St. Petersburg is a city of splendid architecture and rich history, where an incredible number of places of interest are concentrated. Well-designed architecture with spacious central streets, stately squares and hundreds of original buildings one can tell long and interesting stories about, as if reading history and architecture books.
St. Petersburg’s museums demonstrate the treasures of tsarist Russia, they remind of the naval glory, Soviet achievements, keep the memory of cultural and art workers, they communicate information about the city to children in captivating and interactive way.
There are more than a hundred theatres in St. Petersburg. Local world-famous troupes stage new productions regularly and let the spectators enjoy their cult performances.
It should be remembered that there are cinemas with art-house programs, huge bookshops and second-hand bookshops in the monument buildings of the historic centre of city. The cultural program in the city combines very well with shopping.
In order not to forget any personal meaninful places, it is necessary to make a list of St. Petersburg’s attractions with the route for each day before the tour.
If you are in St. Petersburg for the first time, you should start with a walk from the end of Nevsky Avenue, Alexander Nevsky Square in the direction of the Admiralty, guided by its spire which is seen from anywhere in Gorokhovaya Street and from Voznesenskiy (Ascension) Avenue, too
On the way you wil be able to enjoy St. Petersburg’s stately architecture, cross the Revolt Square, Anichkov Bridge over the Fontanka River decorated with sculptures, Catherine public garden with Catherine’s monument, Gostiny Dvor, the city’s lowest bridge – the Kazan Bridge, the splendid Kazan Cathederal, then through Zeleniy (Green) Bridge over the Moyka River, and finally, get to Admiralty Avenue and Palace Square. Further, one can linger and wander through the Hermitage Museum or continue the way through the Palace Bridge towards Exchange Square. Or, else, linger in the center of the city, get away from Nevskiy Avenue to visit Alexandrovskiy Garden or ascend the observation deck of Isaac Cathederal, reach the Copper Horseman. Or, instead of continuing the walk, let the feet rest and finally relax in the Field of Mars.
Another direction is to discover the St. Petersburg of literature: to visit the favourite writers’ memorial flats, to take pictures of their monuments or even to walk along Raskolnikov’s route. One can choose other unusual places to one’s taste: mark the lions’ sculptures, uncommon buildings, the miniature park, routes along embankments. For many tourists the required program includes a cruise on St. Petersburg’s rivers and canals and taking pictures of the sky from a well-yard.
What to visit in St. Petersburg in summer
On summer days the white nights glorified by classical writers are as important as the main sights of St. Petersburg. This cult nature phenomenon can be observed from the end of May till the beginning of July: during this period it is light at night like in the twilight or cloudy weather. On the Saturday closest to the longest white night (approximately 18 to 25 of June) the bright festival for St. Petersburg’s school graduates called Scarlet Sails is held. At that time tourists have the chance to watch the event and the fireworks over the water as its apotheosis.
Drawbridges are another sight of St. Petersburg which is to be seen during the shipping season – from the end of April till the middle of November. And in Summer during sunset one can take the almost the best pictures of the romantic views known to everyone.
At any weather in summer, especially at the weekend, festivals of different formats for family recreation are held in St. Petersburg.
On fine days one should take walks in the city parks as much as possible: have a rest in Kirov Central Rest and Culture Park, the Summer Garden, South Seaside Park and other places in the nature. From the end of May till the middle of October one can see the splendid fountains of Peterhof work.
What to see in St. Petersburg in winter
Unfortunately, the abovementioned summer sights are not available for those going to St. Petersburg in the cold season. However, even without them, tourists have an unlimited choice of directions and inspiring places. It is pleasant to see the architecture of the city and its rich cultural heritage at any weather – both when it rains (all-seasons) and at dank winter wind.
The seasonal winter beauties – the ice parks in St. Petersburg’s squares, in Peter&Paul Fortress, in Central Rest and Culture Parks (where they have skating-rinks). Bright European-like Christmas and New Year Fairs are held in the Northern Capital, a holiday program is prepared for children. At this time, as well as in summer, night excursions around the city are very interesting.
St. Petersburg for children
The standard routes for children around St. Petersburg are excursions: trips to palace-and-park complexes, visiting museums or walking in the center of the city or along the Neva Enbankment passing by the Copper Horseman and Isaac Cathederal.
One can make the culture program more diverse by visiting some unusual places of interest which the children are sure to like: drop in at the Chocolate Museum Shop at the Gostiny Dvor or at the Museum of Soviet Game-Playing Machines for half an hour. For a group of schoolchildren a visit to the Museum of Wax Figures or the St. Petersburg Museum of Dolls, where workshops are held on Sundays, can be organized. It will be interesting for senior pupils to visit the memorial flats of well-known writers who had lived in the city on Neva at different times: to see the places where Gumilev, Dostoyevsky, Pushkin, Blok, Akhmatova, Nabokov had lived and created. The universal recreation route for children and adults is a visit to the Leningrad Zoo.
St. Petersburg’s recreation parks and aquaparks, which are so often forgotten when making up recreation programs, deserve special attention. In summer, in spring or in autumn, when the weather is fine, it is good to spend the whole day in one of the attraction parks: “Marvel Island”, “Gagarin Park” (there is an ice park in winter) or a rope park. One can find entertainment to any taste: children’s and classical, extreme attractions, interactive performances. The Peterland and Rodeo-drive aquaparks are open all the year round as well as attraction parks in large shopping centers. St. Petersburg’s places of interest in winter are the open-air skating-rinks in Palace Square, in Krestovskiy Island, in Peterhof.