Moscow's main city escape isn't your conventional expanse of nature preserved inside an urban jungle. It's not a fun fair either, though it used to be one. Its official name says it all – Maxim Gorky's Central Park of Culture and Leisure. That's exactly what it provides: culture and leisure in all shapes and forms. Designed in the 1920s by avant-garde architect Konstantin Melnikov as a piece of communist utopia, these days it showcases the enlightened transformation Moscow has recently undergone.
Activities include cycling, rollerblading, beach volleyball, urban and extreme sports, table tennis and even pétanque. There are 13 bicycle- and skate-rental places around the park, with one conveniently located under the Andreyevsky pedestrian bridge. In winter, the ponds are flooded, turning the park into the city’s biggest ice-skating rink.