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Museum Guide for St. Petersburg

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Many Muscovites say that living in St. Petersburg must be like being an object in a museum; while there are numerous palaces and museums around St. Petersburg, the beautiful city itself is truly like an open air museum. I really love St. Petersburg and I hope you will enjoy and fully experience the city and its invaluable art collections.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Thrill Seeker
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Luxury Traveller
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Trendsetter
  • Like a Local

14 Places

5 City Tips

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Map

14 Places

The State Hermitage Museum

Art Museums

State Russian Museum

Speciality Museums

I. Brodskiy's Apartment Museum

Speciality Museums

Russian Museum of Ethnography

Speciality Museums

Summer Palace of Peter the Great

Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites

M. Matyshin's House

Speciality Museums

Mikhailovskiy Castle Historical Museum

History Museums

Kazan Cathedral

History Museums, Churches & Cathedrals

Cruiser Aurora

Points of Interest & Landmarks, Military Bases & Facilities, Ships

The Kunstkamera

Speciality Museums

The Menshikov Palace

Art Museums

New Museum of Contemporary Art

Art Museums

Mendeleev Museum

Speciality Museums

The State Museum St. Isaac’s Cathedral

Churches & Cathedrals, Speciality Museums

Masha K's City Tips

  • Restaurants, bars and cafes have flourished in the last couple of years, so make sure you check a recent best restaurants guide.
  • Among the locals' favorite guilty pleasures are the sugar-covered donuts called "pyshki." You'll find one of the oldest places to get them near the Russian Museum.
  • Best time to visit St. Petersburg is certainly during summer. The famous white nights are incomparable to anything, plus they turn the city into a 24-hour film shoot set.
  • Women visiting Orthodox churches normally wear a headpiece, a scarf, or something else to cover their heads.
  • The city is breezy all year round, so make sure you have something warm to wear.
  • The State Hermitage Museum
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Masha K Says:

    In my opinion, this is the best museum in Russia. I spent a week here (every single day) as part of a university course, and we still didn't cover all the collections in the Hermitage! It's huge and it's marvelous. The museum is located in the Winter Palace, so every hall used to have its own official or private purpose before 1917. The collections span a vast period, from prehistoric times to contemporary art (check out the new wing of the Hermitage in the General Staff Building), and temporary exhibits have included the 2014 traveling Biennale Manifesta.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Trendsetter
    Tips
    • The museum may be very crowded during the day, despite its size.
    • Booking tickets in advance will save time at the entrance.
    • Don't plan to cover everything — it's impossible to do it in one day (or even two days) without getting absolutely exhausted.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 2,117 things to do in St. Petersburg
    • The Hermitage Museum is truly outstanding 08/12/2019
    • One-Day Hermitage Visit 04/12/2019
    • The State Hermitage Museum
    Address:
    Palace Emb., 30-38
    St. Petersburg 191055
    Russia
    Phone:
    +7 812 710-90-79
    Hours:
    Tue
    10:30 AM - 6:00 PM
    Wed
    12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
    Thu
    10:30 AM - 6:00 PM
    Fri - Sun
    12:00 AM - 11:59 PM
    Other:
  • State Russian Museum
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Masha K Says:

    All the top names and best works in Russian art history can be found here. The State Russian Museum was founded by the emperor Nikolay II in 1895, with the aim of uniting Russian society through mutual admiration of paintings and sculptures created by native artists. Plus, as most of the artists in the 19th century were heavily influenced by European schools (many of them studied in Europe), it should come as no surprise to Italian and French visitors that they'll find something especially close to their hearts in the Russian museum.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • A beautiful park is just behind the palace.
    • Some parts of the collection might be a bit tiring, so determine your priorities before you visit.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #19 of 2,117 things to do in St. Petersburg
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Amazing Art 05/12/2019
    • Huge collection of Russian art 23/11/2019
    • State Russian Museum
    Address:
    Inzhenernaya St., 4
    Metro: Gostiny Dvor, Nevskiy Prospekt
    St. Petersburg 191011
    Russia
    Phone:
    +7 812 595-42-48
    Hours:
    Wed
    10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Thu
    1:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    Fri - Mon
    10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Other:
  • I. Brodskiy's Apartment Museum
    Speciality Museums
    Masha K Says:

    Brodskiy's Apartment Museum is truly a hidden gem. Isaak Brodskiy (not the writer, and unrelated to Joseph Brodskiy) was not only a talented artist, teacher, and avid art collector but also a man of his time — he began with impressionism and moved slowly to realism, ending up as Lenin's official portrait painter. All the phases of his life are reflected in this small but charming and highly interesting museum (his former apartment), and you're likely to be alone with the masterpieces on the walls, making it feel like you're a real guest in this house. Don't miss this chance to visit!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • There's a charming little space that hosts random live concerts on the second floor. Ask staff or check online for details.
    • The museum is just three minutes' walk from the Russian Museum (located in the same square as the Pushkin Monument).
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #310 of 2,117 things to do in St. Petersburg
    • I enjoyed the Isaak Brodsky Museum! 10/10/2019
    • Amazing and beautiful! 10/10/2019
    • I. Brodskiy's Apartment Museum
    Address:
    Iskusstv Sq., 3
    metro: Nevskiy Prospekt
    St. Petersburg 191011
    Russia
    Phone:
    +7 812 314-36-58
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:00 AM - 7:00 PM
    Other:
  • Russian Museum of Ethnography
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Masha K Says:

    One of the ways to appreciate Russia's national diversity is with a visit to the Russian Museum of Ethnography. Each of the many nationalities that constitute the country is represented in this museum with exhibits about their culture, customs, and traditional clothing. The exposition is well-designed and gives you a better feeling of the country's scale. Also, there is a truly mind-blowing masterpiece in the museum — a large format bronze relief depicting all the nations in Russia — which occupies the entire hall of the neoclassical building.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Have a look in the museum shop, which sells lots of beautiful decorative things from the many nationalities living in Russia.
    • Situated next door to the Russian Museum.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #38 of 2,117 things to do in St. Petersburg
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • So many cultures 19/10/2019
    • Impossible to visit 15/09/2019
    • Russian Museum of Ethnography
    Address:
    Inzhenernaya St., 4/1
    St. Petersburg 191011
    Russia
    Phone:
    +7 812 570-54-21
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 AM - 7:00 PM
    Tue
    10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
    Wed - Sat
    10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Other:
  • Summer Palace of Peter the Great
    Architectural Buildings, Historic Sites
    See more photos
    Masha K Says:

    It is a known fact that the first emperor of Russia, Peter the Great (and the First) was a big fan of Europe, and specifically of Holland. So for his own and his court's pleasure, he ordered the construction of the Summer Garden and a small and modest Summer Palace in the Dutch style. Former wetlands were drained with a system of small canals, and in one of the hidden corners of the garden (with a great view, by the way!), he built a private palace for himself and his family. It was something completely different to what his predecessors had associated with state power, and left in immaculate condition, with authentic interiors intact, is well worth a visit.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • History Buff
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The space is really small (especially in comparison to the Winter Palace), so try to come here when it's not that crowded to enjoy the palace as if you live there.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #52 of 2,117 things to do in St. Petersburg
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great gardens beautiful 28/09/2019
    • A must visit place 04/09/2019
    • Summer Palace of Peter the Great
    Address:
    Kutuzova Emb., 2
    St. Petersburg 191187
    Russia
    Phone:
    +7 812 925-80-21
    Other:
  • M. Matyshin's House
    Speciality Museums
    Masha K Says:

    Mikhail Matyshin was one of the leaders of the avant-garde movement in St. Petersburg in the 1910-1920s, namely of its futuristic wing. At the entrance of this museum, which used to be his private house (his wife Elena Guro was also an artist and a writer), there is a large format photograph of Matyushin with Malevich (with whom he worked on the 'Victory Over the Sun' opera), and Alexey Kruchenyh, a futurist poet. The museum collection consists mostly of paintings by Matyshin, his wife, and their counterparts, with some rooms remaining authentic to how they looked back in the 1920s.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The house is not in the center, but you can get there easily by a 20-minute metro ride.
    • During the summer, concerts and parties are held in the inner courtyard of the house.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #780 of 2,117 things to do in St. Petersburg
    • Ужасный персонал 20/02/2016
    • Маааленький, но уютный музей авангарда 02/12/2019
    • M. Matyshin's House
    Address:
    Professora Popova St., 10
    St. Petersburg 197022
    Russia
    Phone:
    +7 812 347-68-98
    Other:
  • Mikhailovskiy Castle Historical Museum
    History Museums
    See more photos
    Masha K Says:

    The Mikhailovskiy Castle Historical Museum is also called 'Engineering Castle' because it became home to the Main Engineering School after 1819. While it was atypical of the times to call a palace a 'castle,' that was the name favored by its owner, poor Emperor Pavel I, who carried the title 'Magister of the Order of Malta' and was murdered here. The castle is the only example of the Romantic Classicism architectural style in the city.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • History Buff
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The collections might not outdo the Hermitage and other museums, but the Mikhailovskiy Castle is still worth visiting because it's a unique kind of place.
    • The permanent exhibition about the history of the castle and its inhabitants is quite good.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #90 of 2,117 things to do in St. Petersburg
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Russian history 19/10/2019
    • Castle with a contradictive past 🤔 12/07/2019
    • Mikhailovskiy Castle Historical Museum
    Address:
    Sadovaya St., 2
    St. Petersburg 191011
    Russia
    Phone:
    +7 812 595-42-48
    Hours:
    Wed
    10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Thu
    1:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    Fri - Mon
    10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Other:
  • Kazan Cathedral
    History Museums, Churches & Cathedrals
    See more photos
    Masha K Says:

    Not technically a museum today (though it was the Museum of Religion and Atheism from 1932 to 2000), this beautiful cathedral is a wonderful example of the classicism style of architecture. Emperor Pavel I ordered that it should look like St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, and the architecture was so cleverly thought out that the axis is positioned as it should be for an Orthodox cathedral (west to east), but instead of standing sideways to the Nevsky Prospect, the cathedral opens up to it with its front.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • It's a functioning cathedral so please keep silent and respect those who have come here to pray.
    • Pay attention to the stones the cathedral is made of — they were sourced locally and are used in many other buildings in the city.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #57 of 2,117 things to do in St. Petersburg
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Main Cathedral in Saint Petersburg 06/12/2019
    • Very beautiful 01/12/2019
    • Kazan Cathedral
    Address:
    Kazanskaya Sq., 2
    Metro Nevskiy Prospect
    St. Petersburg 191186
    Russia
    Phone:
    +7 981 930-08-01
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    6:30 AM - 7:45 PM
    Other:
  • Cruiser Aurora
    Points of Interest & Landmarks, Military Bases & Facilities, Ships
    See more photos
    Masha K Says:

    A dry shot from the Cruiser Aurora ship on the 25th of October, 1917, was the first sign of the assault on the Winter Palace — that which eventually led the Bolsheviks to power. Before becoming a symbol of the Revolution, the Cruiser Aurora had taken part in the Russian-Japanese War and other missions all around the world. At one time, the ship was operated by 600 people.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • You can visit this museum only with a group of at least 20 people.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #109 of 2,117 things to do in St. Petersburg
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great naval history 12/11/2019
    • Warship having soviet history 01/11/2019
    • Cruiser Aurora
    Address:
    Petrovskaya / Petrogradskaya Emb.
    Gorkovskaya Metro
    St. Petersburg 197046
    Russia
    Phone:
    8 (812) 607-49-2
    Hours:
    Wed - Sun
    10:30 AM - 6:00 PM
    Other:
  • The Kunstkamera
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Masha K Says:

    This museum is famous for the creepy objects on display: an assortment of human and animal fetuses with anatomical deficiencies. Established by Peter the Great, the place had the 'cabinet of curiosities' idea at its core. In addition to the odd collection it's renowned for, the museum also holds beautiful ethnographic exhibits which concentrate on India and North America.

    Good for
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Thrill Seeker
    Tips
    • If you are sensitive, my strong advice is to avoid the section of the two-headed fawns (and worse!).
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #147 of 2,117 things to do in St. Petersburg
    • Freak and anthropological museum 23/09/2019
    • Worth a visit 19/09/2019
    • The Kunstkamera
    Address:
    Universitetskaya Emb., 3
    Entrance from Tamozhenny Lane
    St. Petersburg 199034
    Russia
    Phone:
    +7 812 328-14-12
    Price range:
    US$0 - US$0
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    11:00 AM - 6:00 PM
    Other:
  • The Menshikov Palace
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Masha K Says:

    This was once the palace of the first governor of St. Petersburg, Alexander Menshikov, a close friend and a great supporter of Peter the Great. All the festive dinners and parties (called 'assemblies' by the emperor) were held here until 1727, when Menshikov was accused of treason and sent to the Urals, and the palace was handed over to the state. Since it was beautifully decorated with the most expensive and rarest materials of that time, it is a great example of 18th century private (and official) taste.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • History Buff
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The palace wasn't finished until Menshikov's exile, so it has undergone quite a lot of transformation since then.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #67 of 2,117 things to do in St. Petersburg
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • If you have time 19/10/2019
    • Don; waste time 05/10/2019
    • The Menshikov Palace
    Address:
    Universitetskaya Emb., 15
    Vasiliostrovskaya Metro Station
    St. Petersburg 199034
    Russia
    Phone:
    +7 812 323-11-12
    Other:
  • New Museum of Contemporary Art
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Masha K Says:

    This museum is a private entity, and all the works of art on permanent display constitute a private collection of Russian art from 1950 to the present. While the 'quality' may vary, depending on your own personal tastes, it is still a unique experience, being the first example of opening up a private collection for public view in Russia.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • History Buff
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The museum is located in front of the Vasileostrovskaya metro station, so you could combine it with a visit to other museums on this island.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #858 of 2,117 things to do in St. Petersburg
    • Nice collection of contemporary art 26/09/2017
    • Worth visit 20/06/2014
    • New Museum of Contemporary Art
    Address:
    Line 6, D. 29
    St. Petersburg 199004
    Russia
    Phone:
    +7 812 323-50-90
    Other:
  • Mendeleev Museum
    Speciality Museums
    Masha K Says:

    For real fans of chemistry, this is the place where Mendeleev first dreamt about his periodical table of chemical elements. The objects, library, and archive of the apartment were bought from his widow in 1911. The museum occupies the ground floor of a St. Petersburg University building.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • History Buff
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • The museum is really small — there are only 3 rooms in the apartment.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #445 of 2,117 things to do in St. Petersburg
    • Fantastic museum 22/06/2018
    • Wonderful museum 13/06/2017
    • Mendeleev Museum
    Address:
    Mendeleevskaya liniya 2
    metro Vasileostrovskaya
    St. Petersburg 199034
    Russia
    Phone:
    +7 812 328-97-44
  • The State Museum St. Isaac’s Cathedral
    Churches & Cathedrals, Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Masha K Says:

    St. Isaac's is the largest Orthodox cathedral in the city, and an excellent example of late classicism in Russian architecture. Lots of artist-members of the Academy of Arts took part in the interior decoration of the cathedral, the most famous among them being Karl Briullov. During World War II, objects and masterpieces from the suburban palaces and museum were kept here, and wartime artillery marks on the facade have been preserved in places (check the columns).

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Visit on a sunny day to climb to the upper colonnade — the view over the historical city center is stunning (and terrifying, because of the height!).
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #13 of 2,117 things to do in St. Petersburg
    • beautiful 04/12/2019
    • Golden Dome dominates skyline! 01/12/2019
    • The State Museum St. Isaac’s Cathedral
    Address:
    St Isaac_s Square, 4
    Nevskiy Prospekt metro station
    St. Petersburg 190000
    Russia
    Phone:
    +7 812 315-97-32
    Hours:
    Thu - Tue
    10:30 AM - 6:00 PM
    Other:
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