Novosibirsk Travel Guide

Novosibirsk Travel Guide

photo of the Novosibirsk central rail station


As a modern, vibrant city, Novosibirsk has a lot to offer. It’s the largest city in Siberia with many attractions and historical sites. Tourists can find out more about Russia at the USSR Museum, take a fun trip to the zoo or spend a fabulous evening at the Opera and Ballet Theatre.

Historical Overview

Most specialists consider 1893 to be the date of foundation of Novosibirsk. However, historians argue that the Siberian cities began to form from the end of the 16th century. In 1598, around 400 servicemen lived in the area of ​​present-day Novosibirsk. At the beginning of the 18th century, several fortresses were founded near the Ob River. Chaussky, where successful merchants lived, was one of them.

During the same period, within the territory of the modern city, there were several villages which united in Krivoshchekovskaya Sloboda in 1793. In the 19th century, the number of migrants from the Urals increased dramatically. This was mainly due to a shortage of land in the European part of the country. Emperor Alexander III signed a decree on the construction of the Siberian Railway in 1891. It marked the beginning of Novosibirsk’s history. The land was first called the New Village, then the village of Aleksandrovsky, and from 1895, the city of Novonikolaevsk (in honour of the emperor). The engineer and writer Garin-Mikhailovsky was one of the city's founders. He chose the site to build the bridge across the country's largest river and for the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Until 1917, there was rapid population growth (from 1000 to 69 000 people). Novonikolaevsk quickly became the centre of the Siberian flour industry. The second stage of modernisation of the city lasted from 1917 till 1941. The population continued to grow rapidly, and the transport industry including leather and textile developed, too.
The first airfield was opened in 1923. Novonikolaevsk became the capital of Siberia. In December 1925, it was decided to change the name of the city to Novosibirsk. The decade 1920-1930 saw huge construction, the expansion of existing enterprises and the opening of new partnerships. Shoe, knitwear, confectionery and other factories appeared in the city during that time.
In 1937, the expanded region was divided into the Novosibirsk region and the Altai Territory. During the Second World War, Novosibirsk served as one of the main suppliers of fighter aircraft. All factories and plants produced military products. A total of 26 hospitals were organised within the city. Since 1940, the city's population has grown significantly.
By 1962, there were one million inhabitants in the city. In the same period, the railway was modernised, and electric locomotives began to run. Since 1990, the city has had the status of regional centre of culture and science.

Where to Stay

Novosibirsk can boast a well-developed hotel industry with such widespread chains as Marriott, Double Tree by Hilton and Azimut. For tourists and businessmen, the city centre (Gorsky district) would be the most convenient option. Have a look at Akvatoria Hotel, Hostel Vanilla or Mirotel Novosibirsk. All these hotels are located next to Studencheskaya and Ploschad Marksa subway stations. Most hotels have all necessary facilities to organise conferences, banquets or weddings. Book River Hotel Novosibirsk to enjoy nice views over the Ob River. You can also search for a cosy apartment via Airbnb or Booking.

Bars and Restaurants

The wildlife of the Siberian region has influenced local cuisine. Fancy restaurants offer various opportunities for trying rare meat, fish and forest berries. Siberian pelmeni (dumplings) or meat with cranberry sauce is a delicacy across Russia which is definitely worth trying. Here, you can also try caviar, another famous culinary delight. Locals recommend Puppen Haus, Bananzhar, Fenimor Cuper, Pechki-lavochki or Beerman na Rechke. Some restaurants like Beerman Pelmeni often host musical evening performances. If you want to try some Caucasian delicacies, Tiflis is the best place to go. Here, you can enjoy lamb kebabs, khachapuri (bread with cheese) and Georgian wines.

What to See


  • Lenin Square in honour of the Soviet Union’s famous leader Vladimir Lenin is the city’s central square. Here, you can see one of the largest statues of Lenin in the country. It is also a meeting point for bikers, skateboarders and street musicians.
  • If you travel with children, the 60-hectare Novosibirsk Zoo with its wonderful animals, merry-go-rounds and the Dino Park is a must-see. There are also cafes overlooking the artificial lake.
  • The State Art Museum is one of the most famous art galleries in Siberia. It contains a wide collection of sculptures, local crafts, paintings and Orthodox icons. With over 10 000 exhibits, you will have plenty of masterpieces to explore.
  • The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a historic site and a marvellous piece of Neo-Byzantine-style Russian architecture. It’s a quiet hideaway from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
  • To enjoy a classical ballet performance or opera, visit the State Opera and Ballet Theatre.

The theatre can accommodate 2000 guests, and thanks to recent modernisation, it is now one of the most technologically advanced theatres in Russia.

  • If you are food lover or looking for a nice souvenir for your loved ones, visit the Central Market or Food Hall. Here, you can buy organic food such as cedar nuts from the Siberian taiga, smoked meat, caviar, local honey, jam and dried fruit.
  • The Museum of World Funeral Culture (the Museum of Death) is a unique museum in Novosibirsk and Russia. It is devoted to the theme of death and the funeral traditions of different people. It’s located in Voskhod village, an hour’s drive from the centre of Novosibirsk.
  • Another unique place is the Siberian Birch Bark Museum, which contains a collection of items made from birch bark, including cups, icons, decorations and statues of spirits and ghosts from Russian fairy-tales and myths.
  • The USSR Museum guides will tell you about the history of the Soviet Union, monumental architecture, and 20th-century culture. Some people say there were KGB headquarters here. Here, you will also find vintage clothes, historic toys and other interesting items.
  • At the Novosibirsk Planetarium, you can see our solar system through the Planetarium’s observatory and star hall. The astronomically themed park with its green alleys represents the sun, planets and comets.


You can travel to the city by the Trans-Siberian train or by plane, with all schedules available online. The airport is located 20 km from the centre. You can take a shuttle or a bus to the city centre. The buses from the main bus station on Krasny Prospect depart to all local destinations and even the Altai mountains. To get around the city, use the metro, public buses, trolleybuses or minibuses. Taxis are everywhere, so you’ll have no trouble catching a car. You can also rent a car with a Russian driver. It’s a convenient way to see all the most interesting places within a couple of days.

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