In Moscow there are 125 neighborhoods, so it can be difficult for a tourist to decide in which area to stay. In this article I’m making a selection of the best neighborhoods in which I recommend staying, depending on whether you are traveling as a couple, with friends, with family and with children, or if you are simply looking for cheap accommodation near the city centre. If you can afford it, I also recommend some historical and modern accommodations where you can stay.
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- MOSCOW, A HUGE CITY
- 1. THE MOST CENTRAL DISTRICTS OF MOSCOW
- 1.1. Tverskoy – Kitay-Gorod district, next to Red Square
- 1.2. Arbat district, Moscow’s historical district
- 1.3. Yakimanka District, from Tretyakov Museum to Gorky Park
- 1.4. Basmanny District, Myasnitskaya Street and Chistye Prudy Park
- 1.5. Presnensky District and the Patriarch’s Ponds
- 2. MOSCOW’S NON-CENTRIC AREAS, but well connected to the city centre
- 3. MOSCOW’S OUTSKIRTS
MOSCOW, A HUGE CITY
Moscow is a gigantic city, divided into 12 large districts that contain some 125 neighborhoods, so it can be difficult for a tourist to decide the area in which they will stay.
There are tourists looking for the most centric area, there are tourists who travel as a family and look for a quieter area, others travel as a couple or friends and look for areas with nightlife, others look for cheaper accommodation, others for more luxurious places, others look for apartments instead of hotels, others look for historical accommodations from the Soviet era, etc.
In this article I will give you my point of view on what I consider the best areas to book accommodations in Moscow, be they hotels, hostels or apartments. I will also mention some of the most famous and historical hotels in Moscow, which have a special charm to stay.
In any case, I recommend firstly, choosing the neighborhood in which you are going to stay, according to your personal preferences and circumstances, and secondly, looking for accommodation in that neighborhood that offers good value for money and a good score on Booking.
As in other cities in the world, in Moscow, you will find different types of accommodation:
- Large international and Russian chains Hotels: Radisson, Novotel, Holiday Inn, Marriot, Hilton, Swissotel, Lotte, Azimut, etc.
- Smaller and more family hotels, if you are seeking more privacy.
- Tourist apartments, if you are traveling as a family or your stay is long.
- Hostels, for younger people and looking for something cheaper.
To give you an idea, the average price range for accommodation in Moscow is as follows:
- Luxury, higher than 150 euros (5-star hotels).
- Average price, from 50 to 150 euros (3 and 4-star hotels, and apartments).
- Economic, up to 50 euros (hostels and apartments, also 3 and 4-star hotels, further from the center).
Here you have a map with a Booking accommodation offer in the centre of Moscow, where you can see the approximate prices per night and double room. Red Square is located just below the yellow dot:
1. THE MOST CENTRAL DISTRICTS OF MOSCOW
To begin with, it is necessary to be very clear where the city centre is located and which are the most central neighborhoods. On the following map, you can see each of the 10 neighborhoods that make up the Central Administrative District of Moscow. Right in the center of this map (red rectangle) there is Red Square, Moscow’s central point.
In the Central Administrative District you will find almost all the Moscow railway stations, the main theaters (such as the Bolshoi), most of the ministry offices of the Russian Federation, as well as the Kremlin and other official bodies of the Russian Government.
The map numbers correspond to the following neighborhoods:
Next, I will focus on the 5 neighborhoods of the central district in which I recommend staying (those marked in bold in the previous listing), always within the first ring area marked by the circular line number 5 of Moscow Metro.
1.1. Tverskoy – Kitay-Gorod district, next to Red Square
The Tverskoy neighborhood is the neighborhood where the Red Square is located, though it goes all the way north from the city and reaches the outskirts. Therefore, in this neighborhood I recommend two areas:
A) Kitay-Gorod (next to Red Square)
Being the most central area of the city, it is also the most expensive.
In this neighborhood, and very close to the Bolshoi theater, you will find the historic 5-star Hotel Metropol, built between 1899 and 1905, and recognized as one of Moscow’s most important Art Nouveau historical and architectural monuments.
If you are looking for hotels at more economic prices in this neighborhood, there’s the following:
- Custos Hotel Lubyansky (4 stars)
- Veliy Hotel Mokhovaya (3 stars)
- Seven Hills Lubyanka (3 stars)
- Kitay-Gorod Hotel (2 stars)
Near Kitay Gorod, yet already in the Tagansky neighborhood, you will find the majestic Kotelnicheskaya Naberezhnaya building, one of the Seven Sisters of Stalin, which was intended for elite or luxury homes for people close to the regime, but soon after they were converted to multifamily units or communal apartments for families in need. Currently you can rent tourist apartments in this unique building, such as the Kotelnicheskaya Royal Tower apartments.
Summary: I would recommend staying in this area if money is not a problem for you, and it is the first time you visit Moscow and you want to make the most of your time visiting the main tourist attractions in the city center.
B) Tverskaya Street and surroundings (Bolshoi Theater)
It is the most famous and commercial street in the city and where some of the most luxurious hotels, restaurants or shops in the city are located. It is a very long street that starts near the Red Square.
Next to this street you will find also the famous Bolshoi theater or, a little further to the north, the Ermitazh garden, very frequented by Muscovites and a place where many musical and artistic events take place.
In this area, unlike Kitay-Gorod, there is a wide range of apartments, a good option if you are traveling with your family. You can also find many hostels, aimed mainly at a younger audience and looking for something cheaper like the Godzillas Hostel.
Summary: I recommended this area if you are looking to be near the centre, with great atmosphere. It is quite expensive, though you can find hotels or apartments at more economic prices than in Kitay-Gorod.
1.2. Arbat district, Moscow’s historical district
Arbat is a historical district of Moscow, located west of the Kremlin, and where one of the most famous streets of Moscow is located, Arbat Street, a pedestrian street full of shops and restaurants, and where you will find thousands of tourists, street artists and many souvenir shops. It is a must-see street in Moscow.
If you like to walk, from this neighborhood you can walk and reach within 30 and 40 minutes many city tourist attractions: Red Square, Bolshoi Theater, Zaryadye Park, Gorky Park, Tretyakov Galleries, the Pushkin Museum, etc.
Of course, it is a well-connected area with Metro stations that will take you anywhere in the city.
In this neighborhood is located what is considered the best hotel in the city, the 5-star Hotel Lotte, though in this area you will find hotels from the main international and Russian hotel chains. Also the offer of apartments is very wide.
Very close to the Lotte Hotel, though already crossing the Moskva River, you will find Hotel Ukraine (5 stars), of the Radisson chain and located in one of the Seven Sisters of Stalin.
At a more economic price, you will find the AZIMUT Hotel Smolenskaya Moscow (4 stars).
Summary: a recommended area if you are looking for night time entertainment and being close to many of the city’s tourist attractions.
1.3. Yakimanka District, from Tretyakov Museum to Gorky Park
This neighborhood is located south of Red Square and, particularly, it is a neighborhood that I really like. In fact, on my last trip to Moscow I have stayed in this area, not far from Tretyakov Gallery.
In this neighborhood I would highlight two areas, the north and the south.
A) North zone, near Tretyakov Gallery
It is a cultural and very quiet area, I would say the quietest area in the city centre.
In this neighborhood, you will find the historic Hotel Baltschug Kempinski, next to the Moskva River and just 5 minutes from Red Square. There are also many tourist apartments.
In this neighborhood you have a lot of variety of hotels and apartments at quite reasonable prices. For example:
Summary: I recommended this area if you like tranquility, or if you are traveling with your family with children, but at the same time you like to be in the city center.
B) South area (Gorky Park)
Gorky Park is the central park of Moscow. You can walk and enjoy its many events and festivals. Of course, it is an area a little further away from the city centre.
Summary: also a quiet area, with a large green park, though a little further from the center but well connected. You will find more economic accommodations here.
1.4. Basmanny District, Myasnitskaya Street and Chistye Prudy Park
This neighborhood is located in the western part of Moscow. It is a rather quiet district and, at the same time, very close to Red Square.
The best known and most beautiful street in this neighborhood is Myasnitskaya Street. You can also find nightlife and good restaurants in this neighborhood, but far from the tourist bustle of Arbat street. Another good area is the environment of the Chistye Prudy park.
Summary: also recommended area if you like peace and quiet, or if you are travelling with your family, and at the same time you want to be close to the center.
1.5. Presnensky District and the Patriarch’s Ponds
This neighborhood is located north of the Arbat neighborhood. It is a very large neighborhood, which reaches the third ring of Moscow. I recommend staying in the area located within the first ring, by the area where the Patriarch Park ponds are located, which is quite close to Red Square.
Summary: quiet area, more economic than the previous ones, ideal for families but also for couples or groups of friends who are looking for some nightlife at the end of the day.
2. MOSCOW’S NON-CENTRIC AREAS, but well connected to the city centre
While Moscow is best explored on foot, its sheer size makes it virtually impossible to get to know It fully, even if you’re staying downtown. Fortunately, the city has one of the most efficient and extensive metro systems in the world that connect the entire city to the centre.
The good thing about getting further away from the centre is that you can also find very good accommodation, at a more economic price.
I recommend always looking for a hotel or apartment that has a nearby Metro station (less than a 10-minute walk from the hotel).
The two areas, in which I recommend staying and which are well connected to the centre, are VDNKh and Moscow City.
2.1. VDNKh (Ostankino District)
VDNH is a gigantic entertainment complex, museums, exhibitions, fairs and parks, where you can admire the achievements of the past Soviet Communist era. It is located next to the Moscow Botanical Garden, the Ostankino Park, and very close to the Moscow Cosmonautics Museum. It is a must-visit place in Moscow.
In this area it is worth mentioning the Hotel Cosmos, one of the largest in Russia, built to host visitors during the XXII Moscow Olympics in 1980. It is a hotel widely used by travelers from all over the world, given its price and its good connection to the center. It has a spa with swimming pool, fitness center and massage service.
But in this area you will find many other hotels and apartments at fairly economic prices.
Summary: a very nice and economic area, with a very good connection to the center of Moscow through the VDNH Metro station.
2.2. Moscow City Skyscraper (Presnensky District)
The Moscow International Business Center, also called Moscow City for short, is a skyscrapers complex, with numerous hotels, restaurants and shopping malls.
In this centre there is a nice circular building, in which Novotel Moscow City is located. This 4-star hotel at the heart of Moscow City is a highly recommended option to stay in the midst of skyscrapers, though there are many hotels in different skyscrapers, some with fabulous views of the city
Summary: lively area to stay and very well connected to the centre. It’s ideal if you are going on a business or tourism trip. These hotels have a fabulous view of Moscow.
3. MOSCOW’S OUTSKIRTS
3.1. Moscow’s airports
All Moscow airports are quite far from the city center and not a good option to stay, but you may be going to make a stopover in Moscow to go to another destination, or you may need to take a plane very early and you prefer to be near the airport. In these cases, a good option is to stay in hotels near the airport.
Summary: these are your option if you are making a stopover in Moscow or if your plane leaves very early.
3.2. Nice towns near Moscow
There are people who have asked me about the possibility of staying in a beautiful town near Moscow. I think it is not the best option as a starting point for sightseeing in Moscow, since these are too far away.
Now, there are some very beautiful towns that are worth visiting through a 1-day excursion, or spending a night in it.
That’s why Sergiyev Posad stands out, located 1 hour north of Moscow, on the Golden Ring route, where you can discover the most rural Russia of churches, kremlins and monasteries, some of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Summary: it is a good option for a short escapade and discover the most rural Russia.
Answering the questions that is the topic of this article, this would be the summary:
- Where do I stay in Moscow to be close to tourist attractions? In any of the neighborhoods of the first Moscow Ring, such as Arbat or Tverskoy.
- Where do I stay in Moscow, if I’m looking for cheap accommodation? Beyond the first central ring of Moscow, in neighborhoods like Presnensky or in areas like VDNH. You also have the option of staying in hostels in Moscow centre.
- Where do I stay in Moscow, if I’m traveling with my partner or friends and I’m seeking to enjoy the nightlife? Arbat or Tverskoy.
- Where do I stay in Moscow if I’m travelling with family and children? In areas like Yakimanka or Basmanny there are quiet neighborhoods, but at the same time close to the city centre.
- Where do I stay in Moscow if this is my first time traveling? In the most central neighborhood of the city, in Kitay Gorod, as long as money is not a problem for you.
- Where do I stay in Moscow for one night? If you are only going to stay one night in Moscow and want to make the most of your time, it is best to stay in the most centric part of the city, that is, in Kitay Gorod.
- Where do I stay if I’m making a flight stopover in Moscow? At some airport hotel.
- Where do I stay if I am on a business trip? The Moscow City International Business Center is probably the best option.
- Where do I stay if I’m going to Moscow at Christmas? In Kitay Gorod, Tverskoy, Arbat or VDNH, where you will find a beautiful Christmas setting.
Thanks for reading me. I hope this article was useful for you to choose the best accommodation in Moscow