Authored by:
Diana Petrova

Diana Petrova

Even those who haven’t been to Moscow will tell you what the top attractions of the city are. Who hasn’t heard of Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Kremlin, Lenin’s Mausoleum..?  But if you are a truly adventurous traveler who is looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience, check out our handy guide to finding 5 of Moscow’s hidden gems!

#1: Secret Soviet bunker

Where? 11 5-y Kotelnicheskiy Lane

In the hallways of the bunker

Located on a quiet street near Taganskaya metro station, this neoclassical building is the gateway to the Soviet communications center. The 7000 sq. meter facility was built in the 1950s and was intended to be used in the event of a nuclear war. Today the bunker is declassified and serves as a museum dedicated to the Cold War. As the facility is located 213 feet underground, visitors have to descend all the way down – so the trip to the bunker becomes not only an educational experience, but also a real workout!

Nuclear bomb simulator 

#2: Ziferblat anti-café

Where? 12/1 Tverskaya Street

Anti-cafes offer unlimited coffee, tea, and cookies and charge you according to the time you spend in the anti-cafe.

Designed as a cozy apartment of the Soviet time, this place symbolizes a new phenomenon of the 2000s: anti-cafe. An anti-café is a place where you pay for the amount of time you spend, rather than for food and drinks. Ziferblat was one of the first anti-cafes in Moscow (opened in 2011), which is still a favorite of students, creators, and freelancers alike, who are looking for a place to work and have fun.

CIEE Summer 2019 students playing Mafia with Russian buddies at Ziferblat

#3: North Korean Restaurant

Where? 11/9 Ordzhonikidze street

Sitting area

Yes, you heard it correctly: Moscow has a North Korean restaurant. Although it doesn’t top popularity charts among residents (actually, not many citizens know about it!), a dinner in this restaurant is definitely an experience itself. Authentic food like kimchi and ramen, North Korean staff, and recordings of North Korean shows on TV – the whole place looks a bit surreal, but is indeed worth visiting.

Kimchi, rice, and Korean vegetable soup

#4: Aptekarsky Ogorod

Where? 26/1 Prospekt Mira 

Main footpath with a small pond

This cozy botanical garden was opened in 1706 and was originally used to grow medical plants for Moscow’s general hospital (‘Aptekarsky Ogorod’ is translated as ‘Pharmacy Garden’).  Although located not far from the city center, this place is a peaceful oasis on Moscow map, where you can have a break from the hustle and bustle of the megalopolis. So if you are looking for a quiet place for a Friday evening stroll – Aptekarsky Ogorod is the perfect choice! At the weekend, Aptekarsky Ogorod becomes a venue for performances, workshops, fashion shows, and craft fairs.

#5: Mir Kino store

Where? 8 Maroseyka street

Translated from Russian as ‘the World of Movies’, this tiny shop has everything a movie buff or a music lover needs in life. Secondhand vinyl, limited-edition magazines, adorable handmade pins inspired by iconic movies, cufflinks shaped like notes – Mir Kino’s collections bring about inspirational ideas for Christmas presents and souvenirs from Moscow.

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