Riga is a city I have been curious about since the city replaced boardwalk on the international version of monopoly. Riga is a fascinating city- it is the largest of the Baltic capitals which have resisted Russian occupation all throughout history however nearly of the residents of Riga are of Russian decent and the language is spoken in the streets widely.
This center of Riga is beautiful, manicured, and blatantly beautiful. Starting from the river you will see Riga's old city with a famous skyline of ecclectic church spires puncturing the sky above the mix up of hundreds of year of architecture. This area is great for locals and tourists alike. Here you can find plenty of historical buildings and walking tours around Riga's finest, plenty of shopping, and a myriad of restaurants. In summer many of these are outside and in the evening the music-loving capital is bursting with song in every square for your pleasure and is supplemented by amazing and creative buskers on the street corners.
My personal favorites being the covering of pop and rock songs by a group of four male students cross-dressed as old babushki. Priceless.
One section further from the river you will find a river flanked by floral studded banks with walking paths and social spots. You can walk along this and enjoy the people ferrying by or you can hop in a boat and enjoy it from the water. On either side of the banks you will see famous monuments, the main university building and the highly praised opera house.
Cross the river to find a central part of Riga that more modern. On last edge of the center is where you will find a great mix of boutiques and vogue European shopping as well as plenty of modern and trendy bars and eateries. Some of the cities best architecture is out of the center with many museums the famous Laima Chocolate Factory and a renowned art neveau area known for the largest collection of this style in Europe. Make sure to grab some ice-cream and wander to the further out places because they are a perect spplement to the cities quaint medieval old town.
Riga at night transforms into party town with all sorts of late night venues for those who love watching live music, performing it via karaoke, or dancing their brains out. Many low key places can be found to suit all.
Riga's charm is in it's diversity. It has something to offer everyone and is a nice medium size that can be explored by foot, bike, and occasionally by boat. There is a nice blend of energies that can inspire any adventurer.