Travel Gems: What’s New in St. Petersburg

Travel Gems: What’s New in St. Petersburg

What’s new, different, or popular at our MIR destinations? MIR’s Senior Private Journeys Specialist Olga Hayes offers travel gems in her hometown, St. Petersburg, Russia.

With a doctorate in Russian culture, MIR's Olga Hayes is well attuned to her country's art, history, and literature<br>Photo credit: Olga Hayes

With a doctorate in Russian culture, Olga Hayes is well attuned to her country’s art, history, and literature
Photo credit: Olga Hayes

I love springtime, summer, and all that’s in store for travelers, especially in St. Petersburg. You’ll find something new in theaters, shopping, and hotels.


Love Ballet, Theater?There’s no better time than now to take in the best of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow and the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg – two of Russia’s best-known theaters. There are exciting changes in the theaters themselves. (I’m focusing on St. Petersburg, but I simply must mention Moscow’s Bolshoi.)

You can't help but take a peek at who's sitting in the Royal Box at the Mariinsky Theater! <br>Photo credit: Jenelle Birnbaum

You can’t help but take a peek at who’s sitting in the Royal Box at the Mariinsky Theater!
Photo credit: Jenelle Birnbaum

From March onward, it’s warmer and there’s light in the evening for a stroll before the concert or play begins. As a native of St. Petersburg, I’m proud that my hometown theater, the Mariinsky (it used to be called the Kirov), recently opened a third building last year. Its ballet company is considered one of the best in the world. And since the completion of the renovation of the world-class Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, it’s the perfect time to take in Russia’s best in ballet, opera and concerts. Make that among the world’s best!

Under different names, St. Petersburg's Mariinsky has wowed ballet lovers for more than 200 years <br>Photo credit: Meaghan Samuels

Under different names, St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky has wowed ballet lovers for more than 200 years
Photo credit: Meaghan Samuels

New Classy ComfortsAnother exciting change in travel to St. Petersburg: Several beautiful new five star hotels opened recently, offering a level of comfort never before experienced in this historic city. Two that I especially like are “W” and the new Four Seasons hotel, which opened in August 2013. There are also lots of nice three and four star hotels as well – something for any taste.

Marble lions guard the entrance of the Four Seasons Hotel Lion in St. Petersburg, Russia <br>Photo credit: Marina Arkhipova

Marble lions guard the entrance of the Four Seasons Hotel Lion in St. Petersburg, Russia
Photo credit: Marina Arkhipova

St. Petersburg's Four Seasons Hotel was formerly the palatial Lobanov-Rostovsky residence <br>Photo credit: Marina Arkhipova

St. Petersburg’s Four Seasons Hotel was formerly the palatial Lobanov-Rostovsky residence
Photo credit: Marina Arkhipova

Shopping, Russian-Nouveau StyleIf shopping is one of your favorite pastimes, St. Petersburg’s relatively new “real” shopping mall, Galeria (Галерея), is a gem. It’s in the center of the city with the old buildings completely renovated. Galeria’s nearly 300 tenants include trendy stores, cinemas, and even a 27-lane bowling alley. A big plus is that the indoor mall maintains a steady temperature, while the Russian climate outside swings wildly in winter and summer.

Galeria indoor mall  is steps away from St. Petersburg's famous (and rainy) shopping street, Nevsky Prospekt <br>Photo credit: Jenelle Birnbaum

Galeria indoor mall is steps away from St. Petersburg’s famous (and rainy) shopping street, Nevsky Prospekt
Photo credit: Jenelle Birnbaum

Travel to St. Petersburg with MIRYou can visit Olga’s travel gems in St. Petersburg on MIR tours to Russia. MIR can also help you create custom, personalized journeys that focus on your unique interests, whether it’s Russian ballet or bowling in the 27-lane bowling alley in the new Galeria shopping mall. Contact MIR’s Private Journey Specialists – like Olga Hayes – for details.


(Top photo credit: Lindsay Fincher. Photo is of the city symbol of St. Petersburg: Peter the Great, the “Bronze Horseman” statue, made famous by Pushkin’s poem of the same name.)

PUBLISHED: June 30, 2014

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