As the birthplace of the Russian Revolution, St. Petersburg has long been a hub of energy and excitement along the Baltic coast. Even if you ignore the oft-trodden tourist hot spots of the Hermitage Museum and the Winter Palace, you’ll be left with plenty of activities to keep you occupied during your magical stay in the ‘Venice of the North’.
Make the most of your time in this magnificent city by filling your BUCKiTDREAM planner with the following bucket list activities but beware: the colors, sights, and sounds of St. Petersburg will linger with you long after you’ve left, so you’ll be booking a return trip sooner than you can say ‘nostrovia’!
Enjoy Some Sweet Digs (Without the Hefty Price Tag) Accommodation in St. Petersburg isn’t nearly as expensive as people would lead you to believe. For a cheap and cheerful stay, book a room in the lively Baby Lemonade Hostel, located in the historic heart of the city. Though the dorms are roomy and provide you with ample opportunity to meet like-minded travelers, we suggest that you book one of their hotel-like private rooms for a little extra luxury and a stunning view of the city. If you want something slightly more upmarket for your St. Petersburg trip, book a gorgeous executive suite in the palatial Rossi Boutique Hotel.
Get Creative at the Street Art Museum The St. Petersburg Street Art Museum is notoriously hard to find but once you do, you won’t be disappointed. Housed in the Laminated Plastic factory, the museum boasts some of the most famous pieces of street art in the world, including Practices of Growing Up by renowned artist Alexander Shishkin-Hokusai.
Among the stacked shipping containers you’ll find a DJ booth and a bar that acts as the perfect place to people-watch the neverending stream of European hipsters who flood the museum, vintage cameras in tow.
Address: sh. Revolyutsii, 84, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 195279
Rub Elbows with the Cool Kids in an Anti-Café The concept of an anti-café originated in Moscow and spread throughout Russia soon after. The idea behind the cafes are simple – you pay for the time you spend on the premises, enjoying unlimited tea, coffee, and biscuits while you’re there. If you’re digital nomading during your time in St Petersburg, you’ll be happy to know that there’s unlimited free Wifi in the city’s anti-cafés, too.
Our top anti-café picks are FD, located at Nevsky Prospekt 11, and Miracle. Both anti-cafés are pretty unheard of by tourists, so their atmospheres are as achingly cool as the young Russians that inhabit them.
Get Your Heart Racing on Krestovsky Island The largest of St. Petersburg’s three islands to the North, Krestovsky Island is a veritable playground consisting of sports arenas, lush parks, and the city’s only amusement park. On arrival on the island, make sure to rent a bike – or inline skates, if you’re feeling brave – from the stall opposite the island’s main metro station. Now that you’re fully mobile you can explore the island to your heart’s content.
If you’re on the island on match day, make sure to catch a Zenit football match in the massive, sparkling new Krestovsky Stadium. If sports aren’t quite your thing, spend a heart stopping day in Divo Ostrov, St. Petersburg’s exhilarating amusement park.
Lounge Under the Baltic Sun Hitting the beach might not be something one would expect to do in literally the coldest country on Earth but hear us out – the northern coast of the Gulf of Finland is sun-drenched and stunning during the summer months. The gorgeous gold sand beaches lining St. Petersburg are clean, chilled and not-too-crowded. Avoid the more popular spots of Sestroretsk and Laskovy and head to hidden gem Tarkhovka instead. If you’re visiting in the winter, test your bravery by taking a morning walk on the frozen Gulf.
Search for Hidden Treasure at the Udelka Flea Markets Spending a day unearthing hidden treasures at the Udelka flea markets is a must-do during your time in the St. Petersburg. Here you’ll find never-ending wooden stalls, blankets, and shelves overflowing with artifacts, books, and antiques dating back to pre-revolutionary times. Expect to dig out kitsch Soviet items and WWII priceless memorabilia all for a couple of rubles. Come to the flea market armed with as much – or as little – cash as you trust yourself with, as you’ll find no ATMs nearby.
Drink Up at the Vodka Museum Forget communism, nesting dolls, and Mikhail Baryshnikov’s legs. Russia’s most famous export is one thing and one thing only – vodka! Visitors to St. Petersburg wanting to know more about the demon drink can do so in the world’s only vodka museum. Vodka is intrinsically linked to the Russian collective identity, so this delightful museum is packed with everything there is to know about the beverage. Channel your inner Russian by imbibing at every given opportunity during the tour – and trust us, you’ll be afforded plenty of them!
Address: Konnogvardeyskiy b-r, 4, Sankt-Peterburg, Ленинградская область, Russia, 190000
Let Loose on Dumskaya Street If you feel like heading on a good old-fashioned Russian pub crawl, the best place to do it is undoubtedly Dumskaya Street. As the beating heart of St. Petersburg’s nightlife scene, Dumskaya Street is littered with excellent bars, booming nightclubs, and rowdy revelers. Dance – and drink – the night away in Dumskaya must-visits, Fidel, and Dacha.
If you feel like making your trip to St. Petersburg one that you’ll never forget, consider venturing further into the Russian tundra on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Check out our guide on How to Ride the Trans-Siberian Railway in Style for some BUCKiTDREAM planner inspiration.