Having lived in Saint Petersburg for 5 years I’ve asked myself many times what I should buy as a gift for people at home. And people who visited the city often asked me what souvenirs to buy and where to buy them. And to be honest, I had some trouble answering this question. I had to think about it. I knew one thing for sure: all these souvenir shops in the center of the city overcharge you and don’t sell quality products (leaving aside some exceptions).
In my opinion the nicest thing to bring home from Saint Petersburg is something that was made in the city, of course something that has a story to it.
Good options are:
- Fashion From Local Designers
- Coffee mugs, with a nice print on them
- Designer post cards
- Markets for Craftsmen
- Attributes from FC Zenit
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How cool is it to wear your own designer clothes? Quite cool I think, but not something that most people are likely to be able to afford. In Saint Petersburg, however, local designers sell their clothes and accessories for reasonable prices. Here is to buying a souvenir that you will actually use!
Where To Buy Local Fashion
Address: Admiralteysky Canal Embankment, 2
New Holland Island, The Bottle, second floor (Google Maps)
At 8-store they specialise in minimalistic clothing from Russian designers. Have a look at their website, if you’re curious to know what that means.
Like 8-store, Freedom Store also sells clothes from different Russian designers. They have 2 stores, one in Saint Petersburg and one in Ekaterinburg.
Freedom store also has a webshop. There site is only in Russian though.
Mylnaya Belka is located in Loft Project Etazhi, which is a hub for hipsters and likeminded people in the center of Saint Petersburg. A great place to eat, drink and shop, if you like to support local entrepreneurship, instead of big business.
The self declared mission of Mylnaya Belka is to sell designer clothes at mainstream prices. Here they don’t exclusively sell Russian design, but rather an interesting blend of foreign and Russian design.
Like Mylnaya Belka, Otdel is also located at loft project Etazhi. The difference with the former is that at Otdel they sell clothes for men. A lot of skater clothes with prints on them inspired by Asian motives and artworks.
Usta k Ustam
Usta is the poetical word for mouth in Russian, so usta k ustam means mouth to mouth. At this monobrand women’s store, they sell beautiful bright clothes against sharp prices.
At Fligel Store they call themselves a “secret clothing store” that brings young designers together. They just sell clothes for women here.
Maker Designer Loft
Maker Designer Loft is a space with a nice view on the Field of Mars (Marsovo Pole In Russian). This nice green square that is named after Mars, the Roman god of war, is an oasis of quiet in this busy metropolis.
The artistic space at Maker Designer Loft houses not only a clothing store with Russian designer clothing, but also an art gallery, a flowershop and a beauty studio. Besides all that, they also have excellent coffee here.
They sell beautiful inspiring things here at good prices, but if you really want to find a bargain you should visit this place during their sales, when they take take up to 50% off the price! A great place to enter for some shopping when it starts to rain, as it often does in Saint Petersburg.
Luglook, Fashion In The North Of The City
Address: Ulitsa Baykonurskaya 14 (ground floor in Shopping Mall “Continent”, 10 minutes by foot from subway station Komendantsky Prospekt) and Planernaya Ulitsa, 59, Shopping Mall Monpasye (17 minutes by foot from subway station Komendantsky Prospekt)
Unlike the other places to buy clothes from local designers we mention in this article, luglook is located far outside of the center. But at Russialounge, we believe there is life outside of the city center too.
Luglook occupies a huge space, over 800 square meters. What’s really cool about this place is that there are actual designers working here. That’s right, you can see them working. And, if you like what you see, you can immediately buy it and take it home with you as a precious souvenir. In the evenings fashion shows and workshops are organized here. If you want to check whether an event that might interest you will take place soon it’s best to check their page on Vkontakte.
Coffee Mugs With A Print
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At some of the Bukvoed (Буквоед) bookstores they have a great collection of coffee mugs with motives from Saint Petersburg and Russian printed on them. What better way is there to remember your stay in Russia then to sip a nice cup of coffee or tea from such a beautiful mug when you’re back home? The widest selection of such coffee mugs with good prints on them that I have seen can be found at this Bukvoed store:
Address: Ligovsky Prospekt 10/118 (just near Vosstaniya Square)
They’re not cheap though, a mug will set you back about 500 rubles.
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Saint Petersburg is a very artistic city, it’s all around you in the city center. But how do you convey the city’s artistic talent to your friends and family at home?
Well, you could send them a postcard. The selection of postcards you can find in the city is really state of the art. For postcards I highly recommend you visit the Dom Knigi bookstore, as it has the best selection that I’m aware of, ranging from beautiful photos of the city’s architecture to photos of painting from the city’s museums to creative designs made by locals. And the Zinger Building, where Dom Knigi is located and the top floor of which also houses the Vkontakte headquarter is one of the city’s most gorgeous buildings.
Address: Nevsky Prospekt 28
If you’re the festival type of person and prefer to meet many different Russian craftsmen and have a look at their products you might want to visit craftsmen’s a fair. For a recent overview of craftmen’s fairs in the city, we recommend you check out kudago’s overview of fairs in Saint Petersburg. Unfortunately the overview is in Russian only. Drop me a line if you’re unsure what a particular fair is about, I’ll be happy to help.
The Biggest Handmade Festival
On 1-2 July an enormous festival with local craftsmen will take place in Saint Petersburg. If you happen to be in town during these days and you would like to see a lot of local craftsmen, this is your chance.
Attributes from FC Zenit
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According to some Zenit is the fifth most popular football club in Europe. And, while football is still stably the most popular sport in the world you might be able to make someone very happy with an original Zenit attribute.
If you want to visit a Zenit game yourself, which I recommend even if you’re not a huge football fan, I suggest you check out my blog post about how to buy a ticket for a Zenit home match.
But if you’re looking to buy items from FC Zenit, you should go to one of the official Zenit stores in the city center. Where these shops are located you can find on the club’s website.
The most famous Zenit store in the city is located on Nevsky Prospekt.
Address: Nevsky prospekt 20
On the website you can also find the items they sell, as well as the prices.
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There is no place in Russia, or maybe even in the world, with so many artists as Saint Petersburg. Talented people from all over Russia are attracted to come to Saint Petersburg by all the high quality art and beautiful architecture the city has to offer. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that prices for artworks in Russia are much lower than in most western countries.
There are several places to buy art in Saint Petersburg. One of them is on the street. Artists sell sights of the city on the street. People say that you be careful with buying art on the street. Sellers may claim they’re selling you an original work of art, whereas, in fact, it is mass production. The painting below I bought in front of the Catholic Church of St. Catherine on Nevsky prospekt.
There are also numerous webshops that sell local art in Saint Petersburg, as well as groups on social media, like for example this one here on Vkontakte, which is in Russian only but can give you a good impression of what’s for sale and for what price.
The more interesting and expensive art is, of course, not sold on the street, but in galleries.
DiDi Art Gallery focusses on art from Leningrad and Moscow from the second half of the 20th century. Have a look at their site to see exactly what that means.
Folk Gallery Mansarda Khudoznikov (Мансарда Художников)
Address: Bolshaya Pushkarskaya 10 (on Petrogradka island)
Mansarda was opened in 2001. At this Gallery they are focussed on modern art and they often organize exhibitions.
Cosmetics From Saint Petersburg
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Not many people know this, but during the Soviet period Saint Petersurg was famous for its cosmetics. Nowadays the only store in town that exclusively sells cosmetics from Saint Petersburg “Peterburgskaya Kosmetika”.
Some Local Brands of Cosmetics
Laboratorium is one of the Saint Petersburg brands of cosmetics that is popular. Their founder Maria Rumyantseva studied to be a lawyer, but discovered that she had very different talents as well. Their hit product is their ‘urgent rejuvenation cream’ (крем для срочного омоложения), which is quite popular among Russian women. A small tube of urgent rejuvenation cream should cost you 400-500 rubles, but that is just a small sacrifice for eternal youth, isn’t it? Also their ‘raspberry sugar scrub for sweet dreams’ (малиновый сахарный скраб для сладких грез) sells very well.
Another popular local brand of cosmetics is called ’11 utra’ (11 утра), which means ’11 am’ .
Here is their website.
According to their founders this time of the day is an hour that is particularly appreciated by citizens of Saint Petersburg, so much so that they wanted to be associated with this time.
At 11 they don’t just sell cosmetics, but also all kinds of small minimalistic design items. have a look at their website to see what I mean. Their globe-shaped homemade soaps look great and cost just 250 rubles. They don’t have a physical store at the moment though, so you either can arrange to meet them for free at subway station Devyatkino or send a courier to another point in the city.
A more traditional and less tongue-in-cheek example of a brand of cosmetics from Saint Petersburg is Nevskaya Kosmetika.
It’s noticeable this brand is still associated with Soviet times when companies were not looking to make a profit. A tube of their Almond Facial Cream will set you back just 51 rubles, that’s less than 1 US dollar! For this price you shouldn’t expect some super sexy packaging, you get just a rather plain tube, but with a great product in it. Nevskaya Kosmetika products are for sale at the above-mentioned store “Peterburgskaya Kosmetika”. Their products are also sold at big chain drug stores like Spektr (спектр), but we recommend you visit “Peterburgskaya Kosmetika”, as they offer the whole product line there and not just a few items.
Another locally famous brand, which is sold at the same store is Levrana Natural. As the name indicates, they just sell products with natural ingredients. The brand was founded in 2013 by a couple who after the birth of their daughter were looking for more ecological responsible products at reasonable prices. Since they were unable to find them, they decided to make their own.
Their whole line of products is guaranteed to be free of petrochemical products, harmful surfactants and animal products, neither are their products tested on animals. When these natural ingredients have a very Russian connotation, like for example their Polar Birch Tree Deodorant, this obviously makes for a great souvenir or gift, for a mere 300 rubles. The birch tree is considered to be the most Russian of all trees by the way.
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Now Vodka is probably not be the most original gift to bring home from Russia. It is however a gift that many people will appreciate. Now buying vodka is pretty common in Russia, so you don’t need to go to a special store for it. At a good supermartket, you will be able to find a large selection of different vodkas. Check out my blog post about supermarkets in Saint Petersburg if you want to know where to find a good supermarket.
You’ll probably be surprised with the wide range of vodka Russian supermarkets offer. The difference in price and quality is significant, but all of them are safe (products in Russia have to meet certain quality standards, as I described in my blog post about bottled water in Russia).
I hope you got some inspiration from this blog post to wonder off the beaten track in order to buy your gifts and souvenirs in Saint Petersburg outside of the souvenir shops around Nevsky Prospekt.
I’d be very curious to hear what you bought as a gift or souvenir in Saint Petersburg. Leave a comment below. Also if you have any questions, you can leave them in the comment below, we try to respond to them quickly.