Moscow’s oldest railway station (operating since 1851) Leningradsky Train Station is a beautiful building with a rich history. It is, however, still a train station – not the first thing on any tourist’s list of must-see places. Ideally, you would time your arrival to give you just enough time to make your Sapsan train, but sometimes you don’t have a choice – especially for tourists who’ve already checked out of their hotel and have nowhere else to go, or those stopping through on a connection who just need to bide the time before their next train. But in those cases, there are some family-friendly diversions available in the Leningradsky Station for you and your children to make the time pass faster.
Get a Bite to Eat
There are a set of restaurants on the second floor of the Sapsan Moscow train station, from casual dining like Subway, Sushi Planet and TGI Fridays (whose children’s’ menu has a number of options perfect for families looking to feed their kids before boarding) to more sophisticated fare like the Italian restaurant Il Patio and the European restaurant Hleb Nasushny. For an inexpensive option, you can also try the Express Buffet, which hosts a blend of Russian and European cuisine and offers both vegan and vegetarian options.
If you aren’t hungry enough for a pre-train lunch or dinner, check out the small cafes to be found on the first floor. Offering a simpler selection of snacks, pastries and beverages, they are a great choice for those that just want something light as they sit and relax while waiting for their train.
Spend Some Time Window Shopping
Fortunately for those left with time to pass before their Sapsan train departs, Leningradsky station has a few small shops located on the first floor like Julia Wow, offering a limited selection of hats and clothing, as well as handbags, luggage, jewelry, and other items for tourists. More importantly for those parents traveling with children, there is also a store called Magic Toys, a toy store where your little ones will be more than happy to pass the time (whether they’ll be happy to leave without a purchase is another story).
Let Your Kids Run Free at the Playground
Like all Moscow train stations, Leningradsky has a small playground on the second floor in the waiting hall. Here, you can spend time letting your children work out their boredom in the safe, padded play area. The area is also constructed from environmentally friendly materials, meaning you don’t have to worry about your children being exposed to unhealthy substances as they burn off steam. It’s a great way to spend time while you wait for your Sapsan train from Moscow to St. Petersburg.
Or Take Some Quiet Time with the Little One
There may be nothing more stressful than traveling with an infant or small toddler – especially when the bustle becomes overwhelming for them, or when their diapers need changing. Fortunately, Leningradsky Station has a special room just for parents traveling with a little one. Called the Mother and Child Room, it offers a few chairs and a TV so you can rest in a secluded area where your infant or toddler won’t be disturbed by the churn of passengers in the station – or vice versa. This room also has a display with the train schedule, so you don’t have to fret about missing your train.
Reach out to Loved Ones with Videovestochka
In Leningradsky Railroad Station, you will spot blue machines scattered around the station. These are for Videovestochka, a video recording service. Simply record your video messages, then send them off to your friends and family using a phone number or email address. You can send a single video to several recipients or pass the time making and sending any number of customized messages to different people back home.
Pass the Time with Your Own Devices
Leningradsky station offers free Wifi for travelers while they wait for their train. So, if you can’t find anything else in the station of interest you can always find a seat in one of the waiting halls and pull out your phone or tablet. It’s a good idea to bring along earbuds so that you – or the kids – can settle in and watch entertainment of your own choice to keep you occupied while you wait. Just don’t forget to keep one eye on the train schedule!
None one likes waiting at a station or airport. You should minimize your wait if you can by arriving with no more than a comfortable margin for your boarding – but if you can’t there are at least some options for families traveling through Leningradsky Station that can make the wait a little less unbearable. And take comfort in the precision of Russian trains – while they are almost never late, they do sometimes arrive early. So, your wait might not be as long as you fear – at least, not in the station.