As the winter snow melts and temperatures finally rise above freezing, St Petersburg emerges with newfound energy and optimism each spring. Residents surface from their seasonal hibernations and outdoor venues take down their shutters, casting a celebratory air over the city. Festivals and cultural events take place almost every week, featuring everything from St Petersburg Fashion Week and the International Ballet Festival to the highly anticipated Festival of Fountains. If you’re visiting the city this season, get in on the action with our guide to the best spring events in St Petersburg.
St Petersburg steps into the new season with a special festival dedicated to its most famous performance art, ballet. Major stars of the international ballet scene are set to perform on stage at Mariinsky Theatre alongside revered Russian talent for the 17th installment of the International Ballet Festival.
25th April 2019
A pivotal event for trend-conscious visitors, St Petersburg Fashion Week showcases the designs of established and up-and-coming designers from across the city, country and beyond. Grab a seat on the front row and watch as models sashay down the Alexandrinsky Theatre catwalk, clad in upcoming trends.
18th – 21st April 2019
One of the city’s quirkiest events, the Festival of Smelt celebrates the arrival of smelt season in Russia. Why this modest silvery fish has amassed such a following is uncertain, but regardless, this is the perfect time to try traditional smelt dishes across the city. The official smelt festival is held at the Lenexpo Exhibition Complex, where chefs and gourmands offer up their favourite regional recipes.
11th – 12th May 2019
Elagin Park is known for its tulips and each May it celebrates these colourful blooms with a dedicated Tulip Festival. Visitors to the picturesque grounds can discover over 90,000 tulips of around 90 varieties, including nominees for ‘best bloom’ – a heated competition between local florists.
18th – 19th May 2019
The annual Night of Museums sees galleries across the globe open overnight for one evening only. A great opportunity to see some of your favourite museums in a different light (and away from the crowds), more than 100 major venues across St Petersburg will be participating this year.
18th May 2019
The fountains of Peterhof are some of St Petersburg’s most famous attractions. When they’re officially re-opened in May, there’s an opening ceremony called Festival of Fountains where hundreds of people gather to watch each go ‘live’ to timed music and special effects.
18th May 2019
The International Stars of the White Nights Festival is one of Russia’s premier classical music events, taking place at Marrinsky Theatre and other major theatres and outdoor stages across the city. Over a 10-week period, visitors can enjoy a programme of performances by many of the world’s best classical performers. If you’re passionate about music, this is one of the best spring events in St Petersburg to attend.
23rd – 25th May 2019
An annual tradition since 1986, City Day celebrates the wonderful destination of St Petersburg and brings spring to a close in dramatic fashion. Soak up the atmosphere at concerts across the city, or join the crowds lining the streets to watch the colourful carnival parade, before a huge fireworks display at the Neva River bank lights up the night sky.