Moscow's main escape from the city within the city is not your conventional expanse of nature preserved deep inside an urban jungle. It is not a fun fair either, though it used to be one. Its official name says it all – Maxim Gorky's Central Park of Culture & Leisure. That's exactly what it provides: culture and leisure in all shapes and forms. Designed by avant-garde architect Konstantin Melnikov as a piece of communist utopia in the 1920s, these days it showcases the enlightened transformation Moscow has undergone in the recent past.
Activities include cycling, rollerblading, beach volleyball, urban and extreme sports, table tennis and even petanque. There are several bicycle- and skate-rental places around the park, with one conveniently located under the pedestrian bridge. In winter, the ponds are flooded, turning the park into the city’s biggest ice-skating rink.
Art objects pop up throughout the park as part of various exhibitions and festivals, but Darya Zhukova's Garage Museum of Contemporary Art plays the flagship role. There are also a multitude of eateries from small kiosks, such AC/DC in Tbilisi, to large restaurants and open-air bars, the most popular ones being Lebedinoe Ozero and Le Boule.