Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. Riga is located in northern Latvia on the shores of the Riga Gulf, an inlet of the Baltic Sea, at the mouth of the Daugava River. It is home to over a third of Latvia’s total population, composed of 700,271 residents as of 2023.
The history of Riga dates back to 1201, when it was established as a port town. It joined the Hanseatic League in the 13th century and became a trading center between Eastern and Western Europe. Riga has been under the rule of various powers, including Polish, Swedish, Russian and Soviet control, throughout its history before Latvia regained independence in 1991.
Riga is Latvia's political, economic, cultural and financial center. It serves as the seat of the Parliament of Latvia, along with housing major state institutions. The city is known for its diverse architecture, including medieval old town, Art Nouveau buildings and Soviet-era architecture. Riga is located in the Eastern European Time Zone, with standard time defined as UTC+2. It shifts to UTC+3 during summer months for Daylight Saving Time like the rest of Europe.
Listed below are the best things to do in Riga.
- Old Riga. Old Riga is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its rich history and architectural heritage, showcasing Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau styles. It is located in Riga, surrounded by the Daugava River, Old Riga's narrow streets, ancient buildings and landmarks like the House of the Blackheads. Visitors can explore historic sites and museums, enjoy Latvian cuisine and shop. Cultural events happen year-round. Old Riga appeals to history enthusiasts, families and cultural tourists with pedestrian-friendly streets and diverse attractions.
- St. Peter's Church Tower. St. Peter Church Tower in Riga's Old Town stands as a symbol of the city's history and culture, with unmatched views of the skyline, river and historic quarters. Its observation platform is reached by an elevator or stairs. St. Peter’s integrates Gothic and Romanesque styles after multiple renovations. The tower appeals to history and architecture enthusiasts but may not suit young children or those with limited mobility due to climbing stairs.
- Central Market of Riga. The Central Market of Riga is one of Europe's largest markets located in 5 former German Zeppelin Hangars. It features over 3,000 traders and stalls offering food items like meat, dairy, vegetables and more. It is known as Riga's “Central Market”, which provides an authentic local shopping experience where visitors can sample Latvian goods and cuisines while appreciating the historic Hangar architecture. The market appeals to budget travelers and design enthusiasts with its range of affordable food options and historical buildings.
- Latvian National Opera and Ballet. The Latvian National Opera and Ballet, located in central Riga, is a renowned cultural institution showcasing world-class opera, ballet and events since 1912. It is locally known as “Latvijas Nacionālā Opera un Balets”, which represents Latvia’s cultural heritage, attracting diverse audiences. Its central location allows convenient access. It appeals to adults and art and culture enthusiasts passionate about classical music and dance.
- Art Nouveau Architecture. Art Nouveau architecture emerged in the late 19th century with distinctive flowing, organic lines and natural forms like arches and ornate details, breaking from historical European styles. This architectural style appeals to enthusiasts, art lovers and history buffs of all ages for its artistic designs and historical significance. Admission to Art Nouveau sites ranges from free entry to paid fees.
- Riga Cathedral. Riga Cathedral, founded in 1211, is a key religious landmark in Latvia celebrated for its grand architectural fusion of Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau influences. It houses the largest organ, as well as intricate woodcarvings, stained glass and artwork, serving as a repository of history. Its central Riga location ensures accessibility for visitors to explore on tours. It appeals to history and architecture enthusiasts and families.
- Riga Motor Museum. The Riga Motor Museum is the Baltic region’s largest automotive museum. Established in 1989, it showcases a diverse collection of vehicles, including classic cars, motorcycles and bicycles. The museum exhibits historical context on automotive design and the industry’s evolution. Visitors can explore Soviet-era and 20th-century luxury vehicles while participating in interactive displays. It caters to visitors of all ages interested in automotive history.
1. Old Riga
Old Riga is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its rich history and architectural heritage. The Old Riga showcases a blend of architectural styles, including Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau. Old Riga's narrow streets and historic buildings tell the story of the city's past, making it a living museum of urban development over the centuries. The Old Riga is home to several notable landmarks, such as the House of the Blackheads, Riga Cathedral and the Three Brothers, Riga's oldest stone residential buildings. Old Riga is located in the center of Riga, Latvia. The Old Riga is bounded by the Daugava River, Brīvības iela, Krisjana Barona iela and the City Canal.
The well-preserved medieval architecture and its variety of cultural experiences make the Old Riga special. The Old Riga’s rich history is visible in its cobblestone streets, ancient buildings and significant landmarks, making it a window into the past. Visitors to Old Riga can explore its historic sites, visit museums, enjoy local cuisine in traditional Latvian restaurants and shop for souvenirs in the many boutiques and artisan shops. The area hosts cultural events and festivals throughout the year, adding to its appeal as a tourist destination.
Old Riga caters to a wide range of visitors, including history enthusiasts, families and cultural tourists. The pedestrian-friendly streets and diverse attractions make it appealing to visitors of all ages and interests. The admission cost for entering Old Riga varies, as some attractions within the area require an entrance fee, while others are free to visit.
2. St. Peter's Church Tower
St. Peter Church Tower stands as a symbol of Riga's historical legacy and cultural richness. The tower is located at Skārņu iela 19, LV-1050, within Riga's Old Town district, known as “Svētā Pētera baznīcas tornis” in Latvian. This tower distinguishes itself with unparalleled views of Riga's skyline, the Daugava River and the historic quarters, making it an unmissable attraction.
The tower is an integral part of the St. Peter's Church complex. It has undergone multiple renovations, blending Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles. Its observation platform can be reached through an elevator or stairs. St. Peter’s Church Tower is accessible by buses, trams or taxis. Its central location in Riga's Old Town allows convenient access on foot from various points of interest. Visiting the tower is perfect for history and architecture enthusiasts. It is not ideal for young children or those with mobility issues due to stair climbing. The admission fee for St. Peter Church Tower is €9 ($10, £7) for adults, with reduced rates for students, seniors and young visitors.
3. Central Market of Riga
The Central Market of Riga is one of Europe's largest markets and the Baltics' foremost trade venue. The Central Market is located within five former German Zeppelin Hangars and features an array of outdoor stalls. The Central Market is a bustling hub for over 3,000 traders offering an extensive array of food items, ranging from meat, dairy and vegetables to spices and more. It is recognized as the “Central Market” or “Riga Central Market”, which is located on Nđģu iela 7, Rīga, Latvia, next to the Daugava River.
The Central Market highlights an authentic local shopping experience and invites visitors to shop for Latvian goods, sample diverse cuisines, appreciate the historic hangar architecture and witness locals engaged in their everyday shopping routines. The Central Market provides an affordable range of food options that appeal to budget-conscious travelers and its historical architecture captivates design enthusiasts. Entrance to the Central Market is completely free of charge.
4. Latvian National Opera and Ballet
The Latvian National Opera and Ballet is located at Aspazijas bulvāris 3, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia. It is a distinguished cultural institution renowned for its excellence in the performing arts. The Latvian National Opera and Ballet, founded in 1912, showcases world-class opera productions, ballet performances and various cultural events. The Latvian National Opera and Ballet are known primarily by its Latvian name, “Latvijas Nacionālā Opera un Balets.” The Latvian National Opera and Ballet holds a special rooted in its rich cultural legacy and dedication to delivering exceptional artistic experiences. It is a beacon of Latvia's cultural heritage and artistic prowess, attracting local and international audiences.
Latvian National Opera and Ballet is accessible via public transportation such as buses and trams or by walking from various Riga locations due to its central location. The Latvian National Opera and Ballet allows tourists to travel conveniently. This cultural gem caters to a varied audience, drawing adults and art and culture enthusiasts passionate about classical music and dance. Admission costs for the Latvian National Opera and Ballet vary based on performance, seating and availability.
5. Art Nouveau Architecture
Art Nouveau Architecture represents a distinct style that emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This style is characterized by its long, curvy, organic lines and designs inspired by natural forms. Buildings in this style often feature asymmetrical shapes, extensive use of arches and curved forms and intricate ornamental details. The style aimed to break away from the historical architectural styles that dominated Europe, bringing a fresh, modern approach to building design.
Art Nouveau Architecture exists in various locations across Europe and the United States. Notable examples include the Hôtel Tassel in Brussels, Belgium, designed by Victor Horta; the Casa Batlló in Barcelona, Spain, designed by Antoni Gaudí; and the Paris Métro entrances designed by Hector Guimard. These buildings are prime examples of Art Nouveau's distinctive style, showcasing the movement's intricate designs and naturalistic forms.
Visitors to Art Nouveau buildings can admire the architectural details and ornamental designs that characterize this style. Many of these buildings are now museums or cultural landmarks, offering guided tours that explain their historical and architectural significance. Visitors can appreciate the intricate craftsmanship and artistic elements that make these buildings unique.
Art Nouveau Architecture appeals to a wide audience, including architecture enthusiasts, art lovers and history buffs. These sites are perfect for visitors of all ages, offering educational and inspiring experiences for children and adults. The artistic and historical significance of these buildings makes them appealing to a diverse range of people. Admission costs for entering Art Nouveau sites vary. Some buildings are free to enter and others charge an entry fee.
6. Riga Cathedral
Riga Cathedral is a significant landmark and a historical religious site in Latvia. Rigal Cathedral was established in 1211 and is renowned for its architectural grandeur and historical importance. It stands as one of the oldest religious structures in the Baltic region. The architecture of Riga Cathedral reflects a mix of Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau styles, showcasing the various periods of its construction and renovation. The Riga Cathedral is notable for its large organ, the biggest in the world at its completion. The interior of Riga Cathedral features intricate wood carvings, stained glass windows and historic artworks, making it a repository of art and history. Riga Cathedral is located in the center of Riga, Latvia. The exact address is Herdera laukums 6, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia. Its central location makes it easily accessible to visitors in the city. Riga Cathedral is known as the Dome Cathedral.
Visitors to Riga Cathedral can explore its architectural features and view its artistic elements. Guided tours are often available, providing insights into the cathedral's history and significance. Concerts and musical performances utilizing the cathedral's historic organ are regular events that attract many visitors. Riga Cathedral caters to many visitors, including history enthusiasts, architecture lovers and families. Its historical and cultural significance also makes it an educational site for children.
7. Riga Motor Museum
Riga Motor Museum, located in Riga, Latvia, is a prominent automotive museum showcasing a diverse collection of vehicles. It was established in 1989 and stands as the largest and most comprehensive museum of its kind in the Baltic region. The museum's collection includes a wide range of historical vehicles, from classic cars to motorcycles and bicycles, each with its own unique story. The museum features rare and unique vehicles, including Soviet-era cars and luxury automobiles from the early 20th century. Riga Motor Museum is located at S. Eizenšteina iela 6, Rīga, LV-1079, Latvia. This location places it within easy reach for visitors in Riga and those coming from nearby areas.
Riga Motor Museum offers a unique glimpse into the history of automotive design and technology. Its exhibits not only display vehicles but also provide historical context, illustrating the automotive industry's evolution over the decades. Visitors to the Riga Motor Museum can explore the extensive collection of vehicles, participate in interactive exhibits and learn about the history of the automotive industry. The museum also organizes special exhibitions and educational programs, making it an engaging experience for visitors of all ages.
8. The Freedom Monument
The Freedom Monument in Riga, Latvia, was built in 1935 and symbolizes the nation's independence and unity. It stands 42 meters (138 feet) tall and features a sculpture of a woman holding three stars, representing Latvia's regions, the Kurzeme, Vidzeme and Latgale. The base of the Freedom Monument is decorated with intricate symbolic reliefs and decorative elements, reflecting Latvia's cultural essence and yearning for freedom. The Freedom Monument is a prominent landmark located on Freedom Boulevard (Brvbas bulvris) near Old Town and the Latvian National Opera. It is known by its Latvian name, “Brvbas piemineklis”, which represents Latvia's struggle for independence.
The Freedom Monument has significant historical significance, expressing Latvia's perseverance and national pride and serves as a memorial to the nation's continuing fight for freedom, symbolizing remembering and honoring those who sacrificed for Latvia's liberation. The Freedom Monument is easily accessible via public transportation, including buses and trams or on foot from various points in Riga. The monument is ideal for history enthusiasts, families and those intrigued by cultural symbolism. The Freedom Monument welcomes visitors to explore its historical and cultural heritage without any admission fees.
9. Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum
The Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum is an open-air museum located at 1021 Brīvības Gatve 440, Riga. This Open-Air Museum was founded in 1924 to preserve traditional Latvian rural architecture, tools, arts and crafts. It aims to educate visitors on the cultural heritage and history of rural life in Latvia.
The Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum spans 87 hectares and has collected and carefully rebuilt 118 historical structures, including peasant homes, churches, windmills, smithies and village shops dating from the 17th to 20th centuries. The buildings represent traditional architecture from Latvia's four cultural regions, the Vidzeme, Latgale, Zemgale and Kurzeme. Many artifacts like folk costumes, copperware, intricate textiles and examples of various handicrafts are displayed across the site. Visitors to the museum can explore the traditional Latvian buildings spread around a scenic lakeside forest. The museum has picnic areas and several eateries that serve classic Latvian fare. The Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum admission fee is €5 ($5, £4) for adults, €3 ($3, £2) for students, seniors and children aged 7-18.
10. Latvian National Museum of Art
The Latvian National Museum of Art, located in Riga, Latvia, houses over 52,000 works showcasing the development of Latvian fine arts from the 18th century to the present day. The museum is located at 1 Janis Rozentāls Square, Riga, Latvia, in a 1905 historicist-style building designed by Baltic German architect Wilhelm Neumann. The Latvian National Museum of Art was originally opened in 1905 as the Riga City Museum of Art before being reorganized and renamed in 1920.
The Latvian National Museum of Art possesses the world's largest collection of Latvian art, allowing visitors to trace the entire arc of Latvian artistic heritage. The Latvian National Museum of Art underwent a major renovation from 2008 to 2015, reopening with modern additions like a new underground wing and glass cupola.
Visitors to the National Museum of Art can explore both permanent collections and temporary themed exhibitions showcasing various painters, sculptors and movements across multiple eras. The Latvian National Museum of Art appeals to diverse audiences. General admission to the permanent collection costs €6 ($6, £5) for adults and €3 ($3, £2) for students and seniors. Special exhibitions or events may have additional fees. Admission is free on the last Tuesday of every month.
11. Corner House
The Corner House, known as the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, is located in a former KGB building at 61 Brivibas Street in Riga. The Corner House embodies the enduring impact of the oppressive regime on society. The Corner House is a solemn testament to the KGB's historical activities, encapsulating Latvia's challenging past complexities. Its ambiance, laden with historical gravitas, preserves rooms such as interrogation chambers, acting as a poignant memorial to victims of totalitarianism.
Public transportation, including buses, trams or walking routes from various locations within Riga, grants easy accessibility to the Corner House due to its central placement. Guided tours offered at the Corner House delve into the building's history. The permanent exhibition at the Corner House documenting Latvia's occupation from 1940 to 1991 is free to access. The KGB building tour costs €10 ($11, £8) per adult visitor.
12. Riga Zoo
Riga Zoo, officially named Riga Zoological Park, is a 15-hectare zoo located in Riga, Latvia's green Mežaparks district along the shores of Lake Ķīšezers. The Riga Zoo has more than 3000 animals from 400 different species. These notable features include expansive enclosures that protect the critically endangered Amur tigers, lively ring-tailed lemurs, meerkats, hippos, giraffes, kangaroos and farm animals from Latvia.
Visitors to Riga Zoo can walk through animal habitats from the African savanna to the Australian outback to a Latvian farm. The highlights include feeding giraffes, visiting baby animals at the children's zoo, watching seals and penguins swim and exploring the rainforest-like tropical house. Events like zookeeper talks and feeding shows provide additional entertainment. Riga Zoo appeals especially to families and animal lovers. Kids can enjoy petting domestic animals and spotting exotic creatures and parents appreciate the zoo's educational opportunities. Entry tickets to Riga Zoological Park cost €7 ($7, £5) for adults and €5 ($5, £4) for students and seniors over 65 years old.
13. House of the Blackheads
The House of the Blackheads is a historic building located in the old town of Riga. It sits facing the Riga Town Hall building on the old Town Hall Square. The House of the Blackheads has an alternative name called the House of St. Mary's Guild.
The House of the Blackheads was originally built in1334 and serves as a meeting hall and event venue for the BlackheadsGuildd, an association of unmarried German merchants and ship owners who were influential in Riga at that time. The building has undergone modifications and reconstructions over the centuries, including Baroque elements added in the 17th century. It was almost destroyed in 1941 during World War II, but an exact reconstruction was completed in 1999 based on preserved historical plans and drawings.
Visitors to the House of the Blackhead can take a guided tour of the building's grand halls and historic artifacts. The facade displays Gothic, Dutch Renaissance and Baroque architectural styles. Tours cost 7 euros for adults and are available Tuesday through Sunday.
14. National Library of Latvia
The National Library of Latvia, known as Castle of Light, is located at 14 Mūkusalas iela, Rīga, Latvia. It is located opposite the old town on the left bank of the Daugava River. The library is housed in a modern building designed by renowned Latvian-American architect Gunārs Birkerts. The library building resembles a crystal mountain and features panoramic views of Riga.
The National Library of Latvia contains a vast collection of over 4 million items. Its holdings focus primarily on Latvian and Baltic literature, culture and history, with a mission to preserve Latvia's written heritage and ensure public access. The library features multiple reading rooms and research spaces, a rare books collection, an audio/video archive, a children's literature section and more.
The National Library of Latvia regularly hosts free public exhibitions tied to its collections and mission. Visitors can attend cultural events like concerts, film screenings and lectures in the library's 300-seat auditorium. The library provides a destination for readers, researchers, families and culture lovers of all ages and interests.
15. Kalnciema Quarter
Kalnciema Quarter is located in the neighborhood of Pārdaugava, on the right bank of the Daugava River, 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) from central Riga. It is located along Kalnciema Street between Lielirbes and Komētas Streets. Kalnciema Quarter encompasses restored 19th-century wooden buildings as well as indoor and outdoor venues hosting regular events.
Kalnciema Quarter features a vibrant atmosphere focused on promoting Latvian culture, design, arts and community. Many restored buildings feature architecture and house shops selling handmade items, studios, cafes and bars, as well as galleries for local artists. The main highlight occurs every Saturday when Kalnciema Quarter’s bustling open-air market takes place. The weekly market brings together farmers, food vendors and artisans selling locally made products like cheeses, meats, vegetables, flowers, amber jewelry and handicrafts. The lively market routinely welcomes over 10,000 attendees each weekend.
Kalnciema Quarter appeals most to visitors seeking exposure to Latvia’s cultural heritage and creative scene in an engaging community setting. Entry to Kalnciema Quarter is free, with no admission costs for attending events or exploring the district.
16. Three Brothers
The Three Brothers are three adjacent historic houses located at 17, 19 and 21 Mazā Pils Street in the old town of Riga. It is located close to the Dome Cathedral and is called the Three Sisters. The Three Brothers showcase the evolution of local architecture and building styles spanning over three centuries. The middle yellow house was added around 1646 during a prosperous, expansive period for the city. It is the largest structure of the three and is considered one of the best examples of Renaissance-era architecture in Riga. This building currently houses the Latvian Museum of Architecture.
The museum displays building materials, models and documents covering over 800 years of Latvian construction history and techniques. Three Brothers involves is a walking distance route from central attractions like the House of Blackheads, Riga Town Hall or St. Peter's Church. Visitors can view the exteriors of the Three Brothers for free at any time.
17. Black Cat of Riga
The Black Cat of Riga is a unique landmark in Riga. The Black Cat of Riga is located in the center of Riga's Old Town, at 7 Meistaru Street. The Black Cat of Riga is known as ‘The Cat House'. This alternative name stems from the building on which the cat sculpture resides, which is a notable example of Art Nouveau architecture in the city. This adds a layer of cultural richness and curiosity to the landmark, making it a topic of interest for visitors.
Visitors to the Black Cat of Riga can engage in various activities. The site is a popular spot for photography, especially for those interested in architecture and urban legends. The surrounding area of Old Town Riga offers an array of cafes, shops and historical sites, making it an ideal location for a leisurely day of exploration.
The Black Cat of Riga attracts a wide range of audiences. Its historical and cultural significance appeals to adults and history enthusiasts, while the cat's intriguing legend captures children's imagination. It is an ideal destination for families, solo travelers and groups. There is no admission cost to view the Black Cat of Riga, as it is an outdoor landmark visible to the public. This accessibility makes it an attractive option for those looking to experience a piece of Riga's history and culture without the constraint of an entrance fee.
18. Fashion Museum
The Fashion Museum in Riga is a unique cultural institution dedicated to the exploration and exhibition of fashion and its history. The Fashion Museum showcases a diverse collection of garments and fashion-related artifacts. It offers an insightful look into the evolution of style, textiles and design. The Fashion Museum’s exhibits include a mix of historical clothing, contemporary fashion pieces and thematic displays that provide a comprehensive view of fashion's role in society and culture.
The Fashion Museum is located at Grecinieku iela 24, 1050, Riga. This location places the museum in a vibrant and accessible area of the city, making it a convenient destination for visitors. The Fashion Museum focuses on both historical and contemporary fashion. It bridges the gap between past and present, offering visitors a unique perspective on how fashion trends have evolved. The Fashion Museum’s interactive displays and educational programs further enhance the visitor experience, making it a dynamic place to learn about fashion.
The Fashion Museum caters to a diverse audience. Fashion enthusiasts, students and designers will find the museum engaging due to its extensive collection and educational value. The admission cost for entering the Fashion Museum in Riga varies depending on the exhibition and the visitor's age group.
19. Latvian Academy of Sciences Observation Deck
The Latvian Academy of Sciences Observation Deck is a remarkable spot in Riga, offering panoramic views of the city. This building was constructed in the mid-20th century showcasing Stalinist style with a Latvian twist. This observation deck gives a view of Riga's diverse landscape.
The Latvian Academy of Sciences Observation Deck is located at Akademijas laukums 1, Riga, LV-1050, Latvia. The Latvian Academy of Sciences Observation Deck is located within the city, making it easily accessible. Its central location in Riga places it near other significant landmarks and cultural sites, allowing visitors to integrate their visit with a broader exploration of the city. The Latvian Academy of Sciences Observation Deck is referred to as the ‘Academy of Sciences Observation Deck'. The name emphasizes its primary function and location, making it easily identifiable for locals and tourists.
The special feature of the Latvian Academy of Sciences Observation Deck is its unparalleled view of Riga. Visitors can see a 360-degree panorama of the city, including notable sights like the Old Town, the Daugava River and various modern and historical buildings. This comprehensive view provides a unique perspective of Riga, distinguishing it from other observation points in the city.
Visitors can engage in various activities. Visitors can enjoy the spectacular views and take photographs. Information panels offer insights into the landmarks visible from the Latvian Academy of Sciences Observation Deck, enhancing the educational aspect of the visit. The deck is a well-known landmark, making it easy to locate. The admission fee costs €6 ($6, £4) and includes a booklet.
20. Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum
The Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum is a significant historical site and educational resource in Riga. This museum serves as a solemn reminder of the atrocities faced by the Jewish community during World War II. The museum is dedicated to preserving the memory of the victims of the Holocaust in Latvia. Its exhibits include photographs, documents and personal items that belonged to the Jewish residents of the Riga Ghetto. The museum highlights the broader context of the Holocaust, providing visitors with an understanding of this tragic period in history.
The Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum is located at Maskavas iela 14a, Riga, LV-1050, Latvia. This location is near the historic site of the former Riga Ghetto, making it a poignant and relevant setting for the museum. The Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum is known as the Riga Ghetto Museum. This name reflects its primary focus on the Riga Ghetto and the experiences of those who were imprisoned there.
Visitors to the Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum can participate in guided tours, view the permanent and temporary exhibits and attend educational programs and events. The museum serves as a research center, offering resources for those interested in studying the Holocaust and Jewish history in Latvia. Visitors can use public transportation available in Riga to access the Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum, as the museum is well-connected to the city's transport network. The Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum is ideal for visitors interested in history and human rights.
What are the best museums to visit in Riga?
Listed below are the museums to visit in Riga.
- The Laima Chocolate Museum. The Laima Chocolate Museum in Riga is a museum located at Miera iela 22, in the Central District of Riga. The museum showcases the history of chocolate making in Latvia and the Laima chocolate brand. The Laima Chocolate Museum is an indoor museum attraction that offers visitors an educational tour through the history of cocoa beans, the invention of chocolate and the renowned Laima brand of chocolates made in Latvia. The Laima Chocolate Museum has exciting chocolate workshops and classes where visitors can learn to make chocolates. The admission cost to the Laima Chocolate Museum cost €7 ($7, £6).
- The Powder Tower. The Powder Tower is a museum located inside the medieval defensive Powder Tower at Smilšu iela 20, in the Old Town of Riga. The Powder Tower is an architectural landmark that houses exhibits related to Riga's military history over the centuries. Visitors can view displays of weapons, uniforms and artifacts spanning from the 12th century to the modern era. The admission cost to enter the Powder Tower museum is free of charge. Visitors can explore the tower's rooms independently or request a guided tour for an additional fee.
- The Pauls Stradins Museum for the History of Medicine. The Pauls Stradins Museum for the History of Medicine is located at Ukrainas Neatkarības iela 1, in the Central District of Riga. The museum showcases the history of medicine from ancient times to the mid-20th century. The Pauls Stradins Museum is a medical history museum and attraction displaying exhibits related to advancements in medical knowledge and practices over the centuries. Visitors can view displays of medical instruments, books, anatomical models and other artifacts tracing the evolution of healthcare. The admission cost to the Pauls Stradins Museum is €2 ($2, £1) per person. Discounts are available for students, seniors, families and groups.
- The Riga Aviation Museum. The Riga Aviation Museum is an aviation and aerospace museum located at Skultes iela 35, in the Skulte district of Central Riga. The Riga Aviation Museum is an outdoor museum attraction displaying a large collection of Soviet-era military aircraft including fighters, bombers, cargo planes and helicopters. Visitors can view and explore the exterior displays of planes up close. The Riga Aviation Museum has the largest collection of aviation equipment and artifacts from the Soviet era housed outside Russia. The Riga Aviation Museum’s collection includes rare prototypes and examples of models widely used by the armed forces of the USSR and its allies. The admission cost to the Riga Aviation Museum is €7 ($7, £6) per person. There are discounted rates available for school groups, students, seniors and families. Additional charges apply for accessing some areas like the flight simulators.
What are the best things to do in Riga with kids?
Listed below are the best things to do in Riga with kids.
- Riga Zoo. Riga Zoo is a destination for families, offering an educational and interactive experience in wildlife. It is home to over 3,000 animals and about 500 species, the Riga Zoo provides a comprehensive view of global biodiversity. Riga Zoo is located at Meža Prospekts 1, Rīga, LV-1014, Latvia. The Zoo features a range of educational programs designed to engage and inform visitors of all ages. Visitors can engage in activities like animal feeding sessions and guided educational tours. The admission fee costs €7 ($8, £6) for adults, with discounts available for children and families.
- Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum. Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum offers a unique cultural experience, showcasing traditional Latvian rural buildings, lifestyles and culture. It is in a forest park at Brīvības Gatve 440, Rīga. Visitors can explore authentic Latvian homes, learn about traditional crafts in hands-on workshops and immerse themselves in folk music and dance during special events. The Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum captures the essence of Latvian heritage, making it a valuable educational trip for families. Entry fees cost €3 ($3, £2) for adults, with lower rates for children and families, making it an affordable cultural outing in Riga.
- Riga Motor Museum. The Riga Motor Museum is located at Sergeja Eizenšteina iela 6, Rīga, LV-1079, Latvia. The museum features a collection of historic vehicles, including an array of cars and motorbikes from the Soviet era. Its interactive exhibits and simulators are perfect for kids and adults interested in cars and mechanics. Admission to the museum costs €10 ($11, £9) for adults, with reduced prices for family and children tickets.
- The World of Hat Museum. The World of Hat Museum presents a unique and fashionable journey through global hat history. The World of Hat Museum displays a diverse collection of hats from various cultures and periods, offering insights into fashion trends and cultural traditions. Children can engage in interactive exhibits, trying different hats and learning about their historical significance. The World of Hat Museum not only entertains but educates visitors about headwear's fashion and cultural aspects. The admission costs €5 ($5, £4) per person.
- Riga Science Center. The Riga Science Center is a modern hub for scientific exploration. The Riga Science Center is dedicated to interactive and hands-on learning, with exhibits on physics, biology, technology and more. It offers an engaging and educational experience, allowing visitors to participate in science experiments, watch educational shows and interact with various displays. The admission is between €8 to €12 ($9.36 to $14.04, £7.77 to £11.65) per person.
What are the best things to do in Riga in Winter?
Listed below are the best things to do in Riga during the Winter and December.
- Mon Amour Café. As I'd arrived in the afternoon, I decided to spend the rest of my first day in Riga exploring the Christmas markets. But not before getting some food and liquid warmth inside of me. I met up with Lelde from the Latvian tourism board who guided me to Mon Amour Café, a lovely cafe that's larger inside than you'd expect at first glance. Narrow but deep, Mon Amour consists of three different seating areas in adjoining rooms. This creates a homely vibe allowing visitors to catch up or quietly enjoy a book in their own little space. The lovely Baiba serves locally-roasted coffee from the Rocket Bean Roastery (a place I'd visit later on this trip), a selection of teas as well as home-baked cakes and quiches. As I hadn't had lunch yet – packed sandwiches on the plane don't count, right? – I ordered a slice of quiche and some Earl Grey. I'm usually hesitant to order quiche when eating out as it often ends up being soggy when heated. This slice was still perfectly crunchy, though, and came with a bit of greens. I wouldn't be me if I hadn't been tempted by the sight of the cakes and so I ordered a slice of chocolate cheesecake for dessert. Yes, chocolate cheesecake. It was even better than it sounds. It was the most perfect cheesecake I've ever had. I cannot stress this enough. Just go try it. You'll see.
- Dinner at Restaurant Domini Canes. As the sun sets before 4 p.m. in Riga in December and it was already dark by the time I'd visited the three Christmas markets, I decided to go freshen up at the hotel before heading out for dinner. I ended up going to Restaurant Domini Canes simply by doing a Google Maps search, reading the reviews of restaurants close to my hotel and checking their menus. Domini Canes has a small menu offering meat, fish and two vegetarian hot dishes. You can also get a salad. My salmon with potatoes and vegetables was lovely and very reasonably priced at €13.5. The staff was friendly and I liked the vibe here. The restaurant isn't too big and tables are placed in such a way that you never feel like you could join the conversations of other guests. I do recommend making a reservation if you want to dine here. I got lucky as I came early and they still had a table for one available, but saw many people being turned away as the rest of the tables had been booked.
- The Bremen Musicians. I'd already seen a bit of Riga Old Town while visiting the Riga Christmas market, but now it was time to get serious about my Riga sightseeing. My first stop was at the statue of the Musicians of Bremen, right by the St. Peter's Church at Skarnu iela. The statue shows a cockerel standing on a cat standing on a dog standing on a donkey and was inspired by a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. In the tale, the four animals are left by their owners who no longer deem them useful. They decide to travel to Bremen to become musicians and happen upon a cottage in which robbers are feasting on food and drinks. They decide to go stand on each other's backs and make as much noise as possible to scare away the robbers so they can have the cottage (and the food) instead. Their trick works. The animals of the statue aren't looking into a cottage, though. They're actually peering through the Iron Courting into a new world where they hope to find a better life. It was the Bremen artist Krista Baumgaertel who gave the statue, a gift from Riga's sister city Bremen, this political subtext. The story goes that rubbing the animals' noses brings you luck. I could only reach the bottom two noses, so let's hope that was enough :-)
- Coffee break at Pienene. Pienene is located right across the street from the St. Peter's Church and describes itself as a “Latvian design studio and cafe”. It's both a store selling Latvian products (clothes, home decorations, local foods) and a cafe where you can get a light bite and a drink. Perfect for a mid-morning stop.
- House of the Blackheads. The beautiful House of the Blackheads dates back to the 14th century and used to be the home of the Brotherhood of the Blackheads, a guild of young, unmarried and foreign (mostly German) banquet caterers to upper classes. It's currently the temporary residence of the Latvian president, but can still be visited. I got there before it opened, though, and so I only admired it from the outside. Thanks to the beautiful facade, it's a real Riga must-see!
- The first Christmas tree story. In front of the left corner of the House of the Blackheads when standing with your back to it, at the height of the corner of the Museum of Occupation, you can see a marker embedded in the cobblestones or – if you're visiting Riga in December – a large Christmas tree. This is the spot where Latvia claims that a Christmas tree was decorated for the first time by the Brotherhood of the Blackheads in 1510. According to the legend of the Christmas tree, the decorations on the original Christmas tree would have consisted of ribbons, dried flowers, figurines made from straw and paper shapes. At the end of the celebrations, the tree supposedly was burned, presumably to scare away the winter. However, The Brotherhood of Blackheads also had a chapter in Tallinn in Estonia and that country claims the first Christmas tree was actually decorated there. Until this day, it remains unclear who invented the Christmas tree. It's quite possible that the decoration happened in both cities in the same year. It's also possible that neither of the cities were the first to have a decorated Christmas tree. Stories like this are hard to trace. But hey, they're fun to learn about!
- The Three Brothers. The legend goes that these three medieval houses were built by three men of the same family. They used to be located in the craftsmen area of town. Today, they house the Latvian Museum of Architecture and the State Inspectorate for Heritage Protection..
- The Nativity of Christ Cathedral. I'd spotted the Nativity of Christ Cathedral the day before when I went to the Christmas market at Esplanade Park. The cathedral is located in the park as well and I do have to say, it's a stunning building. Even if you don't go in, I think it's one of the things to see in Riga for anyone who likes architecture. Entrance is free, but make sure to cover your head if you're a woman and not wear a hat if you're a man (yes, I know…). If you go in summer, you can't wear shorts or a short skirt and you have to cover your shoulders.
- Lunch at Big Bad Bagels. From the cathedral, Big Bad Bagels is just a short walk away and a fun place to go for a quick and light lunch. They have a great deal where you can get soup and a bagel for less than €6. Choose from a bunch of different bagels or put together your own. They also have smoothies and a selection of hot and cold drinks.
- Shopping around Terbatas iela and Krisjana Barona iela. After all that sightseeing, it's time for a bit of shopping. You'll find lots of non-typical stores around Terbatas iela and Krisjana Barona iela. Paviljons (Tērbatas iela 55) sells Latvian designer wear. Riija (Tērbatas iela 6/8) is a Latvian design and lifestyle concept store. Outlets Cetras Zolas (Tērbatas iela 13) has a wide range of shoe and clothing brands at outlet prices. Bang Bang Shop & Coffee (Tērbatas iela 55) combines sneakers with a little coffee corner. They have another store in the Old Town (Kalēju iela 18/20) which I liked better, though. It has a cozier vibe and a bigger coffee bar that's more naturally integrated in the store. Another cool sneaker store in the Old Town is Commune (Audēju iela 3). There really are plenty of places to visit in Riga for sneakerheads such as myself :-) When the blue hour comes, head to the sky bar at the Radisson Blu hotel at Elizabetes iela 73, between the two big shopping streets. It might be a bit more pleasant in summer, but you can still check out the views for the price of a drink. Afterward, you can head back to your hotel for a little rest before dinner.
- Riga Central Market. Riga's Central Market is a feast for the senses. Located in and around five historical hangars that were originally built as zeppelin hangars, the market offers everything from fresh produce to clothes and flowers. Every hangar is dedicated to a food category. In one, you'll find meats. In another, dairy products and in yet another, fish. The market is more than 72,000 m² large and comprises more than 3000 stands. Most of those look like fairly traditional market stands. Contrary to the modern market halls you see pop up in cities like Rotterdam, this is still a place for and by locals. My favorite stand? The donut one! It's a bit tucked away and run by a vivid older lady who wore her make-up as if every donut entailed a photo opportunity. I need to warn you though: after having tasted her donuts, all the other ones will let you down. They're so crispy on the outside, so soft on the inside. And they only cost €0.15 per donut! The easiest way to find the stand is by entering the dairy hangar by its side entrance and then immediately turning left. When you visit, make sure to also have a look around outside. You'll find more stands next to and behind the hangars. I loved this little shack selling all kinds of old-school kitchen supplies. Lastly, the impressive building of the Latvian Academy of Sciences sticks out over the rooftops behind the markets. It's worth it walking up to it just to admire its architecture, but when the weather's nice, you can also go up to its viewing platform.
- Art Nouveau in Riga. Aside from having a quaint Old Town, Riga also boasts some impressive Art Nouveau so, after lunch, I went for a walk through Alberta iela and Elizabetes iela, two streets known for their Art Nouveau architecture. The entrance fee was €5. There are various discounts available and there's also the option of having an audioguide, which costs a bit more. On Alberta iela 12 you'll also find the Riga Jugendstil Museum, but the entrance is actually located around the corner at Strelnieku iela. It's on the ground floor, but make sure to look up before you go in as the staircase in this building is absolutely gorgeous. The museum itself is styled as an Art Nouveau apartment, showcasing the various rooms in the house along with furniture and other objects. If you're in need of a coffee after, just cross the street and step into cafe Britt. They make a lovely mocha and it's a pretty tranquil place to sit for a while. I also went to A.L.L. Cappuchino (Antonijas iela 11), a bit of a dark but very cozy cafe. I liked the coffee at the other places I went to better, though.
- Latvian art at the Latvian National Museum of Art. Just a few minutes from the Art Nouveau streets, lies another of the Riga museums: the Latvian National Museum of Art. The building is quite impressive and especially the big entry hall will make you grab your camera. For art lovers, it's a must-do in Riga. The museum combines a permanent exhibition of Latvian paintings with temporary exhibitions and I especially liked the temporary one they had on while I was there. It also has a rooftop terrace, but that was unfortunately closed during my visit as they were putting up a new display on the top floor.
- Quick walk around Miera iela. As I had to catch a flight back home in the afternoon, I decided to spend my last hours in Riga around Miera iela or Peace Street. It's a 30-minute walk from the Old Town Riga, but you can also take tram 11 which goes directly there. Miera iela looks a bit gritty, with old abandoned wooden houses and graffiti protesting the gentrification of the neighborhood. It's where hipsters and bohemians open coffee bars, boutiques and art galleries. The Rocket Bean Roastery (Miera iela 29), for example, doesn't just do coffee, but also a lunch buffet while giving you a behind-the-scenes look inside the roastery. Miera iela is up and coming. It won't be long until it's a proper part of the Riga tourist map. If you were wondering “Is Riga worth visiting?”, I hope this post has helped you put your doubts aside, because it is! I had a great time exploring Riga at Christmas time and already decided to go back in summer to experience it in warmer temperatures and longer light :-)
What are the best activities for a business traveler in Riga?
Listed below are the best activities for a business traveler in Riga.
- Networking at Radisson Blu Latvija Conference & Spa Hotel. The Radisson Blu Latvija Conference & Spa Hotel in Riga stands as a premier destination for business travelers seeking networking opportunities. Radisson Blu Latvija Conference & Spa Hotel offers a sophisticated environment ideal for professional gatherings and is located at Elizabetes iela 55, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1010, Latvia. It is well-equipped for hosting business conferences, meetings and networking events. Business travelers can connect with peers in a professional setting and relax in luxurious spa facilities, making it a comprehensive venue for business and leisure.
- Exploring the Old Town. Riga's Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a treasure trove of history and architecture, making it an ideal place for cultural exploration. The Old Town is known for its blend of Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau styles. Business travelers can take a guided tour to delve into the city's rich history or enjoy a leisurely walk to relax after a busy day.
- Dining at Vincent's. Vincents is located at Elizabetes iela 19, Centra rajons, Rīga. It is known for its exquisite cuisine and offers an ideal setting for a business dinner. The Vincents serves creative and seasonal menus that cater to a sophisticated palate. Business travelers can host a formal dinner or enjoy a solo meal in this restaurant. The fine dining experience at Vincent's combines culinary excellence with a refined atmosphere, making it a top choice for professional dining in Riga.
- St. Peter's Church. While I'm not big on churches, I highly recommend visiting the St. Peter's Church as well. It's one of the top Riga attractions because you can take the lift up to the top of the church tower to get an amazing 360° view of the city. Aside from that, the church also hosts art exhibitions. When I was there, it had a photography exhibition showcasing scenes from daily Latvian life, mostly in the countryside. Entrance to the St. Peter's Church, including the tower visit, is €9.
- Relaxing at ESPA Riga. ESPA Riga is an award-winning spa located at Baznīcas iela 4a, Centra Rajons, Latvia. It offers a range of treatments designed for ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation. The ESPA Riga features luxurious facilities, including saunas, steam rooms and a rooftop vitality pool. Business travelers can book a treatment to unwind and refresh after a demanding day, making it an excellent choice for those seeking wellness and relaxation.
- Shopping at Galleria Riga. Galleria Riga is a modern shopping center that offers a variety of shops and dining options and is located at Dzirnavu iela 67, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1011, Latvia. It houses a range of international and local brands, providing an excellent opportunity for business travelers to shop for gifts or enjoy a casual meal.
Where is Riga?
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. Riga is located on the Gulf of Riga, an inlet of the Baltic Sea, 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the Latvian coastline. This gives it access to maritime trade routes. The city's coordinates are 56°57′ North latitude and 24°6′ East longitude. Riga's elevation is 1 to 10 meters (3.3 to 32.8 feet) above sea level and spans an area of 307.17 square kilometers (118.60 square miles).
What is the history of Riga?
Riga is the capital of Latvia and has a history characterized by diverse cultural influences and key events. Riga was established in 1201 as a port town and played a central role in the Hanseatic League from the 13th to the 15th centuries. The 17th century saw Riga become the largest town in Swedish territory. The 19th century marked rapid industrial growth and city expansion. Suburbs developed around the medieval town with wooden buildings in the neoclassical style and stone structures inspired in the Art Nouveau style, until the early 20th century. Riga underwent frequent changes in control, alternating between German, Polish, Lithuanian, Swedish and Russian rule. Riga gained independence during the post-World War I from being a part of the Russian Empire until 1914. It then fell under Soviet rule in 1940, with a period of Nazi German occupation from 1941 to 1944. Latvia reclaimed independence in 1990.
What language is spoken in Riga?
The languages spoken in Riga are Latvian and Russian. Latvian is a Baltic language closely related to Lithuanian. The use of Latvian in Riga is consistent with Latvia's language policies and cultural practices. Russian is widely spoken in Riga, especially among the older population and the Russian-speaking minority, due to the historical and cultural influences in the region.
What time zone is Riga in?
Riga is located in the Eastern European Time (EET) zone, with a standard time defined as UTC+2. Riga shifts to Eastern European Summer Time (EEST) or UTC+3 during Daylight Saving Time. Daylight saving time typically starts in the last week of March and ends in the last week of October, aligning Riga with many European countries. This practice is standard across the European Union.
How many people live in Riga?
Riga is home to a population of 700,271 residents as of 2023. The population is composed of 323,288 men and 376,982 women. The average age of a resident in Riga is 44 years. There are 35,954 babies in Riga, consisting of 17,396 girls and 18,558 boys, all under four years old. There are children aged between 5 and 9 years, composed of 21,812 boys and 20,035 girls. The number of children aged 10 to 14 years in Riga is composed of 18,976 boys and 17,602 girls. Riga is home to 36,683 teenagers aged 14 to 19 years, including 17,824 girls and 18,858 boys. There are 418 long-livers in Riga, individuals surpassing the age of 100, among which 54 are men and 363 are women.
What are the most interesting facts about Riga?
Listed below are the most interesting facts about Riga.
- Currency. The official currency of Riga is Euro (€). Latvia joined the eurozone and adopted the currency on January 01, 2014.
- Time zone. Riga is located in the Eastern European Time (EET) zone, with a standard time defined as UTC+2. Riga shifts to Eastern European Summer Time (EEST) or UTC+3 during Daylight Saving Time.
- Language. The official language of Riga is Latvian. Other commonly spoken languages include Russian, English, German and Estonian.
- Power plugs and voltage. Riga's power sockets and voltage are the Type F plug and 230 V. The standard frequency is 50 Hz. These are the same systems used across continental Europe. Travelers from North America will need a voltage converter and plug adapter to charge their electronic devices.
How many days are needed to see Riga?
Riga is best explored within 3 to 4 days. Three to four days provide adequate time for visitors to visit top attractions like the iconic Riga Cathedral, St. Peter's Church with its city views, the expansive Central Market, the unique Art Nouveau district and various museums illuminating Riga's 800-year history. The recommended number of days provides an efficient time frame to experience Riga's highlights at a comfortable pace.
Is Riga worth visiting?
Yes, Riga is worth visiting. Riga showcases a rich blend of cultural and historical elements. Its Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, celebrated for its Art Nouveau architecture. Visitors can enjoy a variety of attractions, including historical landmarks such as the Freedom Monument and Riga Castle, alongside modern shopping centers and vibrant nightlife. Culinary experiences in Riga are diverse, offering both traditional Latvian dishes and international cuisine. Riga is a hub for cultural events, hosting numerous festivals and concerts throughout the year, catering to a wide array of interests.
Is Riga expensive to visit?
No, Riga is generally not expensive compared to other European capitals. It offers a range of accommodation options, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels, accommodating various budgets. Dining in Riga caters to all budgets, with options ranging from affordable local eateries to upscale restaurants. The public transportation system in Riga is both efficient and economical, allowing visitors to explore the city without significant expense.
Is Riga safe to visit?
Yes, Riga is safe to visit. Riga is a safe destination for tourists, similar to many European cities. Visitors are advised to take standard safety precautions such as safeguarding personal belongings and being vigilant about their surroundings. Riga is well-policed, with a competent police force and readily accessible emergency services. Tourist areas are well-patrolled and maintained, ensuring a safe environment for visitors.
Is Riga easy to visit with kids?
Yes, Riga is easy to visit with kids. Riga is a city that accommodates visitors with children, offering numerous family-friendly attractions. These include parks, museums and interactive exhibits specifically designed for children. The public transportation system in Riga is accessible and easy to navigate, even with a stroller. Many restaurants and cafes in Riga are welcoming to families and provide special menus and facilities for children. Cultural sites in Riga feature educational programs and activities to engage younger visitors.
What is Riga famous for?
Riga is famous for its 800-year-old Old Town, highlighting the preservation of medieval architecture like the House of Blackheads, winding cobbled streets and historic churches such as the Riga Cathedral and St. Peter’s. Secondly, Riga is known to have Europe's largest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture, showcased in a district adorned with intricate facades, captivating visitors with its designs. Thirdly, Riga extends beyond its architectural splendors, enticing visitors with its vibrant atmosphere, bustling Central Market and top-notch museums, detailing the city's heritage from its inception to WWII. Lastly, Riga offers a gateway to natural wonders, providing easy access to Jurmala's pristine Baltic beaches and majestic castles like Turaida in Sigulda. Riga presents a compelling fusion of attractions that make it an irresistible destination for travelers seeking a blend of heritage, culture and scenic beauty.
Who are the most important people born in Riga?
Listed below are the most important people born in Riga.
- Isaiah Berlin. Isaiah Berlin, a renowned philosopher and political theorist, was born on June 6, 1909, in Riga, Latvia. Isaiah Berlin is celebrated for his significant contributions to political philosophy, particularly in pluralism and liberalism. He is known for his influential concepts on liberty, including the distinction between positive and negative liberty.
- Mikhail Baryshnikov. Mikhail Baryshnikov is a ballet dancer and choreographer born on January 27, 1948, in Riga, when it was still a part of the Soviet Union. He is revered as one of the greatest ballet dancers in history. Baryshnikov's groundbreaking contributions to ballet and modern dance have been influential worldwide, earning him global acclaim in dance.
- Max Levchin. Max Levchin is the co-founder of PayPal. He is an entrepreneur and computer scientist born on July 11, 1975, in Riga, Latvia. Max was instrumental in the founding of PayPal, a company that revolutionized online payments. He is a prominent figure in the technology industry, recognized as a successful entrepreneur.
- Abraham Isaac Kook. Abraham Isaac Kook was an influential rabbi, philosopher and thinker. He was born on September 7, 1865, in Griva, near Daugavpils, which was then part of the Russian Empire and is now in Latvia. Kook spent some time studying in Riga. He is recognized for his spiritual and philosophical teachings, emphasizing unity and religious tolerance, profoundly influencing Jewish thought.
What to eat in Riga?
Listed below are the best foods you can eat in Riga.
- Riga Black Balsam. Riga Black Balsam is a traditional Latvian herbal liqueur with a distinct dark color and a blend of different natural ingredients. It's often consumed as a digestive or used in cocktails. Balsam is one of the best food to eat in Latvia, known for its unique taste and health properties.
- Grey Peas with Bacon. Grey Peas with Bacon, known as Pelēkie zirņi ar speķi is a traditional Latvian dish consisting of grey peas cooked with onions and crispy bacon. It is a hearty and flavorful dish enjoyed by locals and visitors in Riga.
- Piragi. Piragi is Latvian bacon-filled pastries, resembling small rolls or pies. It is typically stuffed with bacon, onions and occasionally other fillings, making it a popular snack or appetizer in Riga.
- Latvian Rye Bread. Latvian Rye Bread, known as Rupjmaize is a dark and dense rye bread, a staple in Latvian cuisine. It has a hearty flavor and is often served alongside meals, with butter or toppings like cheese or smoked fish. This rye bread is a staple in food in Riga.
- Sklandrausis. Sklandrausis is a traditional Latvian dessert made of rye dough and filled with sweetened mashed potatoes, carrots and spices. It is baked and served in Riga as a pie or tart, offering a unique blend of flavors.
- Latvian Smoked Fish. Smoked fish, particularly smoked sprats and salmon, are popular in Riga. These are often served as appetizers, in sandwiches or as part of a main course, showcasing the country's love for seafood.
What are the best places to eat in Riga?
Listed below are the best places to eat in Riga.
- Vincents. Vincents is a fine dining restaurant celebrated for its gourmet European cuisine. It is located at Elizabetes iela 19 in Riga Centra Rajons. It is renowned for providing an elegant dining experience, complemented by an extensive selection of wines. The Vincents stands out for its sophisticated ambiance and high-quality dishes, making it a favorite among both locals and visitors and one of the suggested restaurants to eat in Riga.
- 3 Pavāru Restorāns. 3 Pavāru Restorāns or “Three Chefs”, is known for its modern interpretation of Latvian cuisine and is located at Kalpaka bulvāris 3 in Riga. The 3 Pavāru Restorāns innovative dishes and contemporary settings have made it a notable spot in the culinary scene. Its creative approach to traditional flavors offers a unique dining experience.
- Ferma. Ferma specializes in farm-to-table dining and is located at Torna iela 4 in Riga. The restaurant features fresh, locally sourced ingredients, offering a menu that harmoniously blends Latvian and European flavors. This focus on fresh and local produce ensures an authentic and flavorful dining experience.
- Bibliotēka No1. Bibliotēka No1 is a stylish and cozy restaurant located at Strēlnieku iela 9A in Riga. It is known for its diverse menu and skillfully combines international cuisine with Latvian culinary influences. The Bibliotēka No1 warm ambiance and varied offerings make it a perfect spot for visitors looking to enjoy global and local flavors.
- Valtera Restorāns. Valtera Restorāns offers contemporary European dishes and is located on Kungu iela 7 in Riga Centra Rajons. Valtera Restorāns is popular for using fresh, seasonal ingredients and it emphasizes a relaxed, welcoming dining atmosphere. It is a go-to place for visitors seeking a modern European dining experience.
- Locale. Locale is renowned for its lively ambiance and a menu rich in Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and is located at Aristida Briāna iela 9a in Riga. Locale restaurant features a wide selection of wines, making it a favored destination for both food enthusiasts and wine connoisseurs.
What are the best areas to stay in Riga?
Listed below are the best areas to stay in Riga.
- Old Town (Vecrīga). Old Town is the center of Riga and a favored area for tourists due to its historic ambiance, cobblestone streets and well-preserved medieval architecture. Staying in the Old Town (Vecrīga) provides easy access to major attractions like Riga Cathedral, House of the Blackheads and numerous museums. Old Town features cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops. Old Town is safe for solo travelers, especially around the central streets.
- Central District (Centra Rajons). The Central District is a bustling area close to Old Town. This neighborhood comprises historic buildings, modern shops and cultural sites. It is well-connected, making it convenient to explore the city's attractions. The area is generally safe, especially around main streets and popular areas.
- Art Nouveau District (Centra Rajons). Art Nouveau District (Centra rajons) showcases Riga's Art Nouveau architecture. The buildings feature intricate designs and ornate facades. Art Nouveau District offers a glimpse into Riga's unique architectural heritage. It is close to attractions and well-connected for exploring. This neighborhood prioritizes the safety of family and solo travelers.
- Quiet Center. Quiet Center, known as Kundziņsala offers a quieter atmosphere than the bustling city center. The Quiet Center provides a mix of residential areas and parks. The area is generally safe for solo travelers due to its peaceful surroundings.
What are the best accommodations to stay in Riga?
Listed below are the best accommodations to stay in Riga.
- Grand Hotel Kempinski Riga. Grand Hotel Kempinski Riga offers visitors elegant rooms, upscale dining options, a spa and panoramic views of the city. Grand Hotel Kempinski Riga is located at Aspazijas bulvāris 22 in the center of Riga. Its proximity to major attractions and shopping areas makes it a preferred choice for travelers seeking comfort and convenience. Grand Hotel is one of the recommended hotels to stay in Riga.
- Radisson Blu Latvija Conference & Spa Hotel. The Radisson Blu Latvija Conference & Spa Hotel is a modern establishment offering comfortable rooms, extensive conference facilities, a spa and multiple dining options. It is located at Elizabetes iela 55 in the Centra Rajons of Riga. Radisson Blu Latvija Conference & Spa Hotel is conveniently located in the city center, close to key landmarks and transport links, making it an excellent choice for both business and leisure travelers.
- Wellton Centrum Hotel & Spa. Wellton Centrum Hotel & Spa provides cozy accommodations and spa facilities at 33/35 Kaleju iela in Riga's Centra rajons. Its central position near the Old Town makes it an ideal choice for visitors looking to explore historical attractions in Riga. Wellton Centrum Hotel & Spa’s location and amenities offer a comfortable and convenient base while staying in Riga.
- Rixwell Old Riga Palace Hotel. Rixwell Old Riga Palace Hotel offers a comfortable stay with a touch of history. Rixwell Old Riga Palace Hotel is located at Minsterejas iela 8/10 in the Centra Rajons. It is conveniently near the Old Town and various landmarks. Rixwell Old Riga Palace Hotel is perfect for travelers seeking a blend of modern amenities and historical surroundings.
- Mercure Riga Centre. Mercure Riga Centre provides modern rooms and a fitness center, ensuring a comfortable stay for its guests. Mercure Riga Centre is located at Elizabetes iela 101 in Riga Centra Rajons. It is easily accessible and close to the city's attractions and shopping districts. It caters well to travelers who value both modern comforts and convenient access to urban experiences.
How to get to Riga Airport (RIX)?
There are a few ways to get to the Riga Airport, which is located 10 kilometers (6 miles) southwest of Riga. These are taxi, bus, train and airport transfers. Firstly, the easiest way to get to the Riga Airport (RIX) is to take a taxi that costs between €10 ($11, £9) to €15 ($16, £13). Secondly, take bus #22 from the Riga International Bus Station to Central Riga. The bus ride takes 30-45 minutes, depending on traffic and costs between €2 ($2, £1) and €3 ($3, £2). Thirdly, take the train from Riga Central Station to Riga Airport train station. The train ride takes 15 minutes and trains run every 30-60 minutes daily. Tickets cost between €3 ($3, £2) and €5 ($5, £4). Lastly, visitors can pre-book airport transfers from various private companies in Riga. They offer direct rides from the airport in a private car or minibus to your accommodation. This is the fastest and most convenient option, with prices between €10 ($11, , £8) to €20 ($22, £18) per ride.
Where to go shopping in Riga?
There are several places to go shopping in Riga. These are the Old Town, Galleria Centers, Central Market, Akropole and Alfa. Firstly, the Old Town features boutiques, galleries, souvenir shops, malls and market halls packed into cobbled streets and squares. Secondly, the Galleria Centers Mall offers high-end international brands for visitors to check out. Thirdly, the Central Market offers everything from farm-fresh produce and dairy to clothing and household goods. Lastly, the Akropole and Alfa malls on the outskirts of the center provide hundreds of local and international shops, restaurants and entertainment options under one roof.
What festivals or events are taking place in Riga?
Listed below are the festivals or events that are taking place in Riga, Latvia.
- The Riga Opera Festival. The Riga Opera Festival is a significant event showcasing opera, ballet and classical music. It is held annually in June at various venues in Riga. The festival attracts a substantial number of audience, including many international visitors. It is one of the anticipated festivals in Riga.
- Positivus Festival. Positivus Festival is a major music and cultural event that Riga hosts annually in mid-July. The festival features a diverse range of musical genres and artists and attracts thousands of attendees, including international tourists. This festival is held only in the city of Riga.
- The Ligo and Jāņi Festival. The Ligo and Jāņi Festival is a traditional Latvian event, that celebrates the summer solstice with music, dance and folk traditions. It occurs annually from June 23 to 24, with celebrations taking place throughout Latvia. The Ligo and Jāņi Festival is widely celebrated by locals and attracts tourists interested in experiencing Latvian culture.
- The Nationwide Latvian Song and Dance Festival. The Nationwide Latvian Song and Dance Festival is a cultural event held every five years. The festival celebrates Latvian music, dance and folklore. This Nationwide Latvian Song and Dance Festival takes place at various locations in Riga and is one of the most significant events, attracting participants and spectators from across the country.
- Riga City Festival. The Riga City Festival is held annually in August and offers various events, including concerts, performances and exhibitions. This celebration is spread across various locations in Riga. The festival is a celebration that attracts many locals and tourists.
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