St. Petersburg

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While St. Petersburg has respectable dining, nightlife and shopping scenes, Paris, London or Milan it isn’t. Here, it’s the culture, history and sightseeing that draw crowds. Sometimes called the “Venice of the North” because of its network of scenic canals, St. Petersburg is an amalgam of high-brow distractions and pedestrian delights.

Things to do in St. Petersburg

Church of Our Savior of Spilled Blood

This onion-domed church, constructed where Alexander II was assassinated, celebrates its centennial in 2007. Among the city’s baroque and neoclassical churches, it stands out like a colorful wedding cake confection.

Kanala Griboyedova 2A, 011-7-812-315-1636
Tags: things to do | architecture | history | religious

Kunstkammer

Established in 1714 by Peter the Great, this elegant green-and-white building on the Strelka houses artifacts and curiosities from around the world, including Peter’s collection of preserved body parts. Not for the squeamish.

Universitetskaya Naberezhnaya 3, 011-7-812-328-1412, www.kunstkamera.ru, en
Tags: things to do | history | museum | unusual

Mariinskiy Theater

Catch a performance by the Mariinskiy Opera, Orchestra or Ballet--better known abroad by their Soviet-era moniker: Kirov Ballet--in their elegant, opulent home venue.

Teatralnaya Ploshchad 1, 011-7-812-326-4141, www.mariinsky.spb.ru
Tags: family | things to do | culture | performing arts

Pedestrian Petersburg

See the city on foot with an English-speaking guide. Peter’s Walking Tours offers both pre-set and customized excursions, with rates starting at $16 per hour for up to four people.

, www.peterswalk.com
Tags: family | smart splurge | things to do | tour

Peter & Paul Fortress

Visit the 18th century fortress, whose spectacular cathedral is the resting place of many Russian rulers, from Peter the Great to Nicholas II, who was executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918.

Zayachiy Island, 011-7812-230-6431, www.museum.ru, M112 (Russian only)
Tags: things to do | architecture | history | museum

St. Isaac's Cathedral

Once Russia’s largest church, St. Isaac’s still eclipses St. Petersburg’s other houses of worship in size. Make time to go inside – its golden-domed, neoclassical exterior can’t compare to its extravagant pink-and-gray, columned interior.

1 Isaakievskaya Ploshchad, 011-7-812-315-9732
Tags: things to do | architecture | history | religious

The Hermitage

The 365-room Hermitage is one the world’s largest museums and a destination unto itself. Incorporating the extravagant Winter Palace, it houses 3 million works of art, including masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt.

Dvortsovaya Ploshchad, 011-7-812-710-9079, www.hermitagemuseum.org
Tags: family | art | things to do | culture | architecture | history | museum

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