So a friend and I are planning to spend some time in Moscow and St Petersburg this February. We'll be there for about a week; do you guys have some recommendations or advice on what to do there in the winter? (And please don't tell me not to go the whole point of the trip is to experience a Russian winter, I've seen it in summer already!).
Also, any recommendations for hostels in St Petersburg would be greatly appreciated.
I've done Moscow in March and it was fine apart from having to walk around slowly due to icy pavements and occasional cafe stops for a hot chocolate to thaw out!
Red Square and the Kremlin were open and worthwhile. Go into GUM to thaw out. They try to keep the square cleared of snow.
The cosmonaut museum was good, cheap and warm - an easy stroll from there is VDNKh a former soviet exhibition centre now a market, and next to it a funfair that's open in the winter too.
Ismailovsky market - a pretty recreation of a wooden kremlin with lots of souvenir stalls.
Sparrow Hills - viewpoint over the river and of the main university building, one of the seven sisters Stalin era buildings. We walked from the Metro to the viewpoint, tried to stop in a cafe for a drink to thaw out but after reading the menu realised we'd need to see their mortgage advisor to afford a drink there - some very random uber expensive places in Moscow and hard for the confused traveller to spot which they are.
We went to Gorky Park but not much to see if snow is on the ground, just a blanket of white and the replica Buran shuttle.
We used the Metro extensively and looked out for the interesting stations - lots of nice architecture to see.
For food we tried some of the milk bars, our favourite was a chain called Grably - http://www.grably.ru/
There's a soviet arcade museum in St. Petersburg. It's not a traditional museum, but it is a lot of fun as you go around and play the old arcade games. Give yourself plenty of time at the hermitage.
There are loads of milk bars and cafés around.
I'd suggest reading the TP pages on the two cities if you haven't already.