Since this week the epidemiological situation in Moscow is even worse than last week, the city is maintaining the restrictions already implemented. Most outdoor theaters, playgrounds, food courts, children’s playrooms in malls, and zoos will remain closed. Restaurants and bars must close from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Theaters, movie theaters, museums and other cultural venues will be open but limited to 1,000 people at a time. Fan zones, dance floors and other venues for mass events will be closed.
Considering the restrictions, the dangers and the heat wave, this week we’re suggesting our favorite places to get away from it all (including from other people) in the great outdoors, outdoor swimming pools in the city, and urban or almost urban swimming holes. Cool off, relax, and stay safe!
Parks and recreation
Nothing can beat Gorky Park for its size and extraordinary diversity of sites, activities and landscapes. Now stretching one way along the waterfront all the way to the Sparrow Hills and the other way through the Muzeon sculpture park, it includes several ponds, acres of flowers, and miles of paths for strolling, not to mention two of the best museums in the city: the New Tretyakov Gallery and Garage Museum of Contemporary Art. You can get dreamy by Golintsyn Pond, or paddle around Pioneer Pond; rent skates, bikes and other self-propelling vehicles; wander through the sculpture garden; get soaked in the river-side fountain; hike a bit on the hills above the city, or simply sit on a grassy field and relax.
Izmailovo Park is an enormous park that offers more than its famous Disney-esque souvenir market. Turn to the right near the entrance to the market, cross a little bridge and find yourself in a birch forest and then a royal village with structures dating back to the 17th century. Originally built by Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, Izmailovo was a kind of agricultural testing site filled with gardens and more than 20 ponds and streams. Now it is a very pleasant place to stroll — and step into some small museums and a magnificent cathedral. There is a special pond for paddling and miles of shady paths. To top it off: shopping at the market.
The amusement park at Sokolniki and other children’s activities won’t be open, but this is another glorious park for strolling and enjoying leafy nature. In fact, each section of park is planted with specific kinds of trees, so you can choose to walk under birches, lindens, maples, oaks, larches or ashes. The park is dotted with pavilions where you stop in for a bit of history or an exhibition. Best of all there is a big swimming area with two pools and all the comforts of poolside life, including towel and lounger rentals. Prices start at 1000 rubles for a day pass, and there will be limits of the number of people allowed in at one time. Be sure to check ahead of time here.
Northern River Terminal Pools
The National Tennis Center has just opened in the revived retro-chic grounds of the Northern River Terminal. You can enjoy three heated pools of various sizes and depths and rent everything from towels to lounges, cabanas, beds and beach umbrellas. The changing areas and lockers are newly built, and you can, it appears, order food from the cafes on site. It's pricey at 350 to 20,000 rubles for rentals. But pools on a riverbank sound good to us. See more information here.
Luzhniki Aqua Complex
The Luzhniki complex by the stadium and across the river from Gorky Park has two outdoor pools, a 50-meter pool for swimmers and a 21-meter pool for bobbers, both surrounded by wooden decks and nicely maintained lawns. There are clean and well-stocked changing areas and towel rentals, and terrific new saunas for post-swim relaxation. There is always a nice mix of serious athletes and paddling families. Tickets range in price from 850 to 3000 rubles depending on day, time of day and length of session (from 90 to 180 minutes). More information and ticket purchase here.
Chaika Sports Complex
If you feel like a bit of retro poolside vibe, head to the Chaika complex by the Park Kultury metro station. Built in the 1950s, it has been upgraded, but still has some charming old fashioned touches, like a tunnel to swim from the changing areas into the pool — very convenient in the winter. There are two pools and a shallow area, and most people are there for the laps. You can buy a one-time pass (2400 rubles for adults and 900 for a child), but you need to get a quick medical exam before you swim (200 rubles) and bring one for your child. Be sure to bring your passport and a towel. If it seems complicated just to go for a swim, you might change your mind when you come out of the water and sunbathe in the city center. For more information see the pool site.
Serebryany Bor 2 and 3
The beaches at Serebryany Bor in the northeast part of Moscow are truly a wonder. You hop off your bus and find yourself on a river bank, as if you were miles out of the city, not in its center. There are two beaches for non-residents. Serebrany Bor 2 is the smaller of them, stretching for just about 150 meters along the sandy and grassy river bank. The step into the river is a bit abrupt, but there is a section where children can walk in more easily. There are toilets, lifeguards, sun beds (although not many) and some basic amenities, including cafes. Entrance is free.
To get there, go to the Polezhaevskaya or Khoroshevo metro stations and then take bus T21 or trolleybus 20 to the end of the line.
The Serebryany Bor 3 beach is larger — a sandy beach along almost a half-kilometer of riverbank with lots of grassy areas to spread out. There are some areas where even the tiniest swimmers can easily walk into the water, and others where big show-offs can dive in. There are plenty of amenities: showers and changing rooms, toilets, a lifeguard and medic on duty, and you can rent loungers and beach umbrellas. If permitted, you can rent boats, catamarans and even wakeboards. The beach has several cafes and restaurants, although probably only take-out at present.
To get there, take the metro to Polezhaevskaya metro station and then bus 390 to the Serebryany Bor bus stop (Plyazh 3).
This beach on the Khimki Reservoir not far from Pribrezhny proyezd and Levoberezhnaya Ulitsa is very family-oriented, with a simple recreational area of a sandy beach with some grassy areas good for beach towels and lounging. Entrance is free. There are minimal amenities available: loungers, free changing rooms, a small café, toilets — just enough to satisfy basic needs, not too many to draw a fancy crowd. If permitted, there are volleyball and football fields.
To get there, at the Rechnoi Vokzal metro station take buses 138 or 739 to the Gostinitsa Soyuz stop.
Another urban swimming hole is not far from the Tyoply Stan metro in the south of the city on a wide part of the Ochakovka River. It is a nice family place, a bit old fashioned, with a wide sandy beach with changing cabins, toilets and free wooden sun beds. If permitted, there are rowboat rentals, volleyball courts, and other sports fields. Entrance is free, and you can rent skates, bikes, and other recreational equipment or bring your own. There is a simple café nearby. To get there, go to the Tyoply Stan metro station and take bus 388 to Mikrorayon 8A Tyoply Stan bus stop.