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17 Things to Do in St. Petersburg

5 min

A trip to Russia wouldn't be complete without visiting its crowning jewel and cultural capital, St. Petersburg! This majestic city was the Russian Empire's imperial capital for over 200 years, and it is jam-packed with history, culture, art and many museums to see.

St. Petersburg was built during the time of Peter the Great and was constructed in the image of European cities at the time. There are numerous romantic canals in St. Petersburg that earned its name as the "Venice of the North."

Visiting St. Petersburg in the winter or summer will differ greatly, with the winter offering you a truly northern experience and the summer allowing you to experience the famous white nights.

St. Petersburg, one of the world's most beautiful cities, is difficult to resist falling in love with and you'll see why when you visit. With so many renowned attractions, you'll never run out of things to do in St. Petersburg.

If you're on the hunt for a tourist-friendly, well-known, yet nonetheless intriguing destination, you should definitely put St. Petersburg on your list of places to visit. You can't help but fall in love with the picturesque atmosphere, bridges, museum-like streets, and imperial attitudes that surround this city.

The cultural heritage of Russia's northern city, St. Petersburg, is second to none and sure to pique the curiosity of true admirers of the opera, ballet, and theater arts.

Even if you travel for a week in St. Petersburg, you will only scratch the surface of the city's rich cultural past. To make sure you won't miss a lot when you visit St. Petersburg, we've compiled a list of 17 things to do and St. Petersburg attractions to see while visiting.

Visit the Hermitage

No list of the best things to do in St. Petersburg would be complete without mentioning the Museum of Hermitage. The Hermitage in St. Petersburg is known as one of the largest, oldest and most famous art museums in the world and also one of the best.

Located in the Winter Palace of Catherine, the museum contains over 1500 rooms and over three million items, ranging from artifacts from Ancient Egypt to 20th-century Europe. Only a small part of the Hermitage's total collection is actually on permanent display. A large portion of the items is kept in the vast storage spaces.

When you visit the Hermitage's exhibition galleries, you'll feel like you've stepped back in time. The most extensive collection of ancient and early medieval artifacts, ancient Greek and Roman works of art, fantastic oriental treasures, and great European works of art await you at the Hermitage.

The museum is so vast that it has been said that if you spent one minute looking at every object in the museum, you would feel like you'd been there for six years!

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

Located on the Griboyedov channel, the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is arguably one of the most iconic sights in St. Petersburg and also one of the best things to do in St. Petersburg, with its fairytale-like towers and 7500 square meters of colorful mosaics covering the church's ceilings and walls.

Interestingly enough, though, the church itself is only 100 years old. It was built by Alexander III as a memorial for his father, who was assassinated at the same spot in 1881.

On the Cathedral's roof, there are nine domes, some of which are gilded, and some of which are enameled. The inside of the structure is lavishly adorned with marbles of a variety of types and semi-precious stones imported from Russia and other parts of the world.

Visit Grand Peterhof Place

This UNESCO World Heritage Site was inspired by Versaille and built by Tsar Peter the Great in the 18th century. This historical landmark is located in Petergof, a Russian town on the edge of St. Petersburg.

The palace itself is located some forty minutes outside of St. Petersburg and boasts a complex of lavish palaces, gardens, fountains and parks.

At the center of the grounds, you'll find the Grand Palace, which was used as the main summer residence by the Russian emperors. Nowadays, the Grand Palace is open to the public as a museum.

The Grand Cascade is the most well-known feature of the grounds, and it extends from the northern front of the Grand Palace to the Marine Canal, making it the most visited spot.

A total of 255 sculptures and 64 fountains, each with 138 water jets shooting upward, adorn this glittering wonderland. Despite the fact that it has been in operation for 300 years, this spectacular display of water fountains continues to dazzle and thrill tourists even today.

Immerse yourself in Catherine Palace and the Park

Make sure to visit the Catherine Palace, which is another one of the best things to do in St. Petersburg. Located some 25 km outside of St. Petersburg, the lavish Catherine's palace is definitely worth a visit.

The palace was built in the 18th century as a way for Catherine the Great to escape the busy city life. Its Amber Room is world-famous due to the fact that its artwork was stolen in 1941 by the Germans and

The extravagant facade of this late Baroque mansion makes it a must-see attraction for anybody visiting the area. It shows two distinct styles of architecture from the time period in which it was built. The Russian Emperors used to spend their summers at this magnificent mansion.

See a show at the Mariinsky Theatre

Russia is world-renowned for its ballet, theatre, and opera productions. The Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg is one of Russia's best, and seeing a performance there is definitely worth it. The theatre opened in 1860 and has hosted some of Russia's most famous performers, like Anna Pavlova, Vatslav Nizhinsky, and many others.

The Mariinsky Theatre is one of Russia's most well-known and prominent theatres, with so many things to do. There are no other theatres or music halls like the Mariinsky today that provide such a broad range of performance, educational, and research opportunities.

This theatre in Saint Petersburg is the epitome of grandeur and brilliance, and anybody who wants to actually experience something as spectacular as this should not pass up the opportunity to pay a visit to the historic venue in St. Petersburg.

Take a boat trip along the canals

Known to be the "Venice of the North," St. Petersburg has a network of over 300 kilometers of canals and over 800 bridges. The canals are all man-made and were intended to serve as a way to cross the city easily. You can find 114 rivers and canals flowing through the city of St Petersburg, which is spread out over 33 islands.

Taking a boat along the canals is a great way to relax your feet and see a different side of St. Petersburg. A boat trip through the city's canals is the most enjoyable and peaceful way to get a feel for the city while still being active. The historical districts of the city are located on a number of islands in the delta of the river Neva, which disembarks into the Gulf of Finland in the eastern section of the Baltic Sea.

Are there any better things to do in St. Petersburg than cruising through this majestic city on a guided boat trip?

Walk along the Nevsky Prospect

St. Petersburg's most famous shopping street offers something for everyone, making it one of the unmissable things to do in St. Petersburg. Nevsky Prospect is home to a large number of the city's most popular attractions. It is easier to go to these locations along Nevsky Prospect than elsewhere in St. Petersburg.

The Naval Department Building, Alexander Nevsky Monastery, Uprising Square, Stroganov Palace, Kazan Cathedral, Shengjia Building, Catherine II Monument, Russian National Library, an 18th-century large mall, Yelizeev Mall, and Anichkov Bridge are just a few of the many famous buildings that can be found along this street.

St. Petersburg's busiest thoroughfare is Nevsky Avenue, featuring the city's biggest bookstore, food store, department store, and most luxurious shopping malls, as well as a number of churches, Ming people's old mansions, and historic buildings.

If you want to learn more about St. Petersburg, you'll have to go along the city's major thoroughfare.

Watch the Drawbridges at night

St. Petersburg was originally designed to be a port city and a naval base. Still today, there are many ships that sail down the Neva River today. One of the city's most famous bridges is the Palace Bridge.

In certain cases, the Palace Bridge and Admiralteiskaya embankments are so packed that they are impossible to navigate. So, people arrive around 40 minutes before the bridge is scheduled to open.

Anyone interested in seeing bridges from the ground must first choose the bridge they want to view from the ground in advance and then arrive at the embankment at the time the bridge is scheduled to be divorced.

Seeing it being drawn at night with all the lights on provides an iconic view of St. Petersburg. It is a great place to stay, where you can see all of the bridges being drawn in full glory.

Visit Saint Isaac’s Cathedral

St. Isaac's Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in the world and one of the top sights to visit in St. Petersburg. Built-in with a Neoclassical and Byzantine-inspired architectural style, the Cathedral has the capacity to hold 14,000 people.

Because of the size of its golden dome, which is 25,8 meters in diameter, Saint Isaac's Cathedral is the first landmark you will notice while arriving in St. Petersburg by plane or boat.

During your visit, you will get the opportunity to witness the Cathedral's lavishly adorned interior. Beautiful icons were created by the finest Russian painters, and the mosaics are so beautiful that you can barely tell them apart from the paintings.

Check out Peter and Paul's Fortress

Peter and Paul Fortress is an important landmark for the city. It marks the very spot where St. Petersburg was founded in 1703.

To this day, the bell tower in the Cathedral is the highest building in St. Petersburg. Many of the Russian Tsars are also buried below the fortress, and the fortress itself played a major role in the Russian revolution.

If you visit Peter and Paul's fortress in St. Petersburg, then it's also worth it to walk along the walls, which will provide a lovely view of the city. Plan at least half a day to visit this landmark, as there are many things to do and see here.

Stop by the Morean Arts Center

Central Avenue's Morean Arts Center is one of the top things to do in St. Petersburg, Florida, because of its unique, community-oriented art and education programs.

The Morean Arts Center is home to several galleries and institutions. Both the Morean Galleries and the Glass Studio & Hot Shop are situated on Central Avenue. As a stand-alone attraction, the Chihuly Collection may be found close to Beach Drive.

It showcases world-class glass sculptures created by a skilled glass sculptor. Lastly, the Center for Clay, a pottery museum housed in a historic railroad station at 22nd Street South, can be found.

Visit the Sunken Gardens

To escape the bustle of the city, the Sunken Gardens is a lovely floral paradise nestled in the middle of St. Petersburg city. As a result of the gardens' scenic setting and plenty of pathways, waterfalls, and groves, visitors are able to explore and learn about a wide variety of exotic and tropical plants from across the globe.

More than 50,000 tropical plants and flowers, including some of the country's oldest, can be found in this century-old garden, St. Petersburg's oldest living museum.

If you're looking for family-friendly things to do in St. Petersburg, look no further than this fantastic attraction.

Watch a performance at the Mahaffey Theatre

The Duke Energy Center for the Arts, which just underwent a major renovation, houses the famous Mahaffey Theater in downtown St. Petersburg. After opening its doors in 1965, this stunning performing arts theatre received a number of modifications and restorations throughout the following decades.

On top of its 2,031 seats, the theatre also has luxurious European-style private box seating, a stunning ballroom, and panoramic views of the waterfront. In addition to hosting top-tier concerts by well-known musicians, the Mahaffey Theater is also noted for its unique design.

Taking in a show at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg is an excellent choice for a romantic date idea in the city.

Shop at St. Petersburg's Saturday Morning Market

There are about 10,000 people that turn up every Saturday from October to May to check what's for sale, dine, or simply to spend time with their friends and neighbors. It's a terrific place to come if you're looking for family-friendly things to do in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The Al Lang Field parking lot market features roughly 200 registered vendors selling a wide variety of items, including seafood, chocolates, pastries, salsas, cheeses, pickles, spices, ice cream, bread, and meats.

Local farmers' fruits and vegetables, delectable cuisine from 15 different countries, locally made arts and crafts, and amazing music provides a memorable experience for those who come here.

Explore the Weedon Island Preserve

A natural reserve and coastal system encompassing more than 3,000 acres along Tampa Bay in Pinellas County, the Weedon Island Preserve is one of the most extensive in the county. If you like the outdoors, you will find a wealth of things to do and see in this location.

In addition to protecting the region's natural and cultural resources, the Weedon Island Preserve also serves as a resource for educating the public about these resources.

The preserve is home to a diverse range of aquatic and upland ecosystems, as well as a vast diversity of native plants and animal species. A variety of recreational and outdoor activities are available to enjoy in the preserve, including hiking, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and bird watching, among others.

Dine at the Cider Press Cafe

As one of the best fine dining restaurants in St. Petersburg, the Cider Press Café is known for its innovative and creative vegan dishes made with fresh, locally grown, and plant-based foods. Roland Strobel and Johan Everstijn named their restaurant after a 19th-century apple press that is on exhibit every day at the restaurant's entrance.

In the years after its inception, Trivago named it one of the best vegan restaurants in the US. Tofu scrambles and other vegan waffle treats are all on the menu for breakfast at this vegan-friendly eatery.

Shareable appetizers like cauliflower buffalo bites are available for lunch and dinner. You can also choose from falafel and black bean burgers or falafel, black bean, and portabella mushroom sliders.

Taste some beer at 3 Daughters Brewing

In St. Petersburg's warehouse district, 3 Daughters Brewing Company creates unique and innovative craft beers that are enjoyed by both locals and tourists alike. Don't forget to stop by the St. Petersburg tasting room to sample one of the more than 60 craft beer recipes that are currently on tap.

Located in St. Petersburg, 3 Daughters is the largest craft brewery in the city, and beer enthusiasts can take a tour of the brewery's 30-barrel brewhouse while the brewers are hard at work.

While you're at it, you can try some of their award-winning beers like Beach Blonde Ale or Bourbon Barrel Aged Porter at the taproom. They're so popular with their customers. Check the calendar for upcoming concerts and other special events.