Riga is the capital city of Latvia. It is the largest city in all the Baltic States, in Northern Europe and houses almost one third of the Latvian population. Being an important seaport, Riga is a dynamic economical, cultural and business hub of the country, located in the Gulf of Riga on the Daugava River. It is one of the UNESCO’s world heritage sites due to the art pieces and architecture scattered across the city and a famous tourist attraction due to its historical places and thriving cultural activities.
1. St. Peter’s Church Tower
St. Peter’s Church is the most photographed building in Riga and has been an integral part of the urban skyline for several centuries. The popular structure has been renovated several times throughout its history but it still showcases the original essence in its pure form. The special feature is the fabled jinxed tower that received this name because its frequent collapses during wars and natural disasters. Take an elevator ride 70 meters up the spiral case to witness a stunning view of the entire city. The interior of St. Peter’s Church is also a sight to behold with its Gothic architecture.
2. Esplanade Park
No trip to Riga is complete without a lazy stroll in one of its urban green areas. The best place to stay away from the city routine and think clearly is the Esplanade Park which stretches between Christ Cathedral and the National Art Museum. The beautiful park, full of lush plants and rich grass is also famous for its statue replica of Mihail Barclay de Tolly by Wilhelm Wandschneider. The original statue was stolen in 1915.
3. The Latvian Open Air Ethnographic Museum
The vast Latvian Open Air Ethnographic Museum is one of the most interesting places to visit in Riga. The popular tourist attraction is spread on 100 hectares, and you will feel as you have entered into the Latvian capital as it was few centuries ago. The museum showcases 121 antique artifacts and exhibits throughout the wooded area. You will find blacksmiths and craftsmen hard at work, will introduce your taste buds to authentic Latvian food and picture the days of the past mirrored through the museum.
4. Riga Opera House
The Riga Opera House is the most cherished treasure of Riga. It is home to the National Latvian Opera and one of the reasons why the city is also called ‘the Land that sings’. When you plan your trip, it is highly advisable to go to Riga during the Latvian Song Festival. This amazing festival is held every five years in Mezaparks and is the biggest event of the nation. All through the year music concerts featuring classical shows take place in churches and other Old Town buildings, so you won’t completely miss the fun if you don’t manage to catch the festival. Riga Opera house is one of the best places to attend a concert, in this city full of musical places to enjoy.
5. Latvian National Museum of Art
Latvian National Museum of Art is located north of the Old Town and is considered a must see attraction in Riga. The lovely marble stair case and red carpets add a royal ambience to the place which houses more than 52,000 masterpieces created by Baltic and Russian artists. The renowned museum entertains thousands of visitors every year, it is a true landmark of the Latvian capital.
6. Freedom Monument
The Freedom Monument is a must see place in the city for some excellent camera clicks evidencing your presence in Riga. Lady Freedom holds three stars in her hands which are symbols of the three Latvian regions. The view is breathtaking, prominently rising among lush green surroundings, that separate the old and new city. Missing a visit to Freedom Monument in Riga is like missing the Eiffel Tower during a sightseeing trip to Paris.
7. Daugavgriva Cietoksnis
Daugavgriva Cietoksnis is one of the most fascinating places in the city that gives you an opportunity to witness ancient ruin sites. The venue once belonged to the founder of Riga and served as a military base. This attraction is situated near the Daugava River, so there are lots of interesting notable points here such as the military fortification wall and the military base itself.
8. Galleria Riga
For tasteful people who are art and architecture lovers but still enjoy shopping extensively in world class shops, Galleria Riga is a place for you. You will be pleased by the artistic surroundings while wandering through designer shops to pick out some of the best pieces. There are some famous malls located near Galleria Riga for more choices. The Galleria is a blend of art and architecture featuring some of the most famous paintings, sculptures and photographs by popular Latvian artists.
The most famous nightclub in Riga is “the place to be” for its famous DJs and like all big clubs, Essential hosts massive parties attended by Latvian VIPs. This is definitely a venue worth visiting for its awesome diverse music, the atmosphere and the people who frequent it.
10. Cuba Café
Cuba Café is one of the longest running bars in Riga. It is located in the city centre, in the Dome Square meaning its always brimming with people. Fancy a drink? Come early and enjoy the Mojitos while listening to Latino beats.
Riga is the Land That Sings, due to its famous musicals and concerts you can enjoy any time of the year. The cultural and historical centre of Latvia has lots to offer its visitors from music concerts, museums, architecture, ancient ruins to a fine nightlife. Therefore, Riga is definitely a good option for culture and fun with family and friends.