- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Moscow Guide (PDF)
There is no grid-like pattern of streets in the Russian capital. There is a centre-point, the Kremlin, and four major roads that encircle it. The different areas and suburbs of Moscow are distinguished according to their relative location to the major ring roads.
These four ring roads are the Boulevard Ring, the Garden Ring, the Third Ring, and the Moscow automobile ring road. All areas between the Kremlin and the Garden Ring Road are deemed to be in ‘the centre’ of Moscow. Accommodation prices in these areas tend to be higher than anywhere else.
Beyond the Garden Ring are the outer areas of Moscow. Here are some very worthwhile expat living areas, especially for families who need additional space.
The Boulevard Ring
Patriarshiye Ponds is a calm and quiet residential neighbourhood close to the centre of Moscow. Patriarshiye Ponds is expensive but popular with both expats and locals. It is conveniently located close to metro stations and offers direct access to the main city traffic routes. A beautiful city park with a pond is the central focal point. Plenty of restaurants, theatres, embassies and museums are in the vicinity.
The most central and lively of Moscow’s expat residential areas, Tverskaya Street connects the Red Square and the Kremlin to the far north of the city. This area is convenient as it’s close to all transport routes and attractions, but it can get noisy. Some of its side streets, such as Kamergersky Lane, boast beautiful housing in quieter, more charming areas.
The Garden Ring
Arbat is centrally located and is widely considered to be the most attractive and architecturally beautiful area of Moscow. There is a lot to see and do in Arbat. The area is located next to the golden dome of the Christ the Saviour Cathedral and is dotted with Art Nouveau-style buildings and trendy modern residences. This is a premium area for expat executives and is consequently very expensive.
Tretyakov Gallery Area
The Tretyakov Gallery Area is an area known for its central location and attractive two- and three-storey buildings. The main roads of Pyatnitskaya and Ordynka are busy, but the quieter offshoots are more congenial. The area has a lively nightlife with plenty of cafés, cinemas and boutique bars and coffee shops.
The Third Ring Road
Situated just outside of the Garden Ring in the northwest of the city, is the Barrikadnaya area. Accommodation here gives good value for money and has become home to many affluent expats. The Moscow Zoo and the Embassy of the United States are also located here, and access to public transport is nearby.
The Frunzenskaya embankment has lots of greenery and a park-like feel to it. The area is hemmed in by the Moscow River and overlooks Gorky Park. It is most popular with families with children, but apartments in the area tend to be small and are expensive.
Positioned to the east of the Garden Ring, this old Moscow area was originally encircled by monasteries. Today the area is home to many businesses and a lively nightlife district. The accommodation in Tagansky Area gives good value for money, but it can be noisy in the evenings.
Beyond the Third Ring Road
Leningradsky Prospekt is a busy avenue that runs up from Tverskaya Street. Parts of it have long been associated with artists and bohemians. The ‘Artist’s Village’ still exists, and is a popular choice for expats who prefer a quirky, eccentric neighbourhood feel. The only drawback is the relatively long commute to the city centre during rush hour.
Here in Pokrovsky Hills, expats will find one of the well-known gated communities and secure compounds in Moscow. This type of accommodation is popular amongst expats families in Moscow. It is situated northwest of the city and is conveniently located near the Anglo-American School of Moscow for expats with school-aged children.
►For more on finding the perfect home in Moscow, see Accommodation in Moscow.
"If you want to be inside the hustle and the bustle of the city, experiencing the best it can offer, then I recommend staying somewhere around the metro ring, inside or close outside. This way you’ll enjoy the best of what Moscow has to offer in terms of entertainment." Read some tips on areas and suburbs in Moscow in Yulia's interview.
"Anywhere within the Garden Ring is generally fine. Frunzenskaya, Chistye Prudy, Patriach’s Ponds are the favourites." Read more on recommendations for accommodation and where to live in Moscow in Stephen's interview.
Photo credits: St Basil's Cathedral by Michael Parulav; Zhivopisny Bridge by Alexander Smagin. All sourced from Unsplash.
Are you an expat living in Moscow?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Moscow. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.