Nizhny Novgorod is divided by the river Oka into two parts: the Upper part on the upper bank of the Oka River and the Lower part located on the lower bank of the river. The Upper city is the old historical part of Nizhny Novgorod. It is quite compact and you can easily walk across it on foot.
The main touristic street, Bolshaya Pokrovskaya, is completely pedestrian. Bolshaya Pokrovskaya st. is also the main street of the city. Street cafes, souvenir shops, main restaurants and several museums including the museum of Russian traditional art are located here. You can buy something very special at the small art market where local craftsmen and artists show and sell their handmade goods. If you want to go to the central part of the city from the river banks (most notably, from Rozhdestvenskaya st.), you will face a very steep uphill with 100 meters height difference. For an unexperienced person ascending steep staircases can be difficult (although not impossible). Also, if you attempt crossing any bridge over the Oka on foot, you most probably will not find it a pleasant experience due to small width of the sidewalk and cars rushing past you in one meter distance.
Minin and Pozharsky Square is the main square of Nizhny, situated by the Kremlin. A wide Chkalov Staircase descends from the Chkalov Monument, which is in the square, to the Volga waterfront. You can take a pleasant walk along a path by the Kremlin. It goes from the square round the western part of the Kremlin wall.
Rozhdestvenskaya st. goes parallel to the Oka River under the central upper part of the city. This street contains a lot of XIX century buildings in a rather good condition.The street was renovated in 2013. Now it is partly pedestrian, and usually hosts different festivals and events. There are a lot of cafes and restaurants in the street, fashion shops, the River Port. In front of the main building of the port you can see a nice small park with a “dancing fountain”.
Ilyinskaya st. is lined with merchant buildings of XIX century (and a few ones even older). Some of them are in a good condition, but some are in a rather bad one. The street is going to be renovated. Also you can find it interesting to walk round the area adjoining Ilyinskaya st., especially the small streets between it and Fedorovskogo embankment - many old buildings, including wooden ones, still exist there, and the general quiet atmosphere of these streets is quite different from what you see in other parts of central Nizhny.
Nizhny Novgorod Embankments are great for walking, offering grand views and fresh winds from the river. Upper Volga embankment runs above the Volga from Minin Square to Sennaya Square. Wallking along the embankment, you will enjoy spectacular views over the Volga. The embankment has some old, but mostly well-preserved buildings worth seeing. Honorable citizens and rich merchants used to build their mansions along the embankment.
Fedorovskogo embankment and Zalomov street are situated above the Oka, starting not far from the Kremlin and going southwards. There are several ways of accessing them from Bolshaya Pokrovskaya, all involving going along small side-streets. Old buildings here are worth seeing on their own. You can also attempt climbing up any of numerous stairways from Rozhdestvenskaya street to Fedorovskogo embankment. The embankment offers breathtaking views over the Lower part of the city and along the Volga River. Sometimes festivals and events are held there. The hill slope has lots of paths and is walkable. Also there are two pedesterian bridges and a third one to Zalomov street, which leads to a small area of old wooden houses.