Living in Moscow

Five great things about living in Moscow

The incredible architecture and history.

The images of a gray, Soviet-era industrial city with square, block buildings stretching as far as the eye can see are definitely a thing of the past. Moscow of our days is one of the most stunning and unique cities in the world. It really does feels like an adventure going from one area to another, especially in the center where it’s hard to find two areas that look alike.

The shapes, sizes and colors differ drastically, but everything seems to stand out and everything is intermixed. Statues, parks, monuments, businesses, churches, historical sites, all clumped and mixed together while trees and green space sprout up intermittently. On top of that, Moscow is always changing. Depending on the time of year the city is always decorated in some unique way. In September, you can find giant archways at the entrance-ways to all the pedestrian streets, while in December and January, the whole city is lit up in holiday lights. There are usually some kind of exhibitions about Russian history set up throughout the center, and in places like Pushkin Square, there are small shops set up where you can buy little souvenirs and sculptures made by different groups of people from throughout the country. It is always dynamic, changing, yet always so interesting.

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The people

Most foreigners who have moved to Moscow mention people they met along the way as the best thing about their life in the city. Russians take friendship very seriously in the best way possible. The concept of a brief, superficial acquaintance that is fundamental to the Western business world has not really taken root here. If you become friends with a Russian person, you'll be welcomed and treated just like you're a member of the family. And this makes the whole experience of living in Moscow so much richer and fuller than one could ever imagine. You do not feel like an outsider but rather a part of the society. A good explanation of the Russian culture could be by this example. Once a foreign tourist asked his newly acquired Russian friend why people never smile on the streets, and he replied, "Why should I? If I just walked around smiling at everyone, it would be fake and meaningless. I want my smiles to actually mean something.

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Moscow creative scene

These creative centres have given rise to the flourishing wave of designers, artists and entrepreneurs who are making their mark on the creative scene in Moscow. Moscow’s galleries and museums have also enjoyed a great deal of investment and development in recent years, with the likes of Garage and the Multimedia Art Museum, Strelka Institute and Moscow Design Museum growing to establish themselves as key players hosting internationally significant exhibitions hugely popular with lovers of art and design. Moscow’s public spaces have also seen substantial investment: Gorky Park, Sokolniki Park, Baumanskaya Park, the Moskva Embankment, and VDNKh Park transformed into high-tech social spaces fit for any modern capital city with a huge range of activities to enjoy. These spaces are now hosting a growing range of festivals, gigs, markets and exhibitions. Substantial investment in public spaces too have seen Moscow’s public spaces: Gorky Park, Sokolniki Park, Baumanskaya Park, the Moskva Embankment, and VDNKh Park transformed into high-tech social spaces fit for any modern capital city with a huge range of activities to enjoy. These spaces are now playing host to a growing range of festivals, gigs, markets and exhibitions. The growth of foodie culture has also taken hold of Moscow’s young and fashionable, with great new restaurants, eateries and bars popping up around the city. The craft beer revolution has well and truly established itself.

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Parks

Moscow without any exaggeration has some of the most spectacular green spaces in the world. Despite containing 13 million residents, roughly 30% of the city remains as green space, meaning there are so many parks that all of them happen to be incredible in their own way. Take my favorite, Kolomenskoye, for example. There are hills and valleys as lush and green as the open country. Trees grow everywhere you look, and you can walk down to the shore to sit and relax along the river. The park has no city feel, and it is so big and open that it may seem like you're going on an adventure as you explore all the different sections. For example, if you know where to look, you'll even come across a giant orchard with apples fresh for the picking (season depending), and a ornate wooden palace that once belonged to the royal family.

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Dynamic 24/7 lifestyle

The first advantage, and one that every single respondent mentioned, is the ability to buy anything and get any household service performed at any time of the day or night.

You can go to a bookstore at 2:00 in the morning, buy a lamp at a construction market at 3:00 in the morning, find flowers for your girlfriend at 5:00 in the morning, and get your car washed at 6:00 in the morning,” says American producer Bob Van Ronkel, who has lived in Moscow for more than a decade. The only thing you can’t buy in Moscow in the middle of the night is alcohol. All the liquor shelves in stores are sealed off after 11:00 p.m. There is so much to do in Moscow, with activities to cater for every interest. Most groups and organizations are well organised and welcoming to newcomers. The expat community is busy throughout the year with balls and charity events. Nightlife within the city is excellent, with a variety of bars, clubs and restaurants to choose from. The quality of museums, art galleries, theatres and concerts is also outstanding. Moscow is also becoming more child and family friendly. Museums such as the Planetarium and Experimentarium are especially exciting for children. There are also several circuses for more entertainment. Moscow has an impressive public transport system. The metro is not only clean, safe, efficient and fast; it is also a tourist attraction. Daily tours explore the metro system guides show tourists through some of the city's most beautiful stations. These stations often resemble palaces, with sculptures, mosaics and even chandeliers. There is also an extensive bus, trolleybus and tram route throughout Moscow. Many of Moscow’s buses now have Wi-Fi access.

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