What to Wear in Saint Petersburg in Winter

Cold months in Saint Petersburg Russia are December through March.  The temperatures generally range between mild 0C (32F) to crispy – 10C (14F).

While temperatures lower than -20C (-4F) are not that common, a few frosty days are very possible. 

The city is open to the winds from the Baltic Sea, it may get really cold, humid and windy during the winter months.

It may be  quite cloudy for the most of your stay.  Locals complain a lot about lack of sunshine during the winter months. 

You will most likely see some or a lot of snow.

What to Pack for Saint-Petersburg Russia in Winter

  1. A good down coat with a hood.  I would say, the hood is compulsory to protect you from snow, rain, and wind.  Choose a longer parka coat, that would cover your hips. 
  2. A hat, preferably a lined one, that will cover your ears.  If you haven’t packed one, you may get a Russian style shapka from one of many souvenir shops in Saint Petersburg. They mostly come made of artificial fur, but real fur can be found as well.  
  3. A good scarf.
  4. A good pair of thick gloves.
  5. A pair of waterproof boots with thick soles and a good grip.  Roads and sidewalks are often icy.  Nice leather shoes can be damaged with chemicals used for melting snow.  It is better to choose snow boots.
  6. I like to pack a light down vest and carry it around in my backpack.  It doesn’t take a lot of space, but saves me when it gets extra cold.
  7.  A pair of snow pants.  I find that on a particularly cold day, it is too cold to wear just jeans and snow pants were quite comfortable.
  8. Thermal underwear. 
  9. Warm socks.
  10. Something nice – like a blouse or a shirt or even a winter dress that you can wear to a theater or to a concert.  Russians like to dress up for their nights out.  There is a cloackroom in the theater where you will be able to leave your coat.
  11. Palm and foot warmers. If I plan to be outside for a long time, I stick them to my socks. They do work! 
Try to use layers as much as you can.  Since Russians like their indoor temperatures quite warm, it may be too warm for you in the metro, at theaters, museums and in the Russian houses.

What Do Russians Wear During the Winter?

Teenagers wouldn’t look anything different than the New Jersey teens

You may find that middle-aged Russians prefer dark colors in their winter wear.  If you want to blend in, choose something black and grey.  

Most people favour classic style as opposed to sporty looks in their everyday attire. A nice wool coat, tall boots for ladies and well-matched accessoires is what a middle class Russian would wear.

Many women love fur coats and fur hats.  They are a bit out of fashion among younger people though. 

High hills on ice and snow, Russian women have master the skill, however it is not recommended for inexperienced tourists.

Russian fur hat shapka is a bit of stereotype. Today, shapkas are more like a tourist attribute.

However, a traditional woolen shawl with colorful flowers are still in popular among Russian women.  I think they also make a great gift in case you plan to bring something back from Russia.