If you ever wanted to visit a place that combines both the old European culture and the comfort of modern life, then the capital of Latvia – Riga is the best choice for you. In Riga you can visit many cultural and historical showplaces, as well as good restaurants, shopping centers, listen to street musicians, watch circus groups from all over the world, and find a variety of souvenirs to surprise your friends and family with.
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Start your journey by visiting the Old Town in the center of Riga. You will know you are in the right place when you see the Latvian Statue of Liberty. In the old town you will find beautiful medieval architecture, street musicians and artists, a lot of small shops, pubs and cafeterias where you can stop by for some freshly baked pastries and a cup of tea. You can also find handmade souvenirs made out of amber, leather, wood, and ceramics.
If you want to try real Latvian cuisine and have a great time with your friends and family, restaurant “Salve” would be one of the best places to visit. Salve is located in the historic Blue Guard House, which is a part of the complex of the House of Blackheads on the Town Hall Square. If you prefer a more casual and traditional atmosphere and a lower price, Lido would be a good option. It has a big variety of food, and some attractions around the building that you and your kids would love. Lido has a chain of restaurants all over Latvia, so no matter where you will go, you will always be able to find one nearby.
To fully enjoy the beauty of nature, I recommend visiting the Botanic Garden held by the Latvian University. It presents a variety of trees, flowers, and other plants. Many of them come from far-away countries, such as Africa, India, and Japan; many of those plants are rare. You can visit the Botanic Garden only at certain times of the year – from April to September, from October to March.
Another great place to visit for those who love nature, and love to explore and study it, is Latvian Museum of Nature (Latvijas Dabas Muzejs) has a big collection of bones, taxidermied animals, and insects in their natural surroundings. You can learn a lot about nature from different interactive stations all over the museum.
In the modern part of Riga you will also find Riga’s Circus. It is a great place to visit with your children, and is very popular among the natives and the tourists. Riga’s Circus is open for most of the time during the year, and is always offering new programs and new ways to entertain people. You can purchase some snacks and souvenirs there, and pet some animals during the break.
Riga is also known to organize a lot of festivals, parades, and fireworks for different national holidays throughout the year. One of the most popular festivals is the Festival of Light “Staro Riga”. It lasts 4 days from November 15 to November 18 each year. At this time the center of Riga and the Old Town are decorated with animated light patterns, light sculptures created specifically for this festival, and many other interesting decorations.
Although Riga is not a very big city, it is a place of many fascinating places and events. These are just some of them, but there are many more things you can find and enjoy. Visiting Riga is definitely an experience that you will remember for the rest of your life.
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