As the Baltic’s biggest city, Riga has plenty to offer its visitors. Unspoiled nature, beautiful architecture, fantastic food and sandy beaches is what makes this city to the perfect destination for a city break. As there are so many things to do in Riga, it can be hard to choose what to do while visiting the capital.
From the Beautiful river Daugava to the charming squares and magnificent art nouveau district, there is a lot for you to do. To make it a bit easier, I have made a list of the best things to do in Riga as a tourist.
Here is the list of the Top 9 Things to Do in Riga!
Enjoy the view from St. Peter’s Church
Riga is such a city that is full of both churches and cathedrals, but the view from St. Peter’s Church is just unbeatable. There is a flight of stairs and an old lift that will take you all the way up to the top. When you’ve made it up to the view point, you can enjoy a beautiful view of Rigas red rooftops, the blue color of the Daugava River and the cobbled streets of Old Town. Afterward, make sure to wander trough the church and watch the temporary art exhibitions that often is are held in there.
A tip is to visit the top of the church on a sunny / partly cloudy day, which is perfect for those who would like to snap som photos! You will not be disappointed as this is one of the top things to do in Riga!
This lovely Neo-Byzantine Church was built between 1876 and 1883 when Latvia still was a part of the Russian Empire. This is the largest Orthodox cathedral in the Baltic, and it’s located right in the heart of Riga, on the right side of Daugava River. This church is a must to visit for you guys who love architecture and history.
Go Shopping at the Central Market
The Central Market is the biggest and most famous market in Riga, and in my opinion, it’s worth a visit just to have a look at the architecture of the building that house the market. Five Pavilions that is built up upon old German Zeppelin hangars in Art Nouveau style – that’s impressive to me. In fact, this is not only the biggest market in Riga but also the largest in Europe. So, you can imagine the great shopping opportunities here…
Like many other markets in Europe, this one is not a tourist trap as it’s as many locals as tourists that visit the market to bargain and for trading. A great place to see the locals in action while they buy their daily groceries and everyday products. A crystal-clear must when it comes to things to do in Riga!
Enjoy the lively nightlife of Riga
Riga is one heck of a party destination in Europe as it offers great prices, friendly locals and a whole bunch of great bars. If you are looking for to visit as many trendy bars and clubs as possible, then I would suggest you go on a pup crawl. During these pup crawls you get the chance to meet new friends, nice locals, and visit many cool bars along the way of the nightlife tour!
House of the Blackheads
If you are traveling to the capital of Latvia, then you just have to write this one down on your list of things to do in Riga. The most famous building in Riga, House of the Blackheads, was built in 1334 for the brotherhood of Blackheads, a group of unmarried German merchants in Riga. This building has been reconstructed on numerous occasions from 1522 till late 19th century. This historical piece of Riga is a must-see while you’re in towb, as it is one of the most popular and famous attractions in the city.
Go on a Free Walking Tour
Yes, Riga is another city that offers the famous Free Walking Tour, and like many other cities, this one is just as good! There are quite many things to see in Riga, and those can be both difficult to navigate and hard to choose from if you’re short on time. The Free Walking Tour is a great solution for those kinds of problems, where the local guides take you on an exciting tour to see the best spots around town.
While going on this tour, the guides will answer on all of your questions and also give recommendations of both cafés and restaurants. A big bonus is that this tour is free of charge, so you can just tip the guides if you think that the tour has been good. They will be very happy, I promise!
To stroll around the cobbled streets of Old Town is a must when it comes to things to do in Riga. The Old Town is a beautiful place to see great attractions of the city, lovely architecture and also an excellent place to enjoy lunch, dinner or a cup of coffée at some of their lovely restaurants or cafés. You can easily stroll around Old Town a whole day, as there are so many things to do and see here.
Visit The Three Brothers
The Three Brother, almost impossible to capture with a camera – but still a great place to visit. Together, these houses form the oldest complex of dwelling houses in Riga. The green house is from the 17th century, the yellow from the 16th century and the white one is from the 15th century.
Taste Riga Black Balsam at the Black Magic Bar
Riga’s traditional drink is a liqueur, which is made from different kinds of plants and herbs that have been mixed with vodka. Some people would describe the taste as ”medicine”, and that might be true as the legend says that the Russian Empress Catherine II became ill while visiting Latvia, and could only be cured by drinking the Riga Black Balsam. Even though this just might be a story, to taste the Riga Black Balsam is still a must when it comes to things to do in Riga.
My recommendation is to try it at the Black Magic Bar in Old Town. Here they offer the Riga Black Balm in different kinds of forms such as chocolate, hot chocolate drinks, pure Riga Black Balm drinks and different kinds of sweets. What I love about this café is that it is themed like an old pharmacy, which connects with the legend of the traditional drink of Riga.