In Latvia for Midsummer? Find out where to celebrate!

The country is bracing for four consecutive holidays as the Midsummer celebration (Jāņi) is taking place June 23 to June 24. LSM presents a guide to foreigners visiting at a time when Latvians eat cheese, drink beer and sing the night away sitting bonfires in non-stop revelry that is the Midsummer celebration.

In the capital

Though many if not most Rigans spend Jāņi by getting out of the city, visitors tend to stay in the capital, which celebrates the summer solstice on the embankment of the Daugava River near Old Riga from the afternoon of June 23.

Merrymaking, dancing, and performances by Latvian pop luminaries will make sure you'll find the sunrise with high spirits. Entry is free of charge.

Public transportation is free thanks to the Riga Municipality, and close to every bus and trolley and tram should get you near the bank of Daugava river. 

Though if you find surroundings of concrete and asphalt to be unappealing for a celebration so thoroughly linked to nature, observe the solstice on Rīga's highest hill - Dzegužkalns - where at 8 p.m. visitors will be introduced to Midsummer traditions with folk ensembles singing until the wee hours.


Almost every municipality and definitely every largest city holds a public Jāņi celebration with open-air parties featuring music, dancing and copious amounts of beer. 

Here's a few ideas:

  • Daugavpils - the Višķu open-air stage by the Lukna lake will explode with merrymaking.
  • Rēzekne - Rēzekne will celebrate by the eponymous river.
  • Ventspils - the port city will feature a theater performance at the Reņķa garden, followed by an open-air party;
  • Liepāja - while windy Liepāja will celebrate at the Pūt, vējiņi! open-air stage and the numerous beachside cafes of the city.

After Jāņi

As much of the country will be under the weather on June 24, watching some TV might be a good idea or perhaps the only thing you're really able to do.

Even if you don't speak the language, Latvian Television 1 (stream it here; subject to geography) will feature a lot of music, Latvian film classics and theater which can be enjoyed without really understanding what's said.

At 10.40 a.m. the hilarious mischief of Emil of Lönneberga will start off the day in TV, while at 12.30 p.m. the 11th Youth Song and Dance Festival will be broadcast on TV. The day will also feature the classic A Limousine the Colour of Midsummer's Eve (6.50 p.m.) and Skroderdienas Silmačos, a theater play about everything Latvian, at 9.35 p.m.

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