Planning a city trip? We recommend Riga!

Spotted By Locals
March 3, 2020
4 min read
Riga (by Darya Tryfanava)

We launched our blog for the capital of Latvia almost 10 years now and visited the city 3 times since to meet our Spotters. We love Riga. First of all it’s beautiful; Riga is said to have the highest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings worldwide, lots of cool wooden houses and you can see the influence of the many nations who tried to rule Riga all over the city. The city has a happening and slightly alternative nightlife, there’s beaches, super friendly locals and it is very affordable.

Riga is too well-known and historically important to be called “undiscovered”, but most of its visitors still come from neighboring countries. As Baltic Air has its base in Riga there’s many cheap flights from all over Europe which – combined with cheap beer – draw stag party groups. But as long as you follow our Riga locals’ tips, you won’t be drinking in the same bars with them…

Lastadija Riga (by Elvita Rakstite)

We think now is a very good time to start planning your trip to Riga and experience it in peace without too many tourists. If you have some more time, you could even combine it with trips to the other Baltic capitals Vilnius and Tallinn – both close and easy to access.

We’ll give you have a little taste of our awesome Riga locals’ tips who share their favorite spots on Spotted by Locals Riga.

Čē – Failed gay bar

Čē Riga (by Elvita Rakstite)

“What once used to be Chomsky bar in Riga now has cut the name down to simply Ch (Čē).

I enjoy the Berlin-like vibe, stylish interior where the doors are used as tables, the different music events and the fun loving, laid-back bartenders. Even if Čē was trying to become a gay bar, it’s still the good old liberal spot with great atmosphere and the best-priced drinks, a place to lose the sense of time and maybe something more than that.”-–Elvita Rakstite

Firma Elma – The “most local” Riga restaurant?

Cafe Firma Elma Riga (by Zaiga Brača)

Firma Elma is so hidden that even most of the local inhabitants of Riga don’t know it. Only people who live and work nearby do. It’s actually special because it’s nothing special.” —Zaiga Brača

Elma is mostly a cheap lunch place for workers in the area. Actually it’s one of the cheapest places in the city to eat. You can have soup + main meal + drink just for €3.20! In this place they’ll definitely be surprised to see a visitors from outside of the neighborhood, but they’ll be happy to welcome you…

Purvciems – Typical Soviet architecture

Purvciems Riga (by Artem Kushik)

The Soviet regime built many similar and ordinary buildings for the similar and ordinary citizens making all cities look similar and ordinary. Purvciems is one of these areas in Riga.

“There is a popular Soviet movie “Irony of Fate”, which tells the story about the drunken guy who forget he was in Leningrad instead of Moscow. He told the taxi driver his address in Moscow. When taxi arrived at the destination, the street and the building was the same, and by accident even his door key matched the door in another city. The design and the furniture were also the same, so the guy had fallen asleep in another apartment, and when he woke up he saw the actual owner, an attractive lady…”—Artem Kushik

Bergs Bazaar – You could spend a day here

Bergs Bazaar Riga (by Martins Veidemanis)

Bergs Bazaar is a calm romantic car-free quarter in Riga with a cinema, shops, a hotel, a few restaurants, and cafes like Andalūzijas Suns (where the Spotters had their first Spotters meeting), a barber shop, a fitness center, a co-working place, the best map shop in Riga and more…”—Martins Veidemanis

Studio 69 – Luxurious nightlife in Riga

Studio 69 Riga (by Artem Kushik)

Studio 69 is the most expensive club in Riga and it’s a controversial place. But I think everyone must visit at least once in a lifetime just to see a bit of the luxury life of people who are really rich, or just trying to be.

When I entered  for the first time, I couldn’t believe my eyes, white marble floors, a huge fountain in the middle, rich old guys who just lost a fortune in the casino, the most gorgeous women I’ve ever seen in my life, the unprecedented service…”—Artem Kushik

More tips? Check out Spotted by Locals Riga!

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