Looking for a family-friendly European city break? Riga, the beautiful capital city of Latvia, has a unique blend of history, culture, and entertainment. Riga city is a great destination for a family-friendly European city break. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Riga with kids.
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Is Riga Worth Visiting?
Yes, Riga is worth visiting! As the capital city of Latvia, Riga offers a unique mix of rich history, culture, and modern attractions.
There are plenty of things to do in Riga, such as visiting the Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and admiring the impressive art nouveau architecture of the city’s Art Nouveau district. Riga also has some of the most stunning landmarks in Latvia.
You can also explore the Central Market, one of the largest markets in Europe, or stroll in one of the city’s many parks and green spaces.
How to Get to Riga, Latvia
Here are the best ways to get to Riga, Latvia:
Fly into Riga International Airport
Riga has a well-connected airport with flights from various European cities. The airport is located only 10 km away from the city centre, and you can easily reach it by taxi, public transport, or shuttle bus.
Trains to Riga
If you prefer to travel by train, you can take a train to Riga from nearby European cities, such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, or Tallinn. The train station is located in the city centre.
Coaches and Buses to Riga
Several coach and bus companies offer services to Riga from various European cities. This cost-effective option allows you to enjoy the scenery along the way.
Driving to Riga
Renting a car is also an option if you prefer to have more flexibility and independence during your trip. Several car rental companies are available at Riga International Airport, and you can also find rental options in the city centre.
Driving in Riga can be challenging, especially in the city centre. The streets are narrow, and the traffic can be heavy, especially during peak hours. Some areas in the city centre are pedestrian-only, which can make it challenging to navigate.
Top 10 Things to Do in Riga with Kids
Embarking on a family trip to Riga, Latvia’s capital city is an excellent choice if you are seeking a blend of history, culture, and adventure.
From interactive museums and outdoor activities to delightful parks and delicious treats, this vibrant European destination will surely captivate the entire family.
Get ready to immerse yourself in the Baltic charm and discover the top 10 things to do in Riga with kids.
1. Latvian War Museum
Step into history at one of the largest and oldest museums – the Latvian War Museum. Located in a former fortification tower, also known as the Latvian riflemen museum. This interactive museum offers a fascinating glimpse into Latvia’s military heritage through exhibits, artefacts, and engaging displays.
Kids will be captivated by the chance to explore tanks, helicopters, and Soviet-era military aircraft up close in Latvian War Museum. With its hands-on activities and educational exhibits, the museum provides an excellent opportunity for children to learn about Latvia’s past while having fun.
2. Town Hall Square
Make your way to Town Hall Square, the heart of Riga Old Town, and immerse your family in its timeless beauty. Marvel at the iconic House of the Blackheads, an exquisite Gothic building adorned with intricate details. Explore the square’s vibrant atmosphere, with street performers, bustling cafes, and charming shops.
During the holiday season, the square transforms into a winter wonderland with a bustling Christmas market, where kids can enjoy carousel rides, indulge in tasty treats, and experience the season’s enchantment.
Town Hall Square offers a perfect blend of architectural wonders, cultural experiences, and a lively ambience, making it a must-visit spot for families.
3. Explore the Riga Motor Museum
Rev up the excitement at the Riga Motor Museum, a paradise for car enthusiasts of all ages. This impressive museum showcases a huge collection of vintage cars, motorcycles, and other historic vehicles.
Kids will marvel at the beautifully restored automobiles, including classic sports cars, elegant limousines, and even Soviet-era vehicles. The museum also offers interactive exhibits where children can learn about the mechanics and engineering behind these iconic vehicles.
It’s a perfect place to spark young minds’ interest in automotive history and engineering.
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and head to Mežaparks. Explore the vast green spaces, rent bikes or paddleboats, and enjoy a leisurely picnic by the lake.
Mežaparks is also home to the Riga Zoo and the beautiful Mežaparks Open-Air Stage, which hosts various concerts and cultural events. Whether you want to relax amidst nature or engage in outdoor adventures, Mežaparks is an ideal destination.
5. Fill a Picnic Basket at Riga Central Market
Immerse yourselves in the vibrant atmosphere of Riga Central Market, one of Europe’s largest outdoor markets. Stroll through its colourful stalls, filled with fresh produce, local delicacies, and unique handicrafts.
Engage your children’s senses as they sample traditional Latvian treats like honey, smoked fish, and pastries. The market’s bustling ambience and diverse offerings make it a fantastic place for families to explore, taste, and discover the local culture.
6. Riga Castle and Gardens
Pay a visit to Riga Castle, a historic landmark that has served as a residence for Latvian rulers throughout the centuries. Take a guided tour to learn about the castle’s rich history and explore its grand halls and exquisite architecture.
Afterwards, take a stroll through the castle gardens, where you’ll find beautifully manicured lawns, blooming flower beds, and charming pathways. The castle and gardens offer a glimpse into Latvia’s past while providing a tranquil and picturesque setting for family outings.
Read More – Landmarks in Europe
7. Visit the Latvian Railway History Museum
Located in the historic Riga Central Railway Station, this museum showcases the country’s rich railroad history. Engage in interactive exhibits, discover vintage locomotives, and learn about the development of the railway network in Latvia.
Kids will be thrilled to explore the trains up close, climb into the conductor’s cabin, and imagine themselves as train drivers. The railway museum also organizes special events, such as train rides on historic carriages, providing an immersive and educational experience for the whole family.
Step into the fascinating world of trains and railways at the Latvian Railway History Museum, where history comes to life.
8. Ethnographic Open Air Museum
If you’re interested in immersing yourself in Latvian culture and exploring the country’s traditional heritage, visiting the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum in Riga is highly recommended. This unique outdoor museum provides a glimpse into rural Latvian life, showcasing authentic historic buildings, traditional crafts, and cultural traditions.
The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum is located on the outskirts of Riga, in the beautiful forested area of Jugla. The museum spans over 87 hectares and features more than 100 traditional buildings from different regions of Latvia, including farmhouses, windmills, churches, and craftsmen’s workshops.
9. Visit Riga Zoo
A visit to Riga Zoo is a must for animal-loving families. Home to over 4000 animals representing more than 400 species, this zoo offers an exciting and educational experience.
Kids can observe and learn about various animals, from majestic lions and playful penguins to adorable red pandas. The zoo also features a children’s farm where little ones can interact with friendly farm animals.
With its spacious grounds and beautiful natural surroundings, Riga Zoo provides a delightful day out for the whole family.
10. Tour Around Riga by Canal Boat
Cruise along the city’s picturesque canals and waterways, taking in the enchanting views of Riga’s stunning architecture and landmarks from a unique perspective. The tour offers a relaxing and scenic way to explore the city, providing a break from the bustling streets.
Glide under charming bridges, pass by beautiful parks, and marvel at the elegant facades of historical buildings lining the canals. The knowledgeable guides on board will share fascinating stories and historical tidbits, making the experience engaging and educational for both children and adults.
Capture memorable photos, enjoy the gentle breeze, and create unforgettable family moments on the Riga Sightseeing Tour by Canal Boat. It’s a leisurely and captivating way to discover the city’s hidden gems while enjoying a tranquil voyage through its waterways.
Where to Stay in Riga with Kids: Best Family Hotels
When it comes to staying in Riga with kids, the Old Town and Central districts are excellent choices. The Old Town offers the charm of cobblestone streets and proximity to attractions, while Centrs provides a more residential feel with beautiful parks nearby.
Both areas have a variety of family-friendly hotels and apartments, ensuring a comfortable and convenient stay for you and your little ones.
Budget: Rixwell Centra Hotel
Situated in the heart of Riga’s Old Town, Rixwell Centra Hotel offers comfortable and affordable accommodation for families on a budget. The hotel features cosy rooms with all the amenities for a pleasant stay. Cots are available upon request, making it convenient for families travelling with infants or young children.
Mid-Range: Wellton Riverside SPA Hotel
Located in the Centres district near the beautiful Vermanes Garden, Wellton Riverside SPA Hotel offers a comfortable mid-range option for families.
The hotel features spacious rooms with modern amenities, including cots available for families with young children. The family-friendly facilities include:
An on-site restaurant.
A spa with a sauna and indoor pool.
A children’s play area.
Splashing Out: Grand Palace Hotel
For families looking for a luxurious stay in Riga, the Grand Palace Hotel offers a lavish experience. This five-star hotel is located in the heart of the Old Town and provides elegant and spacious rooms with exquisite decor and top-notch amenities.
Families can request cots for their little ones and enjoy the hotel’s family-friendly services, including babysitting arrangements and a children’s menu at the on-site restaurant.
Where to Eat in Riga with Kids
Riga is known for its diverse culinary scene, offering a fusion of Baltic, Scandinavian, and Eastern European flavours. Traditional Latvian cuisine often features hearty dishes made with local ingredients like potatoes, fish, pork, and dairy products.
Rye bread, smoked meats, pickled vegetables, and various dairy products, such as sour cream and cottage cheese, are common staples in Latvian cuisine.
Don’t miss out on traditional dishes like grey peas with bacon, Latvian-style sausages, or the famous dessert Riga Black Balsam-infused cake.
Here are our 4 top recommendations:
Street Burgers: Indulge in juicy gourmet burgers and crispy fries at Street Burgers Āgenskalns. This popular burger joint offers a variety of delicious burgers made with high-quality ingredients, satisfying the cravings of burger enthusiasts in Riga.
Two More Beers: Quench your thirst and expand your beer palate at Two More Beers. This beer-focused establishment offers a wide selection of local and international craft beers, allowing you to explore different flavours and styles while enjoying a relaxed and cosy atmosphere.
Milda: Experience the charm of Milda, a traditional Latvian restaurant in Riga. Milda offers authentic Latvian cuisine and a range of hearty dishes made with local ingredients. Immerse yourself in this family-friendly restaurant’s warm ambience and savour traditional flavours.
Late Night Munchies: When hunger strikes late at night, satisfy your cravings at Late Night Munchies. This eatery specializes in tasty and satisfying comfort food options, making it the perfect spot for a late-night snack or meal in Riga.
How to Spend 2 Days in Riga with Children
With its rich history and family-friendly attractions, Riga offers a wonderful destination for a memorable vacation with children. With two days to explore the city, you can embark on a variety of exciting adventures and immerse yourselves in Latvian culture. Let’s dive into an itinerary that will make the most of your time in Riga with children.
Day 1: Riga Old Town and the Latvian Railway History Museum
Start your day by exploring the enchanting Old Town of Riga. Take a leisurely stroll through the cobblestone streets, marvel at medieval architecture, and see the iconic House of the Blackheads.
Head to the Latvian Railway History Museum for a fun and educational afternoon. Delve into the world of trains and railways as your children explore vintage locomotives and even have the chance to climb into the conductor’s cabin.
The museum also organizes special events like train rides on historic carriages, offering the whole family a unique and immersive experience.
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Day 2: Riga Zoo and Central Market
Kick off your second day with a visit to the Riga Zoo, located in the Mežaparks neighbourhood. Discover many animal species worldwide, including lions, elephants, and penguins.
The zoo offers a children’s petting zoo, playgrounds, and interactive exhibits, providing engaging experiences for young visitors. Spend the morning exploring the different animal habitats and enjoying the family-friendly facilities.
In the afternoon, make your way to the Riga Central Market. This bustling marketplace offers a vibrant atmosphere and a wide variety of fresh produce, local delicacies, and street food stalls.
Take the opportunity to sample traditional Latvian treats like smoked fish, pastries, and honey. Grab some snacks and head to a nearby park or find a cosy spot to have a picnic, enjoying the flavours of Riga and soaking in the local ambience.
Things to do Near Riga
Day trips from Riga offer a change of scenery, fascinating history, and opportunities for outdoor adventures. Venture beyond the city limits and explore the wonders of Latvia’s surrounding areas. From charming towns to breathtaking natural landscapes, these day trips promise unforgettable adventures for the whole family.
Sigulda and Gauja National Park
Embark on a day trip to Sigulda, known as the “Switzerland of Latvia,” located approximately 50 kilometres northeast of Riga. Explore the stunning Gauja National Park, Latvia’s largest national park, where you’ll find lush forests, picturesque landscapes, and medieval castles.
Visit the iconic Turaida Castle, ride the aerial cable car over the Gauja River Valley, and let the kids run wild in the Adventure Park Tarzan, featuring zip lines and treetop obstacle courses. To get to Sigulda, take a train from Riga Central Station or opt for a guided tour that includes transportation.
Escape to the picturesque coastal town of Jūrmala, located just 25 kilometres west of Riga. Known for its stunning sandy beaches, Jūrmala offers a perfect retreat for families seeking relaxation and seaside fun.
Take a stroll along the Jomas Street promenade, with charming cafes, shops, and entertainment venues. Spend the day building sandcastles, playing beach games, or swimming in the Baltic Sea. Jūrmala is easily accessible from Riga by train, with regular departures from Riga Central Station.
Immerse yourself in history and charm with a visit to the town of Cēsis, located around 90 kilometres northeast of Riga. Known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, Cēsis offers a glimpse into Latvia’s past.
Explore the medieval Cēsis Castle, climb the castle tower for panoramic views, and wander through the quaint streets of the Old Town. Additionally, you can visit the Cēsis Adventure Park, featuring treetop trails, ziplines, and other exciting outdoor activities for kids.
To reach Cēsis from Riga, you can take a direct bus or join a guided tour that includes transportation.
Plan Your Trip to Riga with Kids
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Riga with Kids FAQs
Riga is the capital city of Latvia, a country in Northern Europe. It is specifically located on the shores of the Baltic Sea, near the mouth of the Daugava River.
The number of days needed to explore Riga can depend on what you intend to do. Generally, a 3-4 day visit is sufficient to explore the main attractions, including the Old Town, Central Market, and various museums. However, if you plan to engage in more in-depth exploration or side trips outside the city, you may want to consider staying for a week or more.
Compared to many other European cities, Riga is quite affordable. Prices for food, accommodation, and attractions are typically lower than in Western European countries. However, the cost can vary depending on the time of year and your personal spending habits.
Yes, 3 days can be enough to see the main highlights of Riga, including the beautiful Old Town, Art Nouveau district, and Central Market. However, if you wish to explore at a slower pace or visit additional museums and attractions, you might need more time.
While Riga is generally a safe city, it’s important to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Avoid poorly lit and deserted areas late at night. Be wary of scam artists and pickpockets, especially in crowded tourist areas. Also, avoid unlicensed taxis as they often charge exorbitant rates.
Yes, Riga is a highly walkable city, especially the Old Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Many of the city’s main attractions are within walking distance of each other. The city also has a good public transportation system for longer distances.
Yes, English is widely spoken in Riga, particularly in areas that cater to tourists. Most young people, as well as staff in hotels, restaurants, and shops in the city centre, are likely to speak English.
Both cities can be affordable compared to other European destinations, but Riga is generally considered to be cheaper than Budapest. This includes costs for accommodation, dining, and attractions. However, prices can vary based on factors such as the time of year and individual preferences.
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Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.