Years ago I asked an American expat (from state of Georgia in the USA) living in Moscow, Russia how he would compare and contrast Moscow and St. Petersburg. I attached his email below, as he wrote it.
I guess it depends on a person’s interests, but Moscow is older and more historic. Russia more or less developed around Moscow. St. Petersburg is only 300 years old. Moscow officially is 860 years old, and now most archaeologists believe Moscow is twice this age since ancient Roman coins have been discovered in many places here. More lovely, old historic buildings are here. St. Petersburg's strengths are that Peter the Great copied most of what he found and liked in other European cities; you can go to St. Petersburg and see a little of most European capital cities there.
- historic, more older lovely historic buildings palaces, mansions and churches
- lovely and beautiful parks here, St. Petersburg or any other city can not compete with Moscow ’s parks, no other city I have been in has as many and as lovely and interesting parks as Moscow .
- Museums, St. Petersburg has the Hermitage, Moscow has the Pushkin Museum of Fine Art, the Tretyakov Gallery, the State Historical Museum, the Armory, the State Diamond Fund and many other museums which cover everything you could want, Paris can not compete with Moscow as far as museums go.
- many lovely historical streets to walk around easily
- public transportation, it is just great here, no other word to describe it, easy to use, easy to get around, St. Petersburg transport is not bad, but it only is good in the center of St. Petersburg, get further out like going to some of the places like Peterhof palace, you could very well get lost big time if you do not know what you are doing. Moscow you can get lost, but you can find your way around pretty easy.
- just more things to see and do here in Moscow, Moscow is the capital of Russia an St. Petersburg no long is the capital, if it were still, then of course there would be more to see and do there, every capital is special in itself, even though Peter the Great made St. Petersburg the capital of Russia, Moscow was always considered the true capital, that is why the Bolsheviks returned the capital to Moscow, but because Moscow was and is now the capital, that in itself would make it special, just like Washington DC, London, Berlin, Paris are all special cities.
St. Petersburg is nice, but it really just can not compete with Moscow no matter what St. Petersburg may want to believe. But everybody has their own likes and dislikes. Many like St. Petersburg better.