If you’re looking where to live or stay in Moscow, this guide explains the main suburbs and neighbourhoods in Moscow that are popular with foreigners.
There are plenty of options for choosing where to live in Moscow as a foreigner. Several of Moscow’s suburbs and neighbourhoods are popular with foreigners, although it will depend on your budget, whether you want a house or an apartment and where you work, as traffic can be a problem in rush hour and in bad weather.
Where is the best place to stay or live in Moscow as a foreigner? This guide takes a look at the main suburbs and neighbourhoods in Moscow for expats, with a short description of what can be found in each area.
Moscow’s suburbs and neighbourhoods
Rather than having the grid system favoured by many cities, Moscow works on a ‘ring’ system. Moscow’s suburbs are typically outlined based on their proximity to the city’s major ring roads, with the four key areas as follows:
- Boulevard Ring – the area closest to the city centre.
- Garden Ring – the large motorway outside the Boulevard Ring.
- Third Transport Ring – slightly farther out, originally designed to reduce congestion heading to and from the centre.
- Moscow Ring Road – outermost ring, marking the city limits.
Moscow’s city centre neighbourhood
Generally, anywhere between the Kremlin (the centre point) and the Garden Ring is classified as Moscow’s central neighbourhood, and the rents and property prices in this area reflect this.
Moscow’s surburbs in the Boulevard Ring
Tverskaya is a central neighbourhood for both tourists and expats in Moscow, located within easy reach of the city’s main landmarks. The area around Tverskaya Street (which links Red Square and the Kremlin) is ideal for expats who want to be at the centre of it all. With modern amenities and nightlife, this area is popular with younger expats. If you’re a central neighbourhood but away from the noise, consider Kamergersky Lane.
Patriarshiye Prudy / Patriarch Ponds
Popular with expats and locals alike, this neighbourhood is named after its beautiful city park. Bordering the Garden Ring, it’s very close to the city centre and various metro stations. With this being a peaceful residential neighbourhood in the heart of Moscow, prices are expensive and property is highly sought after.
Translating literally to ‘Clean Ponds’, this neighbourhood is centred on a lake and has a certain charm, with the opportunity to rent boats in the summer and ice skate in the winter. It’s one of Moscow’s popular suburbs for French expats due to the French international school being close by.
Moscow’s suburbs in the Garden Ring
The majority of the Arbat neighbourhood is located in the Garden Ring, although the short stretch past Novoarbatsky Bridge is just outside of the boundary. Arbat is a pretty, pedestrianised area with beautiful architecture, cafes and restaurants and a unique atmosphere. With embassies located in the area too, property here is expensive.
Tretyakov Gallery Area
With a relatively central location, the Tretyakov Gallery Area is up-and-coming in terms of the property market but is also a popular artistic area, with lots of shops, cafes and boutique bars, as well as a lively nightlife. The main roads here, Pyatnitskaya and Ordynka, tend to get very busy.
Moscow’s suburbs near the Ring Road
Located inside Moscow’s Ring Road, but further out than the aforementioned areas, the Pokrovsky Hills development to the north west of the city centre is incredibly popular with expats. It is located next to the Anglo-American School of Moscow and has its own European Medical Centre. This secure and guarded community of 207 townhouses is 10 miles (16km) from the Kremlin, and one of the most sought after areas for expats moving to Moscow.
Outside of the city limits, Rosinka International Residential Complex draws expats who work in the west of the city. While it’s farther out than Pokrovsky Hills, Rosinka benefits from being home to the British International School.
Outer neighbourhoods in Moscow: beyond the Garden Ring
Inside the third ring road, Frunzenskaya is one of Moscow’s greener areas, overlooking Gorky Park. This area is popular with growing families, although the apartments tend to be on the small side and can also be quite expensive.
Leningradsky Prospekt is Moscow’s bohemian village, home to artists and creative people. Expats in search of a more quirky and unique neighbourhood in Moscow will enjoy it here, but may be put off by frustrating rush hour commutes into the city centre.
In the north west of Moscow and just outside the Garden Ring, Barrikadnaya is home to well-off expats, with several luxury residential developments completed in recent years. Public transport access is good, and the American Embassy is nearby.
Best places to live outside of Moscow
As with all major cities, Moscow has a number of commuter towns, many of which offer direct trains to the city. While each of the towns listed below can be reached by the city centre in 30–55 minutes door-to-door by train, it’s a different story if you’re driving. For example, a rush-hour journey from Odintsovo takes 30 minutes by train, but can take as long as two hours by car. However, you may be able to get more space for your money, so can still be an option.
Where to live outside of Moscow:
- Podolsk – 44km, 55 minute journey on public transport.
- Odintsovo – 25 km, 30 minute journey on public transport.
- Lyubertsy – 25 km, 35 minute journey on public transport.
- Korolev – 28 km, 30 minute journey on public transport.