Lufthansa offers connecting flights from Washington Dulles to St. Petersburg with early May fares currently starting at $837 round trip.
Renaissance St. Petersburg Baltic Hotel
Pochtamtskaya Str. 4
Stylish hotel close to many sights, including the Hermitage and the Russian Museum. Rooms start at around $240.
39 Bolshaya Morskaya
One-hundred-year-old hotel on St. Isaac’s Square, the hotel of choice for the Romanov royals. Hitler planned to hold a victory party here after vanquishing the Soviet Union. Rooms from about $400.
Nevsky Prospekt 18
Formerly known as the Wolff and Beranger Cafe, around since the 1830s. One of poet Alexander Pushkin’s favorite restaurants, and reportedly the source of his last meal before his fatal duel. Meals about $25 per person.
A small Georgian restaurant on an island across the river from the Winter Palace. Take the hostess’s advice on what to eat, and plan to spend more than $100 for two. Cash only.
St. Petersburg tours
Our tour operator was Tatiana Alexandrova (011-7-812-302-0669; firstname.lastname@example.org). We negotiated our fee of $1,720 directly with her based on the sights we chose to see and the length of the tour. The fee covered logistics and guide, car and driver, admission to all sights, a hydrofoil and a river-and-canals boat ride. Tips and meals extra.
Tours may also be arranged through Vancouver-based Tours by Locals (866-844-6783; www.toursbylocals.com), which facilitates private tours worldwide.
Tsarskoye Selo (Catherine Palace)
7 Sadovaya St.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily except Tuesdays and the last Monday of the month. About $11; students about $5.40; children about $3.40.
Daily 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Mondays; entrance to the Grand Palace, about $15. Entrance to Marly Palace, about $5.
2 Dvortsovaya Square
Tuesday-Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday and public holidays 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. About $13.50; students and children free.
State Russian Museum
5/1 Millionnaya St.
Largest repository of Russian fine art in the city. Daily except Tuesday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; until 4 p.m. Mondays and the days before holidays. Tickets to museum complex about $20.