Along with must-see tourist places I would recommend some really interesting spots which are very popular amongst locals. You will experience how the youth in Saint-Petersburg live nowadays and will see that this city develops rapidly.
One of my favourite places is New Holland.
This is a well-known place, a tiny island in the city centre which has a huge history. A former military base, it has since been reconstructed into a modern park with different leisure activities and places to dine. The place is full of nice little shops, cute coffee shops, and cafés. Also, there are some cultural programs including concerts of trendy musicians, educational courses and various kinds of events that you need to be informed about in advance. This park is the best choice for spending time a nice during the summer, although it is still open in the winter and has an ice rink. You can combine visiting New Holland Park with a trip to the Mariinsky theatre because they are located in the same district.
New Hooland in winter
New Holland in summer
If you want to go out for a meal or for a drink, the most popular area in Saint-Petersburg for spending a great night is Ulitsa Rubinsteina. Located in the heart of the city centre, it has become the main restaurant street in Saint-Petersburg. There are 40 houses here and more than 50 restaurants! If you are a fan of jazz, you can go to “48 Chairs” with its live music and stylish atmosphere. Something more simple? No problem! Visit the local craft beer bar “Punk Brew”. Fancy karaoke after that? “Poison Bar” is just next door and waiting for your finest hour. Poison Bar is very popular for its good selection of famous songs and its friendly atmosphere. Hungry and want something exotic? Go to “Bekitzer” which makes the best Israeli street-food and holds great parties in the evenings.
Poison Karaoke Bar
Monument to Russian writer Sergei Dovlatov
Small and cozy Zoom Cafe has been an established spot for lunch in the city for a few years. You can find it as a suggestion in every city-guide throughout Saint-Petersburg. The atmosphere is homely and relaxed. Soft lights, pleasant music and friendly staff help to make your visit comfortable. The food is simple and reminiscent of Russian home cooking.
You can entertain yourself playing board games, or reading the books and latest magazines while waiting for food.
Please note that Zoom Café is very popular and you will need to book a table in advance.
Another nice and cosy place owned by the same people as Zoom Café is Teplo. A great location near St. Isaac’s Cathedral makes it a good opportunity to combine both places in one day. This restaurant is perfect for families with children: it has a fireplace and a nice terrace. The interior meets the name of the place; it is very cosy and warm, the staff are super friendly and you will want to come here over and over again.
Georgian cuisine is very popular in Russia and Saint-Petersburg has a great selection of restaurants on offer. The most popular dishes are khachapuri (a traditional Georgian dish of cheese-filled bread) and khinkali (Georgian dumplings with a variety of fillings).
Here are some places I would recommend:
Khachapuri I Vino
- Soviet Leningrad:
- Visit a ”Ryumochnaya”.
Ryumochnayas (the name is derived from the Russian word for shot glass) are as close as you’ll get to the drinking traditions of 20th-century Russia. Cheap and unpretentious, they were a step up from drinking at home (or in the street), the place to go if you couldn’t afford a restaurant in both the USSR and 90s Russia. The local favourite is Mayak Café, going since the 80s and now filled with Soviet memorabilia. There is no sign outside but you can spot the place by the large head of Lenin in the window. A traditional order would be zakuski – Russian d’oeuvres of dill pickles, sausages, pickled herring – consumed with alcohol. 20 Mayakovskogo Street
Visit Udelnaya Flea Market.
If you are interested in vintage and authentic soviet antique souvenirs you definitely need to visit Udelnaya Flea Market. It is considered to be the best flea market in Russia and attracts a lot of tourists because of the unique things you can buy there. The place is quite hard to find and takes some time to get to but, once you are there, you can get lost amongst the numerous stalls of soviet badges, books, stamps and porcelain.
Note: The market is only open on weekends. When exiting Udelnaya metro station, cross the rail tracks, keep going right through the modern part of the market, and mind your bags and valuables while there.