Springtime in Riga

Nobody waits for the beginning of Spring with more ardour than Rigans. With daylight hours getting longer their frame of mind also gets brighter. Cyclists and e-scooter riders swarm across the streets and patios of the city’s cafés, restaurants and bars spill the sidewalks. Each warm and sunny day is a celebration, but the mercurial weather brings many surprises – a blizzard at the end of April? Springtime in Riga is never boring.

For a rainy day

After binging on the Oscar movies, desire something different? Look no further than the beguiling Art Nouveau district, where the art-house cinema Kino Bize is hidden. Apart from cherry-picked indie-filled repertoire, here you can also sample the freshest of Latvian cinema with English subs. Don’t miss Riga World Film Festival (23 – 26 April), this year’s program focus on the topic of human body. 

More info: www.kinobize.lv

Spring on the plate

The bi-annual celebration for the city’s foodies, Riga Restaurant week will take place from March 23 till March 29. Over the week, the city’s hot-ticket restaurants offer meticulous, inventive and flavoursome three-course meals at the cost no greater than your monthly streaming platform bill (20-25 euros). Start rehearsing your oohs and aahs, you’ll need them!

Pedal to the metal

For the locals, the warm season really kicks off only when getting back on the cycling lane. The streets replenish with cyclers pedalling hither and thither from one outdoor event to another. Taking place at the end of April, Riga Bike Week fills the city with bike-centred events, the most popular of which is the ballsy Critical Mass. If you don’t have your own wheels, there’s Sixt bike rental stations scattered around the city. But for those who worry of getting their clothes all wrinkled, there’s always an e-scooter lying around somewhere.

Coffee date in the park

Cherry blossoms in April, lilac in May, occupied by students holding study sessions on the lawn, and elderly ladies sharing the daily dose of gossip on the bench, the sea of Riga’s verdant parks are irresistible in spring. Having not one but two great coffee places (Tornis and Kurts) on its borders, Vermanes garden park is the perfect place to meeting up for a coffee. But for a glimpse of a fairytale, drop by Victory park, that brims with blooming sakura every April.

Al fresco lunch break

In springtime the workers wait for the lunch break with more alacrity than ever, because that means breaking free from the office walls and spending an hour enjoying food along with the first sunshine on the decks of the city’s restaurants and cafés. Riga’s eateries are famous for its great lunch deals. A vegetarian feast in MiiT or a sophisticated fair in restaurant 3? Just don’t forget to use sun cream, the first sun rays are quite mean. 

Eat your greens

Best way to break free from the winter hibernation is by taking an extra dose of spring greens. Radishes, first carrots, sorrels, salads – the market oozes in colour. Get your vitamin fix daily at Riga Central Market or at weekends in Agenskalna market, Kalnciema quarter market. In March/April don’t miss a chance to savour the birch juice – this mildly sweet sap is rich in anti-oxidants.

Where flowers bloom

After months of greyness, there’s no better place for getting high on greenery than the Botanical Garden of the University of Latvia. Sitting on the left bank of the river Daugava, the 15 ha territory is a picturesque refuge from the urban life. Depending on the weather and the period, there’s something blooming, from azaleas and magnolias to rhododendrons.

Kandavas iela 2

Riga Fashion Week

From 4th to 8th April, Riga will transform into a fashion mecca. The bi-yearly extravaganza – Riga Fashion Week will take in the coolest new venue in the city – Hanzas Perons. Catch the newest collections of renowned names and up-and-coming stars of the Baltic fashion scene. Expect outspoken and playful fashion that will turn heads.

More: www.rfw.lv

Cheaper than therapy

From the widespread MyFitness to the chic Squad Hour, when it comes to gyms there’s no lack of choice in Riga, yet nothing’s better than exercising outdoors. The promenade along the river, stretching from Spikeri to the port and the mercifully inhabited Viesturs Garden Park are two great jogging routes to warm up for Rimi Riga Marathon (May 16 and May 17). It’s the only running competition in Northern Europe holding the prestigious World Athletics gold label.

More: www.rimirigamarathon.com

Nigh at the museum (without Ben Stiller)

A classic of the cultural spring of the Latvian capital, the annual Museum Night will take place this year on May 16th. During the event, the sea of Riga’s museums will be open until late and offer a free entrance.

More: www.muzeju-nakts.lv

Bottoms up

It’s no news that Riga is great for the fans of the hoppy brew. If you’re one of them, visit Latviabeerfest, returning for the 10th edition this year from 22nd until 30th May. Gathering over a 500 types of beer from breweries of Latvia and beyond, it’s a weeklong celebration of beer, food and good times.

More: www.latviabeerfest.lv