The House of Blackheads in Riga's Town Square.
Riga is the capital of Latvia, the largest city in the Baltic States, and the second-largest city of the Eastern Baltic. It holds about half of the country's population.
Riga is experiencing a new Renaissance as the capital of Latvia, and many large-scale restoration projects on old buildings have made Riga one of the most attractive cities in Europe. Most famously, Riga is home to the largest concentration of Jugendstil (German Art Nouveau) architecture in the world. Riga has become an increasingly popular destination for Europeans drawn by its old town, its historical importance, and its reputation as having one of the most sparkling nightlife scenes in Europe.
View of Riga towards the cathedral and Vanšu Bridge.
Riga was founded in 1201 by Albert of Bremen as a base for the Northern Crusades. It developed as the major trade hub of the Eastern Baltic during the high days of the Hanseatic League, ruled by the Archbishop of Riga. The Reformation reached Riga in 1522, which ended the Archbishops' power. After the fall of the Hansa, Riga became a part of first the Swedish and then the Russian Empires, before becoming the capital of independent Latvia in 1918. Riga remained as the capital of Latvian Socialist Soviet republic throughout the Soviet period, and emerged in the 1990s as the capital of newly-independent Latvia.
Germans have inhabited the city since its establishment by Albert, and throughout most of its history Germans were the elite while Latvians remained a lower class. Their position as the elite continued through the Imperial period of Riga. As such, much of the architecture in Riga has been heavily influenced by Germany. The Germans were forcibly repatriated after the Nazi occupation of 1941-44.
Much of Riga was bombed during World War II and the ruins were mostly left to decay until independence, when the government, realizing the tourism potential, began to invest in reconstructing and restoring the old buildings. Because of this, Riga has one of the most complete old towns in Europe.
The official language is Latvian, but in practice Riga is a bilingual city with Latvian and Russian as the main languages: 50% of the people are native speakers of Latvian and 50% of Russian, and the vast majority is bilingual. English is widely spoken by younger people and by people in the tourism industry, and also by some older people. German is also quite prevalent, but English is a much safer option in order to be understood.
Riga International Airport ('Starptautiskā Lidosta Rīga' in Latvian) (IATA: RIX) (ICAO: EVRA), .
The following airlines offer service from/to Riga International Airport:
- Aeroflot (Moscow-Sheremetyevo)
- airBaltic (Ålesund, Almaty, Amsterdam, Athens, Baku, Barcelona, Beirut, Belgrade, Bergen, Berlin-Tegel, Billund, Brussels, Chisinau, Copenhagen, Dubai, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva, Gothenburg-Landvetter, Hamburg, Hanover, Helsinki, Hurghada [winter season], Istanbul-Atatürk, Kaliningrad, Kaunas, Kiev-Boryspil, Kuopio, Lappeenranta, London-Gatwick, Milan-Malpensa, Minsk, Moscow-Sheremetyevo, Munich, Nice, Odessa, Oslo-Gardermoen, Oulu, Palanga, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Pskov, Rome-Fiumicino, Sharm el-Sheikh [seasonal], Simferopol, Stavanger, Stockholm-Arlanda, St Petersburg, Tallinn, Tartu, Tampere, Tashkent, Tbilisi, Tel Aviv, Tromsø, Turku, Umeå, Vaasa, Venice-Marco Polo, Vilnius, Vienna, Warsaw, Yerevan, Zürich),
- Belavia (Minsk),
- Czech Airlines (Prague),
- Finnair (Helsinki),
- LOT Polish Airlines (Warsaw)
- Lufthansa (Frankfurt),
- Norwegian Air Shuttle (Oslo-Gardermoen, Trondheim),
- Ryanair (Bremen, Bristol, Brussels South-Charleroi, Dublin, Düsseldorf (Weeze), East Midlands, Frankfurt (Hahn),Leeds Bradford, Glasgow-Prestwick, Karslruhe, Liverpool, London-Stansted, Milan-Bergamo, Oslo-Rygge, Stockholm-Skavsta. Warning : when you'll get out of Riga with Ryanair, Riga Airport will ask you to pay a Security Charge of 7€. It can be purchased also in advance here .
- Turkish Airlines (Istanbul-Atatürk),
- Uzbekistan Airways Tashkent, New York-JFK, and
- Wizz Air (London-Luton, Oslo-Torp, Turku, Eindhoven)
It is worth noting that Riga airport has splendid smoking terraces: a large glass shelter in front of the main building (upper level), adjoining the police station and used also as bike parking, and a smaller terrace after security checks, but this one is open, without a roof.
To travel between the airport to the city:
- Bus 22 (See schedule here ) runs between the airport and the Old Town - right near the central bus and railway stations. The bus runs every 10 minutes during rush hour and the journey to the Old Town takes around 25 minutes. Bus tickets can be purchased from the driver for 0.70 LVL or from the Narvesen shop in the airport for 0.50 LVL. Alternatively, you may want to purchase a 24-hour transport pass or a 5 or 10 journey e-ticket (see below). Have small change ready.
- Riga Airport Transfers  offers private and group transfers from Riga International Airport to city center or any other destination in Latvia. Prices start from €25 (1-3 passengers). Its the best way to get to other cities/towns in Latvia, like Ventspils, Liepaja or even out of Latvia to Tallinn or Vilnius.
- Airbaltic Airport Express  minibuses to the city center cost 5 EUR. These run every 30 minutes but only take 20 minutes to get to the old town. This bus also stops at several hotels near the airport, so it may be more convenient than Bus 22.
- Baltic Taxi  runs taxi service from the airport to the center will cost around 12 EUR. Service to the old town takes 15 minutes. The cars offers free wifi onboard.
- Riga Limo  is an English language limousine, bus and taxi service that provides affordable airport transfers and other transportation services in Riga and Latvia.
- Personal Minibus  offers airport transfer for groups. The price of 8 EUR per person (6 person minimum) also includes guide to meet group with greeting sign.
- Taxis can be expensive if a meter is used and a fixed price is not negotiated. Charges are as follows: 1.50 LVL for embarkation plus 0.50 LVL per kilometre, waiting 6.00 LVL/hour. The ride to the center takes 15 minutes.
There are international bus connections to anywhere in Europe, including frequent service to Tallinn and Tartu in Estonia, and Vilnius and Kaunas in Lithuania.
- Ecolines 
- Simple Express 
- Eurolines Lux Express  - Lux express buses cost slightly more than the Simple Express service, but have much more legroom as well as free coffee.
Tallink, , operates a daily ferry service between Stockholm and Riga. Prices start at €28.
Latvian Railways  operates service to many cities in Latvia as well as a few cities in Russia, Belarus, and Estonia.
Trains depart for Moscow daily (except New Year's Eve) at 16:20 ('Latvijas Express') with an additional train departing at 18:10 from May to September ('Jurmala'). The overnight trip takes 16.5 hours and costs 85 LVL for a bed in a 4-bed cabin if the ticket is bought at the train station. The cheapest ticket for this train costs 25 LVL.
One overnight train bound for St. Petersburg ('Baltija Express') departs Riga daily at 18:50. The train takes 13 hours and costs 75 LVL for a bed in a 4-bed cabin if the ticket is bought at the train station. The cheapest ticket costs 21 LVL.
Trains operate between Riga and Valga, Estonia. From Valga, connections can be made to other cities in Estonia including Tallinn.
You can book tickets online via the Latvian Railways site up to 45 days in advance, but tickets must be collected from a station in Latvia. The exception to this is international tickets to Moscow and Saint Petersburg which can be issued as etickets in both directions.
Cars are not allowed in Old Town (although enforcement is somewhat lax at night), but vehicles making "deliveries" are. Therefore, you can take a taxi to the Old Town, but you cannot park a rental car there.
Streets are mostly asphalt, with Old town and some random streets being cobblestone; some smaller streets outside the city center may be unpaved. Sidewalks are predominantly asphalt everywhere. Riga's Old town is best explored on foot, especially since it is not very large and cars are not allowed anyway. Cobblestones, where present, are round rather than flat, so comfortable shoes are recommended. Be advised that due to the neglected drainage system, there have been around 2-3 times last year, when especially heavy downpours have caused a couple of central streets to be flooded approximately to ankle level for several hours each time.
Taxis are reasonably-priced but you should be careful, as they may not necessarily follow the shortest route to your destination, especially if you appear to be new to the city. Occasionally, taxi drivers will try to overcharge you, but the majority are honest, courteous and very helpful. Many drivers speak a few words of English.
Always watch the meter, because some drivers cheat customers by increasing the price by pressing a button on the meter. If in doubt, take the check at the end of your ride, write down the number plate of the taxi, and call the number on the taxi to complain.
By public transport
The city runs the trams (street-cars), buses and trolley buses. They all use the same e-ticket (e-talons), a single price covers any one route independent of the distance. Note that the same number may refer to a bus, a trolleybus and a tram all following different routes. On the stops, numbers of trams and trolleybuses are preceded by "T", but numbers of buses by "A".
There are several railroad lines running through the city, and Passenger Train  runs electric trains that connect the very centre of the city with suburbs and nearby towns; if you know where you need to go, it may be quite convenient to use a train, as they all go from the single central terminal and are by far the fastest public transportation mode. However, note that the trains run much less frequently (especially during winter in some directions) and that the railroad system is not integrated with the city public transportation, so in some occasions there are no tram/bus stops near a train stop in the city. See more about trains in Latvia article. Ticket prices for trains within city limits are comparable to other city public transportation modes, but they do change with distance travelled.
Taxi-bus (also called mini or march-route bus) services: operated by private companies, generally hold 10-11 people in a bus (seats only, at least officially), you must purchase the ticket onboard (cash only, approximately 0.50 LVL, depending on the operator). Usually drives by and stops at overlapping city public transportation stops, otherwise can stop anywhere were permitted, so flag it to get in, and ask driver to stop in order to get out. If a route covers the city from one end to the other, you may be asked by driver how far you go, and would have to purchase two tickets, either beforehand or at a city centre stop. The taxi-bus services are being overtaken by the city at the moment, so there may be major changes in near future, such as organizing the routes so they would less overlap with the rest of transportation.
Timetables and routes for both city transport and taxi-buses are available on the Internet. Stops are marked by a blue rectangular sign with a stylized white image of the vehicle and lists the numbers that stop there (taxi-buses are mostly unlisted). Timetables are also usually posted at stops and are fairly accurate.
Tram lines are numbered 2-11, bus lines 1-55, trolley bus 1-27. Taxi-bus lines have numbers 2xx. There may still be some Riga region bus lines with numbers like 8xx.
Be advised that there is virtually no information on timetables, routes or connections onboard. The stops are generally announced on trams/trolley/buses, newer vehicles also include running line with next stop information (buses) or LCD screens with the list of next 4 stops (trolley buses).
Trams are generally the fastest public transportation apart from trains. Although they are on street level and the rails are not always physically separated from the rest of the traffic, in all but the busiest rush hours they get their way. Taxi-buses are smaller and thus more maneuverable than buses and trolley buses, making them second only to trams.
"E-talons" system for trams, buses and trolley buses
- Single tickets cost 0.70 LVL if bought from the driver (cash only) or 0.50 LVL, if purchased in advance. 24-hour tickets cost 1.90 LVL, 3-day tickets cost 5.70 LVL, and 5-day tickets cost 9.50 LVL. These all run from first use and cover all travel on city buses, trolleybuses, and trams. Alternatively, 5-day tickets valid only on 1 mode of transport (either the bus, trolleybus, or tram) can be bought for 6.00 LVL. Tickets are sold in ticket offices, in vending machines, in press kiosks, in Narvesen shops, and other locations listed on the website . Once inside the bus/tram/trolleybus, validate the ticket by using the yellow device. Note: you must validate the day, 3 day and 5 day tickets every time you enter public transport. Ticket controls can be quite accurate and well planned. Once started, there are rather few chances to escape the fines!
- Also available in several ticketing machines in key central locations  and in new trams (running on line 6) where you can buy tickets with cash or with major credit cards
- Multi-ride tickets are also available. A 5 ride ticket costs 2.50 LVL, 10 rides are 4.75 LVL and 20 rides are 9.00 LVL
- Also available are tickets for 2 trips for 2 people (2.00 LVL) and 2 trips for 3 people (3.00 LVL).
- If you enter a tram, bus, or trolley buses with the same number and in the same direction within one hour, your ticket is still valid and will not be charged again.
- The Riga Card  allows the holder to travel free on public transportation.
- Ticket controls can be quite accurate and well planned. Once started, there are rather few chances to escape the fines!
- There are good websites to search for connections ,  and also a list of routes .
(As of August 2013, SIXT Latvia) SiXT rent a bicycle is a self-service bicycle rental available to both residents and guests of Riga. There are more than 130 bicycles available for cyclist in Riga centre and outside of it. http://www.sixtbicycle.lv/en/riga/. Alternatively, ask your hotel if they provide bicycle rental.
There are several car rental offices in Riga airport as well as in other parts of the town. You can even rent a cheap soviet style car. However, be that parking in old town can be paid only by SMS and the cost can reach up to 10€/hour.
Take into account that on working days the traffic in and around the center may be very slow, in particular congestion is usually present on the bridges over Daugava. Allow plenty of time for driving.
Driving drunk is considered as a serious law violation. Besides high fines and seized driving license one may easily end up serving 10-15 days in an administrative arrest Maximum alcohol contents in the blood must not exceed 0.5. There are plenty of police patrols and it is very common to be stopped for alcohol test.
All the boats stop near the Stone Bridge (Akmens Tilts), which is right next to the House of Blackheads -- the Riga Tourist Information Centre, in the old town. During summer the following boat transport is available:
- One hour sightseeing roundtrip by wooden boat around old town. 
- Boats between Riga and the beach city of Jurmala - Leaves Riga at 11 am daily. Cost for adults is 10 LVL one-way, 15 LVL return.
- Boats that tour up and down Daugava river.
- Boat that goes to the Riga Zoo, located in Mezaparks district once or twice a day. (Not sure if this still operates)
The view southeast from St. Peter's Church in Riga's Old Town
Riga is divided into two parts by the river Daugava. Old (medieval) town is in the centre of the city on the east side of the river. It is surrounded by a ring of ~19th -- early 20th century architecture, followed by a mix of private 2-floor house districts (many also pre-WW2) and Soviet-era 5-18 floor apartment districts, with an occasional factory (especially near railroad lines). The term "centre" loosely refers to quite a large area around Old town limited by the river to the west, the railroad lines to the east and south, and without a definite boundary to the north.
The areas usually most interesting to tourists are the Old Town and the area around the Freedom Monument, located nearby.
A walking tour is by far the best way to see these two districts. The tourist office, located inside the House of Blackheads, offers both guided tours and free pamphlets, complete with detailed descriptions of many buildings, for independent walks. These walks cover the old town and the nearby city centre sights as well as heading out to view the Art Nouveau district. It's all pretty small scale so it's easy to do each of these in around an hour, or linger and read every detail in the booklet - in the absence of any signs or plaques around the city the booklet gives you an insight to what you are seeing. Private companies also operate tours. If you want to get away from the 'touristic areas' Alternative tours on bike and on foot are also available, as well as a free city tour that runs everyday from St Peters Church at 12:00. Look for a yellow suitcase.
The Riga Card , which costs 10Ls-18Ls, has discounts for museums and some tourist attractions.
A guided tour is always available at  or a virtual walk through the Old Riga is available at .
Old town is not the only place worth visiting though. Very old and well preserved city districts unvisited by tourists are Agenskalns and Tornakalns, just over the Stone bridge.
The area around Old Town is mostly built between 1860 and 1914 and has many buildings that resemble Berlin, Paris, or Rome. Many Soviet-era movies set in Western Europe were filmed here as the buildings can make the city pass for a city in Western Europe.
Triangula Bastion - 11 Novembra Krastmala 17. Modern building with an excavated fragment of historical Riga fortification wall system which protected medieval Riga city from attacks from war ships. Also Triangula Bastion has the best view terraces in Riga. Open 9:00 – 22:00. Free entrance.
- Town Square and Surroundings.
- Statue of Roland, (In the center of the Town Square).
- House of Blackheads, 1 kalku iela, ☎ (+371) 67044300. The House of Blackheads is where the merchants-to-be had their guild. Part of this building is the tourist information office, the rest is a fascinating museum. The upper levels house grand ballrooms while the basement has a wine cellar and several exhibits relating to trading in Riga. 2 LVL, 1 LVL students. (latitude,)
- Town Hall. Pretty to look at, but not open for visitors.
- Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, 1 Strelnieku laukums, ☎ (+371) 67212715 ([email protected]), . This noticeable and austere black building is clearly out-of-place. In the Soviet days, this housed a museum to the Red Riflemen, a group of Latvians who volunteered for the service to Russia during the Russian revolution of 1917. Now it houses a museum of Latvia's time under both the Nazi and Soviet occupations. Very long, but very moving--essential for anyone interested in the history of the USSR or Nazi Germany. Outside the building away from the town square stands the Soviet-era Monument to the Riflemen. Free. (latitude,)
- St. Peter's Church, 19 Skarnu iela, ☎ (+371) 67229426 (fax: 67211375). St. Peters Church, dating to 1209, is Riga's oldest church. Besides its ensemble of architecture, the church has an elevator to the tower from where you can see all of Riga (service not available on Mondays). 4 Lats, 3 Lats students. (latitude,)
- St. John's Church, 7 Jana iela. 10AM - 5PM TUE-SAT. A smaller, less spectacular church near St. Peter's. There is a nice altar inside, and unlike most Riga churches, this one is free. The altar is from the Renaissance period and depicts the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. The ceiling is from the Gothic period, and has 5 separate vaulted compartments. There is also a huge pipe organ, and many stained glass windows. This church dates back to the mid 1200's.
- Porcelain Museum, 9 Kalēju iela, ([email protected]), . 11AM - 6PM TUE-SUN. Covers the history of porcelain in Riga through the 19th and 20th centuries. 1 Lat, 50 santimi for children, free under 7.
- Sun Museum, 30 Vaļņu iela, ☎ (+371) 67225587 ([email protected]), . 10AM - 7PM daily. A definite contender for Riga's weirdest museum, this one covers the history of sun mythology and its role in Latvian culture. 2.5 Lats, 2 Lats for students, 1 Lat for children.
- The Big Guild, 6 Amatu iela. Housed the guild of the tradesmen, who would join after being a member of the Blackheads (see House of Blackheads). Home to the Latvian Philharmonic, but you can't just walk inside. It's the exterior that's worth seeing though.
- The Little Guild, 5 Amatu iela. Another pretty building just behind the Big Guild, this one housed the craftsmen's guild. Like the Big Guild, you can't go inside except for a performance.
- The House of the Black Cat, Next to the Big Guild. This building (also housing a pub of no particular note) is most famous for the two statues of black cats on the roofs. The legend has it that a disgruntled tradesman who was not accepted into the Big Guild, built this house and put the cats on it with their tails pointing towards the Big Guild, thus expressing his scorn.
- Wagner Concert Hall, 4 Vāgnera iela. Wagner once lived in Riga, on the street now named after him. This hall where he performed occasionally holds concerts.
- St. Saviour's Anglican Church, 2a Anglikanu iela, ☎ 67222259, . Riga's only Anglican church has English language services every Sunday, and free concerts every Wednesday. 
- St. Jacob's Catholic Church, 2 Klostera iela. Dating to 1226, this is one of the few Catholic churches left in Riga. At one point, it housed one of Riga's first schools. Free.
- Riga Castle - Rigas Pils, (Near the Northern boundry of the Old Town). The castle itself is fairly uninteresting, but it houses the following 2 museums:
- National History Museum of Latvia, 3 Pils Laukums, ☎ 67223004 ([email protected], fax: 67220586). 11AM - 5PM WED-SUN. The History Museum is interesting, however there is little English (Every room has its exhibits summarized on a single plaque). However, the museum does give a very good idea of Latvian history, and will give you a good understanding of the area. Admission: 2 LVL; Camera fee: 5 LVL. (latitude,)
- Museum of Foreign Art, 3 Pils Laukums, ☎ 67226467, . 11AM - 5PM TUE-SUN. The less interesting of the two museums: this is just a standard art museum. Admission fee: 2.50 LVL; Camera fee: 0.50 LVL.
The Dom Cathedral in central Riga.
- Cathedral Square and surroundings (Doma square).
- Riga Cathedral (Doma cathedral), 1 Doma Laukums, ☎ 67227573. Dating to 1207, it is one of Riga's symbols. The 6768-pipe organ inside is particularly spectacular. Besides the organ, however, the interior is rather spartan, and may not be worth the entrance fee. (Currently, even the organ is being restored.) (latitude,)
- Museum of the Barricades of 1991, 3 Krāmu iela, ☎ (+371) 67213525, . 10AM - 5PM MON-FRI, 11AM - 5PM SAT. Covers the dramatic events that occurred in the tumultuous final year of the USSR, when Soviet authorities sent troops into Riga to overthrow the elected Latvian government. Free.
- The Three Brothers, 17, 19, and 21 Mazā Pils iela, . 9AM - 5PM TUE-THUR, 9AM - 4PM Fri. The Three Brothers are the oldest dwelling houses in Riga. One of them has a small architecture museum inside, along with changing exhibits about Latvia.
- Latvian Parliament (Saeima), 11 Jekaba iela, . A rather plain building housing the Saeima, Latvia's parliament. It has had a number of uses--including as a soviet-era museum. Currently not open to visitors
- Arsenal Museum of Art, 1 Torna iela, ☎ 67357527, . April - Sept: 11AM - 7 PM Tue-Sun, Oct - Mar: 11AM - 5PM Tue-Sun. Riga's premier museum for modern art.
- Swedish Gate, Btw Torna and Aldaru iela. The last remaining gate from the old city walls.
- Powder Tower & City Wall, (Northwestern end of Old Town). The following attractions are here:
- Museum of War, 20 Smilsu iela, ☎ 67228147. May - Sept: 10AM - 6PM Wed-Sun, Oct - April: 10AM - 5PM Wed-Sun.
- St. Jacob's Barracks, Torna iela. The primary attraction here is the last remaining stretch of city wall directly opposite the barracks.
- Pharmaceutical Museum, 13-15 Riharda Vagnera, . Tue-Sat: 10am-5pm. In a renovated 18th century house. 1 LVL.
Daugava river and central Riga
Around the Freedom Monument
- Freedom Monument, 1 Brivibas iela. Freedom Monument is one of Latvia's national symbols. It was erected during the first independence and surprisingly never taken down by the Soviets (although laying flowers at its feet was forbidden). The statue of a woman holding three stars at the top of the monument represents Freedom embracing Latvia's regions. (latitude,)
- Laima Clock, (Just south of the Freedom Monument). Laima is a Latvian chocolate manufacturer and means good luck in Latvian.
- Museum 'Jews in Latvia' and Jewish Community, 6 Skolas, 3rd Floor, ☎ 67283484 ([email protected]). Sun-Thu: Noon-5PM. Small museum dedicated to Jewish life in Latvia since the 16th century. Includes information on destruction of the synagogues by the Nazis, and the Latvians that saved Jews during the Holocaust. Exhibits are in English and Latvian. Free, donations welcomed.
- Mentzendorff House, Grecienieku 18, . Wed-Sun: 11:00am-5:00pm. Former residence of a wealthy merchant built in 1720, now a museum dedicated to life in Riga in the 17th & 18th centuries. 1.20 LVL.
- Bastejkalns, Between Raina Bulvaris and Basteja Bulvaris. A small, pleasant park surrounding Brivibas Bulvaris. Sites in the Bastejkalns include a Chinese and a Japanese building, and the Bridge of Love over the Pilsetas Canal. The Bridge of Love has several locks on the railings put up by recently married couples. There is also a memorial to the two people killed here in the tumultuous events of 1991.
Scary Art Nouveau designs in Riga.
- Art Noveau Buildings. *Alberta and Elizabetes streets (iela) are the best place to see the creations of Art Nouveau architect Eisenstein, famous of his splendid style. Other Art Nouveau buildings can be seen in the area around the Freedom Monument, including the embassies on Raina Bulvaris and on Strelnieku iela.
- Esplanade Park, (a block from the Freedom Monument). Designed by Georg Kuphaldt, who was expelled by Germany in 1915 as a spy because he had a telescope in his garden.The following attractions are here:
- National Museum of Art. Houses many works by Latvian artists.
- Riga Orthodox Cathedral. The Orthodox Cathedral was erected during Russian rule ofr Russian residents. In contrast to its relatively plain exterior, it is spectacular on the inside, but be aware that shorts are not allowed. free.
- Clock, (Western corner of the park). Donated by Riga's sister city Kobe.
- Riga Central Market (Centrāltirgus), (Right next to international bus terminal, 2 min walk from Central station or Old town), . different for different parts, see website for info. Riga Central market is noticeable for its huge hangars, built from parts of actual zeppelin hangars bought for the market in 1920. The market has also a large open-air area. It deals mostly in fresh food and is a good place especially during summer for fresh local fruit and vegetables. There are also stalls that sell cheap clothing and accessories. It is beloved by especially Scandinavian tourists coming via ferry for its cheap cigarettes, most of which are speculated to be contraband.
- Mežaparks, (Take Tram 11). Mežaparks(English: Forest Park) is a pleasant park area on the outskirts of Riga. There are large, gorgeous residential houses once inhabited by Riga's pre-war elite during the summers. They were largely let go during Soviet times but many are now being refurbished, repainted, and brought back to their original glory.
- Riga Zoo, 1 Meza Prospekts. The Riga Zoo is small, but fairly popular (latitude,)
- Riga Motor Museum, Piepilsētas, Krustkalni, Ķekava district (a few km outside Riga; take bus No 12 till bus stop Sarmas or bus No 23 till bus stop Rāmava), ☎ +371 67025888, . 9am-5pm on working days. The Riga Motor Museum’s building is undergoing a major reconstruction. The whole collection of antique vehicles has been stored and can be visited in temporary premises, located in Krustkalni, Ķekava district. The collection contains more than 230 exhibits, including former vehicles of Stalin, Kruschev, and Brezhnev. 1,20 LVL. (latitude,)
- Riga Ethnographic Open Air Museum (Brīvdabas muzejs), 440 Brivibas (Take the A2(E77) to the East out of Riga or take bus N.1 or Tram 1, 3, 6 (but from the tram there is a 2 km walking distance).), ☎ 67994106 ([email protected], fax: 67994178), . The Riga Ethnographic Museum is in Jugla, near a lake of the same name. There are many traditional Latvian countryside houses collected in a forest/park and exhibitions inside them about the traditional things. The employees are often dressed in the traditional Latvian costumes, creating a nice atmosphere.
- Maskavas forštate ((English: Moscow Suburb)). A district with old wooden houses and other sights.
- Choral Great Synagogue, At Gogola and Dzirnavu iela. Mostly in ruins as the Germans burned it down on July 4, 1941 with 600 people locked inside. There is a memorial to 400 Latvians who saved Jews during the Holocaust dedicted on July 4, 2007.
- Russian Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, 9 Gogola iela.
- Grebenshchikov Church, 73 Krasta iela. An Old Believers' church.
- Jesus Church, 18 Elijas iela. An unusually-designed Lutheran church.
- Latvian Academy of Sciences, 1 Akademijas laukums, ☎ 67225361. Balcony: May - Sept: 9AM - 8PM daily. Built in 1953, this building is often called Stalin's Birthday Cake because of it's austere and ornamented design. The balcony is open to visitors for a fee of a couple of lats.
- Andrejsala. An artists' island is starting to emerge behind the passengers port a short distance north from the Old town.
- Pārdaugava, (Left Bank of Riga). Less frequently visited by tourists. The following attractions are here:
- Riga TV Tower, 1 Zaķusalas krastmala, ☎ 67108643, . A 368 meter-high tower built of concrete and standing on three legs.It has an observation deck at a height of 97 metres. The inexpensive tours feature a tour guide but don't depend on the guide speaking much English!
- Āgenskalns, (Take Tram 2, 4, or 5; bus 21, 38, 39, 7, 25, 8, trolley bus 5 or 9). A very picturesque historical part of Pārdaugava, in 19th century it was a district for mansions and manors, some of which still remain (although bereft of any grounds), and some were replaced by slightly newer early 20th century residential architecture of wealthy middle and upper class. Many embassies were located there pre-WWII. (56.94025,24.0778)
- Āgenskalns Market, (Take tram 2 or Bus 4., 4z., 7., 8., 21., 25., 38., 39). A good example of Jugendstil, the Agenskalns market building was first started in 1911. It still operates as an authentic farmers market, you can buy fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers. This is also a good starting point for a walking tour of Agenskalns city district (56.935680,)
- Railway Museum, 2 - 4 Uzvaras bulvaris, ☎ 67232849, . 10AM - 5PM TUE-SUN. The railway museum exhibits several collections of Soviet rolling stock.
- Theatre Museum (Eduard Smilgis Museum of Theatre), Eduarda Smiļģa iela 37/39 (tram #2, stop Eduarda Smiļģa iela), ☎ 67611893, . 11AM-6PM WED-SUN. Theatre museum is located in the eccentrically designed and furnished pre-war house of a former director of Riga Daile Theatre and one of the key figures in Latvian theatre of the 20th century. 0.50 – 2.00 LVL.
- Ķīpsala, (Cross the Vanšu bridge over the Daugava). An island with Nordic Dwelling architecture, solitude, and delicious sights of Riga over the river Daugava
- Riga Aviation Museum, (At Riga International Airport). 10 - 4. Bored at the airport? Check out the Riga Aviation museum , which contains several rare aircrafts. 5 Euros. (latitude,)
- Victory Monument (Uzvaras piemineklis), (Get off the tram at the second stop after the bridge over the Daugava). A splendid example of high Soviet art and the biggest occupation-era monument in Latvia. If you've never seen a Soviet monument before, you should really check this out.
- Latvian Photographic Museum, Marstalu iela 8, . Constains photos of Latvia since 1839, wih focuses on the World Wars and 1905 Revolution. 1 LVL.
- Grand Riga Tour, ☎ (+371) 29787307 ([email protected]), . During the tour you will visit Riga Old Town, Art Nouveau district, Central Market, Spikeri district, Kipsala peninsula, Āgenskalns and Kalnciema Quarter 45 Eur/pp Group discounts available.
- Riga Old Town Walking Tour, ☎ (+371) 29787307 ([email protected]), . Come with Latvian Tour Guides and see the Old Town of Riga through a completely different point of view. In 2 hours you will hear many stories and interesting facts about beautiful Riga 20 Eur/pp Group discounts available.
- Riga Central Market Tour, ☎ (+371) 29787307 ([email protected]), . Central Market is one of the largest markets in Eastern Europe and every day is visited by 80 000 to 100 000 people From 15 Eur/pp Group discounts available.
- Open Air Museum Tour, ☎ (+371) 29787307 ([email protected]), . If you would like to know how life once was in Latvia then the Open Air Museum can provide you with a very good impression of the Latvia of old From 20 Eur/pp Group discounts available.
- Latvian National Opera, 3 Aspazijas bulvaris, ([email protected]), . A pretty building in its own right, this is also a nice place to see an opera or ballet. 4 LVL to 45 LVL depending on seat.
- Day tours from Riga (Day tours all around Latvia from Riga), Terbatas 85, ☎ (+371) 28808598 ([email protected]), . 9:00 - 19:00.
- Latvian Philharmonic Concerts @ Big Guild.
- Bachelor Riga Party (Riga Pub Crawl, Shooting package and Indoor Karting), ☎ (+371) 29376677 ([email protected]). Price includes: Airport Transfers (to/from), Riga Pub Crawl (including 4 welcome drinks), Shooting-Gallery (including 3 weapons), 10 min Go Karting race and entrance to the Nightclub from 70 Eur/pp. (,http://redfoxtours.eu/bachelor-party-package.html)
- Bachelor Grand Riga Party (Riga Pub Crawl, Shooting package and 4x4 Off-road Jeep Safari), ☎ (+371) 29376677 ([email protected]), . Price includes: Airport Transfers (to/from), Riga Pub Crawl (including 4 welcome drinks), Shooting-Gallery (including 3 weapons),approx. 2.5-3 hours 4x4 Jeep Off Road Drive and entrance to the Nightclub. from 95 Eur/pp.
- Riga Clay Pigeon Shooting, ☎ (+371) 29376677 ([email protected]), . Price includes: transfer, guide, professional instructor, safety instructions, hearing protection, rent of guns & shooting range (25 rounds per person) from 40 Eur/pp.
- 4x4 Off Road Drive, ☎ (+371) 29376677 ([email protected]), . Price includes: transportation, introduction and briefing, experience training from a qualified instructor and one of four different programms, hotel pick-up and drop off. from 45 Eur/pp.
- Riga Outdoor Go cart racing, ☎ (+371) 29376677 ([email protected]), . Price includes:transfer, introduction and briefing, overalls, helmet, gloves and 10 minutes hands-on driving (can be extended to 15, 30 minutes or 1 hour races), hotel pick-up and drop off) from 25 Eur/pp.
- AK-47 Shooting, Biekensalas 6, ☎ (+371) 26576166, . Real Gun Shooting Packages for groups from 5 persons (includes transfer, guide, ear protection, targets and bullets) from 40 EUR.
- Big Gun Shooting, 50 Kaleju Iela, ☎ (+371) 27728700 ([email protected]), . Unload live rounds in an old soviet nuclear bunker from 30 EUR.
- Cable Car Bungee Jump, ☎ (+371) 27728700 ([email protected]), . Launch yourself 45m out of a cable car from 50 EUR.
- Clay Pigeon Shooting, 50 Kaleju Iela, ☎ (+371) 27728700 ([email protected]), . Clay pigeon shooting tours in Riga from 40 EUR.
- Husky Dog Sledding, ☎ (+371) 27728700 ([email protected]), . A new adventure in Latvia. Husky dog sledding from 60 EUR.
- Winchester, Kalashnikov and many Russian weapons, Brivibas 333, ☎ (+371) 29376677, . (includes transfer, guide, instructions, targets and a shooting package) from 39 Eur/pp.
- Scenic Flights over the Old Town.
- Bobsled (Bobsleigh in Riga), . Enjoy the thrill of a real Olympic bobsleigh run!
- Paintball, . Exciting paintball action in a real Soviet atmosphere.
- Go-Karts, . Exciting and high speed kart racing on a super fast indoor track.
- Canoe Trips, . Enjoy a relaxing journey down the River Gauja. Excellent activity in Latvia during summer months.
- Riga Daily Bike Tours, Rātslaukums 7, near the Rolands statue (In the center of the Town Hall Square), ☎ +371-2246-9888, . 2.5 hours. Tours start at 12:00am and 3:00pm from the Rātslaukums, On this 2.5 hour tour you’ll see an amazing cross-section of this diverse city, from the bustling market area and alternative cultural region, through the site of the WWII Jewish ghetto, past churches, graveyards and parks, harbor area and post-soviet industrial buildings. 10Ls/14euro(bicycle is included).
- Naive Art Museum of Latvia, AB dam 2, Riga, LV - 1048 (Next to the Stone bridge), ☎ +37126611590, . 12:00-18:00. Mission of the museum is to make an insight about naive art’s cultural processes for inhabitants of Latvia and guests, to show its importance and originality for promoting Latvians self – confidence and pride about inheritance of naive art. And also with the help of original works introduce society with the unique basic values and essential style features of naive art. free.
- Don't go to the souvenir shops, instead buy items like amber and wool mittens and socks in the central market or throughout Old Riga in little stands. You might haggle and get good prices for souvenirs.
- Taste Latvia, shopping center 'Galerija Centrs', 4th floor, ☎ +371 67104540 ([email protected]). Open from 10.00 to 21.00 all week. Despite the slightly misleading name, Taste Latvia is a "Latvian fashion concept store", selling mostly clothes, but also accessories and items for the home, such as wooden kitchen and cooking utensils, hand-made ecological candles, and other items. The items are all from contemporary Latvian designers. If you want to take home some contemporary Latvian design, Taste Latvia is one of the best places to look.
- During Christmas season there is a small Christmas market which offers lots of festive fare and hot wine.
- Konventa Seta, Behind St. John's Church. A former convent courtyard that now contains several touristy shops.
- Central Market (Centrāltirgus), 1 Centrāltirgus, . 8AM - 5PM daily. This striking building near the central train station began life as an airship hangar in the 1930s, but is now an excellent place to buy fresh produce, meat, dairy, and the occasional counterfeit goods, though these have been mostly eradicated. The market is actually quite non-touristy but very good for souvenirs. There are lots of small cafes scattered around the markets that serve up cheap local eats.
- Latgalite, Corner of Gogola and Dzirnavu iela. (NOTE: I think that it got closed recently) If you are looking for Soviet era hats, medals, pins, or complete uniforms, go to this flea market. Also has a large selection of Soviet-era surplus electronics and miscellaneous household items. If it's your dream to own an oscilloscope from the Eastern Bloc, this is not a bad place to look. On the way there you will see old buildings that aren't exactly well conserved, but there are some that are breathtaking.
- Galerija Istaba, 31 Krišjāņa Barona iela. Nice local artwork can be found here. There is also a small cafe/bar on the second floor with a nice, laid-back atmosphere.
- Stockmann, 13 Janvara iela (Near the train station), ☎ (+371) 67071222 (fax: 67071254). 1st Floor: 9AM - 10PM MON-SAT, 10AM - 10PM SUN 2nd Floor: 10AM - 9PM daily. The Latvian branch of the Finnish department store chain.
Riga, as the most vibrant and cosmopolitan city of the Baltics, offers countless opportunities to sample both local cuisine and international favorites. Latvian food can be hearty, using a lot of potato, cabbage, beef, pork and fish. A diversity of foreign cuisines is also available -- sushi restaurants in particular are currently in vogue.
- Čili Pica, Several locations (One near the Freedom Monument, another on the ground floor of the Stockman mall near central station), . Cheap but good pizza. 4-9 LVL.
- Ķīpsala Island Student Cafeteria, (Ķīpsala Island). Several sets of home-like food are offered in a cozy atmosphere.
- Lido, . A network of 8 restaurants offering decent hearty Latvian food, including desserts, at good prices. The restaurants are either cafeteria-style or feature English menus. The following resturants are in the Lido network:
- Lido Entertainment Center, 76 Krasta iela (Take Tram 3, 7, or 9 to Krasta masīvs), ☎ (+371) 67504420 (fax: 67241168). Main Restaurant: 11AM - 11PM daily, Express Restaurant: 1PM - 11PM daily, Beer Cellar: 6PM - 12PM MON-FRI, 12AM - 12PM Holidays, Playroom: 5PM - 10PM MON-FRI, 12PM - 10PM Holidays. The wooden building features three floors of dining, a built-in wooden windmill, and a small amusement park outside. The ground floor and basement operate cafeteria-style. There is a huge choice available, including a variety of soups including borscht and the Latvian cold beetroot soup, as well as kebabs, breasts, chicken sausages, fish, red meats. Blinis are another specialty here. Cafeteria: 2.30 LVL for a meat main course and 0.50 LVL for a plateload of roast potatoes. Pancakes for 0.40 LVL. Top floor: Buffet for set price of 11 LVL.
- Alus Seta, Old Town. Literally Beer Yard. Serves huge portions of excellent meat and two veg from a grill at the front of the tavern, as well as an excellent choice of Beer. Probably the best value place in town, with two courses easily costing less than 5 LVL.
- Staburags. á là carte based and not cafeteria-style. Rustic interior, low prices and large portions of traditional Latvian food. Plays pseudo-traditional Latvian music with synthesized backing.
- Vermanitis, 65 Elizabetes St. A fantastic range of Latvian food in "authentic" environment. Fried fish: 2 LVL, Salmon steak: 3.50 LVL, Half chicken: 1.80 LVL, large side of mashed potatoes or pasta: 0.70 LVL, 500ml beer: 1.50 LVL.
- Smilšu Pulkstenis, Kalku iela #7. Cheap & tasty Latvian food.
- Stargorod, Republikas square 1 (In the front of Riga port, next to President Castle), ☎ 20279972 ([email protected]), . 12.00-24.00. traditional czech and latvian cousine,brewery,best beer, tours in brewery,entertainment. medium.
- Varzob, 1 Ratslaukuma iela (J-2), ☎ 67211332. Uzbek food. The plov is an excellent choice, as is the Shashlik and Lagman.
- 13 Kresli, Dome Sq. Still going from Soviet times - 13 Kresli (13 chairs)has grown a bit, but is excellent, especially for tea and snacks
- Alus Ordenis, 15 Raina bulvaris, ☎ 67814190. Serves rural Latvian food for an eminently reasonable price. Try pork shanks or bull testicles!
- Cafe Grill Bar/Stork's Nest Pub, 14-16 Kaleju iela, ([email protected]). A jewel of a restaurant/bar with all the comforts of the USA/UK, serving both Latvian and American food The walls are decorated with American/English memorobilia and there is a large plasma TV showing English or American shows and sporting events.
- Double Coffee, various all over Riga & Majori. Not just a coffee cafe like Starbucks, but a wide range of teas & coffees + other drinks plus an wide range of food - both Latvian & international. Excellent for lunch or a snack. Reasonable prices too.
- Juffin's 12, 10 Aldaru Street, ☎ (+371) 67224271 ([email protected], fax: 67224272), . 11AM-11PM. Serves European and Oriental international food and has an extensive wine list.
- Le Crabe, Jauniela 24, ☎ (+371) 67212416, . 12AM-12PM. One of the best fish restaurants in town. Champagne Glass: 5 LVL, Bottle of Philipe Brugnon 1er Cru Rose: 33 LVL.
- Osiris, 31 Krisjanis Barona iela. An artsy cafe with a cool interior, fireplace and pancakes worth killing for. While there, drop by Gallerija Istaba for another cup of coffee or beer, and make sure to check out some of the artwork sold downstairs.
- Sweetday Cafe, Tirgoņu 9 (old town). Coffee house that serves freshly homemade cakes. It has a great cozy atmosphere, and the best service in town. The owner is Inese, speaks Latvian, English, Spanish, Russian and a bit of Dutch.
- Traktieris (Russian: Трактиръ), 8 Antonijas iela. For a Russian experience, try out Traktieris. Huge servings, great food, loads of vodkas to try out, and a Russian troubadour for entertainment. Few tourists.
- Vecmeita ar kaķi, 1 Mazā Pils iela. This restaurant and bar is a more upmarket option than Lido, serving very good Latvian food.
- Gardenia, Grecinieku street 28 (City centre, Old Riga), ☎ (+371) 67224650 ([email protected], fax: 67359749), . 12:00-24:00. Enjoy Mediterranean and European cuisine at our re-established, cozy, and elegantly casual Restaurant. 5 EUR and up.
- Rozengrāls, . An authentic medieval restaurant in a real medieval basement in the Old Town. Serves tasty medieval foods and beverages.
- Vincents, Elizabetes 19, ☎ (+371) 67332634. M. - F.: Noon-11PM, Sat: 6PM-11PM, Su: Closed. If you're splashing out try Vincents Restaurant which compares favorably to any up market western restaurant at half the price. 20 LVL.
- Bergs, Elizabetes 83/85, Hotel Bergs, . The restaurant of the hotel Bergs may be just about the best that Latvia has to offer. The food can be described as a fusion of Latvian and Western European cuisine. Menus are seasonal, and the ingredients always fresh - meaning sometimes not everything on the menu is available. With impeccable food and service, it is a wonder this place has not yet received the first Michelin star of any restaurant in Latvia.
- Pinot, Grecinieku 26, . The restaurant next to the Museum of Latvia occupation offers a continental take on Baltic food. Menus are seasonal, but the seafood, venison and cloud berry with camembert salad were amazing in May 2012. The wine list is extensive, and the staff speak Latvian, Russian and English reasonably well. Menus are in all three languages. ~40 Lat per person with one drink.
Bar scams in Latvia
Latvia are home to a number of fraud/extortion scams in bars, run by the local mobs. A common scam, which targets men, begins by coaxing you into a bar, where most often a girl will strike up a conversation with you and convince you to buy her a drink. You will then be presented with a bill for several hundred Lats. Don't worry, the bar will take credit cards - or you might be forced to withdraw money from their handy ATM. If you ask, you will even be presented with a menu and the price listed. The trick to avoiding this scam is not to enter a bar recommended to you by someone on the street or, if you do, insist on seeing the price of a drink in writing. If not, leave immediately, although this may not be possible if the exit is being blocked by a large bouncer. Here is a list of bars/clubs in Riga the U.S. Embassy specifically warns against visiting (and bars all embassy personnel from visiting):
- “Foxy Lounge” - Terbatas 2; located below the “Fashion Café” in the basement of the “Vegas” casino at the corner of Terbatas and Merkela streets near the flower market.
- "Babylon" (formerly "Roxy Klub") - Kalku 24; located near the entrance to Old Town on Kalku street.
- "Livu Krodzins Bar/Pizzeria" (formerly “Lord’s Pub”/“Groks Pub”/"Royal Pub")—Kalku 22; located next door to Babylon.
- "Enigma" (formerly “Puzzle”/“Pink Panther”)—Kalku 22; also located next door to Livu Krodzins Bar/Pizzeria.
- "A13" (formerly "Mary") - Audeju 13; located on the east side of Galleria “Centrs” Mall.
- “DD Bars”
- "Lion Pub" (Formerly “Saxon”) - Laipu 7; located near “Livu Square” in a small street to the right of restaurant “Steiku Haoss”.
- “Doll House” a.k.a “Zig Zag” – Marstalu 12; located to the right of Reformed Church.
- “Bar Fly” - Vagnera 8; located near “Livu Square” in a small street to the right of “Babylon”, “Livu Krodzins Bar/Pizzeria” and “Enigma”.
- "Kapsula Bar" (formerly “Zephry Bar”) - located near Galleria Center in Old Town, near the youth hostel.
- “Mademoiselle Cigar Club” – Valnu street; located in Old Town across from “Lounge 8”.
- “Nobu Sushi” - Grecinieku 28; located in Old Town.
- "Angels" - Elizabetes 22
- "Blow Style" (formerly "Monroe's nightclub") - Skarnu Iela 7, behind Indian Raja.
- "Hostel Pub" - Teatra street 12
- "Sonali Pub" - Brivibas street 46
These shady establishments periodically change their names so as to escape lists like these and continue extorting unwitting travelers. The above list was derived from the official U.S. Embassy warnings on this particular scam, which should be used before you travel rather than solely relying on the list above which may well be outdated.
For your own safety, you should not patronize any of these locations. Many are strip bars or locations of prostitution rings. Consider yourself warned.
- Double Coffee. International chain of coffee houses/restaurants based in Riga and started in 2002. They have WiFi, but you need to buy a Lattelecom wifi card. 10% service charge is added to the bill.
- Coffee Inn, Audēju 15, Tērbatas 7, Kaļķu 28, . Coffee, served hot or cold, available in a choice of flavours. They also sell delicious cookies, muffins, cakes, sandwiches, etc. Coffee Inn is a Latvian version of Starbucks.
Riga is a major nightlife destination for tourists and bars here are often open later than those in other European cities. On average, bars in Old Town will charge 2 LVL per beer and bars outside of Old Town will charge 1 LVL per beer. A specialty liquor is Riga Balsam, which is an acquired taste.
- Aussie Backpackers Pub, 43 Valnu Iela, Riga., ☎ +371 67223406, . 10.00-02.00. Riga’s first Aussie pub promises to provide plenty of authentic down under atmosphere, but thankfully without any stuffed koalas, Fosters beer posters or, God forbid, any portraits of Paul Hogan. Spread out across three floors, the pub will offer 12 local beers on draught for affordable prices served from a bar that’s actually an old VW combi van. Live bands will play frequently in the basement and if the cheap happy hour prices are too much for you to handle you can always crash at its hostel upstairs.
- Betty Page (Betty Page Cocktailbar), Dzirnavu iela 28 ("Down). 10.00-04.00. Inspired by the notorious Bettie Page and pin-ups from the 1950s, Betty Page is a local bar snuggled in the quiet center. With fun music, delicious kitchen and nightly happy hour for cocktails (17.00-19.00) it is a great choice for evening ease off. In the backstage there is cozy Cigar Lounge for those who enjoy good cigar, or just want to hide from the world..
- Cuba Cafe, 15 Jauniela, ☎ +371 67 22 43 62. Cozy bar, DJ in the evenings (who mimes!). Cuba cafe is lways crowded. Girls don't need ID's, bartenders don't check them, gives you wrong change.
- Skabene (SKĀbene bar), Alksnāja iela 14 (Corner of the Albert square), . (Skabene was closed) Well known place for the locals who just want to escape the pretentious bars of the Old Town - if you just want to meet some new friends and have a drink - just go to Skabene. On Tuesdays and Thursdays they have darts tournaments. Music varies from old-school Jamaican ska to 80s hair rock to psychedelic funk. During summertime you can sit outside or ask for a snooker table to challenge the local pros.
- Karakums, Lāčplēša iela 18. Fun bar with TV and dance room. Beer: 1 LVL.
- Key Bar, Skarņu iela 2 (Old Town). Owned by three Latvians: Kaspars, Gatis and Frank. The chairs, lamps, and most of the internal design of the bar is all hand made by Kaspars.
- Leningrad, . A bar with a retro Soviet interior of assorted communist relics and furniture. The beer might not be as cheap as it was in Gorbachev's time, but for Old Riga the local Brengulis and Czech Kozel are remarkably affordable. The beefy bartender with the shaved head and trimmed beard looks like Lenin on steroids.
- Mojo Cafe Bar, Pils 7, ☎ (+371) 29 65 30 03, . Interior of red and yellow walls, wooden furniture and a chill out section in the back with couches, a record player and TV all circa 1970. Summer terrace. Mojitos, Caipirinhas: 3LVL; Lāčplēsis beer: 1.50LVL.
- Orange Bar, 5 Jāņa sēta, ☎ +371 67 228 423, .
- Pulkvedis, . A trendy place popular with a younger crowd. ALL of the barmen are very good and the speed is superb. The basement offers techno-ish and/or alternative sounds. Upstairs which is the busiest area with a mix of pop/dance occasional rock music. It is a very busy place on Thurs/Fri/Sat and is closed on Sunday. Entrance: free + face control. Beer: 1,50 LVL, vodka orange: 2.75 LVL, vodka coke: 2.50 LVL, Cocktails: 4-5 LVL.
- Skyline Bar, 55 Elizabetes iela (On the 26th floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel), . Just perfect view at sunset. Finding a table next to the windows might be difficult after 11PM. Beer: 2.20-2.80 LVL; Wine: 2.80-3.60 LVL; Cocktails: 4-6 LVL.
- Route 66 (U.S. Bars), (Along the canal, north of Kristina Valdermara). A dirty grungy bar with skinny waitresses and loud heavy metal. Weekends feature live local bands. No cover charge, local beers and mixed drinks..
Riga is known for a sparkling nightlife. There is a difference in style between 'Russian' clubs and 'Latvian' clubs.
- Amber Night, Elizabetes 55 (In the Radisson Blu Hotel), ☎ +371 29 401 431 ([email protected]), . Loaded with foreigners and women willing to meet them. 21+.
- EL DIVINO, 2 Skolas iela, . Many famous international DJs play here.
- I Love You, 9 Aldaru iela, ☎ +371 67 225 304, .
- Nabaklab, Z.A.Meierovica bulvaris 12, .
- Push Club, Terbatas 2, ☎ +371 20 223 322 ([email protected]), . Mostly Russian, age: 20-30 years old, music - dance main-stream.
- Riga City Camping, Rietumu iela 2 (near the center, on an island on Daugava River), ☎ +371 67065000 / 67067519, . Open May 15 - September 15. Nice facilities. Person 2 - 2,5 LVL, tent 3 - 5 LVL, camper 7 - 9 LVL depending on season.. (N 56°,57',22.70,E 24°,04',42.20)
- Jacob's Inn Riga, 3rd floor, 4-2B Torna Iela, Riga (Walk by The Gun Powder Tower to Torna street.Walk down until Barracks 2B and you will find us in 3rd floor.), ☎ +371 22365306 ([email protected]), . A quality backpackers hostel in Riga's old town. Extra comfort, great location, super clean and friendly staff
- Barons Hostel, Kr Barona 25, Top Floor, ☎ +371 2910 5939 ([email protected], fax: +371 6728 8287), . For mature travellers as they do not accept stag or bucks parties. Is also the HQ for the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Latvia .
- Central Hostel, E. Birznieka-Upisa iela 20, ☎ +371 22 322 663 ([email protected]), . Cosy hostel near the centre, WiFi, TV and living room. from 3,70 LVL.
- Doma Hostel, 16 Skunu Street, ☎ (+371) 67213101, . Clean, small, safe, cheap, and in a great location. Not the best place to hang out though. They seem to run a nail salon out of the common room during the day, and the kitchen is the size of a closet. They do have free coffee and tea though.
- Elizabeth's Youth Hostel, 103-2 Elizabetes str, ☎ (+371) 67217890 ([email protected]), . HI Hostel. Free internet access. Dorm bed: €10 (Low Season), €12 (High Season); Single: €20 (Low Season), €28 (High Season).
- Friendly Fun Franks Hostel, 11 Novembra Krastmala 29 (on the banks of the river Daugava), ☎ +371 2599 0612 ([email protected]), . The biggest party hostel in Riga. Australian/British/Latvian owned. Popular with Brits in Riga for stag parties, so expect a lot of guys who want to party.
- Funky Hostel, 25 Kr Barona Iela, ☎ +371 2910 5939 ([email protected]), . Australian & Latvian owned. 24 hour reception. Free wifi in all rooms. Dorm bed: from 7 LVL.
- Naughty Squirrel Backpackers Hostel, 50 Kaleju Iela, ☎ (+371) 67220073 ([email protected]), . Voted No.1 hostel in Riga 2009, 2010 and 2011. 24 hour reception. Offers adrenalin tours. Dorm bed: from LVL 6; Double: from LVL 25.
- Posh Backpackers Hostel, Pupolu Iela 5 (Opposite the police station.), ☎ (+371) 67210917 ([email protected]), . Anything but posh. Privates, doubles as well as 6,8 and 12 room dorms. Dorm bed: €13.
- Riga Old Town Hostel & Backpackers Pub (Old Town Hostel Riga), 43 Valnu Iela, ☎ +371 67223406, . Ensuite rooms, groundfloor bar, sauna and 24h reception. Dorms from 6Ls, doubles from 25Ls
- Teddy Bear Hostel, 3 Vecpilsetas iela, ☎ (+371) 67229250, . Small and quiet hostel in the Old Town. Free WiFi & Guest PC. Dorms from 6€, privates from 12€.
- Hanza hotel, 7 Elijas street (Close to Riga Old Town), ☎ +371 67796040 ([email protected], fax: +371 67796044), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. 3 star hotel in Riga center.
- Apartment Hotel Riga, 196 Brivibas iela, . Apartments on Riga's main street. Every apartment has either two separate beds or one double, as well as a washing machine, television, gas ring, air conditioner, refrigerator, and set of dishes. €25 and up.
- Dodo Hotel, Jersikas iela 1 (10 min from old town by tram.), . Modern rooms with shower, WC, flat-screen TV, and hairdryer. Free Wi-Fi. French owned. Double: €32.
- Hotel Edvards, Dzirnavu iela 45/47, ☎ (+371) 67439960 ([email protected], fax: 67439959), . Newly opened in September 2008, cosy, family-run hotel in the heart of Riga, in a renovated 19th-century building. 32 - 39 LVL for single.
- Hotel Westa (formerly Backpackers Planet), 5 Negu Str, ☎ +37167226232 ([email protected], fax: +371 67221841), . The rooms are clean, private, safe, spacious, and have private bathrooms. Located next to a market for food and clothing. Dorm bed: €14; Double: €32.
- Krisjanis and Gertrude Bed & Breakfast, K. Barona iela 39 (in the wooden house diagonally opposite the Barona shopping center, entrance from Gertrudes iela), ☎ (+371) 67506604 ([email protected], fax: 67506603), . Homely, popular with artists and musicians, city centre, free Wi-Fi, en-suite rooms. Single: €30, Double/Twin: €40, breakfast included.
- Metropole Hotel, 36 Aspazijas bulvaris, ☎ (+371) 67225411 ([email protected], fax: 67216140), . Not quite as centrally located as some other hotels, but still quite near Old Town. All rooms have satellite TV, minibar, and WiFi. €93 and up.
- Old City Boutique Hotel, 10 Teātra iela (Tram to Nacionālā opera), ☎ +371 67 356 060, . €47-117.
- Old Riga Hotel Vecriga, 12/14 Gleznotāju iela (Tram to Nacionālā opera), ☎ +371 67 216 524, . €42-85.
- Primo Hotel, Nometnu street 62, ☎ (+371) 67454571, (+371) 25888777 ([email protected], fax: (+371) 67454572), . Modern 3 star hotel, free parking, cable TV, WLAN internet, only en-suite rooms. Single: €35/€45 (Low Season/High Season); Double/Twin: €40/€50 (Low Season/High Season), Family Room: €70 (up to 4 persons), breakfast €5 extra.
- Grand Palace Hotel, Pils street 12 (Tram 5, 7, 9 or Bus 5, 7, 25 to Nacionālais teātris), ☎ +371 67 044 000 ([email protected], fax: +371 6704 4004), . $188-263.
- Hotel Bergs, 83 Elizabetes iela, ☎ +371 67 77 0900 (fax: +371 67 77 0940), . An internationally regarded hotel that opened in 2003 located in the heart of Riga. €180 and up.
- Hotel Centra Riga, 1 Adeju iela (Tram to 13.Janvāra iela), ☎ +371 67 226 441, . The service here is spectacular, and the management has a habit of upgrading people for no extra charge. Flat-screen TVs, minibar, and free WiFi. In a historic building. €80 and up.
- Hotel de Rome, 28 Kalku iela, ☎ (+371) 67087600 ([email protected], fax: +371 67 087 606), . checkin: 2 PM; checkout: 12:00. Mostly a business hotel, but this Kolonna hotel also has rooms for splurging tourists. Amenities include free wifi, safe, minibar, and satellite television in every room. The hotel also has a guarded parking lot (which requires a surcharge) and a fancy restaurant at the top. Small pets are allowed. €142 and up.
- Hotel Garden Palace, 28 Grecinieku Street (City centre), ☎ +371 67 224 650 ([email protected], fax: +371 67 359 749), . checkin: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. Elegant boutique 4* hotel in the heart of historic centre with 65 comfortable guest rooms. €55 and up.
- Radisson Blu Elizabete Hotel, Elizabetes 73 (Tram 1, 6, 8, 10, 11 to Dzirnavu iela), ☎ +371 67 78 5555 ([email protected], fax: +371 67 78 5554), . Contemporary styling in the heart of the city.
- Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija, Elizabetes 55, ☎ +371 677 72222 ([email protected], fax: +371 677 72221), . Defining landmark on Riga's skyline and the largest business and conference hotel in the Baltics.
- Royal Square Hotel & Suites, 3A Kaļķu iela (Tram to Grēcinieku iela), ☎ +371 67 214 555, . €97-1,500.
In general Riga is a quiet and safe city where you are unlikely to have any trouble.
When visiting bars and restaurants make sure you know the price before you order and keep track of your spending, so no cheating is possible. Beware of scammers who strike up conversations out of the blue and invite you to visit their favorite club or bar; this is often a favorite way for the fraudsters to rob the foreigners, and the police are unlikely to help if you get scammed.
US embassy has issued travel advisory for clubs and bars in Riga which are involved in crimes against foreign clientele. For whole report please read this page  from US Embassy (includes a list of establishments involved). See the infobox near the Drink section for a common scam run in Riga.
- Ireland, Alberta iela 13 Rīga, LV-1010, ☎ +371 6703-9370, Emergencies:+371 6703-9370 (fax: +371 6703 9371), .
- Greece, Elizabetes str. 11, Appt. 5 Riga LV - 1010, ☎ +371 6735-6345, Emergencies:+371 2009-3089 ([email protected], fax: +371 6735-6351). 09:00 - 17:00.
- Japan, Vesetas iela 7, ☎ +371 6781-2001 (, fax: +371 6781-2004), .
- Get out of Riga for a day and discover more from Latvia. There are really great day tours from Riga at .
- Sigulda - a resort town just over an hour from Riga by train, featuring a wooded river valley containing forest walks, cable car, bobsleigh track, and three castles, all of which is manageable as a day visitor on foot.
- Ligatne - a small picturesque town deep in the forest between Sigulda and Cesis, ideal base for a visit to both tourist centres. Just over an hour from Riga by car or train. Attractions are forest walks, tethered ferry, and disused Soviet bunker.
- Liepaja - city on the Western coast of Latvia, (capital of music and culture, fantastic white soft sand beach)
- Jūrmala - seaside resort that was popular amongst citizens of the USSR (the word literally means seaside or beach in Latvian.)
- Tartu, Estonia
- Tallinn, Estonia
- Parnu, Estonia
- Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipeda in Lithuania.
- Stockholm, Sweden - You can take a ferry there
- Salaspils - a German concentration camp near Riga
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