Shopping in Moscow can be quite a daunting experience – you can walk for miles without finding anything but mass-market brands and overpriced boutiques. But, if you do it right, it can also be quite fun. Here are our top tips on how to get the most out of your shopping trip in Moscow.

An interior view of a wide open mall, with a domed glass roof above.
While shopping in GUM department store be sure to check out its famous glass roof © Popova Valeriya / Shutterstock

Shopping malls 

There are many shopping malls all around Moscow, but there three that double as bona fide tourist attractions: GUM, TsUM and Detsky Mir, all within walking distance from each other. GUM is one of the oldest department stores in the country. It’s famous for the glass roof designed by one of Russia’s most celebrated architects, Vladimir Shukhov.  Today it serves as a high-class shopping mall. There are plenty of luxury shops, a supermarket that sells lots of signature Russian goods and several places to eat. Head to the more expensive Bosco Cafe with a Kremlin view or, for a budget option, try the Soviet-style cafeteria Stolovaya No 57. GUM also occasionally hosts contemporary art exhibitions in one of its three main aisles.

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TsUM is another shopping mall from the pre-revolutionary times. It’s the most luxurious store in the city, famous for its paper bags that many Muscovites carry around or post pictures of on Instagram to let everyone know they shop there. Full of haute couture boutiques, TsUM also has a rooftop restaurant Buro, frequented by Russian celebrities. Tsentralny Detsky Mir children's store is perfect if you are looking for a gift for a kid or want to check out its awesome viewing platform with good views over central Moscow. At just R50 per ticket it’s a steal. 

A curved ceiling with a glass domed centre; there is a fruit and veg stall to the left and a row of other market stalls to the right
Part of the UFO-like roof of Danilovsky Market © Andrei Muchnik / Lonely Planet

Food stalls and markets 

There are two food markets that are worth checking out in Moscow. Danilovsky Market became the trailblazer of Moscow’s foodie revolution when it got an uplift in 2017. As well as many trendy food stalls, the market also hosts lectures, film viewing and even theatre productions, and it recently opened an antiques section. It’s an architectural landmark, a masterpiece of late Soviet modernism that looks like a UFO. Food at Usachevsky Market tends to be a bit more pricey and upmarket. Both markets also sell plenty of fresh produce, local cheeses and cured meats.

An outdoor stall selling Russian dolls painted in bright reds and blues, some with recognisable figures on them, such as Donald Trump and Marilyn Monroe
A stall selling matryoshka dolls in Izmailovsky © rasika108 / Shutterstock

Antiques and flea markets 

Shopping can also be a way to get away from the major landmarks and explore some sights off the beaten path. Moscow’s #1 flea market is Izmailovsky, located in and around the pseudo-historical complex 'Izmailovsky Kremlin' with its colourful walls and domes. Open daily, it’s best to come here on the weekend to catch better deals. Admittedly tacky, Kremlin has a handful of weird museums like the Vodka History Museum or Baba Yaga Museum (Baba Yaga is a Russian fairy tale character). Part of the market had been gentrified into creative cluster Vernissage, with hipster coffee shops, various workshops and Svalka, an enormous two-floor secondhand shop with everything from used books to vintage clothing.

For high-class antiques, rare books and icons head to Antikvarnaya Lavka (Antique Store) just off Bolshaya Nikitskaya street (5 Kalashny Pereulok). Here you can snag a real masterpiece – a painting or a sculpture – but the prices are quite steep. 

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Russian memorabilia including a picture of politicians Brezhnev and Honecker, three small trucks and a bust of Lenin
Russian memorabilia found in the antique market at Crystal vodka distillery © Andrei Muchnik / Lonely Planet

If you are looking for a more authentic place with less hustle, one option is the antiques market on the premises of vodka distillery Crystal (4 ul Samokatnaya), which you can reach by taking tram 20 to Samokatnaya ul from the exit of metro Chkalovskaya. The market is located in the basement of one of the red-brick factory buildings. There are plenty of antiques, books and various Soviet-time memorabilia, such as Stalin and Lenin busts. While at Crystal, be sure to check out great works of street art – they are all around the factory premises. 

For die-hard antique collectors there’s also a place right outside of Moscow – Novopodrezkovo market (also know as Levsha market). Take a suburban train from Leningradsky station to Novopodrezkovo (approximately half an hour), cross the tracks to the other side and there you’ll find it – a treasure trove of used books, vinyl records, clothing, paintings and antique furniture.   

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Where to shop for Russian designs

Gosha Rubchinskiy might be the only Russian clothing designer of world renown, especially after his collaboration with Kanye West, but there are many more up-and-coming fashion stars worth checking out. One of the places to do it is KM20, the place Moscow fashionistas, with streetwear brands from all over the world and a lot of very rare items. There's also one of the best vegetarian cafes in Moscow on second floor. 

GUM shopping mall has a two-storey store devoted to Russian designers – Sektsiya (Section). Section sells products made by 50 Russian brands, from accessories to Heart of Moscow souvenir pins. Plus there’s a bar overlooking the Red Square. 

If you are not into high fashion, but still interested in getting a cool outfit with Cyrillic script, check out the creative cluster centred around two abandoned factories: Flakon and Khlebozavod. One of the biggest stores is Zaporozhets Heritage at Flakon, which sells clothing and accessories styled after various Soviet pop culture icons. The northern part, Khlebozavod, hosts several shops like Yunost and Khlebny that take a more punk-rock approach to streetwear. After shopping, have a pint at a great local craft beer bar Svoboda or a coffee at Floo.        

Sputnik 1985 is a Russian clothing brand specialising in hoodies and hats with quotes in Cyrillic and retro prints. The store is located in a courtyard on Pokrovka street (19 Ulitsa Pokrovka). 

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