Yes, you have to go here. Because beyond the piles of matryoshka dolls, fake fur hats, and Soviet memorabilia (produced last Tuesday in someone's garage near Voikovskaya), it’s the best place for tree ornaments (wooden, etched glass, knitted or antique); table linen; small works of art (lithographs, ceramics, drawings); shawls; jewelry and stones (like purple charoite, only found in Russia). You might end up buying a rug, or an antique hutch, or a painting, or puppets, or a chess set made of amber and ebony. Bring cash and extra tote bags. Because you just never know what’s there this week.
Open: Sat. and Sun., 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
73 zh Izmailovskoye Shosse. Metro Partizanskaya
Warm Felt Boots
Who needs Uggs when you’ve got valenki — wonderful thick felt boots? Now they come in every color of the rainbow, with embroidery, rubber soles or galoshes. Our favorite shop, Russkie Valenki, also sells slippers, wool socks and tights, fleece and wool sweaters, and plenty of hats, mittens, gloves and scarves. Shop in the store or online.
170A Varshavskoye Shosse, Bldg. 1. + 7 (800) 350 9233.
Central House of Artists Market
For something special, head over to the Central House of Artists (the front part of the building that houses the New Tretyakov Gallery) and its enormous Holiday Market. The vast hall of the second floor is filled with dozens of booths selling ceramics, woolens, hats and mittens, designer clothes, shawls, tree ornaments by the thousands and even magnificent bolts of Ikat silk and cotton from Central Asia. Everything is several notches above the standard market fare - lots of one-of-a-kind art objects. You can also pick up holiday treats like pastila (a confection made of whipped apples), honey, and chocolates. Another section is a splendid antique and flea market - just the place to pick up vintage Christmas tree decorations. And if you'd like to do some last-minute holiday decorating, all around the perimeter artists are selling their paintings, drawings, lithographs, and sculptures. Admittance is 150 rubles. Open through Sun. Dec. 24.
Tis the season of parties: corporate parties, office parties, embassy bashes, Christmas cocktails and then — New Year’s Eve. If you think, “I’ve got nothing to wear!” — we’ve got your back. This year, shop for your holiday dresses and suits with some of Russia’s best new indie clothes designers. Need a little black dress? Check out Galina Zhondorova’s designs — beautiful and affordable.
Is your budget higher and taste more adventurous? Then check out Alena Akhmadulina’s designs to find something for the modern corporate princess. Men who like a hip urban look should stop in Flacon Design Factory over the weekend or call +7 (950) 225 6780 to set up an appointment. And for not-your-mother’s-sweaters, see this innovative knitwear company. Be a trendsetter this holiday season.