Central Rīga

The expansive Esplanāde is a large park dotted with tall trees, wooden benches and open-air cafes. The Latvian National Museum of Art graces it on one side, while the cupolas of the Russian Orthodox cathedral majestically rise on the other. The park used to be teeming with Soviet-era sculpture; the Rainis Statue is the only vestige of that era.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Central Rīga attractions

1. Rainis Statue

0.06 MILES

One of the great Latvian writers, Rainis – his pen name – created works that called for independence and have become part of the Latvian identity. He died…

2. Latvian National Museum of Art

0.06 MILES

Latvia's main gallery, sitting on the edge of the Esplanāde's leafy grounds, is an impressive building that was purpose-built in a baroque-classical style…

3. Nativity of Christ Cathedral

0.13 MILES

Its polished gilded cupolas gleaming through the trees, this Byzantine-styled Orthodox cathedral (1883) adds a dazzling dash of Russian bling to the…

4. Museum of the Occupation of Latvia

0.14 MILES

This museum colourfully details Latvia’s Soviet and Nazi occupations between 1940 and 1991. Some of the exhibits are disturbing, including first-hand…

5. Jews in Latvia Museum

0.17 MILES

This small and rather informal space briefly recounts the city’s history of Jewish life until 1945 through artefacts and photography. Rīga’s Jewish…

7. Statue of Rūdolfs Blaumanis

0.19 MILES

One of Latvia's greatest writers, Blaumanis (1863-1908) wrote the short story 'In the Shadow of Death.' one of his most famous works. This statue was…

8. Latvian National Museum of History

0.22 MILES

This museum traces Latvian history from the Stone Age to the hipster age. If the exhibits have a temporary feel it's because the museum is meant to return…