Best of Moscow: City Day Celebrations
Nikolay Korchekov / Reuters
The phrase spoiled for choice springs to mind when it comes to making plans for the upcoming weekend in Moscow. The city will be celebrating its 869th birthday with a spectacular array of festivals, events, concerts and excursions — not to mention fireworks. We’ve rummaged through our full to bursting inbox to come up with the highlights of the program: from free concerts to kids’ programs and much, much more.
A trip to the movies
The city’s main thoroughfare is celebrating everything cinema this weekend as 10 thematic areas open up along the road — which will be pedestrianized for the duration of festivities. Russia’s classic films will be brought to life — quite literally — by street performers and musicians. For the 1936 film “Circus,” that means jugglers, acrobats and even a tightrope walker. Love an epic? “War and Peace” will see French and Russian soldiers battle it out in a miniature Napoleonic battle, a dazzling recreation of Natasha Rostov’s first ball and the opportunity for the fleet of foot to dance the mazurka to traditional folk music.
Theater March at Hermitage Garden
Fancy yourself as a bit of a Thespian? Make your way to the Hermitage Garden this weekend for the fourth annual “Theater March” festival. Drama fanatics can enjoy a staggering 12-hour theater marathon featuring the best performances from the Stanislavsky Electrotheater, Meyerhold Center and many others. Oscar winners of the future can enjoy the works of Dr. Seuss and take part in a puppet masterclass. Bravo!
Hermitage Garden, 3 Ulitsa Karetny Ryad, Metro Chekhovskaya, Tsvetnoi Bulvar. Sept. 10 mosgorsad.ru
Bright People Family
Be part of a magical spectacle
For the fifth year in a row, the Annual International Bright People Family Festival will take over part of Gorky Park over the weekend. The Russian-French theater company and the French theater Cia Remue Ménage are putting on a grand spectacle in white space in which the audience becomes part of the action, turning into one of the elements, like sky, cloud, sun, birds and trees. The spectacle ends with the world premiere of “Legend of the Wind.” Fabulous costumes, magical acrobatics, and whimsical and wonderful props will take you out of this world.
Gorky Park. 9 Krymsky Val. Metro Oktyabrskaya, Park Kultury. brightpeople.ru. Sept. 10-11
Good, wholesome fun
URA!ZHAY, a wordplay on words “urozhay” (harvest) and “ura” (hooray), is a two-day farmer’s market and festival at Kolomenskoye Park from the organizers of the hugely popular Geek Picnic. There will be plenty of activities for the young — or the young at heart — including pumpkin bowling and making huge public art objects from hay. You can reserve a grill and cook your own barbecue or enjoy food from stalls while listening to folk music and popular band Neyromonakh Feofan, who mix folk with drum and bass. Tickets from 500 rubles.
Kolomenskoye Park. 39 Prospekt Andropova, Metro Kolomenskaya. urazhay.com. Sept. 10-11
Childrens’ City at VDNKh
Kid central in a great park
Got kids? Head up to VDNKh this weekend for non-stop, free events for all ages and interests. The main alley is turning into a giant erector set for kids, with helpers to assist the building of ships, cars, planes and other fun stuff. Lego fans should head over to Pavilion No.29 on Saturday to build and play Lego Ninjago. Science-minded kids might like the Polytechnic Museum’s day of biohacking, a mysterious eventinvolving fruit, vegetables and energy measurements on Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. The Craft Park and City Farm will be roaring with activities while Saturday is Band Day at the Zelyony Theater.
VDNKh. 119 Prospekt Mira. Metro VDNKh den-goroda.vdnh.ru Sept. 10-11
Celebrate with a bang
It wouldn’t be a Moscow holiday without a whole lot of combustible materials exploding in the sky. And this year, it’s bigger, better and more outlandish than ever before. According to reports, fireworks in the shape of butterflies, chrysanthemums and emojis will explode in the night sky above Moscow’s historic onion domes this weekend. Don’t ask how, just make sure you have managed to snag a good view and are near one of the 32 recommended viewing areas by 10 p.m. on Saturday.
pro-stranstva.ru/salut-den-goroda Sept. 10 at 10 p.m.
Museum of Moscow
For bookworms of all ages
Moscow’s namesake museum is set to become a virtual metro map, with literary “stations” transforming the museum and its courtyard into a quest for kids and adults alike. Visitors can stop off at the “Blok,” “Zhivago” and “Tsvetaeva” stations — among others — to learn about writers’ literary works and their relationship to historical places in the capital. Participants in the quest will win receive souvenirs to celebrate their knowledge of literary Moscow. Poetry readings, a book fair and special guests from the literary world will round off the bookish theme of the weekend.
Museum of Moscow. 2 Zubovsky Bulvar, Metro Park Kultury. mosmuseum.ru Sept. 10-11
Avant-garde Music Festival
Things get experimental
This year’s Fields Festival of avant-garde music coincides with City Day, which means there will be crowds of people in Muzeon Park, so come early to find a good spot. The headliners are Mexican-French duo Murcof & Vanessa Wagner and Mike Cooper, a master of improvisation from Britain. Flying the flag for Russia is Lovozero, an electronic artist who experiments with Russian folk songs and Kira Weinstein, formerly of Kira Lao, who turned from post-punk to experimental music. A second stage hosts the leading names in Russian new academic music, including Dmitry Kurlyandsky and Alexei Sysoyev.
39 Prospekt Andropova, Metro Kolomenskaya. Sept. 10-11
Music to everyones’ ears
So vast and sprawling are the events taking place in Moscow’s parks this weekend that by the time we’d have described them all you’d have missed city day all together. Suffice to say that if you’re near a green space in the capital, we can almost guarantee it will be alive with the sound of music — whether it be jazz, pop or classical. Krasnaya Presnya will host the “New Classics” festival with ballet, theater and flash mobs while Sokolniki park will be filled with the sweet sounds of jazz. Meanwhile Izmailovsky is going all retro with hits from the ‘50s and ‘60s performed by Varvara Vizbor and Dzenya Lyubich. Expect the parks to be decked out in all of their city day finery with food stalls, kids’ programs and good cheer aplenty.
Free Entry to Moscow’s Museums
Tick off as many as you can
As if the capital wasn’t saturated enough with fun this weekend, to celebrate city day 88 of Moscow’s museums and exhibition halls will open for free. This includes the Gulag History Museum, the Manege, the Multimedia Art Museum and the Darwin Museum. Almost all of them have special events planned over the weekend, providing you with the perfect excuse to visit that museum you’ve always wanted to go to but never gotten around to.
Check individual museum websites for further information