Cold Weather in April Is No Reason to Avoid a Trip to Moscow

Good Month for Museums and the Bolshoi

Church of Saint Petersburg
Loic Lagarde / Getty Images

If you think of Moscow as a drab communist capital, think again. These days it shows off its new riches with world-class restaurants, an exuberant nightlife where the vodka flows and fancy cars everywhere you look. And it has culture and history galore, with plenty of reminders of the long reign of the czars, the Revolution of 1917 and the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet. If you have a literary bent, check out attractions focusing on such Russian giants as Boris Pasternak,  Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Leo Tolstoy.

The calendar might say it's spring in April, but in Moscow, it feels a lot like winter in other parts of the world. 

April Weather in Moscow

Temperatures range from average highs of 42 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit in April, rising as the month progresses. Nighttime lows average 28 to 40 degrees. You won't be uncomfortably cold, but it won't feel like spring. It's cloudy about half the time, which increases the chilly factor. Precipitation can come as snow, rain mixed with snow or just rain. The snow chances fall to virtually none by the end of the month. The good news is it is not a terribly wet month despite the many cloudy days.

What to Pack

Unless you hit an unusually warm period, afternoon temperatures will top out in the 40s and 50s, and that means you'll need a coat on the coldest days. A peacoat, lined trench coat or medium-weight winter jacket all will do the trick. A trench coat or jacket with a hood has the added bonus of being good in the rain. Take jeans, cotton or cashmere pullover sweaters and long-sleeved tops to layer with them. Comfortable ankle boots are great for sightseeing; other closed and supportive shoes are also a good choice.

Take plenty of socks. If the coat you take does not have a hood, pack an umbrella or hat for rainy days. A long scarf adds warmth without taking up much room in your bag and is a useful layering piece.

April Holidays and Events 

April 12th is Cosmonautics Day, which celebrates Russia's tradition of space exploration. It marks the first manned flight into space, made by Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on this date in 1961.

Easter often falls in April for Russia and other Orthodox nations.If you are in the city at Easter, the Moscow Easter Festival adds a cultural event that gives you insight into Russian traditions that are often not seen by travelers.

Moscow Fashion Week showcases the coming season's designer trends from Russia and elsewhere in the spring; check the calendar to see if this is scheduled for April.

Tips for Travel to Moscow in April

If the weather proves to be too chilly for sightseeing, it's a great chance to spend some time in several of Moscow's many museums and partake of cultural opportunities like the Bolshoi Ballet. If you want to enjoy the spring weather, visit Sparrow Hills for views of Moscow or Patriarch's Ponds, where Mikhail Bulgakov sets the opening scene of his novel "Master and Margarita."