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Top Activities in Riga

See all 314 things to do in Riga

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Riga Attractions

As the capital of Latvia, Riga is the largest city in the Baltic states and home to roughly one-third of the nation's entire population. The city developed as an important trading center in the Middle Ages and has become renowned for its unique mix of architecture, which ranges from medieval wooden structures to stunning Art Nouveau buildings. You'll find traces of the city's centuries of history around every corner, and you can also absorb its vibrant modern culture as you stroll around the city center and stop at lively markets, pubs, restaurants, and museums. As you explore this still relatively undiscovered gem of Europe, there's no shortage of things to see and do.

Areas & Neighborhoods in Riga

Like many ancient European cities, Riga was constructed on the water. Its UNESCO-listed Historic Centre lies on the eastern side of the Daugava River and can be easily explored on foot. The Old Town and Art Nouveau District showcase Riga's most beautiful architecture, and the bustling Central Market offers a slice of the Latvian traditions still alive today.

Old Town

The Old Town is—not surprisingly—the oldest section of Riga, and portions of the medieval walls that once surrounded it remain. Its narrow cobblestone streets are dotted with architectural gems from different eras, the most grandiose of which are the Riga Cathedral and Riga Castle, both dating to the Middle Ages. Among the historic buildings, the area's open squares are filled with sidewalk cafes, beer gardens, and craft markets.

Art Nouveau District

Riga's Art Nouveau District sprang up in the early 20th century, when the city expanded rapidly and hundreds of structures were built in the ornamental Art Nouveau style. Stunningly detailed houses, mansions, and multistoried apartment buildings make up the largest collection of Art Nouveau architecture in the world. The neighborhood is also home to the city's first public garden—Vermanes Garden—and the Riga Circus, one of the oldest circuses in Europe.

Central Market

The youngest UNESCO World Heritage Site in the city, the Central Market is no less impressive than the city's more ancient landmarks. Constructed using repurposed German Zeppelin hangars, this massive indoor bazaar represents the largest market in Europe. More than 3,000 stalls tempt shoppers with fresh produce, meat, herbs, seafood, Latvian delicacies, and traditional crafts.

Things to See in Riga

Riga contains a rich mix of original architecture, beautifully restored landmarks, and fascinating museums to uncover. In Old Town, admire the opulent facade of the House of the Blackheads, an impeccably crafted replica of the residence that housed the German merchants who dominated the city during the 14th century. Among the area's original medieval landmarks are the 13th-century St. Peter's Church and the Powder Tower, which stands as the sole remaining tower in Riga's defensive fortifications. Nearby, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia tells the story of the troubled, 51-year period in the country's history when it was successively occupied by Nazi Germany and the USSR. In the center of the city, the Freedom Monument, dedicated to the fallen soldiers in the Latvian War of Independence, rises to the sky as a symbol of national unity and freedom. For an eye-opening look at Latvia's cultural heritage, visit the Latvian Ethnographic Open Air Museum on the shores of Jugla Lake. Here, a showcase of traditional homesteads and household items gathered from different regions paint a picture of rural life through the centuries.

Sightseeing in Riga

Round out your sightseeing with a variety of things to do in Riga. Treat your taste buds to a sumptuous multicourse dinner of authentic local dishes, or sip on Latvian liquors and beers on a guided pub crawl around Old Town. With a hop-on hop-off bus pass, you can enjoy convenient access to all the city's top landmarks and attractions, from the renowned Latvian National Opera to the Kalnciema Quarter, which is known for its beautifully restored wooden architecture and Saturday farmers' market. If you're eager to discover Latvia's treasures beyond Riga, choose from guided day trips to enchanting destinations in the surrounding countryside. To the northeast, Gauja National Park encompasses a spectacular landscape of rolling hills, dense forests, and crumbling castles. On the shores of the Baltic Sea, the resort town of Jurmala offers expansive white-sand beaches, charming shops, and elegant summer houses to discover.

Things to Do in Riga with Kids

Riga is a terrific destination for a family getaway. Take the youngsters along and enjoy these popular family friendly experiences together:

Free Things to Do in Riga

Leave your wallet in the hotel room. It's easy to have a ball in Riga without paying a penny.

Occupation Museum - Young or old, this place will excite your imagination and grip your attention.

Vansu Bridge - This modern-style landmark is a wonderful backdrop for that vacation profile pic.

Powder Tower - Take a stroll around this historic site and discover a couple of secrets from the past.

Andrejosta - Wander the streets and get lost in the vibe of this vibrant local hangout.

Pilsetas kanals - Spend some time by the water to relax and replenish your energy.

Riga Christmas Market - Widely recognized among those who reside here, this place is worth stopping by.

St. Peter's Church - Whatever your religious leanings, this place will invoke a sense of reverence.

Bastion Hill - Work on your green thumb and explore the wide range of plants on show.

Explore The Neighborhoods of Riga

Old Town

Ancient churches, a presidential home and the remains of a medieval defensive wall make a stroll through the historical center of Riga a stimulating adventure.

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Centrs

Centrs is known for its ample dining options, and you can make a stop by Latvian Art Museum and Freedom Monument while in the area.

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Zemgale Suburb

Unique features of Zemgale Suburb include the historic sites and river views. Make a stop by SPICE or Latvian Railway History Museum while you're exploring the area.

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Latgale Suburb

Latgale Suburb is noteworthy for its churches, and you can make a stop at top attractions like Riga Central Market and Latvian Academy of Sciences.

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Vidzeme Suburb

Unique features of Vidzeme Suburb include the shopping and restaurants. Make a stop by Arena Riga or Olympic Sports Centre while you're exploring the area.

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Maskavas Forstate

Historic sites, bars, and shopping highlight some of the noteworthy features of Maskavas Forstate. Make a stop by Riga Central Market or Latvian Academy of Sciences while you're exploring the neighborhood.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to do in Riga on a sunny day?

If you're in the mood for a bit of fun under the sun, sign up for these outdoor activities:

What to do in Riga on a rainy day?

If it's bucketing down outside and you're searching for something to do, hang up your raincoat and try a Traditional Latvian Dinner with Private Transportation.

What should I not miss in Riga?

Put these things toward the top of your must-see list to get the most out of your visit:

  • Jurmala Beach
  • St. Peters Church
  • House of the Blackheads
  • Freedom Monument

Are there cheap things to do in Riga?

If you're traveling on a shoestring budget, be sure to add the following low-cost activities and tours to your itinerary:

What can you do in Riga for free?

Your trip to Riga needn't break the bank with free attractions like these to enjoy:

  • Jurmala Beach
  • St. Peters Church
  • Freedom Monument
  • Riga Cathedral