Outdoor Sports in Moscow: Yoga, Petanque & Volleyball

Moscow, Russia

13 places
Outdoor Sports in Moscow: Yoga, Petanque & Volleyball

Ksenia Mardina

Sport is cool: bikers are inescapable part of a city landscape, and in every park you will see people practicing various yoga positions. The latest trends in healthy lifestyle include petanque, wakeboard, antigravity yoga and, of course, jogging. Besides, there is always good old volleyball, tennis, rollerskating and skateboarding. For you, we have selected the best places in Moscow to try all of the above.

The locals consider Hermitage Garden to be the main resting area of Moscow. The garden is quite old and Muscovites have created a bunch of myths about it. For example, they say that Leo Tolstoy and Vladimir Lenin used to wander the paths here. There are three theaters, some cafes, monuments and pavilions here. Music festivals and literary evenings are regularly held in this lovely garden. The symbols of Hermitage Garden are the dovecotes and impudent squirrels living not far from the playground.

A secret park right at the city centre. Every morning at the weekends the open-air stage built in the 1930s is occupied by the dancing and singing seniors, and in the evenings it becomes a cinema where Soviet and foreign classic movies are shown. For several years now the park is constantly under improvement. Moms with their children can spend time in an outdoor playset with animators, yoga lovers can attend free masterclasses given by certified coaches on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, and those who maintain active lifestyle can play volleyball or tennis.
In the garden there is an artificial grotto from the 18th century, listed as an architectural monument of Moscow. The paths are paved and half-round benches are conveniently placed on every step. Street food is becoming more and more sophisticated in this park: this summer alone saw the opening of a Korean place Pyang-Se, Durum Durum with Turkish cuisine, The Hummus and others. Also there is one of the best places for your children, City Kids, and "Funny Bell's House" theatre. The camp has three sections – "Toddler's Trip" (1,5-3 years), "Creative Geography" (4-6 years) and "Theatrical and Cinema Lab" (7-13 years). The day's routine includes morning exercise, music and art classes as well as gymnastic. The camp has it own garden where kids grow flowers and vegetables.

The main city park is a symbol of major recent reforms forced by the current minister of Moscow city government Sergey Kapkov. Thanks to him this tacky location known to be a cult place of retired military men turned into a civilized city park just in a couple of years. On sunny weekends the place gets a bit crowded because the park does have a lot to offer. You can be easily lost for choice: go sunbathing in a lounge chair on the lawn, enjoy a movie in the Pioneer open cinema, take a boat ride around the pond, play petanque in La Boule cafe or try some local street food, ranging from traditional Slavic pelmeni, Asian food or exotic ice-creams. Let alone all the numerous open air festivals and gigs taking place here.

A park along the Moskva river surrounded by a forest where the air is fresh indeed. In Serebryany Bor one can not only walk the narrow paths and enjoy the air, or spend time on one of three beaches, but also go boating – the rental is open during the summer. You can ride the rubber rings or air baloons, play badminton or tennis, or just relax on one of the many benches.

Muzeon is located right in front of another famous Moscow recreation zone — Gorky Park. The latter is more focused on various activities meanwhile Muzeon is perfect for slow promenades, relaxed reading on lounges or poufs, open air exhibitions, movie screenings, gigs, workshops and discussions. In a nutshell "nature, comfort and silence" that is how the team of the park describe it. And this is true.

Neskuchny garden is situated on Moscow hills along Pushkinskaya embankment right next to Gorky Park. Unlike its neighbour Neskuchny garden totally corresponds to the term "landscape park". It used to be a part of Neskuchnoe mansion territory and was designed for solitary pastime. Besides charming pavilions and benches hidden under the shady trees the park is interesting by its local chess club, ping pong club, coworking space and the small zoo with its lovely inhabitants.

The history of VDNKh (a Russian acronym for Exhibition of Achievements of the People's Economy) begins with the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition held here in 1939 with more than 250 pavillions built for it. Now people come here mostly not for inspiration from the achivements of the people's economy, but to relax and have a good time. The trademark of this park is the golden "Friendship of Nations" fountain and a renowned epic statue of "Worker and Kolkhoz Woman" by Vera Mukhina.
If you prefer to spend time in the open air doing something dynamic, there is a "Fishermen's Village" complex where you catch fish that is later cooked for you by professional chefs. Nearby on the scenic river bank there is a paintball club equipped with all kinds of hedeouts, obstacle zones and other things required for the game. The park attracts rollerskaters and skaters, and one can also rent a bike or ride a bicycle car or a velotaxi.
Beyond that, there is an amusement park, and next to it – four-wheelers and go-carts, as well as other little attractions such as throwing balls into milk barrels, or darts in air baloons, or shooting cans and others.
The main landmark of the VDNKh is the 73-meters high Ferris Wheel, the tallest in Moscow. The plans for the near future include significant improvements: pulling down illegal constructions, repairing the pathways and the founrains and combining it with the adjacent Ostankino park, generally turning the place into something like the Gorky park.

Сharming Sokolniki park also has fallen under the recent park restoration programme. Now there is a skater park, bikers spot, climbing walls, all the possible rentals, playgrounds, skating rink and delicious popsicles. However the fascination of an old and calm park can still be felt in here. Nearby the building of the old chess club built in constructivism style, old gentlemen come together to play a game or two no matter what weather is outside. A little bit further in the alleys on the Health Path you may suddenly come across an elk, two owls and lots of squirrels that are permanent residents of the place. Beware of the squirrels thought, they might go as far as your pockets in their search for nuts.

In 1931 a bigger part of the Izmailovo forest was given for a massive recreation area, and thus Izmailovsky Recreation Park was created. Until 1961 it used to bear the name of Joseph Stalin. Nowadays it is one of the largest parks in Moscow. There you will find amusements such as a racetrack, a shooting range, merry-go-rounds and a Ferris wheel, as well as boat and sports equipment rental and a riding club. Nearby you will find the Serebryano-Vinogradny pond (Silver-Grape pond) with an island. On that island, there is the 17th century Pokrovosky Cathedral and the Izmailovsky hospital built in 1839. Recently the renovations started, and now you can go boating, play football and sunbathe on a sandy beach. And several times a week, there are yoga classes on a wooden stage that is 15 minutes walk away from the entrance.

Vorontsovsky park is a special place in the south-eastern part of Moscow. The location is named after a nobleman Fedor Voronets who was granted this area in the 16th century, and is has no connection to the famous Russian count's family. Vorontsovsky is one of the most picturesque parks in Moscow, with linden alleys, plenty of benches and wildlife represented by woodpeckers, squirrels and field mice. It also features a rather rare phenomenon for Russian park lanscaping, a multireservoir system of ponds. Those who prefer active rest may rent a boat, play table tennis and volleyball, or just spend time at a nice cafe. There are two large playgrounds for kids as well as a number of horses and ponies that you can ride with or without an instructor.

Krasnopresnensky park is a monument to the landscape art of the 18th and 19th centuries. It occupies 16,5 hectares of the Studenets mansion territory in Krasnaya Presnya district. Among the landscape and architectural masterpieces are the unique Holland ponds and the octagonal fountain, surprisingly called Octagon. The park is a popular venue for various cultural events like contemporary art festivals, film screenings and music performances. Everyday entertainment such as side-shows and playgrounds from the Soviet era have been restored and still keep that charming nostalgic atmosphere of a happy Soviet childhood.

A quiet park with an estate near the Red Army Theatre. As opposed to other parks, this place is usually rather deserted and there are plenty of empty benches along the pathways. In the center there is a large pond where you can rent a boat; there is also a smaller one, good ony for duck-feeding. When you get hungry you can take a bite from a big cracknel, have an ice-cream or sit at the park's cafe. If you like active leisure, for you there is a football field, tennis courts and a small sportsground where people play badminton or just throw ball. Nearby there are a playground for kids, a dance pavillion and a roofed concert hall.
The country estate appeared here, amidst adorable ponds, in the beginning of the 19th century. In 1807 it was transformed into the quarters of a women's institute, bearing the name of Catherine the Great. All that is left from it is a pavillion loved by the famous Czarina herself. You can rent it for an hour for just 1000 rubles.

A picturesque park in the western part of Moscow on the high bank of Moskva river. The slopes are equipped with stairs that take you straight to the embankment. There is a beach area (entrance requires a fee) with several pools, beach chairs, changing stalls, fitness equipment and a summer cafe, as well as bike rental and a basketball ground. Several days a week there are hatha yoga classes.
The park is named after the river Fil'ka, a feeder of Moskva.
One of great advantages of Filevsky park is the BBQ area, with wooden tables and huge benches and cast-iron outdoors grills. Also the park is the location of Naryshkin family estate that was owned by the noble family for 175 years, and a beautiful pond next to it. The pond was described by Ivan Turgenev in his "On the Eve" novel.

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