A Russian Winter Wonder in Novosibirsk
Take the road less traveled and experience the beauty of Novosibirsk. Follow along on this tour of one of Russia’s hidden gems.
Winter Essential Adventures
Novosibirsk has a plethora of outdoor entertainment options. From December through March I highly recommend visiting Ice Town where you can view magnificent ice structures. Every year, Ice Town builds impressive fairy-tale themed installations. Make the most of your opportunity by visiting all of the amenities, including the Russian Ice Slides. Be prepared for extremely cold temperatures. Pack items such as a coat, scarf, gloves, hats, and boots. Don’t forget your camera so you can document all the fun!
The Novosibirsk Zoo is world-renowned. There are 11,000 animals of 770 different species, but I would like to highlight a few of my favorites. First are the White Bears that are housed in a giant replica of their natural habitat. My second favorite is the orangutans. They are the most human-like animal besides apes. They usually stay inside during the winter but you might be able to catch a glimpse of them. My third favorite but certainly not the least is the dolphins. The Dolphinarium is in a separate building next door to the zoo. This unique exhibit lets you interact with the dolphins while they show off a few fun tricks.
The national sport in Novosibirsk is, yes you guessed it, Ice Hockey. Novosibirsk is the hometown of the widely-known team “HC Sibir”. During a hockey match, you can feel all of the team spirit and high energy in the air. Get into the Siberian spirit by getting out on the ice during breaks, this is a once in a lifetime experience. Plan ahead and buy your tickets to a game on the Hockey Club Sibir website.
SibirSibir serves traditional Russian cuisine with dishes like samovars, pickles, and vodka, in a great atmosphere including shawls and felt boots. This restaurant was created by the well-known restaurateur Denis Ivanov who always provides high-quality food and service. I always bring my family and friends here to observe the Siberian traditions while they are visiting from different cities.
This restaurant is located inside the DoubleTree by Hilton Novosibirsk and is an absolute must try. I’d like to recommend Sous Vide chicken breast, which tastes delicious and also the Potato pancakes with chef-salted salmon. Siberia is one of the best places in the world to eat salmon because it is fresh, due to widespread commercial fishing in northern seas and the Arctic Ocean, which are nearby.
Friends is a perfect place for you to relax and hang out, the atmosphere inside is very special. I recommend trying the White Russian or Grass Cooper cocktail, but there’s a variety of cocktail recipes for you to choose from. I’ll let you in on a little secret: Ask the bartender at Friends about Nobody Knows I Suppose. This is the one and only entrance into a more calm and quiet place, also known as one of the best bars in Russia.
Despite the Middle Eastern roots of this tradition, smoking hookah today occupies a significant place in Russian culture. Loft Crown is the most traditional place specializing in the art of hookah here in Novosibirsk. This location has an amazing view of the historic city center.
There are so many popular city attractions in Siberia like The Novosibirsk Theatre of Opera and Ballet and The Akademgorodok – a scientific research institute. Novosibirsk is also surrounded by beautiful scenery. You can take photos of the city or the countryside if you decide to travel by train through Russia. I selected these suggestions based on my own personal experiences I’ve gained while I lived there. I hope that you’ll take my suggestions and start planning your own vacation in Novosibirsk for your own Russian experience.