There are so many cool things to do in Riga, that I wish I had discovered them much sooner. I have been living and working in Tallinn, Estonia for the last six months or so, which is so near to Riga, that I should have visited before now.
I’ve seen most of Europe, and it seems that every time I leave Estonia I have to go through Riga to get anywhere, so naturally you would think I had explored Riga much more! Sadly no. I didn’t know what to ddo in Riga when I went, but when I finally did, I found that it has almost as beautiful an Old Town as Tallinn, and is definitely a must see in the Baltics. Actually to be honest, Riga is now one of my favorite little cities in all of Europe!
If you havn’t been, and don’t know what to do in Riga, it’s probably because you havn’t really heard of it before, and it hasn’t hit your travel radar yet. Well I have discovered a gem, and I’m here to share it! So here are my pick for what to do in Riga, top things to do in Riga and what to see in Riga!
10 Best Things to do in Riga
1. Central Market, a colorful, Soviet-style market, is one of the largest in Europe and has Riga’s cheapest produce. If you are in town, this is definitely one of the must-do things in Riga.
2. Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum is made up of dozens of farmhouses, churches and windmills that provide a record of a bygone country life. It shows all five regions of the area in one place. This is probably something you havn’t heard of to visit, and neither had I. Nevertheless, its one Riga thing to do that you wont regret.
3. The House of Blackheads in Riga Town Hall Square is an amazing piece of architecture that you will definitely want to see. Put it on your list, because it’s one of the best things to do in Riga! If you were wondering what to do in Riga, this is where I’d start. Its centrally located and the best places to stay are near here, so you will run into it eventually anyway!
4. Freedom Monument It is topped a bronze female Liberty holding up three stars facing west, representing three regions of Latvia. Not long Years ago you could get deported to Siberia just for placing flowers at the base of it! Feel free to now though.
5. Cili Pizza may not have the top gourmet pizza, but it does have five locations, and best of all it is great for the budget-conscious traveler! Its definitely a local favorite, and a great thing to do in Riga.
6. Vecriga (Old City Riga) – Full of small squares where you can drink good local beer in the open air in summer, or huddle over a hot bar snack in winter, Riga’s Old Town is one of the nicest places to wander. On of the best things to do in Riga! These are the kinds of places I always search for anywhere in Eastern Europe, so if you’re wondering what to do in Riga, just head here.
7. Latvian National Opera– a unique architectural masterpiece of the 19th century with guided tours and fantastic performances. Check out the building, and/or go to an actual show. Either way, its a sweet Riga attraction.
8. Gutmanis Cave is covered in graffiti dating back to the 16th century. Legend states the water has healing powers to it. So if you are sore from walking around, or just have the every-day run of the mill hangover, head on over to the cave and see if the legend is true! Another great thing to do in Riga!
9. Peter’s Church Tower offers a view that will make you feel you are on top of the world! What to do in Riga is take the elevator to the top of this tower for a breath taking, bird’s eye view of Riga. A perfect way to enjoy the sunset. Doesn’t every traveler love to get that panoramic photo of the city on their travels?
10. Museum of the Occupation of Latvia is a powerful experience showing the effects of the Nazi occupation. Roughly half the population of Riga are Russians placed there by the Soviet Union after this, so it is a real controversial topic. Don’t miss this, its one of things to do in Riga that you didn’t know about, but won’t want to miss. It might not be the most glamorous of all the things to do in Riga, but its one of the most educational. Most people don’t get to the Baltics too often, so learning some of its history first hand here at the museum is of the great things to see in Riga.
Riga has tons of places to stay, and I would recommend getting as close to the beautiful Old Town as possible, just like I do in any city in Europe. To find best prices on hotels I use Hotels Combined. I am also an affilite of theirs, meaning that if you book a stay through my links I could get a small commission at no extra charge to you! So if you’re heading to Riga, click HERE to check out the best deals! Then let me know your favorite places and things to do in Riga!