31 Amazing Things To Do in Riga, Latvia on Holiday
If you’re looking for an amazing, out-of-the-box destination for your next holiday, look no further.
Riga, the capital of Latvia, is a lowkey city that is located along the Baltic Sea. When you visit this pretty city, you’ll never run out of interesting activities to fill your day.
Climb aboard as we make our way through a list of the 31 best things to do in Riga.
Fun Attractions and Activities in Riga, Latvia
As an explorer and adventurer, you’re probably looking for a holiday destination that is unique and exciting.
You could go visit the Eiffel Tower and Trevi Fountain like millions of other tourists, or you could make your way up to Northern Europe and explore the medieval town of Riga.
Latvia’s capital is teeming with rich culture and history. Every corner tells a story.
Today, we’re bringing you the best things to do in Riga so that you can easily plan the holiday of your dreams. Explore our list of the most amazing attractions in Riga!
Ready to take off to Riga? Start by booking your flight!
1. Explore the Corner House
Riga’s Corner House is the perfect attraction for those who want to learn a little more about the Soviets.
This attraction used to serve as a KGB living quarters. It is a permanent exhibit in the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia.
Guided tours cost 10 euros for adults. The museum offers discounted tickets for students at only 4 euros.
2. Make a Pit Stop at the Very Old Oak Tree
Riga has faced a bit of turmoil throughout its history. Independence has come and gone, but one thing has stood the test of time: Riga’s Very Old Oak Tree.
For thousands and thousands of years, a giant oak tree has remained in Riga as a symbol of Latvia’s strength and resilience against the foreign powers that have conquered their lands throughout time.
The tree no longer stands on its own but lies on the cobblestone street beside the Town Hall Building. The Very Old Oak Tree is slowly fossilizing.
The Very Old Oak Tree is such an interesting icon of Latvian history.
3. Take Photos in Front of the Three Brothers
Looking for an instagrammable stop in Riga? Look no further. The Three Brothers are iconic Lavian houses that are the perfect backdrop for your photos.
The Three Brothers are not homes. They are actually part of the Latvian Museum of Architecture.
The design of the Three Brothers is set up to portray different phases of development in Latvian home designs.
4. Shop at Riga Central Market
Riga Central Market is the best place in the city to buy meat, produce and other goods. Since Riga is right on the sea, the fish is particularly fresh.
The market was created with the intent of stimulating the local economy and promoting tourism. You can check out their full set of goals and mission statements on their site.
5. Read a Book in the Castle of Light
The Castle of Light, which is a nickname for the National Library of Latvia, is a great place to step away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The library is loaded with thousands of wonderful books and cute little spaces to read the day away.
Admission to the library is 1 euro for the first hour and 0,65 euro for each hour after that.
6. Take a Stroll Through Vermanes Garden
Take a walk over to the city centre to enjoy the Vermanes Garden.
The Vermanes Garden is known as the second oldest park in Latvia’s capital. It is always full of tourists and locals who are out to see the beauty of the park.
In Vermanes Garden, you’ll find an abundance of statues, artwork, plants and an open air entertainment stage. There is always something going on in this busy park!
7. See the Taxidermied Two-Headed Dog
- Stradins Museum for History of Medicine is the place to be for anybody who is fascinated by medicine and science.
This unbelievably cheap museum is the home of the taxidermied two-headed dog. This freakish pup was created by a scientist who was exploring the world of organ transplants. The dog experiment was conducted by merging two canine circulatory systems.
8. Admire the Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau, which is known as “Jugendstil” by the Germans, is a style of architecture that graces the streets of Riga.
To see this unique style of architecture, you can head on over to Centrs neighborhood. You don’t want to miss it!
9. Step into the Nativity of Christ Cathedral
Want to catch a Sunday service, say a quick prayer or simply enjoy some killer art? The Nativity of Christ Cathedral is the place for you.
This cathedral pridefully holds the title of the oldest orthodox church in all of Riga. This magnificent dome is its most prominent feature.
10. Taste the Flavors of Riga
Snacking your way through a new city is always a safe bet, especially when the city has a cuisine as magnificent as Riga.
When you’re in Riga, you’ve got to have some rye bread. No questions asked. This brown bread is paired with nearly every meal.
In addition to the famous Baltic bread, you’ll find that many traditional Latvian dishes include soups, pork, mushrooms, fish and potatoes.
Don’t worry about bland food. Latvians love their dill. This subtle spice will add a bit of flavor to many of the dishes you’ll enjoy in Riga.
You probably won’t want to do much cooking in Riga since your days will be filled with adventure and exploration, so let the chefs are some of the most delicious restaurants take the reins.
Grab a bite at some of Riga’s most delicious restaurants.
Best Restaurants in Riga
- Rozengrals: Have you ever considered having dinner in a medieval wine cellar? If not, you should! Rozengrals is the best place to eat if you’re looking for some medieval vibes.
- Koya: Looking for some finer dining? Stop by Koya for a fancier dinner.
- Folkklubs Ala Pagrabs: This restaurant is the perfect place for traditional Latvian flavors. You can expect hearty meat and potato dishes at this restaurant.
- Palgams: Palgams is open from breakfast to dinner. It is the perfect spot for good food, good vibes and good times.
11. Check Out Riga’s Black Cats
Riga has two famous cats that guard the house across the street from the Great Guild Hall. The house that they perch upon is over 100 years old.
The cats were placed in the direction of the Great Guild Hall for reasons that are a bit unclear. Legend has it that it has to do with an issue between the homeowner and the guild.
A court order demanded that the cats be moved to point a different way.
Stop by and take a picture of these creepy kitties.
12. Have a Drink with the Locals
Looking for a fun way to spend your evening? Let loose, have a drink and unwind with the Latvians!
Latvia is full of cool bars. Whether you’re looking for a classy venue to sip wine or a laid back bar to chug a beer, you’ll find what you like in Latvia.
Pick the bars that are best for you and make a marathon of it! Pub crawls are a fan favorite in Riga.
Explore some of the best places to drink in Riga!
5 Best Bars in Riga
13. Zoom Over to the Riga Aviation Museum
Are you ready to take flight at the Riga Aviation Museum?
Learn about a multitude of aircrafts at this soarin’ museum. You’ll see helicopters, gliders, fighter jets and more!
Tickets for this museum run at only 7 euro.
14. Take a Free Walking Tour of Riga
Free walking tours offer a cool way to get to know a new place. You get to see the whole city from the perspective of your choice. There are options that focus on art or culture or something super random!
Many cities encourage the young locals to become tour guides. This is a productive activity that keeps the youth out of trouble.
Be sure to leave your guide a small tip to the volunteer guides! After all, they have to make a living, too.
15. Have a Shopping Spree at Bergs Bazaar
Bergs Bazaar is a lovely place to spend your evening in Riga. This shopping center is filled with high end stores that sell everything from clothing to fine wines.
There are also several dining options at Bergs Bazaar. One of the most delicious is Cydonia, a gastropub.
16. Take a Day Trip to Sigulda
Sigulda is a historic town in Latvia that is just about an hour drive from the capital, which makes it the perfect destination for a day trip when you’re staying in the capital.
Sigulda is full of magnificent castles and amazing landscapes. It is the perfect place to escape the busyness of the city.
17. Learn About Latvian Culture at the Open Air Ethnographic Museum
Latvia’s Open Air Ethnographic Museum is a wonderful spot to dive into the history of this little country.
This museum provides representation of the agricultural history of all four of Latvia’s provinces. It also showcases different religious beliefs that have been celebrated across the country.
The Open Air Ethnographic Museum is considered to be the best of its kind across all of Europe. You can’t miss the opportunity to check it out.
18. See the House of the Blackheads
Are you ready for a fancy photo op? Stroll on over to the House of the Blackheads.
The outside of this elaborate palace is absolutely gorgeous and the perfect backdrop for your next Instagram post.
House of the Blackheads’ inside is open to guests and tours. It drips in elegance and royalty. You cannot miss this beautiful attraction.
19. Be Wowed by the Artwork at the Latvian National Museum of Art
Hey, art lovers. We’ve got the perfect spot for you!
The Latvian National Museum of Art is one of Northern Europe’s coolest art galleries. This museum covers everything from more traditional Latvian art to bright modern art.
This museum is also great for those who have a thing for architecture. Riga’s architecture is quite unique, so it is showcased in this museum, as well.
20. Overlook Riga from St. Peter Cathedral
Here at Hekla, we can appreciate a good observation deck. Riga’s best overlook is form the St. Peter Cathedral.
This Lutheran church is one of the oldest buildings in all of Latvia. It’s tower marks the highest point in Riga which is why it offers a view so magical.
Check out St. Peter’s events calendar so that you can plan your tour accordingly!
21. Make Some Furry Friends at Riga Zoo
If zoos are up your alley, you will not be disappointed by Riga Zoo.
The most interesting furry friends at the Riga Zoo include the poodle donkey, homes yak, rock duck and kiang. You’ll find many species that are native to places both near and far.
The zoo is pretty special because it has a mission of species conservation and species reintroduction. It aims to keep rare species alive and well with the hopes of increasing their populations in their native lands.
Admission to the zoo is 7 euro for adults and 5 euro for seniors, students and children. Bring the whole family!
22. Check Out Hats from Around the World
World of Hat is one of Riga’s most unique museums. As its name suggests, it features hats from around the world.
This museum is great for those who are interested in collections of random things. It’s also great for those who are interested in learning about different cultures through hats.
23. See the Marker of the First Public Christmas Tree
Riga is supposedly the home of one of Europe’s first Christmas trees. There is a marker downtown that signifies the location of this historic tree.
If you love the Yuletide as much as we do, you’ve got to check out this neat landmark.
24.Spend the Afternoon in Old Town Riga
Old Town Riga is the historical hotspot of this small capital. It is one of the most happening places around town.
You’ll find the best restaurants and bars in Old Town Riga. It’s cobblestone streets and historic buildings are also particularly Instagrammable.
25. Catch a Show at the Latvian National Opera and Ballet
The National Opera and Ballet is one of Riga’s finer establishments.
This opera house remains loyal to the romantic and classical genres. From time to time, you’ll find more modern work being showcased on these fine stages.
What sort of show would you like to see in Riga?
26. Visit Big Christopher
Big Christopher is a wonderful icon in Riga that merges religion and folklore.
This big guy is known to have carried the weight of Jesus Christ on his shoulder. He is also known to have carried the bulk of the people’s sins.
This statue was created in 1997, but the myth dates back to the third century.
Today, you can find Big Christopher in the Museum of Riga.
27. Rev Your Engines at the Riga Motormuseum
If you like new cars, old cars, cool cars and hot cars, you’ve got to zoom on over the the Riga Motormuseum.
This museum has a large collection of antique cars. It also has a super cool driving simulator, which is a favorite of the tiniest of visitors.
This museum is full of great fun for any family who loves cars!
28. Admire the Wooden Houses at Kalnciems
Wooden architecture is a big deal in Riga. The Wooden Houses in the neighborhood Kalnciems, which represent this wonderful building style, are absolutely adorable.
Riga continued to build wooden houses long after the rest of Europe resorted to building with more modern materials.
29. Visit the Freedom Monument
The Freedom Monument is one of the most important attractions in all of Riga. As the name suggests, it represents the nation’s liberty.
After a long fight for its freedom, Latvian independence is surely something to be celebrated.
This granite sculpture is protected by an honorary guard who represents the fight for freedom.
30. Stop by the Stonehead of Salaspils
What’s more interesting than a stone head that sort of looks like a troll and is likely 500 years old?
The Stonehead of Salaspils is an ancient art piece that is recognized as a magnificent attraction not only in Riga but in all of Europe.
Visit this interesting artwork and learn more of its exciting history!
31. Grab a Coffee in Riga
You can’t go wrong with a coffee break in Riga. Cute coffee shops and cafes are the perfect place to step away from the craziness of your day of touring and exploring.
Coffee shops are also great spots for digital nomads who are always exploring new cities but still have work to get done.
In this city, you’re going to have to check out some of the local spots because there is no Starbucks to be found. To be honest, you’re probably going to have a more memorable experience at a little hole in the wall than you would at Starbucks anyway.
Take a look at the cutest coffee shops in Riga. Which will you stop by for a cup o’ joe?
Best Coffee Shops in Riga
- MiiT: Looking for some specialty coffee to go with your veggie lunch? MiiT is the perfect spot for you!
- Cafe M: If you live a zero waste lifestyle or if you’re interested in going green, Cafe M will be your cup of tea. This coffee shop prides itself on its zero waste operations.
- Rocket Bean Roastery: Rocket Bean Roastery features amazing coffee blends from some of the best coffee growing spots from around the world.
- https://starscoffee.co/Stars Coffee: This cute little spot is known for its minimalistic vibes and delicious baked goods that go perfectly with their house roasted coffee.
Visit Riga with Hekla
Since Latvia is such a small country, our tours that stop in Riga visit other countries, as well. We do this so that our guests get the most out of their holiday in Northern Europe.
These wonderful tours will give you the perfect taste of Riga!
Explore Northern Europe
When you’re visiting Northern Europe, it would be a shame to limit yourself to one destination.
Over here a Hekla, we love all of Northern Europe. In our decades of traveling this beautiful corner of the earth, we’ve become familiar with many cities, countries and attractions.
Explore some of our travel guides where we give you the scoop on what to do and what not to do in coolest cities on earth. Grab a pen and paper because you’re about to read about some of Northern Europe’s best kept secrets and hidden gems.
- 50 Amazing Things to Do in Estonia
- Blue Lagoon: The Ultimate Travel Guide
- Top 10 Natural Hot Springs in Iceland
- 30 Best Things to Do in Norway on Holiday
- Northern Lights in Iceland
Where will your Northern European adventures take you?
Are You Ready for Riga?
Doesn’t Riga sound like a blast? This lowkey capital is perfect for those who want to take an enjoyable holiday.
Whether you’re a solo traveler or you’d like to bring the whole family, you can’t go wrong with Riga.
Book your flight and get planning. Your road leads to Riga!