Saint Petersburg Travel Guide

Activities & Events


Opera and Ballet

No trip to St. Petersburg is complete without seeing an opera or ballet performance. The Mariinsky is perhaps the most well-known institution, but it is by no means the only theater in the city. Tickets are sold throughout the city at kiosks and shops called Teatralnaya Kassa, which charge a nominal (usually about RUB20) fee for "insurance," which is theoretically optional. The theater box offices themselves sell tickets directly, too, and usually for the same price. Sometimes blocks of tickets sell out at the kiosks but tickets are still available at the theater, or vice versa, so it is worth checking both places if you have your heart set on a particular performance. It is possible to take not-so-small children into some performances if you take a private box, although you will need to ask when you buy your tickets.

Mariinsky TheaterTheater Square, 1Phone: +7 812 326 4141The Mariinsky Theater (formerly the Kirov, which is the name the troupe still uses when touring abroad) is world-class for both opera and ballet. There are English supertitles for operas sung in Russian; operas in other languages have Russian supertitles. Performances are offered in two halls: the main theater, and the newly-built Mariinsky Concert Hall. Tickets can be purchased on the theater's website. Cavos rebuilt it as an opera and ballet house with the largest stage in the world. With a seating capacity of 1,625 and a U-shaped Italian-style auditorium, the theatre opened on 2 October 1860 with a performance of A Life for the Tsar. The new theatre was named Mariinsky after its imperial patroness, Empress Maria Alexandrovna.
Mikhailovskiy TheaterPloshad Isskustv 1Phone: +7 812 595 4305Price: RUB600-2700- The exterior is not as recognizable as the Mariinsky, but the interior is nearly as grand, and the theater hosts both Russian and foreign headliners in opera and ballet. It was founded in 1833. It is named after Grand Duke Michael Pavlovich of Russia.
St. Petersburg OperaGalernaya Ul., 33Phone: +7 812 312 3982Hours: 12:00-15:00 & 16:00-19:00Price: RUB300-3,000An intimate theater (half-sized stage, and only about 150-200 audience seats) which puts on the major repertory operas at a lower price than the major theaters and has a fascinating foyer - one has to see it to believe it.
Conservatory TheaterTheater Square, 3Phone: +7 921 780-1123 mobilFax: +7 812 570-6088Price: RUB300-1,500While the hall itself is not lavish - quite sterile, really - a good option for seeing Russian and repertory operas cheaply, performed by faculty and students of the conservatory where Tchaikovsky (and many other famous figures from the Russian music world) studied.
Other Theatres
Saint Petersburg Comedy TheatreNevsky Prospect, 56Phone: +7 812 312-4555Hours: Cash desks 11:30-15:00 & 16:00-19:30
Komedianty TheatreLigovsky Prospect, 44Phone: +7 812 572-1004Fax: +7 812 764-7016- founded in 1989
Komissarjevsky TheatreItalyanskaya Street, 19Phone: (812) 315 53 55Fax: (812) 571 08 53Hours: W-M 11:00-15:00 & 16:00-19:00The drama and comedy company was founded by actress Vera Komissarzhevskaya in 1901. In The Passage ( "", Passazh), elite department store
Lensoviet Academic TheatrePr. Vladimirski, 12Phone: +7 812 713-2191Hours: 11:00-19:00In the former Korssakov family mansion. The resident company was founded as the Young Theatre in 1929, then renamed the New Theatre in 1933, and finally the Leningrad Soviet Theatre in 1939.
Liteiny TheatreLiteinyi Prospect, 51Phone: +7 812 273-5335In 1993 the Liteinyi's theatre troup toured America with a production of George Bernard Shaw's Great Catherine in Russian.
Na Neve TheatreSovetskiy Pereulok, 5Phone: +7 812 251-2006The theatre was opened in 1987
Ostrov TheatreKamennoostrovskiy prospekt, 26-28Phone: +7 812 346-3810Fax: +7 812 346-43-43Hours: Ticket office: W-Th 14.00-19.30, F-Su 14.00-19.00; All performances start at 19:00In the former Benois House.
Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama TheaterNaberezhnaya Reki Fontanki, 65Phone: +7 812 310-9242Fax: 812 571-4577Hours: Daily 11.00-15.00 & 16.00-19.00Ticket Desk: Tel. 812 310-7687.- formerly known as Gorky Bolshoi Drama Theater (Russian: ) (19311992), often referred to as the Bolshoi Drama Theater and by the acronym BDT (Russian: ), is a theater in Saint Petersburg, that is considered one of the best Russian theaters
Zazerkalie theatreRubinstein Street, 13Phone: +7 812 712-4393Fax: +7 812 712-4395The theatre appeared in August 1987 and was named after the Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There". The Childrens experimental theatre Zazerkalie appeared in 1992.
Youth Theatre on the FontankaNaberezhnaya Reki Fontanki, 114Phone: +7 812 316-6564Hours: Daily 12.00-15.00 & 15.40-20.00Price: RUB200-1200- It plays Russian classic plays in the winter seasons and hosts a rock concert in the summer.
Circus CiniselliNaberezhnaya Reki Fontanki, 3Phone: +7 812 570-5198Fax: +7 812 570-5260Hours: Daily 11:00-15:00, 16:00-19:00Price: RUB600-2300It was the first stone-built circus in Russia; it is situated beside the Fontanka.Opened on 26 December 1877, with a large stage (13m in diameter) and stables (housing 150 horses). The architect was Vasily Kenel.

The music scene in St. Petersburg is diverse, with several classical, jazz, and pop concerts to choose from each week. Tickets are available at the same Teatralnaya Kassa locations as ballet and opera tickets, although tickets to pop concerts - especially US and European stars on tour - sometimes use exclusive distributors. For pop and rock concerts, unless you buy tickets for the dance floor (tanzpol), you are expected to sit quietly in your seat as if you were at a ballet - ushers are vigilant about keeping the audience from standing up, dancing, or cheering (polite applause is allowed, but that's about all).

Several of the ballet and opera theaters above also offer orchestral and recital performances, so those are not repeated below. Also, don't forget the many small clubs where up and coming bands play.

Saint Petersburg Philharmonia Grand HallMikhailovskaya Ul. 2Phone: +7 812 710-4290Fax: +7 812 710-4085Hours: Cash desks 11.00-15.00 & 16.00-20.00Price: RUB600-5,000The orchestra established in 1802. The Bolshoi Zal (large hall) of this building is one of the best known music halls in Russia. The building currently housing the Philharmonia was completed 1839. Architect: P. Jacot; and Facade design: C. Rossi. - A world-class orchestra which records and tours abroad. The Small Hall (Maliy Saal) hosts excellent chamber music performances and recitals.
St. Petersburg Philharmonic Small HallNevsky Prospekt, 30Phone: +7 812 571-8333Fax: +7 812 571-4237Hours: Cash desks 11.00-15.00 & 16.00-19.00The Small Hall (Maliy Saal) of the Philharmonic hosts excellent chamber music performances and recitals.
Jazz Philharmonic HallZagorodnyy prospekt, 27Phone: +7 812 764-8565Fax: +7 812 764-9843Hours: Cash desks: Daily 14.00-20.00Price: RUB800-1,200Offers a variety of jazz performances several times per week.
Ice Palaceprospekt Pyatiletok, 1Phone: +7 812 718-6620Hours: Cash desks: Daily 11:00-20:00Price: RUB800-10,000It was built for the 2000 Ice Hockey World Championships and opened in 2000 & cost USD 60 Million. It holds 12,300 people. One of several sports arenas that also serves as a concert hall for pop and rock concerts.
Oktyabrskiy Big Concert HallLigovskiy Prospekt, 6Phone: +7 812 275-1300Hours: M-F 11.00-20.00; Sa, Su 11.00-19.00Price: RUB600-12,000For Pop and rock concerts and for performance of variety actors and also dancing and ballet collectives in an auditorium.

Most cinemas in St. Petersburg show Hollywood films dubbed in Russian. Art cinemas like Dom Kino often show independent American or British movies subtitled in Russian. DVDs of American/European films are also often dubbed. There have been crackdowns on sellers of bootleg DVDs, so it may be difficult or expensive to find DVDs in English these days. There are several DVD stores in the city - often near Metro stations - and it is worth asking about films in English.

Annual Message to Man international documentary, short, and animated films festival takes place in June or July, screening many films in English.

Dom KinoKaravannaya Ulitsa, 12Phone: +7 812 314 5614Price: RUB100-250Sometimes shows films in their original language.
Avrora CinemaNevsky Prospekt, 60Phone: +7 812 942-80-20Hours: Daily 11.00-20.00Price: RUB250-700
Canal boat tours

A tour of the canals by boat is a great way to see the city in the summer. The typical tour is through the Moika, out to the Neva to see the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Cruiser Aurora, then in through the Fontanka (sometimes as far as the Mariinsky Theater). Tours start at many points along the route and return to their starting point - hawkers for different boat companies abound - and the boats may or may not have a cafe and toilet on board. Almost all tours are in Russian. RUB500-650 seems to be the average price.

Anglotourismo Boat ToursNaberezhnaya reki Fontanki, 21Phone: +7 921 989 4722Hours: Tours at 11.00, 13.00, 15.00, 17.00, 19.00, 21.00, 00.20Price: RUB600-750, Students: RUB500Canal boat tours in English, departing from near the Anichkov Bridge (Nevksy Prospekt and Fontanka) in season (May 7 - Sept 30).
Walking around with locals

The alternative way to explore St Petersburg is to know it from inside walking and talking with locals and trying local activities. Those people who have lived here for years would like to tell you a plenty of stories, open some secret places (as roofs or courtyards etc.) and treat you as a friend. Most of tours are for 1 to 5 people. As some tours are free you are welcome to try it. The other ones are pretty cheap (about USD12-35).

source: Wikivoyage

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