My First Weekend in Riga – TIPS
One of the many useful things my life abroad has taught me is to spend time on my own. Which came pretty in hand on my first weekend in Riga. So what do to when you´re completely new? Let yourself wander around this beautiful city. Here, I am sharing some tips of my first weekend in Riga!
1. Take a walk through the Arkādijas parks
If you allow yourself to take a step further and cross the Daugava river, you will stumble upon a beautiful green oasis – Arkādijas parks in the Torņakalns region. A stroll through the park will lead you up to a pond filled with ducks, and a pleasant view that stretches around you. Before becoming a park, there was a huge cinema that sadly burned down in the 90s, leaving it for a park to be finally built at the beginning of the 2000s.
The park is easily reachable by public transport – tram no. 10 goes all the way from the city center and brings you right to the entrance. What I would suggest is to follow the path in the park – don´t get too carried away and stroll through the bushes because you might end up on a train platform in the pouring rain with no way out (believe me, it is not something you want to experience). If you´re already there, make sure to take a walk to the Māras dīķis, a lake that is just across the street from the park.
2. Visit some great cafes and restaurants
What I find really amazing is that Riga is full of hidden allies and in them, you can find the cutest cafes, and amazing food. Just take a walk through the Old Town and you´ll see – you can´t miss them. If you are looking for a place to grab a cup of coffee during the break between your Russian language classes and use the knowledge you got in your course, there is a small pastry called CakeHouse Amalija, right next to the entrance of the Vērmane Garden. You can try some amazing cakes, taste their coffee and just enjoy the colorful interior. This is one of my top tips for your perfect weekend in Riga!
Another place that I highly recommend is a restaurant Province, where Latvian cuisine is served. I had a soup served inside of the bread and it tasted amazing (even if it doesn´t sound like it did).
3. Go to a concert at the Riga Dome
One of the highlights of my first weekend in Riga was the concert held inside the Riga Dome. For 10e, you could visit the Dome and be swept away by the short concert of Ilze Reine, a virtuoso Latvian musician who played the organ. The whole concert lasted for about 20 minutes, but it was enough for the audience to be taken away to a whole other world made out of notes by some of the most famous musicians ever. If you get there a bit earlier (like I did), you will also get the chance to walk around the inner courtyard and enjoy the sun until the concert starts.
4. Take a train to Jūrmala
Whether you are spending a week or a year in Riga, Jūrmala is a must! I took a train from the main station (buy your tickets here) and in 20-25 minutes, I was in heaven. Jūrmala is a small town that lies on the beach and makes you feel like you are in a fairy tale. Flowers along the sidewalk, sunny, green parks, smiley faces, and looooooong beach will serve as a great view while you´re sipping your coffee in one of the beach cafes. So I suggest you turn off your phone, hop on a train that somehow gives you an 80s vibe, and enjoy a day surrounded by the sounds of the sea waves. Be careful, though! It can be very windy, so make sure you bring a jacket with you. I know, not the beachiest thing to have, but I highly recommend it. Because September in Latvia means the weather can be very unpredictable.
I hope my tips make you feel more at home on your first weekend in Riga. Remember that it´s okay to feel lonely, okay to feel like a stranger, but I´m pretty sure that Latvia will become very dear to your heart very soon. I know it has for me.
In order to get to know me, check out the first article a wrote when I first came to Riga.
This text was written by Dina Stankovic, currently studying in Liden & Denz in Riga, Latvia