Writing Forward

12 Nature-Inspired Creative Writing Prompts

by Melissa Donovan | Feb 20, 2018 | Creative Writing Prompts | 14 comments

creative writing prompts

Nature inspires, and so do these creative writing prompts.

Today’s post includes a selection of prompts from my book, 1200 Creative Writing Prompts . Enjoy!

Creative writing prompts are excellent tools for writers who are feeling uninspired or who simply want to tackle a new writing challenge. Today’s creative writing prompts focus on nature.

For centuries, writers have been composing poems that celebrate nature, stories that explore it, and essays that analyze it.

Nature is a huge source of inspiration for all creative people. You can find it heavily featured in film, television, art, and music.

Creative Writing Prompts

You can use these creative writing prompts in any way you choose. Sketch a scene, write a poem, draft a story, or compose an essay. The purpose of these prompts is to inspire you, so take the images they bring to your mind and run with them. And have fun!

  • A young girl and her mother walk to the edge of a field, kneel down in the grass, and plant a tree.
  • The protagonist wakes up in a seemingly endless field of wildflowers in full bloom with no idea how he or she got there.
  • Write a piece using the following image: a smashed flower on the sidewalk.
  • A family of five from a large, urban city decides to spend their one-week vacation camping.
  • An elderly couple traveling through the desert spend an evening stargazing and sharing memories of their lives.
  • A woman is working in her garden when she discovers an unusual egg.
  • Write a piece using the following image: a clearing deep in the woods where sunlight filters through the overhead lattice of tree leaves.
  • Some people are hiking in the woods when they are suddenly surrounded by hundreds of butterflies.
  • A person who lives in a metropolitan apartment connects with nature through the birds that come to the window.
  • Write a piece using the following image: an owl soaring through the night sky.
  • A well-to-do family from the city that has lost all their wealth except an old, run-down farmhouse in the country. They are forced to move into it and learn to live humbly.
  • Two adolescents, a sister and brother, are visiting their relatives’ farm and witness a sow giving birth.

Again, you can use these creative writing prompts to write anything at — poems, stories, songs, essays, blog posts, or just sit down and start freewriting.

Creative Writing Prompts



lovely prompts… really simple line or two that just strikes up imagery and let you freestyle all over it. Nice one

Melissa Donovan

Thanks, Rory!


thanks for the good ideas good short story for someone in grade 8


Thanks. I just read through your list of prompts and got flashes of either beginnings or endings for stories from every one. I’ve not seen prmopts like these much on the web, so well done. Such a simple idea with so much power and potential. If only I had the day off to get cracking!

I love to create and use writing prompts, and I’m glad you found these to be useful. Thanks!


Hello. Supernatural or magic realism is pretty much all I write. I’ve got a prompt. ‘A young teenager is walking home during a storm and ends up getting struck by lightning. The next day they wake up to find that the accident turned them into an inhuman being.’ I’ve heard of this type of scenario before and I thought it would make for a great story. I love creating my own ideas of course but writing prompts are just fun challenge myself with and see what I can create out of already given ideas. I really like the prompts you give. As I said they are enjoyable to mess around with.

Thanks for sharing your prompt, Kristen. I agree that prompts are fun and can be challenging. I’m glad you like these. Keep writing!

Jennifa Neuman

#7 Woodland Clearing

Winter trees screen blue and sunny skies, Intense but icy light the heat belies. Spikey, naked, dormant maids and men Wait for the earth to turn around again.

And bring the warmth that touches every thread Of bark and twigs and all that acted dead Until the full-blown leaves create a wall Shortening the view until late fall

When sun and clouds break through the limbs again And show clear-cut those lacey maids and men Black for a time against the coldest air While waiting for the Spring to deck them fair

With leaves that seem to turn the world to green Creating hidden meadows only seen By animals and birds and mist and rains. For ages before calendars and trains.

Humanity intrudes in such a place And fools themselves that they have found a space Where they belong beneath the patchy light To rip and tear and exercise their might.

For meadow edges have no need to stand Between the woods and grassy, open land Where bugs and bears and buntings feel the sun. ‘Till people think they do what must be done.

April 27, 2019

Hi Jennifa. Thanks for sharing your lovely poem here.

Darla S

That is a stunningly good poem, Jennifa. Far more worthy than just an obscure comment thread here. I hope you found a home for it where more eyes will see it. If you are published anywhere, I’d love to find out.


Wow. These are truly amazing prompts! Just a few lines of inspiration and now my mind is filled with creativity. Please come up with more! <3

You’ll find plenty more in the Writing Prompts Writing Prompts section of the Blog menu.


these are really helpful

Thanks, Flo! I’m glad you found them helpful.


  • Readers & Writers United (wk 46 2010 overview) « Elsie Stills - [...] 12 Nature-Inspired Creative Writing Prompts (Stories – Tuesday 16 Nov.) [...]
  • Writing Prompts: 37 Places to Find Them When You Need Inspiration - […] 12. 12 Nature-Inspired Creative Writing Prompts […]
  • Here are three inspirational activities to elevate a writer's creativity - Judy Kundert - […] get an idea of how nature can inspire your creativity, try these Nature-Inspired Creative Writing Prompts from these 12…

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19,890 quotes, descriptions and writing prompts, 4,964 themes

Trees - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing

  • an apple tree
  • being outdoorsy
  • cherry tree
  • conservation
  • eucalyptus tree
  • evergreen trees
  • green leaves
  • old growth forest
  • rainforest plants
  • temperate rainforest
  • transpiration
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The trees sang their greens as if they were a choir in that cathedral of summery blue.
A chorus of greens dance in a celebratory wind, each of them ever ignited by sunlight.
A jocund congregation of green waved in fragranced breeze, the lyrics of the trees, an ancient whispered song, sung for each passing soul.
Trees with ancient white-gold boughs reach ever upward in all weathers.
Trees of sunlit caramel hues, infused with serene and earthy tones, adorn the rising hill and spread their great arms heavenward.
The trees send their green glow into the ether, their calming perfume, their oxygen enriched air. How their roots spread into an embrace of the earth and their branches ever upward, embracing the heavens.
The Green Man is the guardian of the trees, we speak of him in so many cultures, the one who protects creation, who sees the wisdom in the cycle of living from death to rebirth.
Ever as I age, my pure child self sits safe and sound in the boughs of the trees.
Deep roots taking cool water drafts, strong branches reaching into creation's community, the trees make a mockery of clocks that tick and instead invite the eye and soul to feel their sense of the expanded moment, to take root and reach as they do.

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creative writing for trees

Ancient Trees – Writing prompts and Resources

In ancient trees , Folklore , Oak Apple Day , Owain Glyndwr , Pitchford Hall , Uncategorised by Kateinnes_123.@hW 22nd May 2020

Ancient Trees Resource Pack : to be used in conjunction with the video on the Facebook Folk Community Group site https://tinyurl.com/y7yps43s

Description: Macintosh HD:Users:mkinnes:Desktop:Shelton_oak by david parkes early19th cent.jpg

The Shelton Oak  by David Parkes – 19 th  century

creative writing for trees

Fairy Folk by an old gnarled tree  – by Arthur Rackham

Arthur Rackham, illustrator, paid very close attention to trees in his work, glorying in their detail and character. 

Examples of writing about ancient oaks, other trees, and living and seeking shelter in them:

My Side of the Mountain – by Jean Craighead George

“I am on my mountain in a tree home that people have passed without ever knowing that I am here. The house is a hemlock tree six feet in diameter, and must be as old as the mountain itself. I cam upon it last summer and dug and burned it out until I made a snug cave in the tree that I now call home.

         My bed is on the right as you enter, and is made of ash slats and covered with deerskin. On the left is a small fireplace about knee high. It is of clay and stones. It has a chimney that leads the smoke out through a knothole. I chipped out three other knotholes to let fresh air in. The air coming in is bitter cold. It must be zero outside, and yet I can sit here inside my tree and write with bare hands. The fire is small, too. It doesn’t take much fire to warm this tree room.”

An extract from In the Tree House at Night – by James L Dickey

a beautiful, eerie poem in which the tree becomes a link between earthly life and the life beyond.

creative writing for trees

For complete poem:


THE OAK by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Live thy Life, Young and old, Like yon oak, Bright in spring, Living gold;

Summer-rich Then; and then Autumn-changed Soberer-hued Gold again.

All his leaves Fall’n at length, Look, he stands, Trunk and bough Naked strength. 

Dendrochronology (written about the Acton Round Oak)

by Kate Innes

creative writing for trees

Mary Webb –  a Shropshire writer and folklorist – 

From a description of  Hazel Woodus in  Gone to Earth

“Her passion, no less intense, was for freedom, for the wood-track, for green places where soft feet scudded and eager eyes peered out and adventurous lives were lived up in the tree-tops, down in the moss.”

From ‘The Joy of Fragrance’ in  The Spring of Joy  by Mary Webb 1917

‘A little wood I know has in May among its oaks and beeches many white pillars of gean trees, each with its own air round it. At long intervals a large, soft flower wanders down, vaguely honeyed, mixing its breath with the savour of sphagnum moss, and resting among the wood-sorrel. The wood-pigeons speak of love together in their deep voices, unashamed, too sensuous to be anything but pure. Among the enchanted pillars, on the carpet of pale sorrel, with a single flower cool in the hand, one is in the very throne-room of white light. A little farther on the air is musky from the crowded minarets of the horse chestnut – white marble splashed with rose – where the bumble bee drones.’

The Mary Webb Society notes that: 

“Mary Webb’s love and intimate knowledge of the county permeates all her work. She had an extraordinary perception of the minutiae of nature, and it is this keen observation that gives her prose its unique quality. In her introduction to  Precious Bane  she writes ’ Shropshire is a county where the dignity of ancient things lingers long, and I have been fortunate not only in being born and brought up in its magical atmosphere, and in having many friends in farm and cottage who, by pleasant talk and reminiscence have fired the imagination, but also in having the companionship of such a mind as was my father’s- a mind stored with old tales and legends that did not come from books, and rich with an abiding love for the beauty of forest and harvest field…’  “

More information about ancient trees and tree houses:

More information about the Shelton Oak, including photographs:


The Ancient Tree Forum finds the Bull Oak – a boundary tree and a shelter for a bull for years


Clip from BBC programme about the eccentric occupant of the Pitchford treehouse in the 1940’s:


Off topic but fascinating – Pitchford Ghosts by Caroline Colthurst:


Ancient Tree Folklore Writing Prompts:

Choose any or all of these ideas to start writing about the tree as a location or as a character or its importance to you.

1. You are climbing a tree – where are you? What does it feel like? What sounds do you hear? How does it feel as you make your way up? 

2. You are living in a tree house – describe that – how is it constructed and who is welcome to visit you?

3. You are living inside a hollow tree – describe your living quarters, describe how it sounds and what it feels like to live there 

4. You meet the spirit of the tree – describe the spirit – how do he/she feel about your incursion into its domain? Do you have a conversation? 

5. Write a fairy tale about someone who climbs a tree to escape from danger, and finds more than they expected!

6. Write a story told with the voice of the tree – perhaps the Royal Oak – or another tree that has seen incredible adventures of mice and men. Or write a story about a creatures living ‘adventurous lives’ in the treetops.

Prepared by Kate Innes – Author of ‘The Errant Hours’ and other adventures

@KateInnes2  @kateinneswriter


[email protected]

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Helping writers become bestselling authors

Setting Thesaurus Entry: Woods at Night

March 5, 2011 by BECCA PUGLISI

There is a forest entry already, but I think that at night the woods can be an entirely different setting, full of mystery and sometimes fear. I figured it deserved its own entry! Notice how other senses are utilized more so than sight–an unusual occurrence.

creative writing for trees

Dark tree trunks, shadows, overhanging limbs across the path seen at the last second, clumps of bushes, barely visible black trails snaking through the undergrowth, moon shining through a lattice of leaves, patchy sky & stars seen in glimpses through tree breaks, tall shadowed pines stretching up like arrows into the sky, streaks of cloud against the…

Wind slipping through leaves, cracking undergrowth with each step, creaking tree trunks, the flutter of wings unseen, snapping twigs, grass and weed sliding against pant legs, breathing sounds, coyote calls, fox yipping, wolves howling (if within location), snarls, padding feet along a trail, a grunt of pain at catching a root or tripping on dead fall, a rip of…

Rich earth, rotting leaves, pine needles, fresh air, a slight scent of flowers, earthy fungus, tree sap, wild animal musk (if close), possibly the spray of a skunk (if around), green growing things (spring & summer), moss

Sweat on lips, dryness in throat, sometimes a cold metallic tang if lots of stone is present

Cobwebs in face, cold, dewy leaves sliding across skin, slipping on wet leaves and mushrooms, tripping on bumpy roots, stones, dead fall, thorns scratching skin, scrapes and cuts on hands from falling in the dark, pine needles embedded in skin during fall, twisting and jerking at every unfamiliar sound, holding hands out to ward off unseen obstacles like tree…

Helpful hints:

–Think about the conflict that might be present in your setting.

Your character’s emotions will be on high alert at night because their visibility is low, making it a great time to insert conflict. This Conflict Scenario Database is loaded with ideas to help you.

–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:  Devin dove behind a wide cedar trunk just off the trail. Heart slamming against his ribs, he gulped at the air, trying to slow his breathing enough to hear. Back in the shadows, branches thrashed and snapped as Valio growled sharp orders to his men. Sunset had finally drained out of the sky overhead, sheathing the woods in shadow. Devin pressed his face against the bark, the ridges biting into his skin, and tried to become one with the tree…

–Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)  Eileen worked her way along the narrow trail, leaves sliding across her bare forearms like wet tongues…


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers —a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.

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Reader Interactions

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May 1, 2020 at 8:45 am

This is my new account! Thanks for all your kind replies! 🙂

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March 11, 2020 at 3:32 pm

if anyone could help me with how to describe palaces and castles, please comment me back.

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March 11, 2020 at 4:24 pm

HI Kit, You can find information on Castles and other fantasy settings at our site, One Stop for Writers: https://onestopforwriters.com/scene_settings

Happy writing! ~angela

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December 27, 2019 at 8:16 am

this has just made me re think and re write my whole stroy thank you this really helps

May 1, 2020 at 8:43 am

happy to help!

P.S. I’m Angela, this is just a new account! 🙂

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July 13, 2017 at 2:55 pm

I would take that fear away from you Laura. Having spend my childhood surrounded by woods on the hills and shore of Cayuga Lake I have spent time in the woods alone at night. It is the imagination and the untrained ear that brings fear into the equation. Shadows unseen during the day become magical at night. All the nocturnal animals want nothing to do with you.

May 1, 2020 at 8:44 am

Thank you so much for your kind reply. Happy to help you always!

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December 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm

I do not think I would be walking around the woods at night.

December 6, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Just came across this one and I have to say, it really helped me with a scene I was struggling with. Thank you so much!

March 9, 2011 at 9:15 am

I think the dark tree trunks description sums it up for me. Creepy and suspenseful. This will help me loads in my continued search for publication and getting my story just right.

March 7, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I totally agree, Ralfast. I was just talking about this the other day with my kids, that if they really wanted to see what it would be like at night they would have to go far, far out into the country, beyond all light pollution and population.

March 7, 2011 at 1:15 pm

What makes forest so frightening for the modern viewer/reader is the near total darkness. We are so used to having sources of light 24/7 that our mind panics when we lack it.

March 6, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I love the woods and only a few times have I experienced them at night. It can be a beautiful-creepy feeling.

March 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Great–I’m so glad this one helps. So many great stories have night scenes that take place in a forest or wooded area. I think this is a setting that naturally creates tension.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend!

March 6, 2011 at 2:23 am

Ooooh, just thinking about the woods at night gives me the willies. You nailed it!

March 5, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Very timely. Might be needing this for my wip!Thanks!

March 5, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Loved this post! I just recently started reading this blog, and it has helped me to totally rethink how I’m going to write! Thanks!

March 5, 2011 at 11:25 am

Just wrote a scene involving the woods at night. You are right, they definitely deserve their own entry!

March 5, 2011 at 11:08 am

This totally makes me want to go write a fairy tale. =)

March 5, 2011 at 10:46 am

The woods are lovely dark and deep but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep….

March 5, 2011 at 8:58 am

Walking through the woods at night is definitely different than during the day! I don’t think you could pay me to walk through the woods at night!

[…] Does your setting take place at night? Check out this similar Entry: WOODS AT NIGHT […]

[…] beautiful Brothers Grimm-inspired gallery of forest photographs. And if you get stuck, check out Writing Helping Writers’ “Forest Thesaurus” for even more […]

[…] hushed voices and whispers, muffled footsteps, your own heartbeat. Also, see the setting entry Woods at Night. EMOTIONAL TRIGGERS: Mood: Falling stars happen so quickly; to catch sight of one makes the […]

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Trees: Be Specific When You Describe

Trees: Be Specific When You Describe


Let’s talk about trees.

Something interesting just happened to you. Right now. This moment.

When you read “trees,” an image of a tree or trees popped into your head. What was it?

When you write to describe something, you want to be specific. You DON’T want to write like this: “An animal darted in front of our car.”

Why not? After all, darted is a vivid verb that describes movement. That’s a good way to write—using vivid verbs.

Middle School Writing Prompt -- Trees. Animals. Cars. It doesn't matter. If you are not specific, your readers will not "see" what you are writing about. Learn how to be specific here!

Which Animal?

Here’s where that sentence is weak: The word animal is not specific and will not give your readers any idea of what kind of animal you are writing about. Was it a cougar? A snake? A squirrel? An elk? Furry? Striped? Antlered? Winged?

When writers are not specific, readers have no image in their heads of what is going on. They cannot “see” the story.

The same thing is true with trees or really anything you are going to describe.

Sometimes, all you need is one or two words (adjectives or verbs). Is the woman tall ? Is the baby bald and chunky ? Does the garbage reek of rotted fish ? Is the meadow dotted with happy, yellow flowers? Does the wind whisper or does it shout ?

Now it’s your turn: Write two sentences to describe a tree. Let your readers get a specific idea in their heads about what kind of tree you are writing about. Give it some character, as well, in your description. Is it gnarled? Black-barked? Towering?

Do you enjoy the tree? Is it scary? Let readers know how they should feel about the tree, as well, by the words you use to describe it.

Be specific.

A version of this prompt was first posted on SchoolhouseTeachers.com . You can go directly to SchoolhouseTeachers.com to sign up and take advantage of many exciting courses written for grades K-12. This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

Teachers, connect with Sharon on Facebook or Pinterest !


Frustrated that your students don’t finish an essay or don’t know the steps to complete one? Worry no more! Click here for my latest article in The Informer about a super-practical writing schedule you WILL use!


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Writing Through the Wisdom of Trees

creative writing for trees

Writing Through The Wisdom Of Trees by Jackee Holder  is inspired by the rich metaphoric narratives embodied in tree mythology and the nature of human relationships with trees.

In this self-guided, 7 lesson course, that you can enjoy at your own pace…  you will discover how to use nature prompts to gain greater insight and awareness into who you are.

Through Jackee Holder’s creative Tree Essays and teachings, you will be introduced to the metaphors and teachings of 5 types of trees including the Oak, Tamarind, Baobab, Beech and Apple trees.  The Inner Nature Writing Prompts included throughout this course are sure to inspire you, your writing and your meaningful relationship with the trees and nature in your life.

BUY NOW and begin your own unique journey with Writing Through the Wisdom of Trees .  You will be so happy you did.

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$ 127.00

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  • Course Info
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Writing Through the Wisdom of Trees by Jackee Holder

Drawing on the rich metaphorical landscape of earth’s wisdom and nature, this course will connect you to the ecological, therapeutic and botanical benefits of trees through exploring personal tree narratives. Discover the many hidden social, cultural and historical archives of trees past and present through guided journaling and creative memoir writing.

Is this course for you?

  • Are you feeling sluggish? A bit stuck?
  • Need to shake up your energy?
  • Are you in need of some new perspectives for your  journal writing and ways of connecting with yourself?
  • Are you seeking ways to creatively connect more with nature? Get outside?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, this course is especially for you!

Writing Through The Wisdom Of Trees is inspired by the rich metaphoric narratives embodied in tree mythology and the nature of human relationships with trees. Discover how to use nature prompts to gain greater insight and awareness into who you are. It makes sense that if spending time in nature, woods or forests or even looking at a view of a collection of trees can reduce stress and carries a host of health benefits, then it is likely we can transfer these benefits to when we are writing about and thinking about our relationships, with ourselves, trees, nature and the wider world.

We are more tree than we could ever imagine. Trees breathe in the carbon dioxide in the air we breathe out and transform it into the vital oxygen we humans need to breathe in. We need trees. Trees can survive without us but we on the other hand cannot survive without them.

Course Outline

Whether you are a nature lover or not, this self guided course offers writing prompts that will guide you towards more meaningful insights and deeper personal reflection. Once you have completed the Prepare section, each lesson (which you can do weekly or at your own desired pace) opens with a new tree, five in total .  Lastly, the Ending and Reflections section offers a final place to record your reflective prose.

There is a flow and accumulated benefit if you follow the lessons sequentially.  Each lesson includes a related essay followed by a collection of nature themed journal prompts. This course will remind you that wherever you unearth a memory from your past, in your writing or your thoughts, a tree will be there somewhere in the background marking the moment quietly and silently.

The essays and prompts offer a reflective place for personal contemplation in your journal or whilst out walking in nature, drawing on the strong metaphors and stories associated with nature and trees. The writing prompts and suggested exercises have been crafted to explore the worlds of both your outer and inner nature. The five lessons will explore the Oak, Tamarind, Baobab, Beech and Apple trees.

This is a self-study course and does not have a specific start date. You have immediate access to the course at the time of purchase.

What to expect during Writing Through the Wisdom of Trees:   While you have access to the entire course immediately, it is recommended you take your time to work through Prepare , then five lessons and then Endings and Reflections , savouring them as if you were out walking in a green space or the woods or the forest. You will know what pace is right for you. Our suggestion is you work with one essay for one week eventually working your way through the five essays.

What will you learn : Offering a more nature-focused source for your inner exploration, this course offers you ways to access a deeper connectedness that seems wanting in the world today.

Learn to reconnect with earlier and current relationships with nature, drawing on your past interactions with nature even if it feels like there is very little to write about.

Be inspired through the essay and journal prompts to discover how you can personally expand your relationship with nature going forward so you can reap from the many benefits nature offers writers creatively, psychologically and physically. This course will strengthen and naturally grow your emotional and physical health and well being.

This course is for you if you are…

  • longing to start or deepen your journal writing.
  • wishing to explore your intuition, tap into your inspiration, and spark your creativity.
  • seeking new ways into your own process; be it creativity, tuning into your inner voice, or curiosity about who you are!

Writing Through the Wisdom of Trees will offer you a unique guide to invite the natural world into your writing, while inviting you into the natural world.

What you will need: Your curiosity and a notebook/journal to travel with you, literally and metaphorically during this course.  To write on paper offers a visceral connection to your writing, and nature, that may be lost in our digital world.

“(Trees) … watch over us, hold our stories and as you will discover even our secrets.”   Jackee Holder

About Jackee Holder, Course Author

Jackee Holder is a Londoner by birth and residence. She enjoys exploring the urban landscapes and green spaces of the urban city she fondly calls home. A regular walker she writes and teaches about the restorative benefits of walking and writing. Jackee appreciates the diverse forest of street trees that inhabit the city which became the world’s first national park city in 2019 hosting an impressive forty-seven percent green space. The diversity of the population of the city of London is mirrored across London through its rich tree heritage. I like to take the trees I know and love into my writing as they help me tell and shape the stories of my life.

Jackee is a long-time journal writer and hard wired reflective practitioner who enjoys engaging creatively and intuitively with outer and inner landscapes. Jackee is the author of four non-fiction titles including the illustrated Writing With Fabulous Trees – a writing map for parks, gardens and other green spaces and 49 Ways To Write Yourself Well . She holds a Masters in Creative Writing & Personal Development and Post Graduate Diploma (PGDip) in Psychosynthesis Counselling. She works as a professional business coach and leadership trainer. Jackee is delighted to be an IAJW Council Member.

Jackee Holder

Jackee Holder

Jackee has been an advocate and champion of journal writing for over thirty years. From her early origins of journal writing as a young woman, her journal writing has developed into a practice that supports her emotional, creative and psychological well-being. Jackee incorporates writing for well-being in her personal life as well as in her work as a coach and coach supervisor and in facilitation of creative writing workshops and retreats. She is the founder of Paper Therapy, an online creative journal writing class. Jackee champions the art of reflection as a tool for transformation and growth for individuals and organizations. Jackee enjoys reading fiction and non-fiction books as well as writing and research around writing wellness. She is excited about her new role in working with the board to share the many therapeutic benefits of journal writing with a wider audience worldwide.

Jackee loves writing and is the author of Soul Purpose , Be Your Best Life Coach , 49 Ways To Write Yourself Well (2013) , The Journal Journey Guidebook (2014) and 52 Quotes To Inspire Your Inner Writer (2015) , Writing With Fabulous Trees Writing Map (2016), and has been a contributing writer to several books and articles. Her work has been featured in Psychologies and Red Magazines and she was part of the successful Twinings Tea Take Ten campaign (2011) in partnership with Red and Psychologies magazines.

Jackee writes almost every day and is a prolific journal writer. When Jackee is not delivering coaching in businesses or organisations, she’s busy running courses and retreats, teaching her online journal writing course, Paper Therapy, and writing e-books for writers and creative entrepreneurs. She supports writers in one-to-one coaching and mentoring.

Jackee’s skill as a conference host and workshop facilitator has taken her across the globe. She’s delivered workshops and retreats in several US locations and the Caribbean and was a presenter at the Emerging Women conference in October 2015 in San Francisco. She’s co-chaired a number of the Spirit Of Coaching events including Whitmore at the Brahma Kumaris in London and Oxford, and can be booked as a facilitative host or keynote speaker for your events, conferences and seminars.

When Jackee is not engaged in her corporate and public work, she loves curling up and reading a good non-fiction book or getting lost in a feel-good movie. When she has time, she loves to get out into nature, walking, admiring the trees and feeling the wind on her face. She loves libraries and bookshops and learning the odd poem or two by heart .

Jackee loves training coaches and offering one-on-one and team coaching. She really enjoys her work supporting writers and creative entrepreneurs.

"Jackee Holder was my coach whilst I was writing my book, Nature's Way, published January 2020. Without Jackee's input I don’t think I would have made it  to publication. The road of a writer is mainly solitary and it is all too easy to fall prey to the inner critic and other distractions. Jackee's support meant that I had to re-examine my value proposition, settle into the creativity I knew I had but so easily drifted away from. She helped me focus on meaningful and chunky goals that took me from stage 1 of 'can I do this?’ to getting ready to publish and beyond. Always supportive, impeccable with her words, she enabled me to define, refine and stay in integrity with my own process in a very meaningful way. This amazingly talented  woman helps others find their voice on the page. And I am very fortunate to have had her guidance along my creative journey."

Karyn Prentice,  Author of Nature's Way: Designing the life you want you through the lens of nature and the five seasons.

"I have been walking quietly into the woods with Jackee for several years now. She has accompanied me as I’ve discovered my writing voice, sitting quietly with me, gently nudging me to trust my own writing process and to let the words flow. She is patient and insistent at the same time. She resists my excuses and my self judgments and signals to my creative soul that she is welcome. She is both nurturing and shaping. She shares her own writing insights and experiences and offers support, challenge, notepads, luggage tags and allsorts of tools, metaphorical and practical to support the writing process. Thanks to Jackee, I publish a monthly newsletter and have enough material for my first book. Daily writing is an embedded practice and I am daring to be visible through my work because she is by my side. Her appreciation, understanding and knowledge about trees and nature serve to firmly root her and whoever works with her in the context of the natural world which is a source of flowing wisdom and inspiration. She will change your life."

Sandra Hilton,  Psychotherapist and Coach, Author of the Soul Notes Newsletter

"Employing Jackee Holder to coach my writing practice changed my perspective on myself and my writing. Until then I would never have had the audacity to call myself a writer, but with her nurturing and support I have since published several pieces of my writing and put the title of “writer” in my biography professionally. Her style is direct, challenging and encouraging. I can honestly say that hiring her to be my coach is one of the best personal development steps I have taken for my personal as well as professional life."

Deena Gornick , Executive Coach, Deena Gornick Executive Coaching Ltd.

"Jackee Holder’s work on gaining an inner view through engaging with the outer world is thought provoking, engaging and enlightening. She illuminates the knowledge, that is around us, and introduces us to what we didn’t know we needed most. Her many years of research, expertise and constant curiosity keeps us coming back for more."

Jenny Garrett,  Career Coach and Personal Development Coach and Founder of The Happinesta Project

"Your online course Paper Therapy  - I loved it and found it helpful and powerful!"

Carole Osterwell,  Leadership Coach

Get Writing Through the Wisdom of Trees here

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creative writing for trees


35 Words to Describe a Forest Well in a Novel

By: Author Hiuyan Lam

Posted on Last updated: October 20, 2023

Categories Vocabulary Boosters

35 Words to Describe a Forest Well in a Novel

A huge part of writing a novel is using the best words to describe various settings to bring your story to life. If you have a scene set in a forest, your words to describe a forest must reflect everything the characters (if any) can see or feel, or should paint a vivid picture of the setting.

But that’s easier said than done, isn’t it? Everyone gets stuck sometimes and finding the best words to describe the simplest of things can take some time.

In this post, we’re going to focus on a popular scene that can be tricky to describe for some: the forest. Here are 35 of the best words to describe a forest well in a novel:

6 words for a forest at night (black forest)

  Scenes take place in the forest at night for various reasons. Perhaps you want to create suspense or mystery.   A forest at night can also be used to create drama or romance. However, if you don’t have the best words to describe a forest at night, your delivery is sure to fall flat.   Here are 6 words to describe a forest at night:  

gray scale photo of trees and pathway

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dark forest photo tall trees


6 words to describe a forest in winter (white forest)

  Forests in winter are truly a sight to behold, especially when they are blanketed by a cover of white snow. A white forest may be used to portray purity or light.   A white forest may also be used to portray isolation or emptiness. Here are 6 words to describe a forest based on what you wish to portray:  

gray scale photo of trees on snow

6 words to describe a forest in spring (green forest)

  During spring, the forest is at its busiest with creatures roaming about, and plants sprouting their blossoms. It is a period of rebirth and regrowth that may be used to set a specific mood or contrast a less favorable circumstance.   Whatever the case may be, here are 6 words to describe a forest in spring:  

Photo of greenfields with yellow and red flowers at daytime

20+ of the Best Words to Describe Night in a Story

gray concrete road in between tall green trees

6 words about the Amazon rainforest

  The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest and contains an infinite number of green trees of various shades and sizes. It is also one of the most diverse biomes on the planet.   Here are some words to describe a forest that will help you to paint an accurate picture of the Amazon rainforest.  

green moss on brown tree trunk

6 words to convey the atmosphere of a mysterious/deep forest

  When describing a forest to an audience, you will need words to describe more than just the trees.   You also need to pay attention to the atmosphere, especially if it is mysterious or deep.   Here are some words to describe a forest based on its atmosphere  

brown wooden boat floating on water

Spring Plants Writing Prompts

821. The beautiful blooming flowers of spring include daisies, irises, and lilies. What would it be like if humans could bloom? What would they look like and why?

822. One blooming flower that can be considered a weed is the dandelion. How do you think this green and yellow plant spread itself throughout the whole world? Are there any plants you'd rather were as common as the dandelion? If so, what plants and why?

823. While some people don't like them, dandelions have many helpful properties and have been used in medicine and for coffee substitutes. What is an example of something in your life that has many different uses? What do you use it for and why?

824. Imagine that you have been invited to a festival to watch the blooming of a really ugly spring plant. What would the plant look like? Why would everybody be celebrating it if it was so strange-looking?

825. While some flowers need to be planted months in advance to flower in the spring, many trees need to be tended to for years or decades to reach their full potential. Do you think it would be worth it to care for a plant for more than a year? Why or why not?

826. You are a small insect living on a plant in a huge spring garden. What kind of plant would you want to live on and why? How would your insect life be different from your human life and why?

827. Have you ever planted a seed to watch it grow? If so, did it turn out how you expected? Why or why not? If not, imagine that a seed you planted turned out to be something wildly different than you thought it was. Describe the mystery plant in great detail.

828. Spring is the best season for strawberries to get the freshest and juiciest berries. Create a conversation between two strawberries discussing how they hope to be used by humans. What are some of their options other than simply being eaten?

829. Naval oranges are best picked during the spring. What is the freshest orange juice you've ever had? What would you have to do to get it even more fresh? Would the juice taste different if the fruit came straight from the tree? Why or why not?

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10 Words to Describe a Spooky Forest

By Ali Dixon

words to describe a spooky forest

Does your novel include a scene in a forest? Do you want to make this setting frightening? Use the 10 words to describe a spooky forest from the list below.

Marked by crowded parts , compactness, or thickness.

“They walked deeper into the  dense  wood, the path becoming narrower and narrower until she started to worry that they would lose it completely.”

“A  dense  thicket of trees was up ahead, clouded by shadow.”

How It Adds Description

The word dense can help communicate to your readers that the forest you’re describing is very thick. A character may have trouble moving through so many trees, or there could be things that hide easily in a dense forest. This word can also help to make the scene feel more claustrophobic.

Having no light or having only a portion of light ; demonstrating evil traits.

“Even though it was day, the forest loomed in front of them,  dark  and watchful.”

“There was something  dark  in the forest. He could sense it was following them, but he didn’t know what it was.”

The word dark can tell your readers that the forest your character is in is literally dark, which will help to add an ominous mood to your scene. Alternatively, you can also use the word dark to infer that the forest itself may have ill wishes to add a fantastical element to your story.

3. Foreboding

A sign or prediction that something evil or ill-intentioned is coming ; someone who forebodes is inwardly convinced of something.

“As they walked through the trees, she had a  foreboding  sense that something terrible was going to happen.”

“The sound of the leaves shifting against each other as the  foreboding  wind blew made all of them feel on edge.”

If you want to make your readers feel uneasy about what might happen in the forest you’re describing, this is a good word to use. You can say that the forest itself has a foreboding presence, or you can describe the foreboding feeling that your characters may have as they enter it.

Completely or partially dark ; causing low spirits or feelings of hopelessness or despair.

“As the rain started to fall, the forest around them somehow seemed even more  gloomy .”

“The  gloomy  atmosphere of the woods around them made them wonder if they would ever be able to get back out.”

Describing the woods in your story as gloomy will do a lot to help the overall mood of your scene feel much darker and more somber.

Lacking warmth, having a low temperature ; of a lower temperature than is comfortable; demonstrating a lack of life.

“A strong wind blew through the trees and she shivered in the  cold  of the forest, rubbing her arms to try and regain warmth.”

“The trees were sparse and the woods felt lifeless and  cold —she wondered if there was anything living in them at all.”

The forest that your character is in may literally be of a low temperature, in which case you could describe it as cold. However, it may also be lacking in life or have an uninviting feeling to it. Cold would be a great word to use in this situation as well.

6. Bone-chilling

Causing a disturbing or otherwise intensely emotional effect ; so cold one can feel it in their bones.

“He shivered in the  bone-chilling  darkness, uncertain which path he should try next.”

“The woods were  bone-chilling  to look at, but he knew that he had to go through them to reach his destination.”

If the temperature is more than just cold in the forest, you can describe it as bone-chilling. The atmosphere itself can also be described as bone-chilling which will help readers get a better sense of how ominous the woods are.

Distressing or distasteful in some way ; demonstrating animosity; being very unpleasant.

“They spent three days searching through the  bitter  woods for the cabin that held what they were looking for, but they never found it.”

“The wind blowing made the forest feel  bitter .”

When you describe a forest as bitter, this is going to help readers get the sense that the woods are either physically chilly or that the forest is showing a certain level of animosity.

Not straight, taking many turns .

“The  winding  path through the woods seemed to lead them nowhere, and he started to wonder if he had seen certain trees before.”

“To reach the castle, the adventuring party would have to get through the  winding  woods which were full of turns and perils.”

When a path is winding, it could be easy to get lost or lose one’s sense of direction while following it. If you use the word winding to describe your forest, it can add another level of danger for the character walking through it.

Indicative of a storm ; furious or tumultuous.

“Dark clouds hovered over the  stormy  forest, rain pelting down on the party as they walked.”

Describing the weather can do a lot to help intensify a certain kind of atmosphere in a scene. If you describe your forest as stormy, then readers may start to feel uneasy. A stormy forest could be more dangerous as it might be more difficult for a character to see properly, or the storm could delay their progress, forcing them to spend more time in the forest.

10. Ominous

Demonstrating signs of evil ; exhibiting an omen, usually a bad one.

“The trees stood tall and  ominous  against the gray sky.”

“An owl hooted somewhere in the distance, and the sound was so startling and  ominous  that she almost jumped out of her skin.”

Using the word ominous will give your readers the sense that the forest they are reading about has something ill-intentioned in store. There could be bad omens throughout the woods, or the forest itself could be an ominous marker of something that is to come later in the story.

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A Dab of Glue Will Do

Little Learners, Big Ideas

PS PK K 1 2

Creative Writing Prompts For Under the Tree

I'd love it if you shared!

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Our classrooms are filled with EVERYTHING Christmas this time of year.

There are so many different activities to do and play during this holiday season. Our little learners love finding out all there is to know about reindeers and completing their Reindeer Facts and Research activities .

They learn and review sight words with our EDITABLE Christmas themed activity and worksheets. And practice our numbers with our Christmas Tree Number Mats .

I enjoy hearing students are chatting away about how they decorated their trees and what they are hoping to find under their tree! The giggles and excitement are some of my fondest memories of this season.

We enjoy reading our stacks of Christmas Books to get us thinking about all the different ways to celebrate the season.

I love using Creative Writing Prompts in the classroom.  To connect writing with the holiday season, I’ve created this Under The Tree Creative Writing Prompt .

You know when you get your students thinking about what they are hoping for this Christmas, you will get a long and excited response.

Because talking about what they want and like is a great way to get kids learning  without realizing they’re learning.

Creative writing plays an important role in a student’s literacy development.

Looking for more ways to integrate Christmas into your lessons? Be sure to look at all of our Christmas Learning Activities .

Piece of paper that reads under the tree I see bright blue ball, a purple scooter, and an unlimited supply of rainbow chalk. There is a child's drawing of a scooter, ball, and chalk, and a green 3D paper christmas tree.

Inside You’ll Find:

  • 3D tree template
  • Three differentiated printable writing options

Creative Writing Prompts For Under The Tree at Christmas are ideal for early learners! This printable is a great choice for Kindergarten to Second Grade!

Supply list for Gingerbread Rhyming Mats:

  • paper or card stock
  • Creative Writing Prompts For Under the Tree Template and Printable Writing Sheet (scroll down to download!)

Using the Creative Writing Prompts For Under the Tree

I recommend printing the tree template on cardstock. If not, the tree will have trouble standing.

Choose which writing template you will want your students to use and print a class set. Like the tree template, I find it easiest to use cardstock, but it is not a necessity with the writing paper like it is with the tree template.

First, you will want to have your students color their Christmas trees.  Of course, we focus on green trees in general, but let your students color whatever they prefer and decorate the trees as they see fit.

Creative Writing Prompts For Under The Tree at Christmas are ideal for early learners! This printable is a great choice for Kindergarten to Second Grade!

Next, they will cut out the two trees.  This is an excellent way to have them working on fine motor skills.

If you want to make sure the trees last longer, you can stop and laminate these before you put them together.  It takes just a bit longer but can make this a lasting project kids and parents will cherish. If you don’t have access to a laminating machine in your classroom, there are several simple laminating sheets or pouches that work in a pinch.

To get this freebie, use the ‘click here to download’ button at the bottom of this page.

Creative Writing Prompts For Under The Tree at Christmas are ideal for early learners! This printable is a great choice for Kindergarten to Second Grade!

After the trees are cut out, students will need to cut on the lines down the center of the tree. One will require students to cut from the top of the star down and the other one will have students cut from the bottom up.

Creative Writing Prompts For Under The Tree at Christmas are ideal for early learners! This printable is a great choice for Kindergarten to Second Grade!

Students will then place the two trees together like a jigsaw puzzle. The final product will be a 3D tree.

Creative Writing Prompts For Under The Tree at Christmas are ideal for early learners! This printable is a great choice for Kindergarten to Second Grade!

Either you or your students will tape the Christmas tree to the writing paper you will then use for your creative writing prompts.

I always found it easiest for me to do this part for my kindergarten students, but do what works best for you and your classroom.

Creative Writing Prompts For Under The Tree at Christmas are ideal for early learners! This printable is a great choice for Kindergarten to Second Grade!

Now it is time for the creative writing prompts!

Our little learners will think about what it is they want to see under their Christmas tree and write about it. Then students can illustrate their paper by drawing the things they wrote about by the tree.

These creative writing prompts are a great way to teach about spelling, sentence structure, and of course simple imaginative creative writing.

Your student will love sharing their wishlist, so it will be easier to engage them in the lesson!

Want More Christmas Literacy Ideas?

If you want to extend the Christmas theme across your literacy curriculum , check out our Christmas Match-Ups Bundle .

5 different pictures showing Christmas tree match up activities for initial and ending sounds and blends. Students match up ornaments with the corresponding trees.

Download your Creative Writing Prompts for Under the Tree below!

If you can’t find a resource that you would LOVE to have for your classroom,  Contact me  and I would be happy to make it for you.

Click the button below to download. You will immediately be redirected to the freebie.

creative writing for trees

I hope that you and your students have fun with these Creative Writing Prompts for Under The Tree!

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A snowflake ornament for kids to make.

Reader Interactions


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November 26, 2016 at 8:58 pm

So cute! Thank you!

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November 27, 2016 at 8:26 pm

This is gorgeous! What an awesome free resource to share – thank you!

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November 21, 2019 at 6:14 pm

Creative Writing Prompts for Under The Tree! link isn’t working. It looks adorable

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December 4, 2019 at 7:45 am

It’s too bad this is gone. I thought this was still an active blog!

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December 4, 2019 at 1:44 pm

No worries, Jessica! I’ll email it to you! – Jennifer

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December 4, 2019 at 8:03 am

Creative Writing Prompts for Under The Tree! link isn’t working.

December 4, 2019 at 1:46 pm

I’ll send it to your email address, Rachel! -Jennifer

' src=

July 8, 2020 at 8:48 am

Is there any way I can still get a copy of the Creative Writing Prompts For Under the Tree? It doesn’t seem to be working. Thank you!

' src=

November 28, 2022 at 12:42 pm

Can you please send the creative writing prompt, Under the tree? The link isn’t working on the webpage. Thank you!

December 8, 2022 at 2:28 am

Hi Melissa, it seems to be working now. After you click the download button you’ll enter your name and email. The download will be sent to your email, sometimes it gets sent to your spam or others folder so be sure to check there. If you’re using a school email they often block us from sending things to that email so you might want to use your personal email. Hope you enjoy it!

' src=

December 7, 2022 at 11:55 am

I can’t get the Under the Tree to send to me. Can you help? Thank you!

December 8, 2022 at 2:26 am

Hi Stacy, it seems to be working now. After you click the download button you’ll enter your name and email. The download will be sent to your email, sometimes it gets sent to your spam or others folder so be sure to check there. If you’re using a school email they often block us from sending things to that email so you might want to use your personal email. Hope you enjoy it!

[…] To strengthen our student’s writing skills, we get the creative juices flowing with our under the tree writing prompts. You can’t help smiling or laughing with their […]

[…] love celebrating Christmas time and wintertime in our classrooms with our Gingerbread Book and our Under the Christmas Tree Writing and our Christmas Lights Addition […]

[…] For December, we use these December-themed Science Experiments, these Gingerbread Rhyming Mats, and this Under the Christmas Tree Writing Center.  […]

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The Toulmin Model and “The Surprising Downsides to Planting Trillions of Trees”

The concept that I am interested in talking more about is the Toulmin Model and using the Toulmin Model to argue topics. Throughout my time at Ohio State, I have used this model without realizing that I was using it. In some of the philosophy classes that I have taken, I have used a modified version of the Toulmin Model to make arguments and to support my claims. The claim is one of the most difficult aspects to create for me. Coming up with the central assertion, or the thesis, for the argument has been rather difficult to me because I often make claims that are either too narrow or too broad for my argument to be successful. The grounds of the Toulmin Model are often not much of an issue for me to determine because I spend a significant amount of time thinking of my claim that I have a justification for my claim rather easily. One of the most difficult struggles that I find with writing the grounds is effectively putting down the grounds on the paper. The warrant is rather like the grounds for me. Finding the connection between the grounds and the claim is not very difficult if the work is put in place when coming up with the claim. The backing of an argument are specific examples used to support the claims being made. I personally enjoy finding the backing for arguments because they help to further strengthen my arguments and I feel more accomplished with the more backing I find for my claim. In political science specifically, I use backing to help strengthen my arguments being made. The qualifier, like the backing of an argument, helps to further strengthen arguments and adds complexity to the argument. Finally, the rebuttal in the Toulmin model is different than rebuttals I have previously seen. As discussed in class, the rebuttal for the Toulmin Model acts as more of a call to action rather than a rebuttal. Although I have used rebuttals previously in my arguments in the way that the Toulmin Model presents, I had never before known that the name of this was the ‘rebuttal’. The Toulmin Model is very useful in analyzing and more thoroughly understanding articles relating to sustainability. Specifically, I will be using the Toulmin Model to analyze and further understand the article posted by Vox titled “The Surprising Downsides to Planting Trillions of Trees”. The claim made in this article is that planting lots of trees is not the most efficient method to helping combat climate change. Further, Benji Jones justifies his claim by saying that at times large tree-planting initiatives have led to more deforestation rather than helping to decrease forestation. The warrant being made for this argument is that because deforestation sometimes occurs during large tree-planting initiatives, planting many trees is not the most efficient way to combat climate change. The backing that Jones uses is that 3 months after planting the tree saplings, up to 90% of the saplings had died for a multitude of reasons. Some of these reasons include that there was not enough rainfall, the trees were not planted at the right time, and/or the saplings were trampled if they were planted in areas where animals commonly graze. The qualifier used for this argument is used when talking about the push to plant trees. The article writes that company’s initiatives to plant trees has increased nearly threefold in the tropics alone. By adding this ‘nearly’ the article is adding complexity to the argument. Finally, the rebuttal of the article calls for more tree-growing initiatives rather than tree-planting initiatives. Further, the rebuttal calls for programs that monitor the trees for more than two-years to ensure that the trees being planted can grow and thrive. https://www.vox.com/down-to-earth/22679378/tree-planting-forest-restoration-climate-solutions

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R. Stranger MFA’24 combines creative writing and visual arts in their multimedia approach to art

by Linda Lenhoff, February 15, 2024

creative writing for trees

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R. Stranger MFA’24 incorporates visual work into their writing, striving to find their own personal channel of creating. Through PNCA’s Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing program, Stranger has been able to pursue cross-genre, collaborative work, combining prose, poetry, photography, film, archiving, and cataloging. “I needed to be in a writing program situated within an art school, where I would have the ability and freedom to incorporate my visual work and embodied practice into my creative writing,” Stranger says. “Literature and art have been the portals through which I receive so much of the world.”

The program’s unique approach to treating writing as a multidisciplinary studio art practice offers Stranger the ability to build relationships across departments. Stranger is especially grateful for mentorship from faculty members Vi Khi Nao , a writer, and Dao Strom , an artist. “Each of them has undeniably affected my work and approach to writing and creating,” Stranger says, adding that Nao “opened my eyes to the depth of emotion we can allow ourselves to go and the necessary risks that an artist must take if they wish to be true to their work and themselves.

Stranger focuses on difficult issues in their art, including “the multidimensional nature of queerness, the complexities of having/being a body, and the transformative nature of grief,” Stranger says. Utilizing several mediums allows Stranger to “move through the work of mourning and living through different layers of humanness.”

PNCA and the Hallie Ford School of Graduate Studies have granted Stranger multiple opportunities to share and show their work. “I tabled my zines at the 2022 Do-It-Yourself / Do-It-Ourselves Graduate Symposium as well as at this year’s Form.a Art Press Fair at Oregon Contemporary,” Stranger says. Their photography was also selected for display at Lightbox Photographic Gallery’s New Visionaries exhibit through an Oregon BFA/MFA photo student exhibition call organized by PNCA faculty Rachel Wolf .

The proverbial cherry on top of Stranger’s experience at PNCA has been having a private studio within an institutional space, thanks to Strom and Creative Writing Program Director Jay Ponteri . “I can still be in the world while also receiving access to a nurturing art community and the institutional resources that aid my public art practice.”

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A Literary Tour of Moscow

creative writing for trees

It’s hard to count the exact number of great Russian writers who showed their love for Moscow. The city has attracted and prompted stories for a long time now, inspiring many to express their writing talent. Thus, Moscow’s literary sights are fully deserving of our attention, and this guide gladly presents you six of them, from museums to apartments.

1. nikolay gogol museum.

Library, Museum

House-museum of Gogol in Moscow

2. The State Museum of Mayakovsky


3. Turgenev's Family House

The portrait of Ivan Turgenev by Vasiliy Perov (1872)

4. Novodevichy Cemetery

Cemetery, Monastery, Museum

Novodevichy Cemetery

5. The Apartment of Dostoevsky

Building, Memorial, Museum


6. The Mikhail Bulgakov Museum

Mikhail Bulgakov Museum


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72 Fun & Unusual Things to Do in Moscow

fun things to do in Moscow

Sure, Moscow is the Russian political capital and the nation’s most populous city, but describing it as such couldn’t be any further from the truth. More accurately, Moscow is a city of contrasts.

It exudes history — its Kremlin dates back centuries, nodding to royalty and leadership old and now, while the famed Red Square, the poster child of the city, blends striking color with ancient tradition and religion.

On the other hand, it’s a city of modern pop culture and towering skyscrapers; a place where you’ll come across new-age museums, arts centers, manmade parks, and an efficient transportation system that’s one of the most beautiful in Europe.

It’s a city of longstanding culture — the Bolshoi Theater is an international symbol for excellence in classical dance, while Russia’s National Ballet Company remains renowned worldwide — as well as upbeat nightlife, with some of the world’s most celebrated rooftop bars and nightclubs.

While it’s a city filled with opposites, there remains no shortage of things to do in Moscow for all types of travelers — from those who want cultural immersion to those looking for an epic night out, you’ll be spoiled for choice. And if you’re not sure where to start, here’s a list of suggestions!

The Moscow Kremlin

If there’s any particular district begging to be the first place you visit on your trip, it’s the Kremlin.

Built in the 16th century by Ivan the Terrible, the UNESCO-listed area has since become the heart of Russia’s capital city, where you’ll find several churches, palaces, and other noteworthy buildings.

We’ll dive into each of its main attractions in a second, but regardless of what you visit, try to make it to the Kremlin in time for sunset — because seeing its golden domes glinting in the late-afternoon light makes for one spectacular tourist photo!

Click here to learn about Kremlin tickets prices .

1 – Admire the abundance of Kremlin towers | the Kremlin

Kremlin towers, Moscow

As your eyes dart down the towering red-brick Kremlin wall, the first thing you’ll notice is its large towers of all different styles and sizes.

With a whopping 20 separate minarets towering above the historic area, each with its own name, colors, features and history, a guided tour to learn each of their fascinating stories is a must.

To give you a little taste, the Konstantin-Yeleninskaya Tower once housed a torture chamber. Saviour’s Tower at the main entrance boasts a famous chiming clock, the Secret Tower houses a secret escape tunnel, and the Trinity Tower is the tallest of them all.

  • Moscow Kremlin tours

2 – Visit the enormous Grand Kremlin Palace | the Kremlin

Grand Kremlin Palace, Moscow

A remarkable attraction in terms of both beauty and history, the Grand Kremlin Palace is an ornate rococo-style building that was commissioned during the reign of Nicholas I, and today acts as the official residence of none other than the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

Perched atop Borovitsky Hill, its 125-meter-long facade is unmissable, making for impressive photos.

Take note: guided tours are few and far between, so you’ll have to book a few weeks in advance if you want to check out the decorated inner sanctum.

Directions in Google Maps

3 – People-watch in Cathedral Square | the Kremlin

Cathedral Square, Moscow

One of the most popular areas in all of Moscow (sometimes called Sobornaya Square), with multiple massive churches at its heart, Cathedral Square is flanked by several historic buildings and is never shy of a tourist crowd.

The three main churches — each spectacular works of architecture in their own right — are the Cathedral of the Assumption (the oldest and the biggest of all Kremlin churches), the 16th-century Cathedral of the Archangel Michael (known for its beautiful Corinthian gables and turrets), and the golden-domed Cathedral of the Annunciation (which connects to the Grand Kremlin Palace’s main building).

Throw in the 60-meter-high Ivan the Great Bell Tower, the lesser-known Church of the Twelve Apostles , the Church of the Deposition of the Virgin’s Robe (underrated yet famous for its marvelous stained-glass windows), and the medieval residence-turned-museum that is The Patriarch’s Palace, and you can see why this square is regularly number one on any visitor’s list of things to do in Moscow.

4 – See a show at the State Kremlin Palace | the Kremlin

State Kremlin Palace, Moscow

Just like the Grand Kremlin Palace , this theater and prestigious concert hall — with its grandiose facade and multiple sculptures — is another ornate building that’s worth admiring.

A popular place to hold conferences, the State Kremlin Palace was originally built as part of a larger complex for Communist Party meetings, but today hosts some of the biggest events in Moscow — we’re talkin’ sold-old ballet performances, world-famous concerts, opera shows, and festivals.

Check the website to see what’s on the calendar for your visit!

5 – See centuries worth of national treasures at the Armoury Chamber | the Kremlin

Armoury Chamber, Moscow

For anyone with an interest in historical weaponry and armor, this museum — which dates back to the early 1500s when it was created as the royal armory — is a must-see.

The Armoury Chamber (as well as the Diamond Fund Exhibition) is home to some of the most valuable objects that were originally owned by Russian monarchs — from jeweled heirlooms and intricate boxes to ornately decorated pistols and swords — many of which are centuries old.

Within the armoury chamber, you’ll also find the Russian historical regalia, a collection of artifacts that belonged to Russian tsars and emperors between the 13th and 20th centuries, highlighted by the Ivory Throne and the Monomakh’s Cap.

  • Armoury Chamber tours

6 – Step inside the Palace of the Facets | the Kremlin

Palace of the Facets, Moscow

The Palace of the Facets is one of the most underrated buildings in all of Moscow, largely because it’s not as widely promoted or photographed even though its exterior adorns some postcards.

From the outside, it blends in with the crowd. But step inside and you’ll discover a world of beauty and wonder — its frescoes, golden columns and enormous rooms are a sight to behold

The Palace of the Facets is not only a piece of art (literally, with painted walls), dating back over 500 years, but also acted as the dining hall for the Tsars.

7 – Feel small next to the Tsar Bell | the Kremlin

Tsar Bell, Moscow

Making Philadelphia’s famous Liberty Bell look diminutive in size, this monument , which never actually functioned as a bell due to its immense size (at 205 tons and standing 20.1 feet high!), has found fame in recent years for being the heaviest attraction inside The Kremlin.

With the bronze landmark’s claim to fame of being the biggest bell in the world, it presents as a great, quick photo op when roaming through the Kremlin.

8 – Check out the Senate Palace | the Kremlin

Senate Palace, Moscow

Another architectural masterpiece that’s tucked away within the Kremlin, this palace is famous for being one of Moscow’s most beautiful buildings — its yellow façade curves around to face inward and truly engulf anyone who stands near it.

Built back in the late 1700s, today it houses the Russian presidential administration and, unfortunately for us, is off limits to the general public.

Still, admiring it from outside, with the nearby Tsar Cannon, is certainly good enough.

9 – Grab a photo in front of the Tsar Cannon | the Kremlin

Tsar Cannon, Moscow

One of Moscow’s most iconic symbols, Tsar Cannon (or Royal Cannon) is a cannon that was manufactured in 1586 and resides — yep, you guessed it — within The Kremlin.

Following the theme of the enormous Tsar Bell, it weighs a whopping 39 tons — making it one of the world’s largest cannons even though it has never been shot.

And while its size may be impressive on its own, what makes this cannon so special is that it’s adorned with intricate carvings, ornaments, inscriptions, and a figure of a horse-riding Tsar Feodor the Bellringer.

  • walking tours in Moscow

10 – Join a tour of the Terem Palace | the Kremlin

Terem Palace, Moscow

A stunning, fairytale-like palace that’s steeped in history and detail, the five-story Terem Palace is one of the most underrated attractions within The Kremlin. However, as part of the official residence of the Russian President, much of it is off-limits to snap-happy tourists.

That said, there’s still plenty to be seen in the accessible areas by joining a group tour: a beautiful white-stone carved staircase; curved, decorated, and painted ceilings; and an enchanting low-vaulted Antechamber with lancet windows.

The Red Square

As we move away from the Kremlin, our next stop is the most photographed, picturesque public area in the country.

Flanked by gorgeous, colorful towers and buildings, the Red Square is the most famous square in all of Russia — and one that’s steeped in history, patriotism, and communist symbolism.

Home to some of Moscow’s greatest landmarks including St Basil’s Cathedral (featuring its iconic onion domes), Lenin Mausoleum, GUM department store (an architectural masterpiece that is the most famous shopping mall in Russia), The State History Museum, and more, it’s not just a sight to see in Moscow but also one that has been seen by hundreds of millions from around the world.

11 – Make your way inside St. Basil’s Cathedral | Red Square

St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow

Built back in the early 1500s, this quirky-looking, 65-meter-tall Orthodox church is so unique and detailed that it’s earned its place as one of 16 UNESCO cultural sites in Russia — and, thanks to many Hollywood productions like Bond: Skyfall (2012), has only continued to increase in fame.

Its exterior boasts multi-colored domes crowned with golden onion top spires. Meanwhile, inside, you’ll find nine small, separate chapels, and plenty of decorated walls and windows — all best viewed as part of a walking tour of Red Square.

  • Red Square tours in Moscow

12 – Visit the State Historical Museum | Red Square

State Historical Museum, Moscow

One of seven museums that can be found around the expansive Red Square, the State Historical Museum is one of Moscow’s most revered.

Housed in a neoclassical building (the same as GUM), it features more than 4 million items relating to Russian history — making it so vast and incredible that you’ll need at least two hours inside to see just a fraction.

While you’re in the area, be sure to check out the Marshal Georgy Zhukov Monument, a towering horse-riding statue of arguably the most famous and heroic Soviet military commander of WWII, which can be found in front of the museum.

13 – Shop till you drop at GUM | Red Square

GUM department store, Moscow

The official state department store of Russia, having opened in 1893 and become one of Moscow’s most iconic attractions for shopaholics over the years, is known for its gorgeous architecture that looks more like a palace than anything else.

Entering through its massive golden doors, you’ll be surprised to find an extensive shopping center with more than 100 luxury and world-renowned brands of clothing and accessories for men, women, and youngsters.

Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, stop into the Gastronom №1 for a bite to eat or take a stroll through its corridors to appreciate the building’s history and beauty.

14 – Visit Lenin’s Mausoleum | Red Square

Lenin's Mausoleum, Moscow

Another iconic Red Square attraction is Lenin’s Mausoleum, a small yet foreboding building that houses the embalmed corpse of Communist leader Vladimir Lenin (who led Russia through the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917).

Opened in 1930 after his death and standing at more than 12 meters tall, it presents as both a unique and macabre site — and, considering the life-like nature of the body, certainly isn’t for the faint of heart.

Note: Entrance is free of charge, but expect to be searched by security before being allowed in.

15 – Ride the Moscow Metro, enjoying the beautiful stations along the way

Moscow Metro, Russia

As we leave the Red Square, the next cab off the rank is Moscow’s unbelievable artistic Metro network (rivaled only in beauty by that of Stockholm). Constructed between the 1930s and 1950s, its stations were built by hand with a wide range of artistic themes — from socialist realist to Slavic pagan.

Tips: The best way to experience them is as part of a Moscow Metro tour, which can be booked online. However, if you prefer exploring solo, then make sure to visit the Mayakovskaya Metro Station which is known for its seemingly endless archways.

You may also check out Dostoyevskaya, named after a famous writer with murals depicting his stories. The Ploshchad Revolutsii Metro Station is another option where a handful of Socialist statues provide a wonderful contrast to the red marble arches.

  • metro tours in Moscow

16 – Spend the afternoon exploring the State Tretyakov Gallery

State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow

Boasting the reputation of being one of the world’s leading art museums, the State Tretyakov Gallery is home to a stunning collection that features well over 100,000 works from Russia and around the globe.

Featuring everything from ancient Russian icons to Soviet-era artifacts and contemporary pieces, the museum also houses a charming green garden perfect for recharging.

Visitors are advised to allocate at least three hours inside to properly appreciate everything on show — or consider booking a private VIP tour to skip the lines and focus on the best sections.

  • Tretyakov Gallery tickets

Click here to find out the best Moscow tours .

17 – Get out of town to the Tsaritsyno Museum & Nature Reserve

Tsaritsyno Museum & Nature Reserve, Moscow

Located a short drive from the hustle and bustle of the Red Square, this incredible attraction is both a palatial museum and cultural center, with an enchanting open-air garden to boot — spread across 405 hectares altogether.

Boasting beautiful 18th-century baroque architecture, it was originally built as a country retreat for Catherine the Great. However, it has since been transformed into an outdoor museum with several museums inside — including exhibits dedicated to Russian history and culture.

18 – Tick off the main haunts with a hop-on hop-off bus ride

bus tours in Moscow

Short on time or just can’t be bothered walking around anymore? Then make sure to check out the double-decker Hop-on-Hop-off Bus, a convenient and cheap way of seeing all the main attractions in one go.

With unlimited-ride tickets lasting between 24 and 72 hours, there’s plenty of flexibility to soak in must-see areas like Red Square, the Kremlin, Arbatskaya Square, Theatre Square, and the Red October neighborhood — and with a free audio tour (in English) throughout the ride, you’re sure to learn a thing or two as well.

Busses usually run every 15 minutes, with the full city loop taking roughly an hour — of course, you can disembark and reboard to your heart’s content.

  • bus tours in Moscow

19 – Learn about military history on Poklonnaya Hill

Poklonnaya Hill, Moscow

For an up-close and personal experience with the past, make sure to check out Poklonnaya Hill — a UNESCO World Heritage Site about 20 minutes out from the city center that’s home to several relics from Russia’s pre-revolutionary era.

It has everything from Great Patriotic War memorials dedicated to fallen soldiers of the Russian military forces, to the Eternal Flame and the Museum of Great Patriotic War. This is an unmissable opportunity for history buffs.

Hot tip: While you’re in the area, be sure to stop into the Victory Museum (the nation’s biggest military history museum) and check out the gold-tipped Church of St. George the Victorious .

20 – Get artsy at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts

Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

Home to one of the finest and most significant art collections in Russia, the highly-regarded Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts showcases everything from medieval icons and paintings. With over 500,000 pieces of works by renowned artists like Rembrandt, Renoir, Picasso, Matisse, Karl Bryullov and Rubens, the museum is undeniably one of the best things to do in Moscow for art lovers.

The museum also houses impressive exhibits dedicated to ancient Greece, archaeological collections, decorative arts and a 200,000-item Numismatic library.

21 – Take a charming stroll down Arbat Street

Arbat Street, Moscow

Boasting everything from galleries and craft stores to souvenir shops, cafes, and some of Russia’s finest restaurants and hotels — as well as top-notch street performers (like jugglers and caricaturists) — Arbat Street is one of Moscow’s most famous pedestrian hubs for good reason.

The entire walkway, flanked by colorful buildings, stretches about a kilometer through the historic district, making it the perfect start to any day of inner-city exploring.

22 – Lounge around at the Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure

Gorky Central Park of Culture and Leisure, Moscow

One of Moscow’s biggest and most beloved green spaces, Gorky Central Park is a must-visit for anyone looking to soak in some fresh air.

The park boasts 45 hectares of picturesque grassland, forests, Golitsinsky Ponds (home to squirrels and ducks), walking trails, fountains and the Neskuchny Garden. This place is also home to the wooden Olivkovy beach, a hot spot for photographers looking to appreciate the Moskva river.

Plenty of cafes line the well-manicured park, likewise public art projects and picnic spots and an open-air cinema in the summertime!

While a relaxing day in the gardens is never a bad idea, if you’re looking for something a little more interactive, there’s the 18-meter-tall Observation Platform and a handful of museums on site. The Gorky Park Museum , Muzeon Park of Arts , Garage Museum of Contemporary Art and New Tretyakov Gallery are all noteworthy stops within walking distance.

23 – Stare at the ceiling of the Christ the Savior Cathedral

Christ the Savior Cathedral, Moscow

On an easy stroll from the southwest side of the Kremlin, you’ll find a majestic memorial cathedral doused in history: the 5-golden-domed Christ the Savior Cathedral .

With a beautiful color-contrasting exterior that still falls short of the intricately painted inner walls and ceiling, this underrated (due to not being in Red Square with the other main cathedrals) attraction is a must for the bucket list.

24 – Zoom around town in a Soviet van

Soviet van tours in Moscow

If a hop-on-hop-off bus screams of cliche tourism, why not get a little more cultured by skirting around the city’s main haunts in a real, war-era soviet van?

Undeniably one of Russia’s most emblematic vehicles as both a symbol of a Soviet past and a comical cultural nod to its boring exterior (dubbed the “loaf of bread”), the UAZ-452 vans are iconic.

So whether you opt for a pub crawl, landmark sightseeing tour, or day of adventure with wintertime off-roading, be sure to ride shotgun in one of the loaves of bread at some stage!

  • soviet tours

25 – See sharks up close at the Moskvarium

Moskvarium, Moscow

The mightiest aquarium in Europe (by size), the Moskvarium is an impressive modern space dedicated to the beauty and diversity of aquatic life.

Located right on the outskirts of Moscow’s city center (about 20 minutes drive from Red Square), this huge complex encompasses over 70 interactive exhibits. These include live shows, and the chance to go swimming with dolphins — that are sure to impress the whole family.

26 – Go underground at the Bunker 42 Cold War Museum

Bunker 42 Cold War Museum, Moscow

In the depths of Moscow’s shadow-strewn streets, hidden 65 meters beneath the tourist crowds are a Cold War-era bunker and former secret communications center.

Bunker 42 was built in 1955 as a nuclear-proof hideaway, but today you can book tours that reveal its secrets and stories — a must for the common history buff.

  • Bunker 42 tickets

27 – Immserve yourself in the soviet culture at the VDNKh theme park and exhibition space

VDNKh, Moscow

Sprawling across the Ostankinsky District, VDNKh is a massive open-air museum and theme park paying homage to Russian industry and Soviet values.

The enormous complex is decked out with several gold-clad statues and palatial pavilions, each uniquely designed to represent different Soviet interests and endeavors, such as geology and the space race.

Hot tip: For a wonderful view of the Moscow skyline, be sure to jump on the Ferris wheel after riding the small roller coasters and merry-go-round.

28 – Take a trip to the Kolomenskoye Palace

Kolomenskoye Palace, Moscow

Overlooking the sparkling Moskva River about 20 kiometers south of central Moscow, the postcard-worthy Kolomenskoye Palace is a former royal estate. It’s now open to the public as an extensive park with carefully-kept gardens, including one of Russia’s oldest white stone churches (the tent-looking UNESCO-listed Ascension Church ).

It has walking trails through peaceful wooded areas and gorgeous views out over the region from its high hilltop location. The park has long been considered one of the hidden gems when it comes to things to do in Moscow.

29 – Enjoy the view from the Ostankino TV Tower

Ostankino TV Tower. Moscow

With the coveted claim to fame of being the tallest free-standing structure in Europe (and 11th tallest in the world) — standing above the Empire State Building, for reference — the 540.1-meter-tall Ostankino Tower is picturesquely located next to Park Dubovaya Roshcha, not too far from VDNH, the Moskvarium, and the widespread Park Ostankind.

So long as you’re not left lighthearted by heights, the 337-meter-high observation deck is the go-to spot for panoramic views.

30 – Blast off at the Museum of Cosmonautics

Museum of Cosmonautics, Moscow

One for the space nerds and future astronauts, the Museum of Cosmonautics is dedicated to the history, present-day relevance, and future possibilities of space exploration. It provides a spectacular insight into the Soviet perspective of the 1960s space race.

Located on a lovely green site in one corner of VDNKh, the museum features an outdoor planetarium, interactive displays for children, as well as inside exhibits that showcase original spacecraft parts.

For the best experience, consider a pre-arranged tour that includes access to both the Museum and VDNKh.

31 – Complete your Moscow culinary experience with a food tour

food tours in Moscow

Foodies, listen up! Moscow has gained a reputation for being one of the finest cities in Europe for foodies, with an excellent range of restaurants and bars.

For those looking for a complete Moscow culinary experience that includes some of the best hidden gems and experiences, food tours are an ideal way to go.

Depending on your tour of choice, expect to sample a few Pelmeni (dumplings), Blini (wafer-thin pancakes), and world-famous Ponchiki doughnuts. Then wash it all down with some locally-distilled vodka or Nalivka (a sweet berry-infused liquor).

  • food tours in Moscow

32 – Smell the flowers at the Main Botanical Garden — the largest botanical garden in Europe

Main Botanical Garden of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow

Constructed in 1945, the Main Botanical Garden of the Russian Academy of Sciences is a 340-hectare space of plant collections and lakeside walkways to explore.

It’s one of those places that gets better as you make your way around it on foot (or even rollerblades). There are many well-kept gardens, beautiful ponds filled with turtles and waterfowl, a charming Japanese Garden and some very rare trees.

33 – Wander around the Novodevichy Monastery

Novodevichy Monastery, Moscow

The Novodevichy Convent and surrounding Kremlin-style walls combine to be one of Moscow’s most picturesque sites — a UNESCO-listed complex that was founded in the 1500s and includes an interweaving of churches, cathedrals, bell towers and a cemetery.

After admiring the buildings, check out the monastery which is surrounded by green spaces perfect for a stroll and a snack.

To learn all about its architecture and history, opt for a guided tour as recommended by most travelers.

34 – Ride the coasters at Family Park SKAZKA

Family Park SKAZKA, Moscow

If you’re traveling with youngsters who seem to never be able to burn off their energy then make a beeline for the Krylatskoye District neighborhood, home to the popular SKAZKA adventure park.

Kids can enjoy everything from bumper cars to the petting zoo, while parents might want to pop into one of the cafes or restaurants.

Even if you don’t have kids in tow, the adrenaline-pumping roller coasters invite thrill-seekers of all ages.

35 – Understand the deeper meanings of “Soviet Jew” at the Jewish Museum & Centre of Tolerance

Jewish Museum & Centre of Tolerance, Moscow

Opened in 2012, the Jewish Museum and Centre of Tolerance is a fascinating institution dedicated to exploring and honoring the diverse complex Russian-Jewish history and culture.

Explore every facet of the role of Russian Jewry throughout the centuries — including food, artifacts, religious beliefs and cultural traditions. Visitors can also see an array of exhibits made from testimonial footage, as well as a large collection of works of Jewish artists.

For history buffs, the museum dives into the intriguing role that Jewish soldiers played during World War II.

36 – Cruise down the Moscow River!

boat tours in Moscow

For those looking for a unique perspective on the city, there are stacks of tours (romantic, sightseeing, luxury-themed or party-vibed) that explore Moscow from its riverfront.

Take in some of the most iconic landmarks around the Kremlin and Gorky Park on a boat. Cruises can also take you underneath bridges, entertain you with live music and offer insights into the landmarks that pass by with live audio narration.

  • boat tours in Moscow

37 – Grab a table at Café Pushkin

Café Pushkin, Moscow

A favorite of many Muscovites, Cafe Pushkin on Tverskoy Boulevard is an intimate spot to enjoy some authentic Russian dishes.

It’s hand-picked by locals for its traditional décor resembling a nobleman’s house and charming atmosphere (thanks largely to the rustic bookshelves). You’ll find that the menu consists mainly of classic European cuisine mixed with a few local favorites. It’s complemented by a wooden bar with a fine collection of vintage wines and regular live music.

38 – Spend the day at the Karibiya Aquapark

Karibiya Aquapark, Moscow

After a hard day exploring the city, why not spend some time out to relax and unwind at one of Moscow’s largest water parks?

Karibiya has a handful of pools (including a heated salt-water spa) and fun but not too wild slides, plus a bowling alley for the kids, a fitness center and bar for the adults. There’s something to keep everyone entertained.

39 – Take a day trip to Sergiev Posad

Sergiev Posad day trips from Moscow

A photographer’s dream with blue-and-gold cupolas contrasted by snow-white walls, the ancient town of Sergiev Posad (just over an hour’s drive from Moscow) is a quaint tourist favorite. It’s famous for being home to one of Russia’s most important and sacred monasteries — the free-to-visit Trinity Lavra St. Sergius monastery complex.

Founded in 1340 AD by Saint Sergius, today it serves as an active monastery where visitors are free to attend daily services. Admire its truly remarkable artworks and historic museum collections.

  • Sergiev Posad day trip

40 – Spot starfish (and monkeys?) at the Crocus City Oceanarium

Crocus City Oceanarium, Moscow

One of the latest attractions in Moscow, Crocus City Mall’s iceberg-shaped  Oceanarium is a vast three-floor aquarium. It has more than 5,000 species swimming gracefully under one roof — not to mention the reptiles, birds, and monkeys that also call this place home.

Since the mall also boasts shopping centers, a pair of concert halls and a skating rink, there’s no shortage of activities on offer to whisk away a rainy day.

41 – Button-mash at the Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines

Museum of Soviet Arcade Machines, Moscow

Where are the gamers at?

For anyone curious about the video games and technology of Russia’s yesteryear, there’s no better place to visit than this retro museum (complete with Soviet-era soda).

Filled with an impressive collection of more than 100 vintage arcade machines dating back as far as the late 1970s (like ”Pull the Turnip”), it’s sure to take you on a trip down memory lane.

42 – Take a walk through the Alexander Garden

Alexander Garden, Moscow

While the majority of Moscow’s other top attractions require a ticket or entry fee, there is at least one gem that doesn’t. It happens to be right on your doorstep if you’re staying anywhere near the Kremlin.

Alexander Garden (also known as Alexandrovsky Sad) is an expansive park that stretches the entire western wall of the Kremlin (nearly 1km in length). It’s filled to the brim with colorful flower beds, winding walkways and calming fountains.

Don’t miss the tomb of the Unknown Soldier while you’re there.

43 – Sign up for a dog sledding adventure!

dog sledding in Moscow

Cliche? Sure, maybe a little. Seriously fun? You better believe it!

Winter is coming, and that means it’s time to get out there and experience Russia the way only locals can — by dog sledding.

Typically lasting seven or eight hours, these outdoor adventures (which include hotel pick up and drop off) are a wonderful way to experience nature and immerse yourself in ancient Russian traditions — and hang out with a handful of adorable huskies, of course!

Seriously though, this is one of those things you’re going to want photos (and videos) for when you get back home because, really, words just wouldn’t do it justice.

44 – Walk beneath the Iberian Gate and Chapel

Iberian Gate and Chapel, Moscow

Facing away from the Red Square and linking Manezhnaya Square, the Iberian Gate and Chapel (sometimes called the Resurrection Gate) is overflowing with history. It acts as the spiritual entrance to the Red Square and the home of the wooden chapel that houses icons of the Iberian Virgin.

Many believe it is customary to kiss the Iberian icon before entering the gate and for boys to take off their hats. For an insight into the local culture, join a walking tour and learn more about the gate’s significance to religion and history.

To add to the importance, the gate is also the location of ‘Kilometer Zero’ — the official central point of Moscow.

45 – Play all day at the Dream Island theme park

Dream Island, Moscow

After opening its gates early in 2020, Dream Island earned itself the coveted title of being the largest indoor theme park in Europe (yep, that means it’s even open in the harsh winter).

It’s a delight for kids and adults alike. Throughout the park you’ll find an array of rides themed around classic cartoons like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Pinocchio, the Smurfs, Hotel Transylvania and Hello Kitty. It also has charming and well-arranged streets that transport you to bustling cities like London and Barcelona!

Throw in live performances, plenty of eateries, a cinema and a hotel, and you can see why it’s become all the rage recently.

46 – Race against the clock in an escape room

escape rooms in Moscow

An unmissable and quick activity for any budding Sherlock Holmes out there, escape rooms challenge your mind and require wit, teamwork, and logic. Figure out the puzzles and escape from each room before time runs up.

Moscow’s escape room games usually last around 60 minutes and cover a range of themes (like a USSR Nuclear Bunker or even an outdoor, app-led scavenger game) — perfect for the whole family.

47 – Chill out by the Patriarch’s Ponds

Patriarch's Ponds, Moscow

Surrounded by residential buildings in the fancy downtown Presnensky District, the enormous (9,900 square meters, to be exact) the Patriarshiye Prudy is a beautiful oasis. It’s frequented by dog walkers, picnickers, artists and musicians alike.

In summertime, you’ll find people picnicking on the grassy banks or sunbathing by the ponds. In the winter, it transforms into a magical wonderland of snow and ice, morphing into a popular public skating rink.

Directions on Google Maps

48 – Go behind the scenes at Luzhniki Stadium

Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

Moscow’s Lujniki Stadium is one of Europe’s biggest soccer complexes, capable of hosting some 80,000 fans with an electric-like atmosphere — as we saw during its phase as the main stadium of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Besides being the current home ground of Russia’s National Football Team, it also hosts concerts by some of the biggest international acts and was also the focal point of the 1980 Olympic Games.

If your trip doesn’t line up with any sellout matches, you can still join a backstage stadium tour that explores the dressing rooms, press conference room and the field.

49 – Head to Suzdal and Vladimir for a day

Suzdal and Vladimir day trips from Moscow

A fantastic option for anyone who wants to get out of the chaos of Moscow for a minute, these two towns are parts of the Golden Ring of ancient Russian cities. They present as perfect day trips, thanks to their rich history, diverse culture and white-drenched architecture.

In Suzdal , the Kremlin fortress is the main event, with the Cathedral of the Nativity (and its 13th-century Golden Doors) captivating visitors year after year. In Vladimir , the awe-inspiring Assumption Cathedral (Dormition Cathedral) teaks center stage, with its five golden domes making for a wonderful photo backdrop

Don’t feel like hiring a car? Take the hassle out of your getaway and book a pre-arranged tour that visits both ancient towns on the same day.

50 – Escape the crowds at the Botanic Gardens of Moscow State University

Botanic Gardens of Moscow State University, Moscow

Wielding the title of Russia’s oldest botanic garden, the Botanic Gardens of Moscow State University (founded in 1706) is a fantastic place to escape the city and learn about Russia’s rich flora.

The beautifully arranged garden boasts more than 6,000 plant species that span various climates across the world, allowing visitors to see everything from roses and tulips to cacti and bamboo trees!

51 – Climb inside a tank at the Kubinka Tank Museum

Kubinka Tank Museum, Moscow

A must-see for any military history buff, the Kubinka Tank Museum showcases dozens of tanks and armored vehicles from across the globe, with a particularly heavy focus on Soviet Union models (to be expected, right?).

The collection includes everything from Polish TKS tankettes to the only remaining Panzer VIII Maus, a captured WWI British Mark V and the Object 172 — as well as plenty of cannons, weapons and missiles.

Serving traditional Russian military meals and national staples, even the cafe-restaurant is military-themed!

52 – Sit front row at the Moscow International House of Music

Moscow International House of Music

A world-renowned performance complex on the picturesque Kosmodamianskaya Embankment, this state-of-the-art venue is best known for hosting Vladimir Spivakov’s Virtuosi of Moscow Chamber Orchestra. It showcases everything from classical concerts to jazz, folk music and more!

The venue’s three magnificent concert halls welcome an array of local and international performers. Check the website to see who’s taking center stage during your visit!

53 – Drift through fresh powder on a snowmobile!

snowmobiling in Moscow

While it’s not always winter (though if you want to make the most of your snowy trip, come between December and March), as soon as that first snowfall hits, it’s time for snowmobile tours. Make for a fantastic way to explore the out-of-the-way locations and magical forests beyond Moscow’s city limits.

Even if you’ve never ridden a ski-doo or snowmobile before, the friendly expert instructors will be with you every step of the way, with safety and enjoyment always priorities.

54 – Crank your head skywards in Moscow City

Moscow International Business Center, Moscow

A stark contrast to the ancient and colorful onion domes in the Red Square, Moscow City’s skyscape (aka the Moscow International Business Center ) is full of towering, modern glass-heavy (even twisting) skyscrapers. Many of which are vying at the top of the list of Europe’s tallest buildings.

At 374 meters tall and with 95 floors — and a wonderful restaurant on its 60th floor — the Moscow Federation Tower is a popular choice for tourists. Meanwhile, the 85th and 86th floor of the OKO Towers play host to a Russian restaurant and skating rink respectively.

Be sure to walk through the modern Bagration Bridge and, for the shopaholics, check out the stores and IMAX theater inside AFIMALL City.

55 – Check out Zaryadye Park

Zaryadye Park, Moscow

Within arm’s reach of the famed Red Square, the peaceful slice of greenery that is Zaryadye Park is a breath of beautiful and natural air amidst the concrete jungle. It’s the first new city park to be opened in Moscow for more than half a century.

At various points around the 10-hectare park, you’ll find a few restaurant pavilions, a media center, a museum and a botanical collection housing over a million plants. It also houses the two-stage Zaryadye Concert Hall where thousands of passersby take a seat on the steps every day.

While you’re there, don’t miss the Chambers of the Romanov Boyars, an unusual museum above the northern side of the park.

56 – Stroll around the cozy Hermitage Garden

Hermitage Garden, Moscow

Small yet incredibly charming and found conveniently smack-bang in the middle of the city, the Hermitage Garden is a perfect spot to relax and unwind after a day of learning about Russia’s vast history.

Surrounded by the Sfera Theatre and The Kolobov Novaya Opera Theatre of Moscow , this lovely, leafy garden can be both a relaxing oasis or the prelude to an entertaining evening out.

57 – Treat yourself to a ballet show at the Bolshoi Theatre

Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow

With a reputation that precedes it, the impressive and world-famous Bolshoi Theatre is a must for any theater lover. Its rich history is making it one of the most iconic theaters in Europe.

While there are several performances to choose from throughout the year — from ballet to opera, classic dramas and even acrobatic shows — you can also get your own private backstage tour.

58 – Get artsy, then party at ArtPlay

ArtPlay, Moscow

This old tea factory turned cultural hub of Moscow’s creative arts is heaven on earth for rotating exhibitions by local artists.

Depending on what piques your interest, you can join in on everything from live music to dance classes, art studio workshops, flea markets and film screenings here. However, after the sun goes down, its alter-ego comes out to play.

So, if you’re feeling peckish, stop into the Domozhilov restaurant nearby for a shashlik. Then wash it down at the English pub with a beer before partying it up at Rodnya, a pumping techno club.

59 – Head to the PANORAMA360 Observation Deck

PANORAMA360 Observation Deck, Moscow

A surefire hit for the social media feed, the observation deck at the top of Moscow’s Federation Tower skyscraper — PANORAMA360 — is a must-see selfie stop for its killer views and … ice cream factory.

From the 89th floor, you can soak in the wonder of Moscow old and new from above. It has floor-to-ceiling windows providing 360-degree vistas, a rotating restaurant and mini-cinema to boot.

60 – Throw down a picnic blanket in Sokolniki Park

Sokolniki Park, Moscow

One of the largest green spaces in Moscow, Sokolniki Park is a very popular gathering place for locals and visitors alike.

Spread across the northeastern Sokolniki District, it’s the perfect distance from the city’s main haunts where the crowds remain small but the accessibility stays high.

With its many activities — from sports to live music to festivals — not much beats this park when it comes to outdoor fun!

61 – Catch a traditional Russian dance show

Russian dance shows in Moscow

To get a true sense of the rich and diverse culture in Moscow, you can’t go past one of its many folk dance shows.

While there are several to choose from, “Kostroma” and “The Golden Ring” are two crowd favorite choices. Each is thoroughly unique with traditional music and costumes sure to make for a once-in-a-lifetime night of entertainment.

Of course, due to high popularity, be sure to book in advance.

62 – Book a table at the White Rabbit restaurant bar

White Rabbit restaurant bar, Moscow

Perched above the historical center of Moscow on the 16th floor of the Smolensky Passage building, this lavish restaurant is a must-visit for any foodie-obsessed traveler. Why? Because it continually ranks as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world.

The drool-worthy menu made by fifth-generation chef Vladimir Mukhin consists of creative, beautiful plated meals. The coveted eaterie also boasts 360-degree panoramic views of the city and a fine collection of wines and cocktails.

63 – Have dinner inside the Vysoko-Petrovskiy Monastery

Vysoko-Petrovskiy Monastery, Moscow

Whether you’re an architecture or history buff, while visiting Moscow, it would be a shame to miss out on the rare chance to eat in an actual monastery.

This one is particularly special as it dates back some 700 years. Not only will you get to dig into an authentic Russian menu, but learn about the history of the building and (depending on your booking package) get a guided tour too.

64 – Pass by the ‘Children Are the Victims of Adult Vices’ sculpture

Children Are the Victims of Adult Vices sculpture, Moscow

This free public art installation in Bolotnaya square was created by Mihail Chemaikin in 2001. A somewhat controversial landmark, it depicts how children are influenced by vices — alcohol, theft, ignorance, violence, addiction, poverty and war, to name a few.

The sculpture’s uniqueness and thought-provoking nature makes it an essential stop on any day of wandering around.

65 – Get wild on a pub crawl!

pub crawls in Moscow

You’re on vacation, so it’s time to let your hair down, mingle with some fellow thirsty travelers and party it up Moscow-style!

High-energy pub crawls are a great way to get acquainted with new friends while seeing Moscow’s unique nightlife scene first-hand. Let the locals lead you to hidden gems, tourist hot spots and quirky dive bars.

If you don’t feel like walking, why not join a Soviet minivan crawl instead (where you can drink Soviet champagne onboard!)?

66 – Roll up for the Nikulin Circus!

Nikulin Circus, Moscow

If you haven’t had the chance to see a live circus before — and especially if you’re traveling with kids — why not head over to the Nikulin Circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard?

It blends traditional Russian acrobatics with modern-day technology, animals, and the classic circular circus stage. This beloved local entertainment is also considered one of the most enjoyable things to do in Moscow!

67 – Get romantic on a Moskva River dinner cruise

dinner cruises in Moscow

What better way to take in the city’s skyline than from a luxury yacht as you enjoy entertainment, fine dining, and (strong) specialty drinks?

Whether you’re looking for something large that can accommodate groups of friends or something smaller with a bit more VIP style, there are several dinner cruises available to suit any taste and budget.

68 – Explore the wonderful Izmailovo District

Izmailovo District, Moscow

One of the city’s best-kept secrets, Izmailovo ‘s focal point is its Kremlin, a colorful wooden complex. Built in 2007, it has had unique museums and flea markets pop up nearby in the years since.

Throughout the area, you’ll uncover museums dedicated to vodka, break and Russian folk art. The district’s charming open-air flea market has all kinds of crafts and souvenirs are haggled on the daily.

Don’t miss Izmailovo Park , which is an enormous 300-hectare space that plays host to souvenir vendors, forest walking paths and even an ice rink in winter.

With so much to see in the district, savvy travelers typically opt for a guided tour.

  • Izmailovo tours

69 – Sip on a cocktail at the award-winning City Space Bar and Lounge

City Space Bar and Lounge, Moscow

Self-dubbed as one of the world’s top 10 bars, with accolades like Luxury Travel Guide’s Bar of the Year 2018, this iconic and luxurious watering hole doesn’t need much of an introduction.

Perched sky-high on the 34th floor of Swissotel Krasnye Holmy, the circular lounge bar slings signature cocktails and dishes up truly stunning views of the city.

Hot tip: While there’s never a poor time to visit, aim to arrive an hour or so before sunset, that’s when the city will truly sparkle below.

70 – Pamper yourself at the Sanduny Baths

Sanduny Baths, Moscow

If you’re looking for something to ease that throbbing headache after a night of pub crawling, why not try the famous Sanduny Baths , a quintessentially Russian experience?

Famed as one of the world’s most beautiful public bathhouses, Sanduny’s steam rooms and pools are said to be some of the best in Moscow. But for something totally unique, you can’t go past the birch twigs massage (read: beating).

71 – Spruce up your social media feed at some Insta-worthy restaurants

insta-worthy restaurants in Moscow

While a good meal is always part of the restaurant experience, getting a good pic for Instagram is half the fun!

Luckily, there are tons of excellent eateries that combine great food with gorgeous aesthetics.

Big Wine Freaks has a fantastic drink selection (naturally), and its dark, classy rooms full of elegant light fixtures and plush furniture bring to mind a spy’s hideout.

Meanwhile, Sempre adopts more of a naturalistic approach, surrounding diners with ferns and greenery.

And at Black Market Moscow , you can choose between indoor and outdoor spaces, each featuring their own unique designs and dining experiences.

Take a bite and snap some pics!

72 – Unleash your inner party animal at the Night clubs

nightlife in Moscow

When the sun goes down, you’ll get to see a whole new side of Moscow: its amazing nightlife!

Head to Propaganda for a bite or a beverage, then dance to some quality club tunes.

Or get a little wild at Chesterfield , where you can pay a flat fee and drink as much as you want – the perfect recipe for fun!

And at Rock’N’ Roll , there’s a new form of excitement every day, from DJ sets to live bands, all playing a lively mix of rock music from across the decades.

With all this excitement, you won’t want to book anything early the next day!

How to get to Moscow?

Unless you’re feeling up to the challenge of a long train journey, you’ll most likely be flying into Moscow.

Luckily, it has three international airports to choose from: Sheremetyevo, Vnukovo, and Domodedovo.

Once you’ve arrived, you’ll be able to easily reach the city via the Aeroexpress train.

Where to stay in Moscow?

Golden Ring Hotel  will make you feel like you’re on top of the world, whether you’re getting pampered at the beauty salon or enjoying a meal in the rooftop restaurants.

Or check in to Radisson Slavyanskaya Hotel & Business Center , which boasts everything from riverside views and a gym to nearby shopping areas and relaxing Turkish baths.

At AZIMUT Hotel Olympic Moscow , the massages, international cuisine, sauna, and swimming pool will keep you happily occupied in between excursions.

And at sister property AZIMUT Hotel Smolenskaya Moscow , you can savor a nice meal or admire the scenery from the lounge, or stroll over to Gorky Park or roam along Stary Arbat Street.

Meanwhile, Oblaka Hotel blends simple charm and a convenient location, with charming red brick exteriors and easy access to historic sites and a metro station.

  • best hotels in Moscow

Visiting Moscow on a budget?

There’s nothing like seeing a city on foot… especially on a free walking tour !

These excursions aren’t just a way to save money while still learning a lot; they also offer a wonderful opportunity to gain local perspectives, courtesy of your guides.

But despite the name, they do accept tips for a job well done, so bring a bit of money with you!

Where to go next?

If you’re short on time but still want to see the best of Moscow, try some multi-day tours ; they’ll provide all of the coolest sights and experiences in an efficient format.

After that, it’s time to start exploring further afield!

Though it’s a bit of a trek, St. Petersburg is well worth the journey!

With its famously decadent buildings to its lively arts scene, this is the perfect place to soak up some culture; but there are also some more offbeat options, like folk shows, vodka tastings, and even an amusement park!

And from the jaw-dropping designs of the metro stations (yes, you read that correctly) to the glimmer of Faberge eggs, it showcases beauty at every turn.

Ready to go beyond Russia?

Dive into the best places to visit in Europe , a smorgasbord of art and history, nature and architecture, showcasing some of the most beloved cities and countries in the world.

Final thoughts

While Russia’s capital may seem imposing, its dynamic culture, live-wire entertainment scene, and remarkable history make it an unbeatable destination, with unique adventures that will linger in your memory long after you’ve returned home.

You may feel a little overwhelmed by all of the incredible things to do in Moscow… but that’s all the more reason to come back!

If you have any other must-see suggestions, noteworthy day trips or quintessential tours worth booking, feel free to write in the comments!

As always, happy travels!


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