Take a walking tour of Nevsky prospekt, St. Petersburg’s answer to the Champs Elysees, for the best people watching – and a close-up look at some of the city’s most magnificent architecture. The 3-mile stroll from the Admiralty to the Anichkov Bridge (just one of more than 300 bridges in this water-world), takes in theaters and museums, and also offers memorable shopping (think palaces and a bazaar/department store, the Gostinyy dvo, that dates to the 18th century). And at the bridge, hop on a boat for a river tour, which just may be the best way to see St. Petersburg.
The Hermitage may be the Russian Louvre. It’s matchless collection of Western European art (from Leonardo da Vinci to Rembrandt to Picasso) remains the museum’s major draw among the nearly 3 million (count ’em) objets d’art. If you’re looking for Russian art, plan a day at the Mikhailovsky Palace, home to the world-class Russian Museum’s massive collection of Soviet artworks from icons to 20th-century painting. And if art isn’t your thing, take heart, because among the other 30-odd museums in the city is the Vodka Museum, where the history behind the Russian national drink is sure to whet your thirst for a teapot (yes, it’s served that way) or two.
If St. Petersburg’s endless cultural attractions seem, well, endless … escape (by tram or bus) to the Kirovsky Islands north of the city. Home to the city’s most exclusive addresses, the isles (Kamenny, Yelagin and Krestovsky are the best known) are a perfect place for a picnic in a park, a bike ride along tree-lined boulevards and cycle paths, or a boat ride on the myriad canals.