There are a lot of things you can do in Riga that quite a few Rig-ans themselves are not aware of. Obviously these are people who have not explored the city fully or ventured out of the Old Town area where a lot of activities take place. However, for those few who truly understand the city and have been adventurous, there are several areas within the city that are worth visiting every now and then.
For those who are on Riga tours, a visit to the Art Nouveau district is considered an important one. This Riga district is perhaps one of the oldest of its kind in Europe. The importance of this district can be seen from the fact that it has been recognized by the UNESCO as one of the heritage sites of the world. There are several interesting areas that you can cover here including Kalnciema, Spikeri and Miera Street. All these areas are unique and will entertain you like no other. During your excursions in Riga it is better to cover these popular areas before you move on to restaurants, shops, galleries, and museums outside the core area of the city. Do not ever be ashamed to carry a camera with you whilst you are on Riga sightseeing. You will surely come across several moments to capture on your camera!
Here are some lesser known but interesting areas you may consider visiting in Riga. Each of these places is unique and will provide you with many pleasant moments to take back with you.
1] Old Harbor
Away from hustle and bustle of Riga City, this run down area is among local’s favorite. It is worth visiting if you have time during your trip. This used to be an open space earlier full of studies, performances and artists. However, it has now been privatized. Nonetheless, you will be lucky to spot a floating concert hall or freak bike contractors. It is better to contact the locals before visiting this place as it keeps on changing constantly and that they may highlight certain things you may wish to capture.
2] Russian Brewer Street
This is one of the most well known and beautifully maintained streets in the Old Town area. Like the warehouses that were constructed in the 15th century, this street came into prominence around the same time. This was an open market place during Russian period and has transformed in many ways since then. The street is named so because of the beer festival that is regularly held in every pub in this area during summer.
3] Balta Pirts
This is a special place in Riga where you will get rejuvenated in no time. ‘The White Sauna’ as it is fondly called by the locals has a history of more than 100 years. Incidentally, this place was originally constructed for sauna purposes. It has now been transformed by its successors. Once you are here, you will experience the ancient traditions of Latvians especially their bathing styles. Here, air, fire, earth and water meet to form herbs, flowers, trees and stone to help relax your soul, mind and body. Yoga classes are also carried out here.
4] Art Nouveau Museum
This museum that was constructed in 1903 helps you understand what the architecture of Latvia looked like during Art Nouveau period. Do make a pit stop here during your tours in Riga as you will get an idea of the living space of the upper class Latvians. Here you will come across different works of famous Latvian artists and writers. If you want to shop for souvenirs you can visit the Art Nouveau shop that is located opposite to this museum.
5] Berg Bazaar
Middle class Latvians love this bazaar as it caters entirely to them. The markets come to life during the 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month where the locals can be seen shopping for food items, crafts, etc. Though this market place is always full of people, it is rather quiet and has a certain vibe to it. Most of the items sold here are reasonably priced. It is an excellent place to taste some local foods.