The Boulevard Ring, the semi-circle of parks following the line of the old city walls, is always a great place for a stroll. The boulevards between Tverskaya and Prechistenka are packed with galleries, restaurants, theatres and memorials so that there is plenty to look at both out on the street and inside the buildings. The area is also rich in theatrical and literary museums, which could make a separate tour in their own right. The actress Maria Yermolova lived on Tverskoi Bulvar, Stanislavsky lived in Leontyevsky Pereulok and the mercurial Gogol at the end of Nikitsky Bulvar.
The memorial museum-studio of sculptor Sergei Konenkov is one of those Moscow gems which can make life here a richer experience. Thousands of people must walk past the door every day without realising that the workshop of the "Russian Rodin" is inside No. 17, Tversaya Ulitsa. The entrance is on Tverskoi Bulvar, just before Café Pushkin. The museum is open 11 am-6 pm, Wed.-Sun., and costs 50 roubles. Konenkov's sculptures, in a variety of media, are wonderfully organic and tactile. Konenkov, who lived much of his life in America until he was recalled by Stalin in 1945, was a great innovator in the early 20th century. You can see expressive plaster heads of Einstein and Dostoyevsky, a huge wooden Christ, writhing tree stump chairs, a bronze Tolstoy or a marble Bach.
Sandwiched between fancy restaurants at 26/5, Café Pushkin's basement Konditerskaya (open from 11 am) is worth a mention. You may hate the fake 19th century interiors and the high prices, but the croissants are delicious.
At 90 roubles a throw, they cost no more than in many other overpriced Moscow bakeries and they're worth it. The cake display is a work of art.
Turn left after the massive brick Gorky Arts' Theatre and right onto Leontyevsky Pereulok. The Russian revival style palace with bulbous pillars at No. 7 is the Matryoshka Museum. The late 19th century building used to house Russia's first matryoshka-workshop.
It's open 12 pm-5:30 pm, Tue.-Sun., and entry is free. The two-room collection is not wildly exciting but it's pretty enough, including a few 1950s Sergiev Posad matryoshkas and a spectacular 32-piece set featuring religious festivals.
The gift shop is a delightful treasure trove of wooden toys, patchwork quilts and painted decorations. This shop has a historic legacy: Anatoly Mamontov's workshop created and sold folk toys here more than a century ago and, with the children's illustrator Sergei Malyutin, created the first ever matryoshka.
In a courtyard almost opposite the museum, the "gmg" gallery is also free and is open 2 pm-9 pm Tue.-Sat. The current exhibition, opened for the Biennale, features two American artists and runs until November 21.
Turn left onto Bolshaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa and left again into Khlynovsky Tupik for a detour to Art4.ru at No. 4. This funky private museum is open only on Fridays, 11 am-10 pm, but the windows here and along Bolshaya Nikitskaya Ulitsa make an interesting display in their own right and you might want to check out cosy Café Yesenin next door.
Returning to the Boulevard Ring and turning left onto Nikitsky Bulvar, you pass Lebanese Café Sindbad and the wonderful Nitkitsky Gate Theatre. The columned mansion at No. 12A houses the Museum of Oriental Art.
You could easily spend a whole day here browsing among the Turkish carpets, Vietnamese Buddhas and silk kimonos.
The collection spans centuries and continents, from 10th century Chinese pottery through illuminated Persian manuscripts and Sri Lankan masks to works of art produced in the last century. Again, there's a small shop where you can get souvenirs. The museum is open 10 am-8 pm and admission costs 120 roubles.
Cross under the underpass at the end of the road to reach Arbatskaya metro station. If you're ready for more, carry on along Gogolevsky Bulvar. Halfway along, just before the road starts to curve to the left, Sivtsev Vrazhek joins it from the right. At No. 6/2, the NB Gallery has changing displays. The gallery is open Tue.-Sun. 12 pm-6 pm and has been known for years as a trusted supplier of Soviet and Russian artworks to Moscow's expatriate community.
Ring the bell for flat No. 2 at entrance No. 1. The latest offering includes a series of black and white and colour shots of Moscow by British photographer Henrietta Challinor. Her work will delight anyone who enjoys the kaleidoscope of the city in its different aspects.
Back on Gogolevsky Bulvar, there are still more galleries before you reach Kropotkinskaya metro station. Another branch of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art at No. 10 (open every day 12 pm-7 pm) has a new exhibition of photographic plates by American Bart Dorsa called "Deep Inside my Dollhouse".
Almost next door, the PhotoCentre also puts on shows of photos, pictures and posters. The boulevard itself sometimes hosts outdoor exhibitions on the stands near the metro where you will find yet more cafes. There is also the bizarre Sholokhov memorial, dedicated to the author of "Quiet Flows the Don".
Mikhail Sholokhov is shown sitting in a fishing boat with a shoal of horses' heads in the stream behind him.
The intersections between boulevards can be nightmarish, but the actual parks between the lanes of cars are a surprisingly good place to walk with children. Fenced off from the traffic and dotted with playgrounds (not to mention trees and monuments to climb on!), they provide a respite from the city centre. This week's walk testers, aged six to 12, were particularly enthusiastic about the Café Pushkin cake section and the Matryoshka museum.
Landmark of the week
The Itar-Tass building, 2/28 Tverskoi Bulvar
On the corner with Bolshoi Nikitskaya, this huge building was built for TASS, the Soviet News Agency, in 1976.
The concrete block has a distinctive globe and logo outside.
The huge windows are designed to look like television.