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The best time to visit St. Petersburg depends on what sort of trip you’re seeking. While it’s true that St. Petersburg can be frigid in winter, Russians truly come alive when the temperature drops. For Russians, enduring the cold is seen as a sign of strength, and they’re proud of their city’s icy temps. You’ll find that with the right clothing (lots of wool and down, and no exposed skin), you can beat the chill and feel more like a local than a tourist. There’s something romantic about the snow falling on the pastel colors of the former houses of the nobility along the embankments.
However, the White Nights of midsummer in St. Petersburg are equally spectacular, with long days of nearly 22 hours of sunlight. The bridges crossing the Neva River are raised each night to allow ships to pass, meaning cars and pedestrians can’t get across during certain hours of the early morning, usually from 1 to 5 a.m. Locals, especially the younger set, use the opportunity to stay out later at local bars and clubs, and then wait for the lowering of the bridges in the early morning sunlight. Call it city bonding at its best.