Visit Riga: Your Travel Guide

Riga has an old soul and a young heart. It’s risen phoenix-like from a turbulent past to claim its crown as one of Europe’s most vibrant capitals. Among its stunning Art Nouveau buildings and storybook neighbourhoods, you’ll find prolific poets, innovative theatres, and noisy markets filled with Latvian dishes.

Things to Do in Riga

Riga Dome Cathedral
Perched at the edge of Dome Square, this ornate Lutheran cathedral’s a sight to behold. Venture inside for architectural wonderment (its history spans many centuries). Or do as locals do and take up your position on a café terrace in the square instead. Cuba Café’s the beloved pub for many a Rigan and provides a great ground-level view. Cheers to that!
Herdera laukums 6, Rīga
Open Monday-Sunday 10:00-17:00. Changes seasonally. Check website for details.
The Three Brothers
There’s no older dwelling in all of Riga than this trio of houses, known playfully as “brothers”. The eldest of the three dates from the late 15th century. Blonde, green and eggshell in colour, the worn look of the buildings gives a half-haunted, half-hallowed feeling to onlookers. Architecture shows signs of Gothic, Renaissance, and Dutch influence.
Mazā Pils iela 17, 19, 21, Rīga
St. Peter's Church
Riga’s cityscape wouldn’t be the same without St. Peter’s iconic spire. The most famous cockerel in Riga has been perched on the top as a weather vane since 1690. Climb the observation tower for urban panoramas. After you’ve descended, check out the church hall, where rotating art exhibits turn the space into a veritable culture house.
Skārņu iela 19, Rīga
Open Tuesday-Saturday 10:00-18:00 Sunday 12:00-18:00. Changes seasonally. Check website for details.
Daugava Promenade
Riga’s lucky to be on the water, and even luckier to have the Daugava Promenade. Enjoyed by many a summer stroller, it’s also lovely on crisp winter days. Nearby Central Market’s the place to accrue picnic supplies before hunkering down near the river and dabbling in Latvian local food. Watch as exercise-junkies zip by as part of their daily running regiment.
Bastion Hill
City parks – what’s not to love? Nothing says urban respite like this garden of green. Rising up next to the Freedom Monument, Bastion Hill serves Rigans with a dose of nature and tranquillity. Bridges are adorned with lovelocks, and canals have boats ready to sail in the summer. When the sun sets in Riga, there’s no better place to go.
Latvian National Opera
Dress to impress at the Latvian National Opera. Heralded as one of the world’s most prestigious opera houses, this handsome neo-classical building’s exclusive air is just as magnificent on the inside. Debuting in 1919, just after Latvian independence, the company represents a significant piece of Riga’s history. Choose your performance poison - be it ballet or opera.
Aspazijas bulvāris 3, Rīga
Open Monday-Saturday 10:00-19:00, Sunday 11:00-19:00
Central Market
Riga’s liveliest bazaar isn’t just functional, local, and lovely, it’s also part of the Historic Centre of Riga, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Hemp butter, amber jewellery, sandthorn syrup, red bilberries, mountain ash, pig snouts, sauerkraut and kvass are just a few of the treats sold at this sustainable city market (1000+ stalls!). Drop in for an apt sample of Latvia’s past and contemporary flavours.
Nēģu iela 7, Rīga
Open Monday-Sunday 07:00-17:00
National Library of Latvia
Built to resemble the Hill of Glass from a famous Latvian play about cultural freedom, this library is a modern addition to the city. Also called, “The Castle of Light,” the building is chock-full of metaphorical symbolism. In Latvian lore, the castle of light symbolises the ability of wisdom to rise above darkness caused by war and occupation.
Mūkusalas iela 3, Rīga
Open Monday-Friday 12:00-20:00, Saturday-Sunday 10:00-17:00
Arena Riga
Ice hockey fans rejoice: you can practically smell the sweat from these stands. Arena Riga shines the spotlight on many an entertainer – be in pop star, rock band or comedy act. Basketball games also set the air abuzz. In the Baltics, this arena stands out as one of the region’s more modern, and most significant sports and entertainment hubs.
Skanstes iela 21, Rīga
Check website for details.
Latvian Ethnographic Museum
Brandish your farming tools and brush up on your foraging skills – this is one of Europe’s largest open-air museums. Stroll through reconstructed farmsteads to see how the lives, tools and daily items of long-ago fisherman, craftsmen and farmers looked. Nestled next to Jugla Lake, winter at the museum marks the perfect time to try your hand at ice-fishing, sledging or skiing.
Brīvības gatve 440, Rīga
Open Monday-Sunday 10:00-17:00. Changes seasonally. Check website for details.
St. Peter’s Church
St. Peter’s Church tower has been destroyed and rebuilt more times than you’d even care to count. It burned down in 1666 and after reconstruction, builders decided to "test" how long it would last by throwing a piece of glass off the tower. The more pieces it broke into, the longer it would last. Legend has it that the glass landed on some straw and barely broke. Sure enough, the spire burned down again just one year later.
St. Jacob’s Cathedral
What’s in a name? This cathedral isn't actually named for St. Jacob, but St. James the Greater of Santiago de Compostela. In Latvian, the names for James and Jacob are the same – hence the confusion. The building is a red-brick beauty full of sacred art and has a copper-plated spire reaching towards the sky. Beautiful!
Vērmanes Garden
Vermanes is a true Riga staple. The city’s oldest park has been a favorite relaxing spot with the locals for generations. On the benches, in the leafy shade of the trees, you’ll see people of all ages and backgrounds laughing and shooting the breeze. Chess aficionados can head to the small amphitheater – next to it, there’s always a series of intense chess battles going on between seasoned masters. If you’re up to it, you can even join in!
Latvian National Museum of Art
It’s always interesting to view a country’s history through the lens of its art. Take a trip down Latvia’s memory lane, through Impressionism, Cubism and more. Then reach the Soviet era and see how art becomes explicit propaganda, before reverting back after the 1980s. You might even discover some great artists along the way!

When to Go to Riga

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
30 ℉ 21 ℉
33 ℉ 23 ℉
41 ℉ 27 ℉
52 ℉ 35 ℉
64 ℉ 45 ℉
68 ℉ 51 ℉
74 ℉ 56 ℉
72 ℉ 55 ℉
63 ℉ 48 ℉
51 ℉ 39 ℉
43 ℉ 36 ℉
36 ℉ 28 ℉

Traveler's Reviews & Photos

10
Exceptional
People appear genuine are friendly and helpful. Try the free walking tours. The guides are very knowledgeable and happy to answer questions. Take a cocktail at the Radisson blue skybar. Amazing views of the city. Day and night. EXPLORE.Explore Explore
Carol
United Kingdom
November 9, 2017
10
Exceptional
Beautiful old town, many beautiful buildings and sightseeing! Centre full of life and places to eat, drink and party! I would reckomend it for a weekend trip!
Stavros
Russia
November 12, 2017
10
Exceptional
Riga is a beautiful town. There are plenty things to do and see. The thing I enjoyed the most though was the locals. I made really good friends with a Latvian man and he made my experience in Riga an forgettable one.
David
United States of America
November 15, 2017
8
Very Good
Riga is fine for a weekend. The people are not very welcoming at all but the food and music good and not expensive
Kim
United Kingdom
November 13, 2017
10
Exceptional
Cheap accommodation ,food and travel .Lots of interesting 20 th century history and the friendliest of people as well as an amazing art nouveau area
Iain
United Kingdom
November 15, 2017

Accommodations and Hotels in Riga

Radisson Blu Latvija Conference & Spa Hotel, Riga

8.6 Excellent

Score from 1,662 reviews

$124

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    87 related reviews
  • “excellent quality of food”
    67 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    55 related reviews
Hotel Roma

8.8 Excellent

Score from 1,238 reviews

$64

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    106 related reviews
  • “excellent quality of food”
    34 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    30 related reviews
Hotel Gutenbergs

9 Awesome

Score from 1,358 reviews

$58

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    76 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    44 related reviews
  • “excellent quality of food”
    34 related reviews
Radi Un Draugi

9 Awesome

Score from 1,792 reviews

$55

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    167 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    119 related reviews
  • “excellent quality of food”
    93 related reviews
Wellton Centrum Hotel & SPA

9.1 Awesome

Score from 5,255 reviews

$66

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    433 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    261 related reviews
  • “excellent quality of food”
    230 related reviews
Wellton Riga Hotel & SPA

8.9 Excellent

Score from 6,729 reviews

$59

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    363 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    210 related reviews
  • “excellent quality of food”
    189 related reviews
Clarion Collection Hotel Valdemars

8.5 Very Good

Score from 889 reviews

$61

Average price per night
  • “excellent quality of food”
    56 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    51 related reviews
  • “location was great”
    46 related reviews
Hotel Garden Palace

7.9 Good

Score from 2,298 reviews

$49

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    181 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    92 related reviews
  • “excellent quality of food”
    61 related reviews
Hotel Justus

8.9 Excellent

Score from 1,445 reviews

$57

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    145 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    80 related reviews
  • “beautiful building”
    69 related reviews
Discover Riga

Popular Neighborhoods in Riga

City Center

368 properties

Stroll among the centre’s Art Nouveau architecture – it rivals any in the world. Or buy the city’s most charming groceries from the city’s most bustling market – Riga Central Market. Latvians love their drama. Classical values can be found in Latvian National Theatre. Bring your phrasebook though – it might not be in English!

Riga Old Town

170 properties

A living history lesson. This dense cobbled district is a riverside grab bag of architectural delights. Lovers wait under the Laima Clock, Old Town’s unofficial entry point. Peruse epic art museums or spoil yourself at one of the world’s best opera houses. When the sun sets, “Omas Briljants” is the bar to be in.

Avoti

74 properties

This up-and-coming area’s best seen during daylight. Get to grips with your basic Latvian in Avoti’s top-notch second-hand shops, scrumptious bakeries and cheap eateries where Latvian is the only language spoken. Cold beetroot soup’s a local favourite, especially during sweltering summers. For trendy ‘tudes, join the local hipsters at Chomsky Bar after hours.

Agenskalns

41 properties

Leafy Ageskalns’s cobbled streets are full of quirky museums built to pay homage to poets, stage artists, and railways. In lush Victory Park, the Freedom Monument is a controversial point of interest. On Saturdays wander the authentic markets at Kalnciema kvartāls in search of local treats like sparkling birch tree wine.

Kipsala

6 properties

Once a fishing village, this island is the only one that’s still inhabited. Cycle from one end to the other and check out the range of homes, from wooden houses to luxury suites. Stop off at Kipsala Beach for a summer sunbathe. Get your dose of culture with a show at the Kipsala International Exhibition Centre or a stirring performance at the concert hall.

Local Tips for Riga

Cemetery "Meža kapi" (Riga Forest Cemetery)
Anita by Anita

Anita is born and raised in Riga and loves the capital’s busy life and many cultural activities.

Cemeteries and life after death play a big role in Latvian culture. Head to one of Riga's cemeteries – locally known as "Meža kapi" - to sense how well Latvians take care of their ancestors' graves. It almost looks like a park or a garden with all the fresh flowers and alleys.

  • Aizsaules 2, Rīga
  • Open Monday-Sunday 00:00–24:00.
Kalnciema Quarter
Tõnis by Tõnis

Tõnis has lived in Riga for 1 year and loves discovering the locals’ favourite spots.

Kalnciema Quarter is the best getaway. It's like being in another world, where there’s a market, a party spot, a concert venue and delicious food on offer. The atmosphere is amazing and people are always nice and open minded.

  • Kalnciema 35, Rīga
  • www.kalnciemaiela.lv
  • Open Monday-Sunday 10:00-22:00. Changes seasonally. Check website for details.
Cinema Splendid Palace
Zane by Zane

Zane has lived in Riga for 25 years and loves all sorts of culture - from graffiti to Van Gogh!

Opening in 1923, this popcorn-free movie theatre was the first freestanding building in Riga intended exclusively for film screening. I simply love it because it has this 1920’s majestic and luxurious style that makes it classy, cosy and alternative, all at the same time.

Riga Cruises
Andris by Andris

Andris has lived 29 years in the city and spends his free time at the gym or on the dance floor.

If the weather is nice, take one of the Daugava River cruises. Both short canal cruises and longer trips are available. You can cruise out to the beach resort of Jūrmala or the popular Mežaparks region, where the biggest city park and the Riga Zoo are located.

  • 11. novembra krastmala, Riga
  • www.rigacruises.com
  • Open Monday-Sunday 11:30-18:00. Changes seasonally. Check website for details.
Berga Bazārs
Valdis by Valdis

Valdis has spent 15 years in Riga and loves biking through the city’s streets.

An area where history meets present! You will find century-old wood and brick buildings renovated with utmost care, and numerous restaurants – from modest to fancy – serving top-class local cuisine here.

  • Elizabetes 85, Riga
  • Open Monday-Sunday 09:00-22:00. Check website for details.
Spīķeri Quarter
Liene by Liene

Liene loves nature but can’t stay away from the buzzing city life for very long.

Right between the Riga Central Market and the Daugava River you will find a lively warehouse district that now houses cafés, restaurants, venues for art events, as well as a concert hall. In addition, a picturesque promenade along the river starts here.

  • Maskavas 4, Riga
  • www.spikeri.lv
  • Open Monday-Sunday 11:00-23:00. Changes seasonally. Check website for details.
Mežaparks
Julija by Julija

Julia has lived in Riga for 27 years andenjoys roller skating and biking in the city.

Not far from the city centre is a recreation park where you can go on a nice bike ride or walk. This family-friendly oasis features a variety of entertainment options for kids, including the Riga Zoo.

  • Mežaparks, Riga
Andrejsala Creative Quarter
Viesturs by Viesturs

Viesturs has lived in Riga for 20 years and loves skiing, festivals and beer.

Andrejsala (or Andrew Island) is a district in the former industrial port area, with nice alternative events, art studios, workshops and non-traditional shopping possibilities. You can enjoy a beer by the water while admiring the spectacular view of the ferries and yachts passing by.

  • Andrejostas iela 4, Riga
Lucavsala
Inese by Inese

Inese likes to get away from the busy centre to enjoy nature and go fishing with her daughter.

This park is an urban oasis, where both children and adults can relax. You can go for a picnic, a swim in the river or partake in water sports during the summer months, just a stone’s throw from the city centre. Live music events are also organised here.

  • Lucavsala, Riga

Riga is the biggest of the Baltic capitals, and it is the only one that really feels like a big city. Just walking the streets there is a lot to see, as the city has a beautiful mix of architectural styles. Especially impressive is the art nouveau architecture that accompanied the city's expansion at the turn of the 20th century.

Old city a bit of a maze. Interesting to search out features: churches, squares, architectural features: black cat, three Wall Street, three brothers houses etc.

We travelled early September and the city was quiet with enough atmosphere to be enjoyable. The spell of good weather made this memorable.

Booking.com asked travelers...

Why do you recommend Riga for food?

Gan Bei for best Asian foods, Cili pica for best pizzas and Lido for best home cooked country style Latvian food, amazing!

We book a food tour of Riga which was excellent! It provided history as well as an urban picnic.Superb!

Lots of history of region at town museum war museum. Travel out to Sigulda

Excellent guide in museum of 51 years of occupation

KGB Museum Aviation Museum at airport

Booking.com asked travelers...

Why do people recommend Riga for the parks?

V green and good for walks

Transportation

Riga Transportation

Air – Riga International Airport

Buses, taxis and airport shuttles link Riga International Airport with the centre. Bus 22 departs opposite the terminal roughly every 15 minutes from 05:45–23:40 and takes about 25 minutes. Single tickets cost EUR 1.20 at travel information desks. Official taxis are green or red and take you to the centre in 20 minutes for approx. EUR 20. Airport Express Shuttles that stop at some of the city’s major hotels can be booked online in advance for EUR 5.

Train

Riga’s train lines are not your best option for getting around within the city, but are great for reaching nearby cities, such as Jūrmala, Jelgava, Sigulda, Baltezers and Saulkrasti. Trains operate from around 05:00 until midnight, and departures are more frequent for certain destinations. Tickets are cheaper if bought from a station ticket office, but can also be bought as you board the train. Discounts are available for children and seniors.

Bus

Riga’s bus network covers most parts of the city and is a practical means of transport. Buses operate from 05:00 until midnight, and special night buses run after this. Tickets can be bought from newsagents around the city, and are also valid for trams and trolleybuses. A single ticket costs EUR 1.20, but tickets for 1, 2 or 3 days are also available. The Riga Card gives you access to all public transport, as well as discounts at many museums, restaurants and shops.

Taxi

The most tourist-friendly taxis in the city are either green or red. Opt for these to avoid costly and unnecessarily long taxi rides. Most drivers speak English and green taxis accept credit cards. The prices are found on the passenger door, and you can choose to pay per kilometre or per minute. Big hotels have taxi stands, but you can also hail a car on the streets. If you order by phone, the operator can give you a taxi fare quote for your route.

Tram

The city tram has 9 routes – which overlap with several bus routes – and are the quicker option when getting around. Tickets for trams, trolleybuses and buses are the same and can be purchased at newsagents around the city.

Trolleybus

The trolleybuses run less frequently than the ordinary buses in Riga, but are probably more charming to travel in. Stepping on to some of the well-preserved trolleybuses gives you a taste of what public transport looked like in the old days. Tickets can be bought from newsagents across the city.

Bike

Cycling is a popular way of getting around the city. Sixt offers a self-service bike rental system, with over 250 bicycles parked at stations in Riga and Jūrmala. You can cycle from the centre of the capital to the seaside freely; just register online or directly onsite. Designated cycling routes also link the Western parts of the city to the Eastern parts.

Car

Getting around the city’s centre is more practical via public transport than by car, although traffic is generally not too bad – except during rush hours (08:00–10:00 and 17:00–19:00). Keep in mind that many streets in the Old Town are one-way, and outdoor parking spots are limited. Several car parks are found next to blue P-marked signs around the centre. A number of car rental companies offer their services at Riga International Airport.

Food in Riga

Top Restaurants in Riga

Cheap Eats
Local
Šefpavārs Vilhelms
  • Šķūņu 6, Rīga
  • Open Monday–Friday 09:00–21:00, Saturday–Sunday 10:00–21:00.
  • 00371 67228214
Cheap Eats
Local
Lido Alus sēta
Mid-Range Fare
Cafe
Sweetday Café
Mid-Range Fare
Chinese
Tokyo City
Upscale Dining
Local
Rozengrāls
Upscale Dining
International
Restorāns "1221
Mid-Range Fare
Indian
Indian Raja
Mid-Range Fare
Cafe
Mākonis
  • Palasta 7, Rīga
  • Open Monday 11:00–21:00, Tuesday–Saturday 11:00–23:00.
  • 00371 29765445
Mid-Range Fare
Thai
Kotai
  • Kaļķu 2, Rīga
  • Open Monday–Thursday 09:00–22:00, Friday 09:00–23:00, Saturday–Sunday 12:00–22:00.
  • 00371 25455566
Mid-Range Fare
Irish
Queens Pub
  • Kaļķu 2, Rīga
  • Open Monday–Thursday 10:00–01:00, Friday–Saturday 10:00–02:00, Sunday 10:00–01:00.
  • www.queens.lv
  • 00371 67800001
Upscale Dining
Russian
Tēvocis Vaņa
Upscale Dining
Gourmet
Burkāns
Upscale Dining
Seafood
Zvejnieka dēls
Cheap Eats
Bar Bites
Tims Mints
Cheap Eats
Cafe
Kaspara Dilana konditoreja
  • Vaļņu 2, Rīga
  • Open Monday–Friday 08:00–21:00, Saturday–Sunday 10:00-20:00. Check website for details.
  • 00371 67220032
Mid-Range Fare
European
Mad House
  • Kaļķu 11, Rīga
  • Open Monday-Tuesday 10:00-01:00, Wednesday-Thursday 10:00-03:00, Friday 10:00-05:00, Saturday 11:00-05:00, Sunday 11:00-01:00.
  • 00371 67220556
Mid-Range Fare
Local
3 Pavāru restorāns – Tam labam būs augt
Upscale Dining
Italian
Monterosso
Upscale Dining
International
Domini Canes
Cheap Eats
Italian
Pizza LuLu
  • Grēcinieku 7, Rīga
  • Open Monday–Wednesday 09:00–23:00, Thursday–Saturday 00:00–23:59, Sunday 09:00–23:00
  • www.lulu.lv
  • 00371 67601306
Mid-Range Fare
Local
Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs
  • Peldu 19, Rīga
  • Open Monday–Tuesday 12:00–04:00, Wednesday 12:00–05:00, Thursday–Friday 12:00–07:00, Saturday 14:00–07:00, Sunday 14:00–04:00.
  • www.folkklubs.lv
  • 00371 27796914
Mid-Range Fare
Local
Kolonāde
  • Brīvības bulvāris 26, Rīga
  • Open Monday–Wednesday 08:30–22:30, Thursday–Friday 08:30–00:00, Saturday 10:00–00:00, Sunday 10:00–22:00.
  • www.kolonade.lv
  • 00371 26608882
Mid-Range Fare
Local
Pētergailis
Cheap Eats
International
Pipars
  • Audēju 15, Rīga
  • Open Monday–Saturday 10:00–21:00, Sunday 10:00–19:00.
Cheap Eats
Bakery
Mārtiņa Beķereja
  • Vaļņu 28, Rīga
  • Open Monday–Friday 07:30–21:00, Saturday–Sunday 08:00–21:00. Check website for details.
  • 00371 67213314
Find accommodations in Riga

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