Yo, my people! What’s crackin’?
Just as I finished writing this article, I’d like to announce that this old bastard here has already been living over one year in Saint Petersburg. And wrote less than 10 posts for the blog this whole time. * C o m m i t m e n t *
Since I am almost a local now, and I have taken upon myself the task of visiting all the famous, and not so famous bars in Saint Petersburg. Now I can share a few pieces of advice about what you can do while visiting the cultural capital of Russia.
When I wrote an article about what you can do in Moscow, I avoided talking too much about the main attractions. I will take a bit of a different approach this time. Here I’ll dedicate the whole post to St. Petersburg main sightseeing points and how to enjoy them, which will be specially useful if you are short on time. No need to thank me for it, I know I’m awesome.
Maybe next time I’ll write about my favorite bars. There are many of them.
Hermitage and Russian Museums
If you are into art, culture, you should totally visit Hermitage and Russian museum. If you are not into art and culture, you shouldn’t really have chosen Saint Petersburg to begin with. Seriously, why else would you come here?
Hermitage is incomparable if you are looking forward to experiencing all the gold and opulence you will never have in your life as a filthy peasant, so I do recommend going there. Make sure you look at all the detailed artwork and try not to cry at the white marble stairs when you realize how you suck at painting. That did not happen to me, I swear.
I can assure you that Hermitage is definitely worth going at least once in your life before you die and let’s face it, 2020 is really trying to get you killed. However, if you are not looking forward to standing hours in lines, then Russian Museum is a great choice, often with smaller lines and I assure you: you will not regret exploring their exhibitions, although you might have an existential crisis there as well if you pay too much attention to the details in the paintings.
Both museums are in the city center and not far away from each other, so you can always go around between walks along the main streets.
If you want to get impressed with some outright decadently opulent architecture, a beautiful garden and a f*ckload of statues, you should totally visit Peterhof. It might sound like I am exaggerating, but man, Peter the Great went to town on that project. I wonder why would anyone even decide to build such a frigging huge palace. I guess he was trying to overcompensate something.
It is possible to get there by boat if you are a rich bitch and enjoy the view of the Gulf of Finland. I’d say that taking a cab for a family of 4, or just going by train if you are alone, are smarter choices. Make sure to enjoy the walk from the train station to the palace itself as well. It’s a very nice neighborhood.
Peterhof is a large territory, so you can be sure that you’ll spend the whole day looking at all the places there. Don’t forget to wear some very comfortable shoes and maybe pray your feet don’t hurt by the end of the day. Or use band-aids if that’s your thing.
Also make sure to post a selfie with the weird lion statues.
Canals & Bridges
Getting an excursion around the city canals is a lovely activity. If you want to
freeze to death on those boats because damn that wind is cold enjoy a lovely view of Saint Petersburg’s main touristic attractions without having to walk, this is the perfect choice. An excursion through the canals of the city will certainly leave you wishing you had brought a warmer coat completely amazed at all the exquisite architecture of the city.
Be sure to take some photos of the Saint Isaacs Cathedral, the Peter and Paul Fortress, and Trinity Cathedral. Please don’t drop your phone on the water.
An even better opportunity to die a chilly death enjoy the Petersburg atmosphere is to watch the drawbridges opening, specially during the white nights. That happens not earlier than1am though, so you might want to prepare beforehand to make sure you are completely awake and rested when the excursion starts and bring a bigger coat, for God’s sake.
I have a funny personal story when I was still a tourist in Saint Petersburg. Some friends and I decided to go to one of the many local bars, and then to a club. After a few drinks, we decided we should definitely see the bridges lifting. We thought that, by leaving the club right away, we would get to the river Neva in time to see the last bridge opening up. We got there just in time. It was a good view, but not that impressive, to be honest. We were ready to go home now. Then we realized that all the bridges are open, and we can’t get home because we were staying across the river.
So take care. If you find yourself on the wrong side of the river after 2am, you might have to stay awake until the bridges are down again. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Just walk around and enjoy. Also, bars.
Saint Petersburg has a city culture that is completely different from Moscow. Here it’s commonplace to simply enjoy a walk around the city center, looking at all the cute finely planned tidy streets. That is very contrasting to Moscow, where the only people walking around calmly are tourists.
Try to get lost in the city a bit but make sure you have Saint Petersburg Google Maps downloaded, you don’t want to actually get lost. You will find many monuments, squares, streets lined imperial era buildings, churches and museums.
While you are at it, make sure you have a walk along Rubinstein and Nekrasova streets. There you will find many unique places where you can sit and taste all kinds of cuisine and drinks. This bar culture makes Saint Petersburg look much more like Europe than Moscow as well. If you are lucky enough to visit the city on a warm day and that does not mean summer, sit outside and enjoy the view.
But bring a bigger coat. And an umbrella. And sunglasses. You might use them all during your walk.