Trees and underwood cover about one third of Moscow proper, while in the centre of the city the share is about 16 percent only, according to a recent report by Greenpeace Russia. That said, it is not a problem to find a shadowy spot even near the Kremlin. This section presents some major parks and gardens.
This stripe of greenery runs along the western wall of the Kremlin and gives you an opportunity to gain strength before visiting Moscow’s postcard attractions or relax after seeing them. See the tomb of the Unknown Soldier with the Eternal Flame, a grotto and several other monuments among well-groomed lawns and flowerbeds in the garden.
Metro Alexandrovsky Sad (line 4, light blue,) Biblioteka Imeni Lenina or Okhotny Ryad (line 1, red), Borovitskaya (line 9, grey.)
This park next to Red Square presents typical Russian landscapes like forest, steppe, tundra, and floodplains. The park’s media centre offers interactive opportunities to learn Russia’s history and geography, including a 4D-Flight Over Russia show. The V-shaped “bridge to nowhere” is a good platform to see the Kremlin and the skyscraper on Kotelnicheskaya Embankment. The park also houses old churches and small museums including the Old English Court built in early 16th century.
Metro Kitay-Gorod (line 6, orange, line 7, purple.)
Now the park does not look very much like one may imagine after reading the same-name novel by Martin Cruz Smith. In recent years, it has been turned into a comfortable venue for various sports activities, including bicycling, table tennis, skateboarding, chess playing and other. The park offers sun-bathing areas in summer and a skating rink in winter. Strolling the park is also a pleasure.
Metro Park Kulury (line 1, red) or Oktyabrskaya (line 5 brown or line 6, orange.)
This green area is the extension of Gorky Park. It runs along the Moskva River bank and possibly is the best space for jogging, bicycling and roller-skating in Moscow. The park connects the city centre with the Sparrow Hills viewing deck offering spectacular skyline views of the city.
This centrally located small garden was established in 1893 to host a theatre and a restaurant. Since then, the garden provides calm and shadow for dwellers worn by the city noise and heat on summer days.
Metro Mayakovskaya (line 2, green.)
Sokolniki is both an amusement park and a nature reserve featuring a variety of plants, animals and birds. The park hosts the Garden of Astronomers with an observatory, the Children’s Creativity Centre and the Dance Lovers Club. In the north-east, Sokolniki adjoins Losiny Ostrov (Eel Island) National Park.
Metro Sokolniki (line 1, red.)
Kremlin in Izmaylovo
The grounds of "the second Moscow’s Kremlin” built in early 2000s host a handful of small museums, workshops, cafes and playgrounds. It is also a venue for concerts, festivals and other events, usually related to Russian history and culture. Moscow’s largest flee market is also located here.
Metro Partizanskaya (line 3, navy blue.)
This scenic park on the Moskva River bank presents several masterpieces of Russian architecture dating back to the 16th century as well as rich collections of artworks and household items of the 1600s. The most impressive building here is the revived palace of Alexis of Russia, the tsar who ruled from 1645 to 1676. Now the palace houses most of the museums' exhibits. Do not miss the beekeeper’s farm where honey fairs and take a one-hour boat cruise to see the estate from the river. The park is also a venue for concerts, art festivals and weddings. Admission fees may apply.
Metro Kolomenskaya or Kashirskaya (line 2, green.)
This centrally located zoo established in 1864 now features over 5,000 animals and birds. Visitors’ comments are mixed with a negative bias. The zoo offers animals for adoption. Ticket price: RUR 500, concessions apply. Open daily except Monday, from 10.00 a.m. to 05.00 p.m.
Metro Metro Krasnopresnenskaya (line 6, brown) or Barrikadnaya (line 7, purple.)
This “alphabet soup” stands for the Exhibition of the People’s Economy Achievements. This vast area in the north of Moscow conceived in 1930th as a venue for demonstration of the Soviet Union’s economic might now is a spacious park with an amusement zone, exhibition pavilions, sports grounds, cafes, restaurants and gardens. It is also the coolest area in Moscow, according to meteorologists. The area is open daily and round the clock. Admission fees may apply for certain events. In winter, the Europe's largest skating rink is open here.
Metro VDNkH, (line 6, orange.)
Central Botanical Garden
Moscow’s Central Botanical Garden with its several thousand types of plants is one of the largest in Europe and, possibly, the calmest space in the city. The garden presents plants from all ex-Soviet Union’s climate zones ranging from tundra to subtropical deserts, as well as tropical plants in a spacious greenhouse. Open daily except Thursday from 10.00 a.m. to 06.00 p.m. in summer and from 11.00 a.m. to 05.00 p.m. in winter.
Metro Vladykino (line 9, grey) and bus 76 to Ostankino Hotel
Aptekarsky Ogorod (Physic Garden)
The oldest botanical garden in Russia is a good place to relax not far from the city centre. It is also a venue for concerts, weddings and other events. A number of trendy cafes and bars besiege the garden. Open daily from 10.00 a.m. to 09.00 p.m., from 10 a.m. to 08.00 p.m. in winter. Ticket price: RUR 300.
Metro Prospekt Mira (line 5, brown.)
Serebryany Bor (Silver Pine Forest)
This area is worth visiting in summer for its sand beaches, volleyball grounds, as well as boat, scooter and paddleboat rental. In winter, Serebryany Bor is a great place for skiing.
Metro Polezhaevskaya (line 7, purple) or Oktyabrskoe Pole (line 7, purple.)