With its rich history and classic architecture, Saint Petersburg is often thought of as being more like a museum than a vibrant cultural destination. But the city has gotten quite the makeover in recent years! From rooftop galleries to repurposed squats and street art, discover an alternative side of Saint Petersburg with these five Indie Guides picks.
Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines: Back to the future
For those of us who get a twinge of nostalgia whenever we hear the words Atari or Nintendo, this is the place for you. In Saint Petersburg, there exists a place that never left the 80s, where virtual reality’s got nothing on old retro tube televisions. Unlike what you might guess from the name, the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines is not an arcade. It’s much more like a museum, featuring 40 arcade games dating back to the 70s and 80s all displayed in a historic building in downtown Saint Petersburg. About fifteen of the games are still in perfect working order. Ready to play?
Konyushennaya Sq., 2 Bldg. V
Saint Petersburg, 191186
Loft Project ETAGI: The artiest rooftop
With over 30,000 square feet of space spread across five floors, Loft Project ETAGI has something for everyone. The former industrial bakery is now home to art galleries presenting work by Russian and international artists, Russian design boutiques, and even a hostel. Don’t miss the lovely rooftop with its 360-degree view of the city and the historic district. Keep an eye on the calendar, as there’s always something going on, whether it’s a market, a concert, a film screening, or an art opening.
Ligovsky Ave, 74
Saint Petersburg, 191040
P-10: The epicenter of alternative culture
When a group of artists occupied this abandoned building on Pushkinskaya Street in 1989, they probably never imagined it would still be a functioning art space nearly thirty years later! To access the building, take the passageway off Ligovsky Avenue near the Vosstaniya metro station. Outside, you can explore the “Temple of Love, Peace and Music” – a space created by a Beatles fan decorated with posters and other memorabilia from the famous Liverpudlians. Inside, you’ll find art galleries, a quirky art museum, clubs, concert venues and art studios. Among our favorites are GEZ 21, a little concert venue dedicated to experimental music and the cozy Fish Fabrique club.
Ligovsky Ave, 53
Saint Peterburg, 191040
Street Art Museum: Not quite a museum
Since 2015, the Street Art Museum has given Saint Petersburg a name in the world of street art. But it’s not a museum in the sense of being a pristine contemporary art gallery featuring works of street art on white walls. Instead, the museum has taken over unused buildings of the Slopast factory, which is still active in East Saint Petersburg. In fact, it was the director of the factory himself who decided to create the museum, and his son is the curator! Street artists from all over the world are invited to create art on site. For the current exhibition, forty artists contributed work based around the theme “Better days are coming”.
Revolyutsii, 84, Saint Peterburg, 195279
(entrée depuis l’avenue Industrialny)
Union: Free concerts and DJ sets
Union bar brings together lovers of both culture and sports. The space is host to free concerts by local and traveling musicians and also airs live sports games on the big screen. Somehow, the cultural meld works and the place is packed on weekends. Order a Russian craft beer and a burger, and take your pick between the show or the game!
Liteyniy Ave., 55
Article translated by Andrea Perdue
Cover picture: Haylee
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