Cherepovets' is the largest city in Vologda Oblast, founded in the 14th century as a monastery. Although not the administrative capital of Vologda Oblast', it certainly serves as the economic one solely due to the large company it hosts, OAO Severstal' (Northern Steel), which dominates the entire city. As a result of this company and its steel, Cherepovets has fared much better than most Russian cities and is therefore a bit more expensive than one would expect in a provincial Russian city of its size. Although there are not many sites to see in the city itself, it serves as a good base to see the many attractions of Vologda Oblast'.
The easiest and most inexpensive way to get to Cherepovets is by train from either St. Petersburg or Moscow. From St. Petersburg, the best option is the Vologda "Belye Nochi (White Nights)" Train 688я, which leaves at 22:40 and arrives at 6:18 the next day. There are also trains going to other locations, such as Arkhangelsk, Sverdlovsk, and Almaty which go through Cherepovets. From Moscow, there is only really one option, unless travelling to Vologda first, which can be quite difficult. That option is the Moscow - Cherepovets train, which leaves at 21:05 daily, and arrives at 08:35 the next day. Both trains are "firmenny" or of better quality. Like on most trains, there are "Platskart" (open sleeper car), "Kupe" (closed compartment car), and a couple of forms of "Lyuks" (Deluxe cars). Full train schedules can be seen on (in Russian). By air, the only company serving Cherepovets is Severstal' Airlines (in Russian). They have flights from Moscow (Vnukovo) daily, some flights from Domodedovo airport in Moscow, and occasionally flights to/from St. Petersburg, Penza and Sochi, Petrozavodsk, and Helsinki. With enough plannign and if you know how to work with Russian travel agents, then you can find reasonbly priced flights.
Taxis are by far the most convenient way to travel around Cherepovets. Depending on how far you want to go, prices range from 60 - 90 RUR per trip. From the train station the prices are a bit higher. What is nice is that the prices are set and are determined by what regions you are traveling to. There are also many bus lines that run very frequently throughout the day, but to really orient your way on these buses, or throughout Cherepovets, some Russian is required. Buses run about every hour from 5:00-20:00 to Vologda and back, and many of these buses are very high-quality. Buses also run frequently to Kirillov, Belozersk, Ustyuzhna, Rybinsk, Yaroslavl' and other locations.
There are not many attractions in Cherepovets, itself. The main street is Sovetskij Prospect and it is a nice walk along it. At the end of Sovetskij is the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ, which was recently restored and a nice park around it on Cathedral Hills with a small museum to one of the city's first mayors - Milyutin. In addition, the Church of the Nativity, which sits farther down the embankment has also been recently restored. On Sovetskij there is a small museum with some local artifacts, and nearby another museum to the local aristocrat and painter of the 19th century Vasilij Vereshchagin, known for his landscapes and Eastern themes. Another main site is the main bridge connecting Zasheksninskij region with the rest of the city. There are also many monuments and parks throughout the city. Cherepovets is accessible to many fascinating sites in the Vologda Region, including Vologda, Kirillo-Belezersky Monastery, Belozersk, and Ustyuzhna.
There are many exciting things to do in and around Cherepovets. During summer, the beaches on the Sheksna river are good for sunbathing, but swimming might not be safe. There is a beach in each major section of the city. Boat tours can be taken along the Sheksna for about 1.5 hours from Ulitsa Nabarezhnaja, just look for the boat. Just outside the city is another beach on the reservoir and a couple of resorts. There are also quite a few hiking trails near the Sheksninskij District. Dachas (Russian summer homes) can be rented, but its best to find a Russian to take you to theirs. In the winter, there are several places to rent skis. For X-country, there is a place right on the Sheksna near the Palace of Metallurgy. Just to the South of the city you can find downhill skiing and sledding. There is a skating rink in the sports complex in the middle of the city. There are several movie theatres throughout the city - Kino Royal' has smoking, but you can sit on couches. KinoMir has several large theatres. There are also a couple of bowling venues now, one on Prospect Lenina, and one in Zashekninskij Region (Saturn). Some of the major holidays and events to look for (other than the usual Russian events) include Metallurgist Day, Cherepovets Day, and the Miss Severstal' competition.
The store "Suveniry" on Sovetskij Prospect has some of the best souvenirs in Russia at the best prices, including local crafts and costumes. There are many stores along Sovetskij Prospect and Prospect Lenina to find really anything you need, although you're better off buying some things in the major cities. In addition, there are many shopping centers throughout the city, and they continue to be built.
In general, there are many good options of places to eat in Cherepovets as the city is fairly wealthy because of the steel industry. Some of the best places are:
Restaurant "Karavaj" on Sovetskij Prospect has good Russian cuisine
Restaurant "Pizzeria" has good pizza, although with a Russian twist
Restaurant "Park Palas" on Ulitsa Maksima Gorkogo has good European food and a large outdoor section
The aforementioned "Park Palas" is one of the calmer options if you are looking for just a couple of drinks. There are some bigger nightclubs throughout the city including "Terminal", "Truba", "Dacha," "Boogie-Woogie," and "Royal.'"
The hotels in the city have not improved much since Soviet times. One exception is the new hotel "Amparo," although it is very pricey. Hotel "Edinstvo" is less expensive, but also not as nice. Some low-end options include Hotel "Sunday" and Hotel "Leningrad."
The same travel methods for getting to Cherepovets apply for leaving. The train is by far the most economical option, and to/from St. Petersburg and Moscow there are night trains daily.