If you feel like strolling under trees almost as old as the city itself, drop by the Summer Garden, one of the first parks of St. Pete, located just across the Fontanka River. Although it features “summer” in the name, rest assured that it is just as picturesque in its autumn glory: with a symmetrical landscape, peaceful fountains, and majestic marble sculptures, it is the perfect place to calm your mind after an intensive lecture. 

Moving in another direction from the campus, you’ll come across the spacious Tauride Garden. It features ponds, canals, hills (an extreme rarity for the generally flat St. Petersburg!), and, of course, the Tauride Palace, to which it used to belong. Unlike the Summer Garden, this location is more informal, so there’s no surprise it has become a go-to spot for locals to exercise, have a picnic, or walk their pets. And when nature hibernates (as well as when it doesn't), you are always welcome to the park’s own greenhouse for a piece of an exotic and never-ending summer and a cup of very decent coffee. 

This tiny yet marvelous garden in the heart of a busy prospect adds a gentle touch of Chinese culture to the city. So turn your back to the street and take a closer look at a pagoda, several ceramic dragons, and a petite stone bridge to imagine yourself somewhere in Shanghai rather than in a place where you have to work on your thesis. The place grabs the most attention in May, when hundreds of citizens hurry here to take a picture with the blossoming sakura trees.

Credit: Lion10~commonswiki / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 4.0

Credit: Lion10~commonswiki / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 4.0


The Stieglitz State Academy of Art and Design is a centerpiece of the cozy cobblestone-paved Solanoy lane. You can currently get inside with a guided tour of the Applied Arts museum, but the exterior of the edifice is quite the work of art, too: there are so many wonderful architectural details that it takes about an hour to take a proper look.

Working hours: Tue-Sun, 11 am to 6 pm

Fancy learning how people's relationship with water developed over time? What kind of mechanisms were created to bring us clean drinking water? You will find an answer to both questions at this museum. To help you, there are several floors of historical overview on the topic packed with engaging and funny exhibits (there’s definitely a toilet somewhere). The museum is situated in a historical water tower, so don’t forget to climb to the upper floor to catch a panoramic view of the city!

Working hours: Wed-Sun, 10 am to 6 pm

Inconspicuous on the outside but extremely mysterious on the inside, this Lutheran church is a regular feature of our many weekend guides. The current interior still keeps traces of the fire that ravaged it in the early ‘00s, which now is a calling card of the place. These days, the church hosts both religious services and the city’s numerous cultural events.

Working hours: Tue-Sun, 10 am to 6 pm

Credit: Hatice Yardım (@haticehuma) on Unsplash

Credit: Hatice Yardım (@haticehuma) on Unsplash

And one beloved bookstore

More than a bookstore, Podpisniye Izdaniya is a sanctuary for all of the city’s  bookworms and a perfect location for a date according to our editorial team. Besides a wide range of books on every topic, there’s a whole section of merch, souvenirs, and stationery that perfectly matches the shop’s aesthetic (no garish magnets with drawbridges). And if you get hungry on the find-a-perfect-read adventure, local coffee shops are always here to treat you with a cup of coffee and a bun.

Working hours: Mon-Sun, 10 am to 10 pm