The All-Russia Exhibition Centre is a huge trade fair-cum-shopping center that has been likened to a Stalinist Disney World. Rollerblades and bicyclists gather outside at weekends, near one of the Soviet-era’s greatest monuments: the Space Obelisk. Beneath the monument is the Memorial Museum of Cosmonautics, tracing the history of rocketry and space exploration.
Bizarrely, the theatrical pink and white Ostankino Palace is built of wood, with only a thin layer of stucco. The finest collection of flora in Russia is on display at Moscow's Botanical Gardens and the TV Tower is also in the vicinity. Closer to the city center, there is an eclectic mix of museums and theatres. An extensive collection of musical instruments from all over the world can be seen at the Museum of Musical Culture, while the Armed Forces Museum can be instantly recognized by the tank and ballistic missile mounted out front.
Across the highway from the Durov Theatre looms the Olympic Sports Complex, created for the 1980 Moscow Olympics. The vast stadium is decorated with Soviet-era murals of skaters and gymnasts. Close to Partizanskaya Metro station, Izmailovo Market has a well-stocked souvenir section complete with matryoshka (nesting) dolls, and a weekend flea market selling antique Soviet bric-a-brac.
Beyond traditional Russian cuisine, visitors may enjoy the spicier flavors and Asian specialties of Georgian cooking. Moscow's largest food market, Rizhskiy Market, offers a cornucopia of sights, smells and free nibbles.
The easiest way to travel between the many attractions in this area is via metro. Hotels in the Northern Suburbs are well-suited for guests requiring convenient access to Sheremetyevo Airport
, yet it can take as little as 20 minutes to reach the city centre, depending on traffic.