From foodie festivals to outdoor cinema and urban basketball. On any given summer evening, Riga is brimming with events, inviting everyone free of charge. Here are some of the highlights of the summer in Latvian capital.
Sunset frolicking in Andrejosta
Be they rebellious teenagers or sedate businessmen, everyone agrees that the best place for catching a spectacular sundowner is Andrejosta. This industrially charming and tranquil port area is located within 10-minute walk from Old Town. Just take a spot on the sun-warmed concrete and watch how the sun melts into Daugava river, lined with handsome yachts. On Thursday evening the place turns into soiree made up of DJ gigs and tasty treats and each month Andrejosta also host open air concerts with some big-name Latvian artists in the line-up.
- Eksporta iela 1a
Live concerts at K.K. fon Stricka villa
With a natural inclination towards being in a countryside, the Wednesday evening concerts in the yard of K.K. fon Stricka villa is one of the main reasons why the natives nevertheless choose to stay in the city. (The other is street food, of course!) The leafy yard is one of the most idyllic venues of the city. Every Wednesday it hosts concerts of local musicians of all kind, from national legends to stars of tomorrow. After the concert the bar situated in the charming villa gives a plenty of reason to linger. Situated in A.Briana street area which is renowned as the top place for Wednesday frolicking, K.K. fon Stricka villa concerts it is a great opportunity to mingle with the locals.
- Aristida Briāna iela 9
Urban vibes in Tallinas street courtyard
Nestled in a garage complex the Tallinas street creative courtyard was founded in 2018 by organization Free Riga and the authors of VEF creative courtyard. Here you can find the concert hall Tu jau zini kur, a bar Tallinas Pagalms and Ezitis migla, sound studio Gas Sound Studio and Street Food Latvia residence Angars. The place organizes a multitude of frequent events such as street art festival, urban poetry event and of course plenty of street food celebrations. Endowed with a credo Self-made troubles (paštaisītas nepatikšanas) it is a free-spirited place and thanks to the vivid murals, a true gold mine for Instagrammers. Come here in the evening, grab a seat on one of the wooden pallets scattered around and soak up the urban vibe.
- Tallinas iela 10
Come for the frozen margarita, stay for the tacos
In the last couple of years Riga has been witnessing an influx of new cocktail bars. From swanky XIII on Strelnieku Street to speakeasy Bar Six hidden in the basement of Gertrude street. Yet nothing seems to be more suitable for a warm summer evening than a frozen margarita at Mañana snack bar. As the name nods, the bar is a riff of Mexican cuisine. Think lip-smacking tacos, homemade nachos and sweet potatoes fries cooked to perfection. Decked in cacti and a dash of neon lights, the place is a hit with the cool kids of Riga. But if sophisticated Nordic flavours is more your cup of tea, than head to Gimlet Nordic Cocktail Bar, just across the street. They also have a cool outdoor seating area facing Stabu street.
- Stabu 10/1
Catching a game in Grīziņkalns
Street sports and culture movement Ghetto Games in the recent decades has been fuelling a renaissance in Grīziņkalns neighbourhood. Now they are back with a new season of street basketball and street football tournaments. Taking place every week in the corner of one of the most beautiful, yet neglected greeneries of Riga, Grīziņkalna park, the matches are lively event full of music, dance and urban energy.
Street food in Kalnciema Quarter
Every Wednesday night the local foodies gather in the charming Kalnciema quarter to rejoice the best Latvian Street Food masterminds has to offer. Expect oysters, crepes, ramen, churros, khachapuri, burgers, refined cocktails and loads of appetizing surprises. Hugged by six perfectly preserved wooden dwellings and with a petite apple orchard in the middle the Kalnciema courtyard is a perennial favourite among the local revellers. Apart from Street Food Wednesdays, every Thursday Kalnciema Quarrter holds open-air concerts. The repertoire ranges from local artists to international sounds.
Jazzy tunes under the chestnut tree
Every Wednesday evening the idyllic Bergs Bazaar shopping arcade becomes even more bucolic thanks to the lovely melodies of the Grimbergen Summer Festival. The festival’s refined repertoire is a refreshing contrast to the popmusic overflowing the streets in summer. In June the Festival will focus on subgenre music, July – is all about the jazz, while August will be devoted to world music. Just grab a table in the outdoor seating area of one of the three restaurants: the sophisticated wine bar Garage, the gracious restaurant Bergs or the democratic Andaluzijas suns and enjoy a good music performed by professionals.
Friday evening at the market
Once a dingy shopping place for the local elderly, over the last year the historical Agenskalna market is experiencing a reincarnation. While the indoor market place is still getting refurbished, the outdoor area is thriving and every Sunday gathers flea market sellers and trophy hunters, but on Fridays it transforms into a place to let of steam. Featuring DJ gigs, extreme sports competitions and plenty of street food vendors to choose from, the Friday evening events called Portal #fridaysociety is Jack of all trades and a great place to kick-off the weekend. Keep an eye out for the stall of the most famous Latvian chef Martins Ritins, they serve fish and chips that are out of this world.
- Nometņu iela 64
Cinema under the stars at Autentika
If you have not discovered the culture space Autentika, sitting on the corner of Bruninieku and Kr.Valdemara street then you must. The place is famous for its kinetic electronic music events, homely weekend brunches and thrifty lunch offers. But during summer on Friday nights the yard of Autentika, surrounded by ragged, but weirdly charming building complex, transforms into an open-air cinema. Organized by Autentika and movie bloggers Kino Kults, the film program is a cherry-picked list full of cinema classics and indie darlings.
- Bruņinieku iela 2
Burgers at VEF
In the past few years Riga has seen an influx of creative teams breathing new life into forgotten industrial spaces. What makes the VEF creative quarter stand apart from its peers, is the secularity of the site – the legendary VEF electronics factory. The place hosts a mix of events, from marketing professional meetups, to celebration of burgers and even gong meditation. Yet the highlight is VEF Summer Festival (VEF Vasaras Festivāls). Happening three times during the summer, the festival lures visitors in with a plush assortment of the street food, capaciousness and a cool industrial vibe. To work up the appetite, do as the locals do and go there by a bike. The cycling lane on Kr.Barona street makes the place easy accessible and the trip from the city centre takes about 15 minutes.
- Ūnijas iela 8 korpuss 7
Free workout in New Teika
Apart from one of the most modern gyms in the city – Squad Hour and two cocktails bars - Mākonis Cocktail & Design and Minnox that boasts a spectacular panorama, another thing the workers and residents of Jauna Teika skyscrapers can brag about is their event calendar. From free evening workouts to gourmet events. Every third Thursday Riga Street Food Taste (Rīgas Street Food Garša) takes place here while ocassionally the area becomes and open-air gym with free workouts from Nike Training Club and Nike Running Club. Another reason to pay a visit is the cheeky sculpture Sam made by St Petersburg’s artist Denis Prasolov.
Night Market of Rigas Centraltirgus
A solution for those that cannot attend the morning market, but still crave fresh local produce – the Night Market. Held on the premises of Riga Central Market, on Spikeru and Gaizinu street this is a smaller, more intimate version of the daily commotion that takes place at the market during the day. Open from 17.00 till 22.00 go there after work and let the offer inspire you to cooking dinner. Buying produce straight from the growers that can affirm their produce’s organic credentials will give the food a whole new taste.
- Gaiziņa iela