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Sights in Riga, Latvia

Riga is an historic city with a sad history of occupation by Sweden, the Soviet Union, and Nazi forces during World War II but has many parks, memorials, monuments, and museums worth checking out to see how the city’s past has shaped its present appearance.

  • Riga Motormuseum—a recently renovated museum with the largest and most diverse vintage motor vehicle collection in the Baltic region with over 100 automobiles and motorcycles as well as interactive exhibits, virtual reality simulations, a children’s play area, a museum café, and a gift shop; Sergeja Eizenshteina Iela 8
  • Vermanes Garden—a scenic garden with colorful flowers that have different colors and textures; Terbatas Iela 2D
  • Mezaparks—a spacious large park with a zoo, restaurants, forested areas, bike paths, and a lake; Mezaparks
  • Zanis Lipke Memorial—a museum dedicated to Zanis Lipke, a Latvian who with his family helped save the lives of 50 Jewish individuals during the Holocaust and smuggled them to safety via an underground railway; Mazais Balasta Dambis 8
  • Latvian National Museum of Art—the largest depository of professional art in Latvia with five floors of works by Latvian artists and beautiful architectural design inside and outside; 1 Janis Rozentals Square
  • Nativity of Christ Cathedral—a beautiful cathedral with a golden dome and many treasures inside such as gold cupolas and Russian Orthodox iconography; Brivibas bulvaris 23
  • Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum—an outdoor museum that shows how Latvians in the countryside lived; Brivibas gatve 440
  • Musee Art Nouveau—an apartment with ten rooms furnished in the Art Nouveau style with descriptions written in several languages; Alberta iela 12
  • Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum—a museum that highlights the story of the Holocaust in Latvia and has a house that was in a Jewish ghetto; Maskavas iela 14a
  • Riga Cathedral—originally built in 1270 as a bishop’s cathedral, this cathedral features a large organ built around 1884 that has 6,768 pipes, one of the largest in the world; Herdera laukums 6
  • National Library of Latvia—a repository of national and world literature with the majority of the 4 million items in the collection consisting of Latvian and foreign publications about Latvia and Latvians; 3 Mukusalas Street
  • Museum of the Occupation of Latvia—an educational institution established in 1993 to display artifacts, documents, and educational exhibits about the 51 years that Latvia was occupied by the USSR and Nazi Germany; Raina bulvaris 7
  • Pareizticico katedrale—a restored Russian Orthodox church with glistening gold domes and an interior with icons and ornate décor
  • Art Museum Riga Bourse—an art museum with a small permanent collection consisting of an Oriental section, Ancient Egyptian exhibition, and other treasures from around the world as well as temporary exhibitions; Dome Square 6
  • Freedom Monument—a statue completed in 1935 to commemorate Latvian independence that depicts the image of Liberty holding three stars in her hands to symbolize unity; 1 Brivivas iela
  • Museum of Riga’s History and Navigation—a museum that takes visitors through 1000 years of Riga’s history with a variety of artifacts some prehistoric; Palasta iela 4
  • Riga Zoo—a small zoo with a polar bear, tropical house, giraffe house, a reptile room, and insect room; Meza prospekts 1
  • Latvian War Museum—a large museum with each floor focusing on a different war or theme with temporary exhibitions as well; Smilshu iela 20
  • Cat House—a popular attraction that depicts the story of a Latvian homeowner who was denied membership in the Great Guild and then built two cat sculptures on his roof with their backsides facing the Guild and their tails straight up in the air; Meistaru iela 19
  • Railway History Museum—a museum that illustrates the history of train operating systems, telephones, telegraphs, and the work at a railway line and models such as a German steam engine, snow plows, and a prison coach; 2/4 Uzvaras Boulevard
  • Swedish Gate—the only surviving city gate of Riga which was built into the city wall in 1698 during Swedish rule; Torna iela 11
  • World of Hat Museum—the only museum dedicated to hats in the world containing exhibits from around the world including hats, bonnets, and headbands; Vilandes iela 7
  • Jewish Museum—a museum dedicated to the history of Latvia’s Jewish community from the first Jews in Latvia in the 16th century to the events of the Holocaust; Skolas iela 6
  • Rumbula Forest Memorial—this forest was the site where thousands of Jews were forced to march to and were then shot and dumped in mass graves and is now a memorial with a large menorah surrounded by rough stones; Maskavas iela
  • ZINOO Riga—a children’s museum with over 100 interactive science exhibits and games; Dzirnavu iela 67
  • Modes Muzejs—a fashion museum with interactive hands-on exhibits for children and adults that displays clothing styles throughout the years; Grecinieku iela 24
  • Sun Museum—the only European museum dedicated to the sun which explores how different cultures depict the sun; Valnu iela 30
  • Botanisches Garten des Universitaets—a beautiful botanic garden with tropical houses, greenhouses, trees, and flowers; Kandavas iela 2
  • Great Choral Synagogue Memorial—a moving memorial that shows the ruins of a synagogue burned to the ground with hundreds of Jewish worshippers inside during the Holocaust; Gogola iela 25
  • Melngalvju Nams—the Gothic Blackheads House built in 1344 as a hotel for wayfaring merchants who wore black hats that was leveled by the Soviets in 1948 and renovated and reopened in 2000 for Riga’s 800th anniversary with a Dutch Renaissance façade; Ratslaukums 7
  • Okupacijas Muzejs—the Latvian Occupation museum which depicts the devastation of Latvia by Nazi and Soviet forces during World War II and the Latvian struggle for independence in September 1991 with a monument to the Latvian sharpshooters who protected Lenin during the 1917 revolution outside; Strelnieku laukums 1
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