Moscow is a city that combines the past and the present; where old buildings live together with high-tech business quarters. Moscow is home to more than 500 museums, 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites, and a number of world architectural records. Moscow's rich architecture can also be seen underground: the central metro stations—real "palaces of the people" with mosaics, paintings, stucco, and dazzling illumination. Moscow is a metropolis that has everything: the best restaurants, fashionable nightclubs, skyscrapers, dizzying views, and even peaceful old courtyards where time has stood still for more than a century.
The list of most interesting attractions has remained unchanged over the years: The Moscow Kremlin and Red Square, the Novodevichy Convent and the Church of the Ascension in Kolomenskoye Park. Other popular places include the VDNH exhibition park, the Tretyakov Gallery, Sparrow Hills observation platform and Ostankino Tower, the tallest freestanding structure in Europe (540 meters). The largest underground palace in the world—the Moscow metro used by more than eight million people every day; seven Stalinist Empire style high-rise buildings and, of course, the Bolshoi Theater.
Moscow has more than 1,000 churches and monasteries of different Christian denominations, 270 museums, 170 theaters, and a large number of historic and cultural monuments. The Night in the Museum event is held every year and is attended by more than 1 million visitors, making it the largest such event in Europe. Tourists can see the world-famous classical Russian ballet throughout the whole year. The Summer Ballet Seasons has been held for the last 15 years in July and August after the end of the theater season.
The Russian capital has about 400 parks. Gorky Park is the most popular park in Moscow. There are wooden beaches on the banks of the Moscow River and sports, dancing and children's areas throughout the park. You can attend festivals, celebrations, firework displays, painting classes, yoga classes and fairs; there are cycle paths and in winter you can skate on the ice rink and ride on a dog sled.
The unique VDNH park is home to the best examples of Soviet architecture. Recently, the wonderful Historic Park opened—a grand multimedia exhibition telling the story of the most important events in the Russian history.
Several Moscow parks are museum-reserves: Tsaritsyno Park, where out of ruins an estate was built for Catherine II; the Kolomenskoye museum-reserve, a former royal residence, the ancestral lands of great Moscow princes and tsars with a wonderful view of the city and the Moskva River.
Bicycles are available to hire in all the city's parks. Moscow's cycle paths cover 210 kilometers.
Moscow has many entertainment and educational places for children to visit: The Moskvarium oceanography and marine biology center; the Planetarium, one of the largest in the world; the Eksperimentanium and a model of a Martian space station at the VDNH. Children will love the Nikulin Moscow Circus, the Great Circus on Vernadsky Prospekt, the Moscow Cats Theater, the Natalya Sats Musical Theater, the Durov Animal Theater, and the Moscow Zoo.
Moscow is very attractive in winter when its festivals transform and illuminate the city and offer locals and visitors a wide range of entertainments: The New Year Tree, toboggans, ice rinks, ballet on ice, light installations, ice labyrinths, Christmas markets, competitions, and concerts.
Ice rinks open in winter in Moscow, including the largest one in the world—at the VDNH—that covers 20,500 square meters. The country's main ice rink is on Red Square, in the center of the city. Moscow also has 650 kilometers of ski tracks, 9 ski slopes within the city, while very close to the city is the all year round indoor ski center Snej.kom.