Use your second day in Moscow to immerse yourself in Russian art at the Tretyakov Gallery, wander the canals of Zamoskvarechye, and explore the cathedrals and historic neighborhood of Kitai-Gorod. Reserve the evening for Pushkin Square and a fuller glimpse of Tverskaya Street, where you'll find more than enough dining and entertainment to keep you busy. Note: Make this a day when the Tretyakov is open (it's closed on Mon). Start: Metro to Tretyakovskaya or Novokuznetskaya.
1. Tretyakov Gallery (Tretyakovskaya Galereya)
This treasure-trove of Russian art traces the country's 1,200-year history, covering everything from the earliest Orthodox icons to the floating figures of Chagall and jarring images of socialist propaganda. The Vrubel Room is a haven of Art Nouveau whimsy; newcomers to works by this 19th-century artist never fail to be impressed. The guided tour in English is well worth it.
2. Lavrushinsky Lane & Canal Fountains
This little pedestrian street heads north from the Tretyakov to a footbridge over the Vodootvodny Canal in a cozy part of town called Zamoskvarechye. The Bolotnaya Square on the other side of the canal, with its statue of artist Ilya Repin, was a public execution site in the 16th and 17th centuries; now it's a favorite rest and play spot for local residents, within walking distance of major Moscow sights yet usually devoid of tourists.
3. Take a Break -- Uncle Vanya
Artsy and accessible, this restaurant has an extensive menu of Russian comfort food throughout the day. Try the hot and cold soups, the meat or fruit dumplings, or just a good pot of tea. It has no real relation to Chekhov's play of the same name, but its alphabet place mats and bookshelves give it a literary feel. 20 Pyatnitskaya Ulitsa (entrance in courtyard); tel. 495/232-1448.
4. Zamoskvarechye (Land South of the Moscow River)
This awkward name applies to the hump of land across the river from the Kremlin, a neighborhood where Ivan the Terrible sent his best guards to live while fending off threats from the south. The one- and two-story architecture is uncluttered by office blocks and high-rises, making the area feel intimate and accessible even though it's at the center of modern Moscow. Pyatnitskaya Street boasts the most commerce, with plenty of cafes and some less touristy craft shops.
5. Cathedrals of Kitai-Gorod
Heading back across the Bolshoi Moskvaretsky Bridge toward Red Square, you'll arrive at the neighborhood of Kitai-Gorod. Once a bustling community of traders and nobles, its top sights today are the churches and merchants' houses along Varvarka Street, a showcase of Russian architecture from the 15th to 17th centuries. The adjacent streets house government ministries and agencies.
No Russian responds indifferently to the dull yellow building overlooking Lubyanka Square -- the headquarters of the KGB in Soviet times, and its successor, the FSB, today. Foreigners need not fret anymore, however. The imposing statue of Soviet secret police founder Felix Dzerzhinsky was torn down in 1991, and the KGB museum was even open to tourists for a while. The bald-looking plaza in front of the institution livens up a few times a year, when it hosts New Year's Eve concerts and other events. Take note of the small plaque off to the side of the square honoring those repressed by the Soviet regime.
7. Pushkin Square (Pushkinskaya Ploshchad)
Alexander Pushkin is Russia's favorite poet, and even though he died in 1837, his likeness oversees Muscovites' favorite meeting spot. Though Pushkin Square throngs with activity all day, year-round, the statue of Pushkin himself retains an atmosphere of reverence. The McDonald's on the square was the world's largest when it opened in 1989, but it still wasn't big enough to accommodate the endless lines of people curious about the capitalist Big Mac. It's a good source of reliable restrooms. You can get here by taking the metro one stop from the Lubyanka to the Pushkinskaya station.
8. Take a Break -- Cafe Pushkin
This is a prime way to treat yourself after a long day, while remaining in the mood of bygone Russian aristocracy. A three-story, post-Soviet creation made to look a century older, this Russian restaurant has cuisine as elegant as it is satisfying. Dressed-up versions of Russian staples such as sturgeon and bliny share the menu with more innovative items such as shellfish and avocado salad. 26a Tverskoi Bulvar; tel. 495/229-5590.
9. Tverskaya Street (long version)
Evening is a great time to experience Moscow's main drag in full. Wrought-iron street lamps, monstrous TV screens, and neon signs advertising a planet of international brands illuminate the dark sky. On ground level, shops are open late, and sushi bars, coffee shops, and top-scale eateries -- many of them busy 24 hours a day -- line Tverskaya. You'll pass the columned red facade of City Hall, the statue of city founder Yuri Dolgoruky (a 12th-c. prince), the former Revolution Museum, and plenty of plaques indicating where Soviet-era dignitaries once lived.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.