Looking for what to do in Riga?
On my recent trip to Riga as part of the NordicTB Summit, here are some experiences I would recommend if you’ve got just a few hours in this port city on a ferry stopover and are looking for what to do in Riga.
One of the reasons I love Stockholm’s proximity to the Baltic Sea is that we have at least a dozen different ferries which crisscross its waters and take you to various port cities in the Baltics, Finland and Russia in just 24 hours.
So, a fabulous long weekend could be sailing from Stockholm to Riga, Latvia, on a Friday afternoon arriving Saturday morning, and then departing a couple hours later to arrive back in Stockholm Sunday morning.
Riga Motor Museum
I’m not a car enthusiast, so I went to the Riga Motor Museum with no expectations but an open mind.
What I met was one of the coolest niche museums I’ve visited in awhile. It has one of the largest collections of over 100 vintage vehicles and motorcycles – from modern touch screen technology to interactive displays and exhibitions.
I have to say – When it comes to museums utilizing uber-modern technology, this is the second time Latvia has pleasantly surprised me. The first time was at the Balvi Regional Museum which was a full-scale interactive experience in remote Latgale.
The motor museum takes you through 5,000 years of history from the invention of the wheel to the invention of the first car as well as the automobile industry in both Latvia and the former Soviet Union.
Rocket Bean Roastery
I don’t drink coffee (I love tea) but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate roasters who are passionate about their craft. I’ve covered coffee tasting at Gothenburg’s fab da Matteo and love exploring subcultures around food and drink.
Founded in 2015, Rocket Bean Roastery serves high quality coffee roasted in-house. They source their green coffee beans through direct trade from select organic farmers in Africa, Central America, and Latin America.
Some of their products include juicy and sweet “Magic Pussy”, creamy and nutty “Sweet Dream”, and their house blend “Rocket Fuel”. Rocket Bean considers roasting “rocket science” and call their roastery their own “NASA”.
Cute, but I do get the sentiment behind their passion. They are dedicated – body and soul – to their craft, using the most advanced roaster on the market and they’re always up to date on tech developments and the best coffee brewing practices.
That’s why I recommend stopping at Rocket Bean Roastery located in the equally hip Miera iela district for an artisan sandwich and some exquisite brew.
Riga Central Market
I absolutely love markets and thrive within them. Their hustle. Their bustle. Their flow. The instant connections you make. The wheeling and dealing. And Riga Central Market is an impressive beast of a market.
I have been to a lot of markets around the world but nothing prepared me for the sheer size of Riga Central Market. When it first opened in 1930 in what were formerly used as Zeppelin hangars, it was the largest market in Europe. It is 72.3 thousand square meters and has over 3,000 vendor stands.
There are five pavilions – for vegetables, dairy produce, meat, seafood and groceries, as well as many open stands, farmer’s market, nigh markets and more. It is estimated that 80,000 to 100,000 people visit the market every day.
That’s an insane number considering Riga itself has a population of about 640,000.
Everything you could ever pick up to cook a fabulous dinner, you can most certainly find here – from baked goods, fruits, sweets and spices, nuts and seeds to flowers and handcrafted gifts.
Plus, it’s about as photogenic as markets come.
The first Riga Fish Festival was held there last October which means I’ll definitely be planning a return to Riga because I absolutely love the culture and lifestyle around fishmongers.
You can even check out my Fishmongers Photo Project here.
Now, check out my video that takes you through all three experiences of what to do in Riga I shared above!
For more photos on what to do in Riga, check out my Riga image bank below.
Special thanks to Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA), Tallink, and LiveRiga for making this experience possible in collaboration with NordicTB as part of our inaugural #NordicTBSummit. All opinions and observations are mine always.