Uncover the captivating cultural hub of Russia through our comprehensive guide to “The 10 things to do in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2024.” Immerse yourself in the city’s fascinating history and vibrant ambiance as we reveal the must-see attractions and hidden treasures of this iconic destination. From renowned landmarks to unique and lesser-known encounters, our carefully curated list guarantees that you will make the most out of your St. Petersburg journey.
Explore 10 Things To Do In St. Petersburg, Russia
Plan your trip with confidence and witness the grandeur of 2024 as it unfolds in this majestic Russian metropolis. Embark on an exploration, indulge in unforgettable moments, and create cherished memories with our meticulously selected activities that showcase the very best of St. Petersburg’s past, present, and future.
1) The Hermitage Museum:
The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is a renowned and vast collection of over 3 million objects, spanning centuries and civilizations. Founded in 1764 by Empress Catherine the Great, it offers a journey through time and art, featuring works from ancient Egypt to contemporary art. Highlights include works from the Italian Renaissance, Dutch Golden Age, French Impressionism, post-Impressionism, modern and contemporary art, ancient and eastern art, Greek and Roman sculpture, Islamic art, and Asian art.
Explore the hermitage buildings, including the Winter Palace, a former residence of the Russian tsars, and discover temporary exhibitions showcasing specific themes, artists, or periods. Participate in guided tours, lectures, workshops, and other educational programs to deepen your understanding and appreciation of the museum’s treasures.
The museum also offers special exhibitions showcasing specific themes, artists, or periods, adding a fresh perspective to your visit. The Hermitage Museum is a treasure trove of art and culture, offering a unique experience for visitors.
2) The Peterhof Palace:
Peterhof Palace is a series of Russian Baroque palaces and gardens in Saint Petersburg, Russia, commissioned by Peter the Great as a response to the Palace of Versailles. Located on the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, the complex includes the Grand Palace, Monplaisir Palace, Marly Palace, and several smaller pavilions.
The Grand Palace, designed by Domenico Trezzini, has over 300 rooms and is decorated with lavish furnishings. The Monplaisir Palace, built between 1714 and 1723, is a fine example of Rococo architecture in Russia. The Marly Palace, built between 1720 and 1723, is another Baroque masterpiece.
The gardens at Peterhof are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, featuring over 150 fountains, 5 cascades, and numerous sculptures. The palace is a must-see for visitors to St. Petersburg, leaving a lasting impression.
3) St. Isaac’s Cathedral:
St. Isaac’s Cathedral, a Russian masterpiece, dominates the St. Petersburg skyline with its golden dome. Designed by French architect Auguste de Montferrand, the cathedral spanned over four decades and was completed in 1858.
Its construction was marked by significant historical events, such as the Decembrist uprising and Tsar Alexander II’s assassination. Soaring 332 feet above the city, the cathedral’s golden dome is a symbol of St. Petersburg and a beacon for visitors.
Inside, the cathedral features over 400 square meters of mosaic artwork, precious marbles, and gilded stucco. The cathedral’s colonnade offers panoramic views of St. Petersburg and the Gulf of Finland. Today, it functions as a museum and an active place of worship, offering visitors the opportunity to experience its religious significance.
4) Nevsky Prospect:
Nevsky Prospect, the main thoroughfare of St. Petersburg, is a 4.5-kilometer street that embodies the city’s history and culture. Founded by Peter the Great in the 18th century, it has been a hub for historical events, from the Tsars’ grandeur to the Russian Revolution.
The street is filled with architectural wonders, including the Kazan Cathedral and the elegant Singer House. It’s a shopping paradise with a variety of stores, including high-end boutiques and traditional souvenir shops. The street is also a culinary hub, offering a variety of restaurants and cafes serving traditional Russian and international cuisine.
Nevsky Prospect is a cultural hub, hosting theaters, museums, and art galleries, including the Mariinsky Theatre and the Russian National Library. As the sun sets, Nevsky Prospect transforms into a lively nightlife scene with bars and clubs. A stroll down Nevsky Prospect is an immersive experience that takes visitors on a journey through St. Petersburg’s history, culture, and vibrant spirit.
5) White Nights:
During the period from late May to mid-July, St. Petersburg undergoes a fascinating natural occurrence known as the White Nights, which is a result of its high latitude. This phenomenon casts the city into a perpetual twilight, enveloping it in an enchanting ambiance.
The renowned landmarks of St. Petersburg, including the Peterhof Palace and Admiralty Building, acquire an ethereal allure as they bask in the gentle glow. The canals mirror the twilight sky, exuding tranquility, while the streets come alive with energy during the night.
The White Nights also bring forth a vibrant cultural scene, highlighted by the prestigious White Nights Festival, which showcases ballet, opera, and classical music performances. Additionally, open-air concerts, art exhibitions, and street performances contribute to the creation of a truly magical atmosphere.
The White Nights offer an array of unique experiences, such as romantic boat tours along the canals, the opportunity to admire architectural marvels illuminated by the twilight, or leisurely strolls along the banks of the Neva River.
6) Peter and Paul Fortress:
The Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia, is renowned for its rich history and stunning architectural design. It holds significant military significance and is home to several notable structures.
Among them are the Peter and Paul Cathedral and the Trubetskoy Bastion Prison. However, the fortress also conceals numerous hidden treasures, including the Naryshkin Bastion, the Commandant’s House, the Museum of Space Exploration and Rocket Technology, the Boathouse, the Mint, the Museum of Architectural Ceramics, the Johannsen Fort, the Botanical Garden, and the Museum of the History of Religion.
These hidden gems provide a captivating glimpse into the city’s past, shedding light on both its military heritage and the daily lives of those who resided and worked within its walls. Additionally, visitors have the opportunity to explore the Mint, the oldest continuously operating mint in Russia, as well as Peter the Great’s Cottage, which offers a fascinating insight into the life and era of Peter the Great.
7) Russian Museum:
The Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, is home to the largest collection of Russian art in the world, spanning from the 10th century to the present day. It proudly displays masterpieces by renowned artists such as Repin, Kandinsky, and Malevich.
The collection is incredibly diverse, featuring paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, icons, and folk art, each showcasing the unique essence of Russian creativity. Notable highlights include the State Tretyakov Gallery Collection, the Russian Avant-Garde Collection, the Fabergé Collection, and the Imperial Porcelain Collection.
In addition to its permanent exhibits, the museum regularly hosts temporary exhibitions that highlight the works of contemporary artists. It also offers a range of educational programs, lectures, and workshops for those eager to delve deeper into the world of Russian art.
Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply a curious visitor, the Russian Museum promises an immersive journey through the captivating history and evolution of Russian art and culture. Prepare to be captivated and enriched by this extraordinary museum experience.
8) Take a boat tour along the canals:
St. Petersburg’s canal network, known as the “Venice of the North,” is a defining feature of the city. A boat tour along these canals offers a unique perspective of the city’s architectural wonders, historical landmarks, and vibrant atmosphere.
The tour takes you through the grand Winter Palace, the opulent Marble Palace, and the iconic Peter and Paul Fortress, offering a glimpse into the city’s rich history and imperial past. Hidden gems and unexpected delights are also revealed in the city’s backstreets, including charming bridges, quaint houses, and peaceful gardens.
The drawbridges, which open and close during the White Nights, are a highlight of the tour. Taking a boat tour allows you to escape the crowds and explore the city from a different perspective, offering an authentic and intimate experience. This must-do experience is perfect for history buffs, architecture enthusiasts, and those seeking a romantic or relaxing experience.
9) The Mariinsky Theatre:
The Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, is a renowned cultural institution known for its exceptional ballet and opera performances. With a rich history dating back to the 18th century, the theater has produced numerous legendary artists and continues to be a leading cultural institution.
The opulent interiors, adorned with gold and crystal, create a breathtaking atmosphere, transporting visitors into a world of captivating music, graceful dance, and powerful performances.
The theater also boasts a vibrant opera scene featuring renowned singers and productions of beloved operas like Eugene Onegin, Boris Godunov, and La Traviata. Beyond the stage, the Mariinsky Concert Hall offers a diverse program of classical music concerts featuring world-renowned orchestras and soloists.
Attending a performance at the Mariinsky Theatre is a unique and unforgettable experience, showcasing the pinnacle of Russian ballet and opera.
10) The Yusupov Palace:
The Yusupov Palace, an architectural masterpiece of the Russian aristocracy, can be found tucked away in a tranquil corner of St. Petersburg. Constructed in the 18th century under the patronage of Prince Boris Yusupov, this palace served as a center for extravagant celebrations, artistic gatherings, and political intrigues.
Its lavishly adorned rooms, featuring sparkling chandeliers, opulent furniture, and exquisite artwork, provide a glimpse into the luxurious lifestyle of the Russian elite. Behind its grand exterior lies a realm of untold stories and hidden secrets, including the private quarters of the Yusupov family, an underground theater, and the Moika Palace, where Grigori Rasputin, the enigmatic advisor to the Tsar, met his mysterious demise.
Today, the Yusupov Palace stands as a museum, inviting visitors to delve into the lives of its former residents and the tumultuous events that unfolded within its walls. Moreover, the palace offers a serene escape from bustling city life, with its tranquil courtyard and lush gardens providing an idyllic backdrop for a leisurely stroll or a peaceful picnic.
Is it necessary to purchase Hermitage tickets in advance?
While booking tickets in advance is not required, it is recommended during peak season to avoid long lines.
How do I get from St. Petersburg to Peterhof?
You can either take a hydrofoil from the pier near St. Isaac’s Cathedral or a bus or train.
On Nevsky Prospect, where can I find good restaurants?
There are numerous restaurants on Nevsky Prospect, ranging from budget-friendly cafes to upscale dining establishments.
What museums can be found within the Peter and Paul Fortress?
The Peter and Paul Fortress houses the State Museum of St. Petersburg History, the Museum of City Sculpture, and the Grand Duke Peter’s Prison.