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Moscow shopping guide – where to go and what to buy

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Moscow is a delight for all shopping fans; whether you want to hit the high street stores or browse for arty souvenirs, the city offers a huge range of options – from the glitzy department stores of Kuznetsky Most to the tiny boutiques of Kitai-Gorod. There are plenty of opportunities to pick up authentic Russian items, such as matrioshka dolls, fur hats, and Soviet posters. 

Natalia Orel

My Destination local expert on

Moscow

Arbat Street

 

One of the oldest streets in Moscow, this pedestrianized part of the city is essentially one long strip of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants. A stroll down lantern-dotted Old Arbat will allow you soak up the atmosphere of authentic Russia, with street artists, musicians, and plenty of locals mingling with the tourists. There are also a number of hidden side streets to explore, and the best draw here for shoppers is the proliferation of souvenir shops; browse regional gems such as icons, amber, and matrioshka dolls.

 

Kuznetsky Most and Stoleshnikov Lane

 

For centuries, Kuznetsky Most has been one of the most iconic shopping streets in Moscow, located in the heart of the city and just north of Red Square. Historically, the street is known as a stylish shopping destination, famous for fashion stores, boutiques, book shops and photographic studios. Large and opulent department stores are found here, as well as smaller luxury outlets offering the latest clothing trends, jewelry, and perfumes. This elegant area is the place to see and be seen; designers such as Victoria Beckham are often spotted at fashion events.

 

Tverskaya

 

Hitting the top 10 list of the world’s most expensive real estate is Tverskaya Street, a radial road that curves northwest to Garden Ring. Historically important to Moscow as a trade route, this famous street is now a magnificent shopping mecca, with plenty of legendary stores amongst its regal stone buildings. An expansive shopping destination, Tverskaya houses hundreds of luxury brands and fashion labels, as well as mid-range offerings too. Take a stroll north from Red Square to experience this must-visit Moscow street.

 

Kitai-Gorod and Tretyakovsky Proezd

 

East of the Kremlin and one of the oldest trading areas of Moscow, Kitai-Gorod is a charming district surrounded by parts of the medieval city walls. Unusual stores exist here, such as the art boutiques inside the Ulitsa Varvarka churches; browse fine handicrafts, jewelry, ceramics, and a selection of native Russian art. To the north west of the Kitai-Gorod Metro, the short street of Tretyakovsky Proezd provides a very different shopping experience, bursting with luxury names such as Armani, Prada, Bentley and Graff.

 

Izmailovo Market

 

If you’re staying in the center of Moscow, getting to Izmailovsky Market requires a little more effort – it’s further east on the Metro, near Partizanskaya Station – but is well worth the journey, as it’s cheaper than Arbat Street. Entry to the old Vernisage is just 10 rubles, and you’ll discover a huge outdoor market bustling with stalls selling Russian souvenirs, paintings, rugs from central Asia, other crafts, and smoky kebabs fresh from the grill. The best time to visit Izmailovsky Market is the weekend, as only a fraction of the shops are open at other times.

 

Shopping tips

 

If you do end up browsing around some of the antiques on display in marketplaces and on Arbat Street, you need to be aware of the Russian law prohibiting the export of historical artwork and artefacts. If buying something that is not especially old, be sure to get certification from the seller, so you can prove its age if questioned at the border. If you can’t get assurance of the item’s age, it might be a good idea not to purchase – you don’t want to leave it at the airport!