Out and about
The first highlight of fall in St. Petersburg are undoubtedly the parks – with their leaf-strewn lawns, the rustle of tree canopies, and the smell of spiced almonds from the vendors’ stalls. That’s why we have not one, but two lists of the city’s most enjoyable green spaces.
If you’ve got a good windbreaker, take it out of the closet and go explore the city’s bridges: we’ve already picked our top five, but with nearly 500 bridges in the city (and that’s only counting the “official” ones!), you’re free to make your own list of favorites.
Partial to all things romantic? Autumn, with its sudden rains and gusts of wind, is the perfect time to cuddle under an umbrella or bond over a mug of hot drinks. Especially if you know what the city’s most romantic spots are. And if you prefer a different kind of chill down your back and can’t wait for Halloween season, then it’s time to read up on St. Petersburg’s spo-o-okiest spots!
Fans of long walks will surely appreciate the chance to spend the day exploring a whole neighborhood with our stories on the Petrogradsky and Moskovsky districts, as well as Kanonersky Island. Make sure to check in with our guides to the city’s architectural styles for a complete experience.
Unfortunately, sooner or later the autumnal festival of colored leaves is bound to come to an end, leaving the trees and the ground bare and ready for winter hibernation. If there is a time this fall when you miss the bloom and greenery of summer, head right over to the Tauride Garden Orangery or St. Petersburg Botanical Garden. Both are an opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and reconnect with nature, as well as your own thoughts. The cold is much more bearable with such islands of warmth at hand.
If you want a healthy dose of enlightenment to go with your leisure time, how about taking a tour of St. Pete’s many bookstores and libraries? Or perhaps you’d rather take the opportunity to take in some classical tunes in a city famous for its wealth of concert halls. Finally, you can take the tried-and-tested option and pop over to the Hermitage – after all, everyone knows even a dozen visits there won’t be enough to see everything.
Sometimes in the midst of all the assignments, classes, and perhaps one too many cloudy days in St. Pete, you’re bound to develop a craving for something different. Just a slight change to your well-established routine will help you see the magic of the world again. For instance, you can spend a day pretending you’re in Italy or Germany – and get to know St. Petersburg in a new light. If your friends play along, you can even stretch one day into a full week and imagine you’ve travelled to a new place without leaving the city!
However, if you’d rather add a sparkle to the St. Pete that you already know, why not visit some of its lesser known landmarks? The biggest milkshake in the city or the cosiest and most romantic cinema – discover them all so as to avoid boredom. And for a piece of more casual magic, you can drop by the Eliseevsky Emporium, once one of Russia’s most famous shops, to taste some of the delicacies on offer.
If St. Pete’s wind and drizzle do get to you, don’t worry – heart- and soul-warming food is never too far away. Here’s our team’s guide to our favourite eateries and a handy list of secret fast food spots. Also, don’t overlook the popular food markets, such as the one in Galeria or on Vasilievsky island – they are the best places to try dishes from all over the world and treat your tastebuds.
If the weather’s good, why not get out of the city and visit somewhere new? There are so many budget-friendly destinations for a weekend getaway – from nearby palace towns (see previous link) to the more remote natural sights, such as Sortavala. Don’t forget to pack a nice scarf and a warm thermos to make the trip a little cozier!
Of course, that is hardly all that St. Petersburg has to offer to an experience-hungry visitor, but there is only so much we can list. For more tips on what to do and where to go in the city, check out our Experience St. Petersburg section.