Chelyabinsk is the closest city to where a meteor exploded during its fall through the atmosphere on 15 February 2013. It is the largest known meteor to enter Earth's atmosphere since the 1908 "Tunguska Event". The high heat and extreme pressures of entering and traveling through the atmosphere caused the meteor to explode at an altitude of 30–50 km, sending a powerful shockwave through the city and surrounding regions.
People in Chelyabinsk are mostly Russians, Tatars and Bashkirs; other nations are present as well. The level of education can vary as well as social background and wealth. The society is extremely polar from incredibly rich to extremely poor. In the city there are a lot of factory workers and other laborers, especially far from the downtown.
The number of English-speakers is very low. Those who seem to speak it mostly know only a couple of phrases from their school study. It is more probable that you could meet an English-speaking person among young people than among old ones. It is advisable to get acquaintances in the city in advance. For that you can use local English-speaking on the VK  social network or local CouchSurfing  community.
Russian people on the streets and in local transport seem to be a bit rude and not smiley, which can give you a bad first impression. They are mostly poor and closed inside their numerous problems, and it is not part of Russian culture to show false emotions. You smile only when you feel really happy or something funny happened; otherwise Russians normally keep straight faces. In reality people are really helpful, hospitable and frank, it is only hidden by their everyday masks of unhappiness.
- 1 Chelyabinsk airport (CEK IATA until 2008 the airport name was Balandino). is the most convenient way to get to the city from Moscow and several other Russian cities. It has a few international flights but they are a little overpriced in comparison with the flights served by the airport of Yekaterinburg. Chelyabinsk airport serves regular flights to Düsseldorf, Dushanbe, Yerevan, Khujand, Vienna, Harbin, Dubai and charter flights to Antalya, Rimini, Bangkok.
To get to the city from the airport:
- Bus lines 1 (to the railway station), 41 (to the Metallurgic district), 45 (to the North-West). A ticket costs approximately $0.40
- Small city buses with stops on demand ("marshrutkas") line 82 to the railway station. A ticket is approximately $0.80
- Taxi service. Average price is $10-$15 but don't become a victim of taxi drivers who would probably try to overcharge you. It is better to call a taxi in advance.
As Chelyabinsk Airport has a limited number of international flights it might be convenient to get in from the nearest big international airport of Yekaterinburg's Koltsovo airport (SVX IATA)in the center of Ural Federal District.
Two daily trains to Moscow. Train 13/14 is quicker (34 hours), but the ticket price is comparable to that of the plane ticket. Train 391/392 is cheaper, at around 1300 руб, but is less safe and slower (41 hours).
Trains to all other parts of Russia are available as well, including the Kyiv-Vladivostok train that travels about 10,000 km. International trains run to Asian ex-USSR countries, such as Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and even to Beijing (twice a month).
The railway station is modern and spacious, with buffet and other facilities. There's an even wider selection in the downstairs food hall of Familia, the pyramid-shaped shopping mall facing the station. And for spiritual sustenance, visit the onion-domed chapel next to the platforms, Tserkov' ikony Bozhyey Materi Odigitriya.
Yekaterinburg-Chelyabinsk route is very popular, with buses running every 20–30 minutes at around 300 руб and 3–4 hours travel time. The main bus station in Chelyabinsk is Northern Bus Terminal (Avtovokzal Severny) which is located in the center of the city, near the Yunost sporting complex. Free bus shuttles circulate between the bus terminal and the railway station. There is another bus station Southern Bus Terminal (Avtovokzal Yuzhny) with mostly buses to smaller towns of the region.
By marshrutka (small city bus with stops on demand)
Marshrutka is a very convenient means of transportation. It is a typically Russian transport. Marshrutka can be considered as a shared taxi but it follows a certain route. All marshrutkas have route numbers painted on them. They follow the route like a city bus but they stop at bus stops only on demand. If you want to take marshrutka, stay at the right place (a bus stop) and hitch by stretching your hand. If you want to exit, just say it to the driver, preferably very loudly. Keep in mind that the driver will only stop at the next official bus stop and he might not hear you. You would better ask other passengers for instructions. This sounds as an inconvenience but as soon as you get accustomed to marshrutkas, you appreciate them. The transport network covers all the city and surroundings, the speed of a marshrutka is comparably high (much higher than one of buses as it doesn't stop at every bus stop) and the number of vehicle is tremendously big. The waiting period is usually about 5–10 minutes in suburbs and 1–3 minutes in the city center as there are a lot of routes. It is highly adviceable to but a map of routes and to ask locals. As well there are very good free electronic maps in Russian (2Gis). You can use online maps as well (Google, Yandex...).
The typical price is 15 руб but there are higher prices on longer routes (it can be 20 руб between districts and more expensive from the airport). In Chelyabinsk you should pay to the driver as soon as you get on a marshrutka (in some other cities you should pay when you get off). It is common to ask other passengers to pass money to the driver. It is quite safe as people would almost never steal your money in that situation. Passing the change back is common as well. There are marshrutkas with two types of doors. One type is automatic, so passengers should not do anything with the door. Another type is a sliding door which should be opened or closed manually. You should always close the door when get on a marshrutka or get off it last.
- 1 State Historical Museum of the South Urals (Gosudarstvennyy Istoricheskiy Muzey Yuzhnogo Urala), Ulitsa Truda, 100, ☏ . Traces history of Chelyabinsk area, including exhibits on dinosaurs and the 2013 Chelyabinsk Meteor.
- 2 Chelyabinsk Museum of Art, Ulitsa Truda, 92А. Smallish European/Russian art museum.
- 3 Monument to Kurchatov, west end of Prospekt Lenina next to Gargarin Park. Imposing statue of this physicist, a city landmark.
- 1 Chelyabinskiy Zoopark, Ulitsa Truda, 191, ☏ . City zoo.
- 2 Gagarin Park or Park Imeni Yuriya Gagarina. Heavily-forested park where you can enjoy taking a walk.
- Park Aloe Pole, Prospekt Lenina and Prospekt Sverdlovskiy. This is like a big city square with statuary and landmarks to view.
- Sad Pobedy, Ulitsa Geroyev Tankograda, 79. Greenspace where you can look at Russian artillery to your heart's content.
- Koleso Obozreniya, Prospekt Sverdlovskiy, 51А. A creaky-looking ferris wheel that offers views of the Reka Miass embankment for the intrepid.
- Swimming. Swim in one of many Ural lakes. Swim season is from June to August. E.g. Shershni and Smolino lakes.
- Metallurg, Lyzhnaya Baza, Ulitsa 60-Letiya Oktyabrya, 32А. The city is surrounded by many beautiful forests and parks for cross-country skiing, such as this one. You can rent equipment from one of the ski bases. Prices depend on quality. Day price for a good set is about 200r. Other ski bases: Strela (AMZ district, ул. Ковшовой, 2), ChTZ (in the forest, 500m from main university building), etc
- 3 Uralskaya Lightning Ice Palace, Ulitsa Truda, 187A. Big European class ice skating rink operating year-round. 230r.
- 4 SUSU Sports Complex, South Ural State University 60, Sony Krivoy street, ☏ . Indoor swimming at the SUS University.
- Outdoor Skating. Several city parks open skate-rings during long Ural winter. Entry and rental prices are modest. After skating you can usually buy a hot tea in the canteen. Check it e.g. in Pushkin park.
- Trek. Ural mountains are just 2-3 hours from the city. Take the city train (elektrichka) from main railway station. The most popular destination is Taganay mountain.
- 1 Farfor (Доставка еды Farfor), st. Molodogvardeytsev, 38A, ☏ . 10:00-23:00. Pizza, rolls, sushi, assorted sets, Japanese soups, salads, desserts, main dishes and drinks. ~500 руб per person.
- 2 Restaurant Rodnya, Ulitsa Kirova, 82. A pretty Russian-representative dining experience.
- 1 Nice Hostel Chelyabinsk, Novorossiyskaya Ulitsa, 9. Somewhat inconvenient location but clean and how can you beat the price? 375 RUB.
- 2 Siberian Guest House, Ulitsa Truda, 76. A cozy place that offers breakfast. 2402 RUB.
Russia has an international phone code of +7 while the telephone area code of Chelyabinsk is 351.