bolshevik Revolution in 1941 while Nazis bombed above. Suffice it to say, these are no ordinary metro stations.
“Mayakovskaya Station also hosted the Game of Thrones seventh season premiere,” Balashova adds. “And Moscow Metro organizes Night in Metro events with ballet performances, opera concerts, and film presentations.”
View Modern Moscow From Above
A 20-minute walk from Crowne Plaza Moscow – World Trade Centre, Panorama360 is Europe’s highest observation deck. Located on the 89th floor of the Federation Tower skyscraper, it not only offers a 360-degree view of the evolving city from above, but adds high-tech touches like interactive augmented reality and an immersive projection show.
“It also has the highest-up ice cream factory in the world,” Balashova adds. “And its Restaurant 360 is a nice place for a glass of champagne or special dinner.”
Follow the Russian Dumpling Trail
Pelmeni, a bite-sized, minced-meat-filled, and extremely tasty dumpling, is a common sight in many Muscovites’ refrigerators, and a must-eat for anyone who wants a truly Russian experience.
Balashova recommends trying classic, unpretentious pelmeni at chain restaurant Varenichnaya №1. For an upscale version of the dumplings, try the swank SibirSibir — 10 minutes from Crowne Plaza Moscow – World Trade Centre by car — they offer a decadent variety made with champagne and caviar. Or taste a delectably unorthodox take on pelmeni at hipster cafe Lepim I Varim, which serves them with seafood and vegetarian-friendly fillings.
Witness Architectural Rebirth
Some of Moscow’s historic buildings and structures have been re-purposed in exciting ways. Constructed in the late 18th century as a textile factory, the Trekhgornaya Manufactory now anchors a creative cluster of restaurants, shops, and a stylish bar and nightclub, Jagger.
“For a long time before the 19th century, this area was influenced more by merchants than aristocracy,” Balashova explains. “Therefore you won’t see a lot of classic mansions nearby, but rather dynamic architecture including some really peculiar buildings from the beginning of the 20th century.”
Enjoy a Glass of Heritage
In the Russian tongue, one doesn’t drink vodka: they “eat” it! “Therefore, vodka is closely connected to appetizers going with it,” says Balashova.
“If you prefer luxurious settings with a Kremlin view, choose Dr. Zhivago restaurant and advance book a special Vodka room, a chilly and transparent area designed for vodka tasting. If you prefer a more modern style, you can also find the analogous Ice Bar Onegin at Ruski restaurant on the 85th floor of Oko Tower, plus Russian cuisine and breathtaking views.”
As for a straight-up vodka sampling with English assistance and plenty of information about Russian drinking culture, consider a guided tour. Balashova recommends Urban Adventures’ More Than Just Vodka Spirits.
With work-life blend amenities, like the Sleep Advantage program, Crowne Plaza is the ideal home-base for work and leisure in Moscow. Whether it’s a quick video check-in with the office, inside tips on where locals are flocking, or a night of sweet, rejuvenating sleep, staying at a Crowne Plaza hotel can help you stay connected, get immersed, and make the most of going local during your stay.