Taking a stroll through the city center, it is impossible to walk past Vladivostok’s Arbat – the so-called pedestrian section of Admiral Fokin Street – as it is one of the favorite places of Vladivostok residents and tourists alike. In the nineties, due to the many kiosks and stalls selling cheap Chinese consumer goods there, the street was dubbed simply "Commercial" or “Shopping Street.”
However, in the new century, it transformed; the atmosphere itself changed on the street – which descends directly to the sea, into the Sports Harbor. Sparkling fountains, distinctive raised garden beds, and convenient benches appeared. The historic buildings along the street house cozy cafes, trendy shops, and budget hostels.
The Arbat has already established its own traditions: friends get together here; business meetings are conducted and romantic rendezvous take place. In the summer, there are often street performers, and the interior courtyards of “Millionka” – the preserved environs of the early 20th century Chinatown – surely attract fans of historical arcana and oriental exoticism.
Going further down the Arbat will bring you directly onto the “Sport Harbor” Promenade. It is quite possible to dedicate a few hours taking a leisurely walk through this area. The central city beach, a marina with sailboats, the sea breeze, and the outline of Sandy Cape on the other side of the bay – are all there at your disposal.
Strolling along the shore, you can get your portrait done by one of Vladivostok’s remarkable artists, who will complete it literally within thirty minutes. Be sure to keep your eye out for "Tiger Alley" – where on thirteen stone tiles tiger tracks are depicted and the names are written of the countries where these rare cats currently live. The presence of such an alley makes complete sense given that Primorye is Amur (Siberian) Tiger country.
If you are traveling with children, check out the amusement park. There is a carousel and bumping cars for kids, as well as a Ferris wheel that offers a beautiful view of the harbor and downtown. Looking out at Vladivostok from on high, you will see for yourself how hills grace the landscape that this city is spread across.
Just a few steps away from the waterfront is the aquarium (oceanarium) where two exhibition halls are located. (In the first) displayed in glass cases, are collections of seashells, corals, sponges, fish, and a variety of marine animals. In the large round hall, inhabitants of Far Eastern freshwater reservoirs, Peter the Great Bay, and tropical seas are apportioned in thirteen aquaria. In four cold-water aquariums, denizens of the Seas of Japan and Okhotsk are distributed.
To the left of the Oceanarium begins a sweeping staircase that leads to the Vladivostok Fortress Museum. This unique historical site will be intriguing to anyone interested in the naval history of the Russian Far East. The museum also contains a rare collection of bricks produced in Primorskiy factories in the early 20th century.
After a long walk in the fresh sea air, being hungry would be no wonder. Well guess what? Right on the roof of the oceanarium is an outdoor cafe overlooking the sea. The menu, of course, has seafood delicacies and Primorskiy gastronomic specialties.
You could finish this essentially maritime walk here on the waterfront - sitting in a cafe, or just on the pier watching the sunset. Or … you could venture farther down Batareynaya Street, turn off on Pogranichniy, and wind up in Sister Cities Square where they have installed a row of eleven marble arches and written on each, in Russian and English, the name of one of Vladivostok’s twin cities. You can also use Wi-Fi there for free.
The walls of the buildings surrounding this square became a platform for the works of world-famous graffiti artists. In 2013, American Gabriel Spector depicted a DNA molecule as a symbol of the connection among all people on Earth. Japanese artist Yuma created black and white graffiti with the words "Underwater Party." And New York painter Gaia drew a bright tiger on the wall, protected by human hands. Adjacent to the square is the bar "Mumiy Troll" – definitely go in there if you want to hear music with great club sound. The cuisine here, by the way, is multinational.
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