High-flying shopping – where to go shopping in Moscow

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The capital of Russia has always been the best city for shopping – long before that word even existed. Before the revolution, Moscow, the merchant city and business centre of the country, was the place to go for outlandish gifts and unusual presents. Foreign guests traditionally came for native Russian goods – furs, caviar, painted shawls, and unique souvenirs. Many were happy to buy luxury goods and premium brands, which have always been concentrated in Moscow. But even today you will not be able to leave the Russian capital without shopping. We will tell you which shops are worth visiting and where to find the most interesting things “Made in Russia”.

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A shopping quarter in the heart of the Capital

Start your shopping without straying far from Red Square – it is home to the famous GUM (Main Department Store) (ГУМ (Главный универсальный магазин)), and the historic shopping rows in the landmark building. Many tourists come here not so much for shopping as for a tour and for the legendary ice cream, the department store’s calling card. In summer, Russians queue up in huge lines for this taste of childhood. However, shopping here will be a great success: on its three floors GUM (ГУМ) offers exclusive branded goods, and the Children’s GUM (Детский ГУМ) is open for little fashionistas.

The underground shopping centre Okhotny Ryad (Охотный ряд), designed by artist Zurab Tsereteli, is also located here, not far from the Kremlin walls. Shopping here can be combined with a short tour of the floors in the style of traditional Russian shopping malls, classicism and art nouveau. Okhotny Ryad (Охотный ряд) presents brands from budget to elite, and world brands neighbour Russian ones. A separate space is dedicated to Matreshka, a year-round fair of Russian designers.

You can continue your luxury shopping literally across the street at the equally famous TSUM (Central Department Store of Moscow) (ЦУМ (Центральный универмаг страны)). It is also located in the capital’s historic building and since the last century has been considered a place to shop for the highest quality goods at elevated prices. Clothes, cosmetics, perfumes, jewellery, watches, bags, and accessories – absolutely everything here is prefixed with “luxury”. There is a special corner with things selected by the creative director of the department store, and TSUM Vintage space, where you can buy things from the past collections of luxury brands. In addition to shops, the department store has a café, grocery shop, shoe repair, dry cleaning and car park, and periodically holds exhibitions of contemporary art.

After shopping in the big shopping centres, take a stroll along the neighbouring streets of the same quarter – Bolshaya Dmitrovka (Большая Дмитровка), Kamergersky and Stoleshnikov lanes (Камергерский и Столешников переулки), Kuznetsky Most Street (улица Кузнецкий мост). In these streets you will find branches of many Russian brands. The laconic and stylish Gate31, Monochrome, Russia’s over-size ambassador, the bold and dressy men’s brand Chernim Cherno, Krakatau clothing for protection from the elements, as well as Russian furs, diamonds, caviar and other luxury items – all of this can be found during leisurely strolls through the old Moscow streets.

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The realm of children’s shopping and adult fairy tales

A place in which you can completely lose track of time, especially if you are with children – the Central Children’s Store (Центральный детский магазин). The six-storey department store was originally conceived as Europe’s largest shop of goods for children, and needless to say, it is also an architectural landmark of the capital. Unfortunately, during the restoration the unique interiors were lost, but there is still something to marvel at: a huge mechanical clock “Rocket” (“Ракета”), a glass dome with stained glass windows and an observation deck with a view of the centre of Moscow. Every evening, guests are entertained by light and music performances with images of Bylinnaya Rus’ (mythical Rus’) (Былинная Русь). These six floors are a paradise for children and financial ruin for parents. Let’s make it clear, it will be difficult to resist a dozen of toy shops, interactive zones with educational programmes and entertainment. It happens that not only children, but also adults find here the toys of their dreams, which they dreamed of all their childhood. By the way, there is also the Museum of Childhood («Музей детства»), where children’s goods and toys that were sold in Detsky Mir («Детский мир») during the Soviet era are exhibited.

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Tsvetnoy department store (универмаг «Цветной») – a place for Moscow fashionistas

If you want to know where Moscow fashionistas shop, go to the Tsvetnoy department store (универмаг «Цветной») at Tsvetnoy Boulevard station (станция «Цветной бульвар»). For many years, sales agents have been bringing unknown brands here, so in Tsvetnoy («Цветной») you can always find something sharp, non-standard, at the peak of fashion trends. Things of different price categories are sold here, both casual brands and exclusive designer luxury segment of clothes, shoes, perfumes, and jewellery are presented. Russian designers – Ushatava, Gate31, Belle you, 12 storeez, ZNWR, Akhmadullina Dreams – feel very comfortable standing side-by-side next to foreign brands. You may not even realize that you are taking away with premium clothes made in Russia. “Tsvetnoy” («Цветной») is also known for its periodic fashion Garage Sale, where new and archive collections of Sorelle, Trussardi, Marc O’Polo, Asia st71, Isabel Marant, Max Mara, Proenza Schouler and other brands can be bought at a 70% discount. The shopping centre advocates a creative approach to shopping and regularly holds vintage markets and unique pop-ups, client days and sales, master classes and other iconic fashion events. A separate floor in Tsvetnoy («Цветной») is occupied by the Farmer’s Bazaar («Фермерский базар») with organic products, and there is a restaurant with panoramic views to keep you going.

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Alternative shopping in the «Hlebozavod» («Хлебозавод») and Design zavod («Дизайн завод») art clusters

If you want a truly unusual shopping experience, head to the «Hlebozavod» («Хлебозавод») public space. Until 2015, this magnificent building (it is considered a manifesto of the architectural avant-garde) housed a real bakery, and after production stopped, the factory was reconstructed, fully preserving its historical appearance. «Hlebozavod» («Хлебозавод») was populated by Russian youth brands, which fit perfectly into the former workshops and production facilities. Some moved here not only to their showrooms but also to their offices. Stylish, bright, eye-catching – it’s all here. Street style from Yunost («Юность») and Mecha («Меч»), delicate dresses from Usta to Ustam («Уста к устам»), modern urban look from Cor Timor Cor, Cocos Moscow and Zny, conceptual premium from ZNWR, comfortable clothes for the metropolis from Petersburgers KRAKATAU and SHU, fashion accessories by Arny Praht, jewellery in Dark Rain and Dafna, and also shops of books, comics, watches, and musical audio equipment – we think you have understood that you will not leave here without shopping. You can take a break from shopping at «Hlebozavod» («Хлебозавод») in cafes of different cuisines of the world – they are based on the same territory.

Next door to «Hlebozavod» («Хлебозавод») is another curious fashionable place – Design Zavod (Дизайн завод), Moscow’s first creative cluster, also on the territory of a former factory. It brings together craft workshops, media editorial offices, cafes, and co-working spaces, design studios and architectural bureaus, and, of course, fashion clothing and accessories shops.

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«Made in Moscow»

If you have been requested to bring back “something from Moscow” as a gift, feel free to go to the specialized shop of the “Made in Moscow” («Сделано в Москве») project, where the capital’s manufacturers are united under one roof. The flagship shop is located in the Universitet metro area (метро «Университет»). By the way, public transport in the capital is so fast and convenient that you can easily get there from the centre. The Made in Moscow project («Сделано в Москве») initially launched as an online market, but with the support of the city mayor, it moved offline. Local brands present their care cosmetics, textiles, as well as home utensils and clothes. Here you can find gifts for any member of the family, of any gender, age, and interests. Some will like wooden toys with the author’s painting from Lesok brand, others will take away first-class backpacks by Long River or Heartz or luxurious scarves and shawls by Andrade_MD. In any case, Moscow shopping will not disappoint even the most selective visitor.

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Survey uncovers misconceptions about Moscow among Indian outbound travellers


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The most common myths among Indian tourists about the Russian capital, Moscow were revealed in a recent survey. Intourist, a company with 95 years of background in the inbound tourism market in Russia, conducted a survey among tourists from India who visited Moscow, asking them about their primary expectations for Moscow and the difference from their actual experience. The poll results were used to form a list of popular myths about Moscow, most of which were successfully debunked in the process.

“When a tourist arrives in Moscow, the first thing that comes to a foreigner’s mind is probably the Red Square, all covered in snow (and maybe a layer of red caviar on a giant piece of bread, thanks to the latest Slavic girl trend). Although it is a pretty memorable image, there’s so much more that the Russian capital can give to its visitors”, commented Aleksandr Musikhin, the General Director of Intourist and inbound tourism committee head of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia (ATOR).

Myth #1: Moscow is cold

Reality: There are four seasons, and the summer is very warm

There are four distinct seasons to fit any taste beginning April. Moscow spring is probably the loveliest of them all with its fresh air, blossoming trees and cafeteria terraces opening all over the city. Summer in the city is usually hot, with a great choice of refreshing activities: you can visit an open pool like Chaika or Luzhniki, explore any of the renovated parks with a glass of lemonade, or even spend a day at the beach of Serebryany Bor. Sure, winters in Moscow are cold, but thanks to well-adjusted heating systems both in the buildings and public transport, freezing isn’t really an option.

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Myth #2: Moscow is too Soviet

Reality: Moscow’s architecture is a beautiful eclectic mixture of nearly a thousand years of history

If you take some time to look around the city, a couple of beautiful landmarks from different times will appear just around the corner. Besides Soviet architecture, there are buildings dated with XII-XIX centuries along the ‘bas-reliefs’ from the art nouveau period and shining skyscrapers of the Moscow-City cluster — all for your aesthetic pleasure.

Myth #3: Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Reality: There are options for a trip with any budget

According to the EIU rating of 2021, Moscow didn’t even make the top 100 of the annual rich cities list. There are lots of accommodation options, eateries and shopping establishments to fit your desires and financial possibilities: from Stoleshnikov Lane with its boutiques to vast malls such as Europolis or Atrium, where the clothing stores are open side by side with fast-food restaurants, beauty salons, cinemas, playgrounds etc.

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Myth #4: There is no decent food in Moscow, except for borscht and pelmeni.

Reality: Moscow is full of the high-quality restaurants with Russian and world cuisines

Setting aside the fact that there’s more to the traditional Russian cuisine than you would first expect, Moscow can offer a hungry tourist a wide range of food options: there are halal and kosher, vegetarian and vegan, European and Asian restaurants all over the city. A homesick Indian tourist can also easily find an authentic eating place serving a ‘Thali’ or a ‘Dosa’ or other Indian vegetarian options.

Myth #5: People in Moscow are mean and unfriendly.

Reality: Moscovites a warm-hearted and helpful

There is a strong stereotype that pictures Russians as people who never smile. Thankfully, any public place in Moscow will prove it wrong in mere seconds. Big city people may not be keen on showing emotions to strangers, yet it usually takes a short dialogue for a change of heart, and most of the people passing by will gladly show you the directions or give a helpful tip if asked.

Myth #6: Moscow is unsafe.

Reality: Crime rate in Moscow is lower than in many European tourist cities.

Moscow is an extremely hi-tech city. Last year, Moscow became the leader among BRICS cities in terms of technological and spatial development. Moscow’s high technological progress also means a high level of development of security systems. Moscow has a “smart city” system – outdoor CCTV cameras and a face recognition system on the streets and in the subway. According to some estimates, the crime rate in Moscow is lower than in many European tourist cities. Being in Moscow you don’t have to worry about your safety.

Myth #7: Nobody speaks English in Moscow.

Reality: Young generation of Moscovites speaks English fluently

Travelling nowadays is a popular hobby among millennials and Gen Z, so the majority of young Moscow residents speak fluent English. Foreign languages are taught in schools and universities, with the addition of online courses and countless apps for personal studies that help to maintain speaking skills — so be sure that you will find help when needed. And if you are not much of a people person, all navigation in Moscow public transport is dubbed in English, so you won’t even have to ask for help since the tourist infrastructure is well-developed.