Autumn in Riga is all about well-being: devouring the vitamin-rich harvest, enjoying long, salubrious strolls and feeding your soul with a double dose of art and culture. Plus, during the fall, Riga's streets become even more delightfully uncrowded.
Art takes over the city
The fall in Riga comes with three major contemporary art events. The second instalment of Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (August 20 - September 13) has transformed the mythical former port area in Andrejsala into a fantasy land full of intriguing contemporary art pieces. While the 11th edition of
The Contemporary Art Festival Survival Kit (September 4 - October 4), titled Being Safe is Scary is located in a more central, but equally unknown the former building of the Museum of Literature and Music. But the contemporary sculpture and installation festival Sculpture Quadrennial Riga 2020 (September 5 - October 31) will scatter the city with 12 newly made art installations.
The goodies of nature
When apples, pumpkins, cranberries and mushrooms fill the market stalls, it's time to unleash your inner chef and try out a new recipe featuring these seasonal goodies. Look for fresh autumn produce every day at the Central Market or if you're in the left banks, swing by the Agenskalns Market. On Saturdays, there's also a farmers' market at Kalnciems Quarter, but you might not get out of this one with an empty stomach.
Enjoy the show
The autumn is also the time to enjoy the art of acting – on the screens as well as the stage. The annual International Festival of Contemporary Theatre Homo Novus (August 28 – September 10) organizes thought-provoking shows in various and unusual places in Riga and beyond. But the cosily chilly evenings of October is best enjoyed at the palatial Splendid Palace movie theatre. First Splendid Palace hosts Baltic Pearl (October 7 - 12) – the annual festival that celebrates first-rate movies – from exclusive premiers to age-old classics. Then the baton will be passed on to Riga International Film Festival (October 15-25) that showcases a comprehensive program featuring the most daring contemporary European cinema.
Riga is having a moment in bread baking, with 3 new bread places opening this summer. Kick-off, your day at the lovely Katkevich café, situated on the South-East of the city. The café puts the sourdough in the limelight serving it with the top-quality local produce. Or stay in the city centre and enjoy a divine pastry at the elegantly white premises of Mīkla bakery. As for those that ward-off gluten, there's the oat, rice, quinoa and other loaves of the little, smart gluten-free bakery of Better Bread.
Explore the new art spaces
Točka breathes in a new life in the former rubber factory in the industrial crust of Riga until October 18, hosting an exhibit of the young local artists as well as a multitude of other cultural events. September 10th is the launch of the long-awaited art centre Zuzeum, founded by the art collectors – Zuzans family in the premises of the former Cork Factory.
Run, Riga, Run!
Happening every May Rimi Riga Marathon is the only race in Northern Europe that holds the title of the World Athletics Gold Label. This year the marathon has been re-scheduled October 11, which means balmier weather and an idyllic backdrop of vivid foliage.
Riga Restaurant Week
During the autumn edition of Riga Restaurant Week (October 12 – 25), the bounty of the harvest season is retransformed into innovative and delicious plates, conjured up by the city's best chefs and offered for a modest price.
First-rate classical music
Rainy, gloomy, with sudden episodes of sunny Indian summer – if October in Riga would have a soundtrack, it would be something as dramatic as Beethoven's 5th. Thus, it's no surprise the classical music calendar in October is brimming, the Autumn Chamber Music Festival (October 3-17) will feature renditions of the most legendary composers played by the local and international virtuosos. Meanwhile, the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra (LNSO) will kick-off the season with a Baltic Symphony Festival (October 22 – 30) that brings to Riga the most excellent classical music experts from the Baltic states.
There's no better way to round up a day than with a perfectly shaken and stirred cocktail at one of the many Riga's cocktail bars. Enjoy the Nordic flavours in tipples of Gimlet Nordic bar, or check out the newly opened Bar Six Oriental Bar situated in a unique teahouse, near the Latvian National Opera house.
Let the leaves rustle under your feet
When the city is bathed in fiery foliage, it’s time to explore the city’s under-the-radar parks. Travel to Arcadia park in Pārdaugava – entwining Māra’s Pond, the verdant park looks like a romantic movie setting that Hugh Grant would star in. Or stay on the right bank and aim for Viesturdārzs. Steps away from the so-called quiet center, this green nook has its own little Arc de Triomphe.
The long, dark autumn evenings are ideal for indulging in a lengthly gastronomic adventure. A set menu doesn't come any better than the one at Max Cekot Kitchen. Or nab a seat by chef's table at Barents and enjoy the best excellent sea-food with a pinch of the chef's Ivans Šmigarevs sparkling humour.
Have a good read
Nothing befits a rainy autumn mood more than reading a book. Need to stock up your library? Go to Mr.Page on Miera street, this dreamy concept store offers a collection of carefully curated books and bookazines. Or while away the hours with a good read and a glass of wine in the comfy sofa of Robert's books. This second hand English bookshop-cum-community place also organizes a range of culture events.
Marvel the lights
The white-red flags which are pinned to the lapel of coats signalize that the Proclamation Day of the Republic of Latvia, celebrated on November 18, is approaching. Another herald are the lustrous installations in the parks, public squares, and on building facades that are a part of the annual festival of lights Staro Riga (November 18-21). Jaunt around the city streets and admire the numerous gleaming artworks created by internationally renowned illumination artists. The theme of this year's festival is "Chiaroscuro".