The ultimate guide to St. Petersburg markets
Seize the moment and practice some Russian at the best St. Petersburg markets. Discover the best markets in the city and learn some vital vocabulary that will help you during your shopping.
It is a well-known fact that if you want to improve your fluency in a language there is no better way than living in a place where the language is spoken. However, your mere presence in a country does not guarantee any sort of absorption of the language, and real improvements will only come about when you start actively practicing the language on every occasion you have. So whether you are staying in St. Petersburg for a short period or you have permanently moved to the Northern capital, try to make of each of your daily activities an opportunity to practice your Russian, starting from grocery shopping. A visit to St. Petersburg markets generally implies more social interactions than a trip to the supermarket and therefore a better way to practice your language skills, if in doubt on where to start here are some of the best markets in the city:
Udelnaya: Where the Hidden Treasures Hide
Metro station: Udelnaya
We cannot start talking about St. Petersburg markets without mentioning the flea market “par excellence” Udelnaya. Located within walking distance from the homonymous metro station, Udelnaya is the biggest flea market in Russia, but almost certainly not the most glamorous. Here you will find EVERYTHING you might possibly need and think of, from food and second-hand clothing to souvenirs and antiques. Udelnaya is the perfect place for those who are looking for adventures and hidden treasures and the perfect place to strike up a conversation with interesting locals.
Apraksin Dvor: The Dodgy Flea Market
Metro Station: Sennaya Ploshchad
Semi-hidden between Sennaya Ploshchad metro station and the grandeur of the Aleksandrinskiy Theater, Apraksin Dvor is mostly known for one thing: being dodgy. Most stories you will hear about the market end up with people being robbed or schemed, so why go? As a survivor of multiple visits to the market, I can guarantee that chances are high that you will leave the market unharmed as long as you are not explicitly looking for trouble. The area of the market is particularly famous for its multiple Asian shops and restaurants. It has a long list of authentic Chinese restaurants, and it’s the perfect spot to find a wide range of spices and Asian delicacies that are usually hard to find in regular shops and supermarkets.
Vasileostrovsky Market: The New Food Paradise
Metro Station: Vasileostrovskaya
Known as one of the oldest markets in St. Petersburg, the Vasileostrovskiy market (also known as Andreyevskiy Rynok) was recently renovated and transformed into the only food market in the city. Standing side to side are international food stands, where you will have the chance to buy locally produced foods and to visit numerous gastronomic events.
Sennoy Market: All You Need in The City Center
Metro Station: Sennaya Ploshchad
Located at a five-minute walk from Sennaya Ploshchad metro station, Sennoy Market is one of the most historical and variegated markets in the city. Besides a wide range of household goods, the market offers fruits, vegetables, and fresh meat and dairy products from nearby farms.
Polyuostrovskiy Market: Where to Find Your Veggies and Pets
Metro Station: Ploshchad Lenina
A bit off the city center (but well worth a ride) is the Polyuostrovskiy Market. Previously known as Kondratyevsky, Polyuostrovskiy is famous for being the agricultural market of the city and indeed the only market where you can buy pets. Besides cats and dogs, you will be able to find a long list of exotic animals here – reptiles, fish, turtles, and hamsters, so it’s the perfect place to revise and extend your Russian animal vocabulary.
Useful sentences and vocabulary to survive your market tour:
Как это называется по-русски? = How is this called in Russian?
Сколько это стоит? = How much is it?
Это слишком дорого = That’s too expensive
Нет ли у Вас чего-нибудь подешевле? = Do you have anything cheaper?
Есть ли у Вас…? = Do you have any …?
Я только смотрю = I’m just browsing
Я беру это = I’ll take this
Я это куплю = I’ll buy this
Read our article if you want to go a step further and learn some useful expressions to bargain at a Russian flea market How To Bargain At Russian Flea Markets.
Photo credit cover: Marco Verch