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Best things to do in Riga in 2024

Best things to do in Riga in 2024

From its founding in the 14th century, one of Riga’s landmarks, the House of the Blackheads, was a social club for unmarried merchants and foreigners in the city. Not surprisingly, things could get a little wild in the lavish reception areas that the organisation’s wealthy members gathered in.

One December, in 1510 to be exact, the Brotherhood of Blackheads constructed a replica of a tree and paraded it through the streets of Riga before ‘planting’ it in front of their headquarters.

Probably under the influence of quite a few mulled wines, they decorated the tree with flowers, fruits, and lights – and danced around it.

Why was this drunken celebration significant? Well, it’s said that this moment was the invention of the Christmas Tree – and you can even see a marker in the square at the House of the Blackheads commemorating it.

Putting aside the fact that the Estonians actually claim they held a similar ceremony about 70 years earlier in Tallinn, the tale of the Christmas tree flows into how you should see the Riga of today.

Many of the things you find here now may appear similar to elsewhere in Europe, but they each have their own origin story, and the best things to do in Riga are all unique.

The stunning Old Town, for instance, has Brick Gothic churches that are an ironic reminder that Latvia was one of the last parts of Europe to be Christianised, and these buildings weren’t really embraced until centuries after they were built when the population had been finally converted away from paganism.

The gorgeous collection of Art Nouveau buildings in Riga, one of the city’s highlights, is not just about a new style of architecture.

Things to do in Riga: Art Nouveau

These beautiful facades are a representation of an economic boom at the start of the 20th century that saw Riga’s population boom and change the face of the capital.

And even Riga’s museums are often statements as much as celebrations, a way of defining a city (and country) that has been ruled over the centuries by the Swedes, Polish, Russians, and Germans.

The Museum of the Occupation about the Nazi and Soviet periods, for instance, is intentionally in a building constructed by the Soviets in 1971 to celebrate Lenin’s 100th birthday.

What to do in Riga: Viewpoint

As you start to explore the city, you’ll discover that often the best things to do in Riga have a deeper story behind their facade.

Is Riga worth visiting?

Riga is certainly worth visiting. It’s often considered the prettiest of the Baltic capital cities, with…

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