Moscow Shopping and Districts
(Moscow, Central Federal District, Russia)
Whilst shopping is by no means one of the main attractions in Moscow, there are plenty of opportunities to buy Russian souvenirs, such as tinned Beluga caviar, decorated wooden lacquer boxes (palekh), colourful dishes and general Soviet handicrafts. When shopping for gifts in Moscow, expect to see endless shelves of traditional 'matrioshkas', the famous painted Russian dolls within dolls, along with large numbers of elaborate chess sets
For perhaps the biggest and best selection of gifts, and certainly the cheapest, pay a visit to Vernisazh Market at the Izmaylovsky Park, on the eastern side of Moscow. This is sure to be a truly memorable shopping experience and a good place to find some Khokhloma ware (Russian-style wood painting), jewellery, antique samovars (decorated tea urn), fur hats and rugs.
When to Shop and Opening Hours
The main opening hours for shops in Moscow are between 09:00 to 18:00, Monday through Saturday. However, many of the biggest stores may open a little later and subsequently close later, between 10:00 and 20:00, while the smallest stores often close from a lunch break in the early part of the afternoon. Many shops now also open on Sundays, generally from 11:00 to 19:00.
Where to Shop
The centrally located Novy Arbat is the place to commence your shopping trip in Moscow and this long stretch is filled with middle of the road shops. For more upmarket stores, grab your shopping bags and head to the streets based around the Kuznetsky Most, slightly east of the Bolshoi, and also to Okhoktny Ryad, next to Manezh Square, keeping a lookout for Russia's beloved Fabergé eggs.
Sited on the easterly side of Red Square and enjoying a good reputation, the Main Universal Store (GUM - Gosudarstvenny Univermag) is one of the busiest shopping malls in Moscow city centre and is housed within a historic 19th-century building. Often called a department store, GUM is actually home to a large array of individual shops, which are spread over four floors.
The glitzy, modern Okhotny Ryad is another of the leading shopping malls in Moscow and is located on the Manezhnaya Plaza, while for department stores, the TsUM along the Ulitsa Petrovka is stocked with everything from cosmetics to electronics. Also worth searching out and conveniently close to three of Moscow's main train stations, the Univermag Moskovsky department can be found on the Komsomolskay Plaza and is also home to a number of cheap eateries and a popular currency exchange counter.