Things to Do in St. Petersburg this Christmas

by Elena on December 16, 2013

st petersburg mariinsky theater

Check out the Rimsky-Korsakov International Competition of Young Opera Singers at the Mariinsky Theater this month.

Planning a trip to St. Petersburg near Christmas? Worried that the city will be quiet, with everyone huddling inside with family and friends? Never fear, this wonderful Russian city has a lot going on, even in the run-up to Christmas. This week there is a competition for young opera singers, an animation festival, a celebration of Japanese culture and a wealth of other events, festive and otherwise.

A Musical Christmas in St. Petersburg

At the Shostakovich Academic Philharmonic, as well as at the Musical Comedy Theater and Mikhailovsky Theater the 14th International Winter Festival “Arts Square” started yesterday and runs until Christmas Day. Featuring world-class singers and musicians, anyone in St. Petersburg this week and next is in for a real treat (if you can get your hands on tickets, of course! Make sure to ask your tour organiser).

Perhaps you’re in St. Pite’s because you have a talented child taking part in the Rimsky-Korsakov International Competition of Young Opera Singers. If not, maybe you can inspire your own offspring to blast out some arias by seeing these amazing kids in action at the State Academic Mariinsky Theater Concert Hall on the 17th and 18th of December.

St. Petersburg for Anime Fans

Those of you who aren’t feeling particularly festive might wish to skip the Christmas Parade at the 20th Interregional Festival of Non-State Theaters and Theater Projects (from the 14th to the 22nd at Actor´s House, Bryantsev Young Spectators´ Theater (Small Hall), Theater “Osobnyak”, and the Youth Art Theatre). Instead, you could check out the 3d Animation Film Festival “Reanifest” that runs from the 19th to the 31st of December. This retrospective of the Japanese animated film writer, director, artist and animator Makoto Shinkai (Cinco) can be found at Rodina Cinema Center and is sure to be of interest to those who, like Shinkai himself, are fans of the work of Hayao Miyazaki. Shinkai has been called “The New Miyazaki” by several reviewers of his work so is definitely someone to check out if you’re in St. Petersburg this month.

Top Tips for Staying Warm in St. Pite’s this Christmas

Of course, no trip to St. Petersburg is complete without a little skating on the frozen canals, warming up with some delicious Russian food. Try the miniature pies (pirozhki) stuffed with cabbage, apricots, or potatoes at the Idiot Cafe at 82 Naberezhnaya reki Moiki (a great option for vegetarians). And, naturally, you’ll want to stop in at the Vodka Museum (near St. Isaac’s Cathedral) for a warming tipple or two in their tasting room. There are over 200 varieties of vodka on site and a fabulous restaurant where you can line your stomach with delicious food. Consider this little St. Petersburg travel tip an early Christmas present!

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