Riga is the capital of Latvia, a Baltic country in Northern Europe. The Daugava River splits the city in two, and much of what you’ll want to see is on the river’s eastern banks.
Go to the Old Town and explore the medieval streets of this World Heritage Site. At its core is Ratslaukums, the Town Hall Square. The area’s twisting lanes lead to main city attractions, including the House of Blackheads and the Museum of the Occupation. At St. Peter’s Church, ride the elevator to the top of the tower for spectacular views of the city. Admire the baroque and Gothic buildings at Dome Square, where you can enjoy a meal or drink at outdoor cafés and bars.
From Dome Square, it’s a short walk to Livu Square, which comes alive in summer as the host to a beer garden and live outdoor entertainment. In winter, kids will love the ice skating rink here. Continue to Bastejkalns Park, a tranquil green space with a canal running through it. It also has the Freedom Monument, which commemorates the soldiers that fought during the Latvian War of Independence.
Music plays a key role in Riga’s arts scene. Don’t miss an opera or ballet performance at the Latvian National Opera. The RITMI Festival is an annual jazz festival, with previous performers including Bobby Darin and Robert Glasper.
Riga’s cuisine is influenced by German, Polish and Russian flavors. Sample big plates of piragi, the East European dumpling, or pork, cabbage and potato-inspired dishes. At the Central Market you‘ll find cheap fruit and vegetables, and local delicacies such as smoked eel. The market opened in 1930 and takes place in converted Zeppelin aircraft hangars.
The city is ideal for walking as the streets are flat. There is also a cheap public transport system, with trams, buses and trolleys stopping close to all the major sights.