The Summer Garden (Летний сад) is the oldest garden in St. Petersburg, Russia, and dates back to 1704, when Peter the Great established his summer residence there and is said to have personally designed the garden, with additional planting and elaboration 1712-1719.
Prior posts from our most recent stay in St. Petersburg include:
Getting to the Summer Garden and Hours
The Summer Garden is located north of Nevsky Prospect, where the Fontanka River intersects with the Moika River. The closest metro station, Gostiny Dvor, is about a 20-25 minute walk away. Walk north up Sadovaya Street, passing the Mikhailovsky Garden on your left. The Summer Garden is open daily 10am-9pm in the summer. In the winter, the garden closes at 7:30pm and is closed on Tuesdays.
Summer Garden Fountains
If you've been to Peterhof, you already know of Peter the Great's fondness for fountains. While the Summer Garden fountains aren't as elaborate, they still serve as focal points among the walks, often with surrounding marble sculptures and seating to enjoy the fountain.
The Crowning Fountain, accented with gold, is the centerpiece of the Grand Parterre, with its ornamental lawn:
There are also other aspects of the garden to explore, such as this pretty and shady arbor:
In the summer, many locals enjoy the free Sunday concert series, which usually starts at 4pm. The orchestra played a variety of music, including some popular tunes, but here's one with a distinctly Russian flair that adults and kids alike joined in to clap and dance to:
Summer Garden Refreshment
There's a a Tea House, although we didn't try it, having had a late lunch. Instead, we stopped by one of the several Movenpick ice cream stands and enjoyed some ice cream and sorbet.
The Summer Garden in St. Petersburg is a popular local haunt, but you'll escape much of the tourist traffic on Nevsky Prospect and at The Hermitage and other St. Petersburg attractions, since the garden is a bit off the beaten track. Likewise, you won't see the crowds you see at Peterhof, although of course the Summer Garden is also considerably smaller. I recommend visiting on a Sunday afternoon in summer, if the weather's nice, to catch one of the free summer concerts, then to wander the paths, punctuated by fountains, with a break for ice cream. The one thing to note is that the bathroom lines can be long, but otherwise the Summer Garden is a lovely and shady respite from often warm and humid summer days in St. Petersburg.
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