Latvia's cosmopolitan capital is defined by its Art Nouveau architecture, maze-like historic core, and laidback bar scene. Of all the Baltic cities, Riga is perhaps the easiest to explore, as many of its neighborhoods are accessible on foot and are packed with a host of interesting museums and galleries. Riga is a foodies' delight, with the best restaurants reimagining local techniques to create a fresh take on international cuisines. Similarly, some of Riga's top hotels seamlessly blend original features with modern design, while others are purpose-built palaces with on-site spas. Riga is small, so when deciding where to stay, it makes sense to prioritize atmosphere over location.
Where to stayin Riga
Great Neighborhoods for History
Booking a hotel in Riga's Old Town is the most popular choice. With its narrow streets, medieval spires, and terracotta-tiled roofs, the UNESCO-listed center is the most charming part of the city. The top sights here include Riga Cathedral, the seventeenth-century Swedish Gate, and the picturesque Town Hall Square. There are also great views from the tower of St. Peter's Church. Architecture in Agenskalns, the first neighborhood across the river in the wider Zemgale Suburb, is a little more modern, dating mostly from the 19th century. Book a quieter room here to admire the traditional wooden houses and shop at the local market, which was opened in 1925.
Where to Stay for Culture
Plenty of museums are close to accommodations in the Old Town, including the superb Museum of the History of Riga, and the Navigation and educational Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, which takes visitors on a somber journey though the Soviet and German National Socialist regimes from 1940 to 1991. For those in search of great art, staying in the modern center, or Centrs, is a good choice for access to Riga's Art Nouveau Museum and the Latvian National Museum of Art. Accommodations in the mostly forested and very smart Mežaparks neighborhood come into their own in the summer, when visitors enjoy the local cafe culture and hit the lake for watersports.
Best Places to Stay for Dining
Staying in a hotel near the cool warehouse quarter of Spikeri, the innermost neighborhood of Maskavas Forstate (otherwise known as "Moscow District") in Latgale Suburb, is a great choice for adventurous foodies. Accomodations in Spikeri are ideal for visitors who want to browse the fresh food stalls at Riga's Central Market, while still being within easy reach of the old town. Book a room in the Old Town itself to be close to the best bars and traditional restaurants. Riga's chefs are continuously inventive, with the top places to dine serving innovative fusion dishes as well as deliciously rustic Latvian cooking.