Latvian Academy of Science Observation Deck

Maskavas Forštate, Avotu Iela & Grīziņkalns

This Stalinesque tower is a not-so-welcome Soviet-era present from Moscow, which has seven towers just like it, only bigger. Construction of what is often dubbed 'Stalin's birthday cake' commenced in 1951 but wasn't completed until 1961, by which time Stalin had run out of birthdays. Overall it has 21 storeys and is 107m tall. But the best feature is on floor 15, where you can enjoy sweeping views of all of Rīga from a vantage point 65m up on the viewing terrace.

Once back on the ground, those with an eagle eye will spot hammers and sickles hidden in the convoluted facade. There is an excellent little bookshop on the ground floor with many interesting academic titles.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Maskavas Forštate, Avotu Iela & Grīziņkalns attractions

1. Jēzus Baznīca

0.13 MILES

It would be a classical-style Lutheran church like many others if it wasn't made entirely of wood, which makes it a unique architectural gem that…

2. Holocaust Memorial

0.17 MILES

This moving Holocaust Memorial is on the site of a large 1871 synagogue that was burned to the ground on 4 July, 1941 during WWII, with the entire…

4. Spīķeri

0.21 MILES

The shipping yard behind the Central Market is the latest district to benefit from a generous dose of gentrification. These crumbling brick warehouses…

5. Kim?

0.22 MILES

An experimental art zone that dabbles with contemporary media.

6. Rīga Central Market

0.24 MILES

Haggle for your huckleberries at this vast market, housed in a series of WWI Zeppelin hangars and spilling outdoors as well. It's an essential Rīga…

7. Popular Front Museum

0.45 MILES

A branch of the National History Museum, this exhibition involving interactive multimedia technology covers the period of the third Atmoda (national…

8. Rīga Synagogue

0.48 MILES

Built in 1905, this art nouveau–style synagogue was the only one to survive the Nazi occupation – to torch it in the tightly packed Old Town would have…