Podvorie Restaurant, St Petersburg, Russia (PhotoDisc)

River in St. Petersburg, Russia (PhotoDisc/Philippe Colombi)

General Staff Building on Dvortsovaya Place, St Petersburg, Russia (Digital Vison)


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What to do in St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is the northernmost major city in the world—it sits just a few icy, latitudinal lines away from the Arctic Circle—but in spirit, it leans in a decidedly Western direction. From ballets and operas performed at its gilded Mariinsky Theater to its cobblestone streets, neo-classical churches, and tree-lined canals, no place in Russia feels more European. The crown jewel is the Hermitage Museum, a 1732 Baroque building along the Neva River—once the residence of Russian emperors. Painted sea-foam green and gold and ringed by Corinthian columns, the museum stands three stories tall, occupies an entire city block, and anchors stately Palace Square, where locals gather in summertime. The Hermitage has more than three million pieces of art, one of the world’s biggest collections—on par, sure enough, with the best museums in Europe.

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