Seven places to feel the Christmas spirit in Rīga

Take note – story published 1 year and 5 months ago

The Rīga Investment and Tourism agency, Live Rīga, has produced a nice little guide to some Christmas seasonal hotspots in the Latvian capital. It is reproduced by kind permission below for the benefit of anyone in need of an emergency dose of mulled wine, gingerbread and last-minute gift-buying.

Riga Christmas Market

This year, Riga's residents and guests are once again delighted by the city's favourite holiday destination - the Riga Christmas Market. For a whole month, until January 1, the Dome Square has become a genuine Christmas Kingdom, where the scents of steaming drinks fuse with the aroma of sweet, freshly baked gingerbread. Here every holiday elf will find the warmest gifts and Latvian souvenirs, including honey, caramels, home crafted drinks, amber, candles, hand-knitted socks and mittens that will keep you warm in the winter evenings, and much more. The youngest ones can send a letter to Santa Claus to Lapland and join in fun activities with Santa’s helpers, every day visitors are entertained by musical performances, folklore ensambles and dancing, and on Fridays, the best DJs in town take care of a festive party atmosphere. And finally, in the very centre of the market, the main Christmas tree of Riga looks down on all the fun, decorated with thousands of warm lights, it sparks admiration in the hearts of both – kids and grown-ups.

Address: Doma laukums

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Christmas Market at Kalnciema Quarter

The Kalnciema Quarter is a unique 19th-century complex of wooden buildings in Pārdaugava, which has been beautifully renovated and now is one of the city’s top spots for outdoor markets and gatherings and, of course, also the perfect setting for a Christmas market. Every Saturday and Sunday the yard will fill up with local craftsmen and farmers and Christmas aromas, music and traditional holiday treats – gingerbread, almonds, stewed cabbage, grey peas with lard and warming drinks. A special trait of this place is the local merchants, who welcome everyone with a heartwarming chat and a smile.

Address: Kalnciema iela 35

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Āgenskalns Christmas Market

For the first time a Christmas market has opened in the heart of the charming Āgenskalns area. The newly renovated, impressive Āgenskalns market building has a rich history and gripping stories to tell. The Christmas atmosphere with familiar scents and flavors, merchants from all over Latvia, freshly baked gingerbread, hot drinks and original gifts is the perfect setting for a merry afternoon with friends and family.

Address: Nometņu iela 64

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Christmas Market in Esplanāde park

Esplanāde park is one of the main city squares with a long history and is close to the top sights in Riga – the Freedom Monument, the Latvian National Museum of Art and others. This year Christmas Market returns to this beautiful area and offers many festive attractions for all ages. One of the most joyful amusements, which attracts visitors is the “Rabbit kingdom” placed in the middle of the market. Tens of fluffy rabbits reside in the wide paddock, which has tiny houses and even a small church in it. In the illuminated merchant booths, Christmas shoppers will find produce from local craftsmen, like jewellery, knitwear, wooden items, Christmas decorations, embroidery and tasty goodies – house wine, honey, pastries, candy and more. This year there will even be a lustrous Ferris wheel to look at the festive scenery from above.

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Merry fairy lights in the city

Sometimes all it takes to find the true Christmas spirit is to gaze at the warm, merry lights sprinkled on every corner. There are several places in Riga this holiday season, where twinkling lights will illuminate and brighten the dark December evenings. Especially magical light installations will appear by Riga’s main artery – the City Canal, where every passerby will instantly be transferred into a beloved fairytale from Latvian Folklore. The biggest city’s parks – Vērmanes parkBastejkalns park and Kronvalda park are also adorned with warm light strings among trees creating the perfect setting for enchanting Christmas photos.

The Christmas Bar

The cosy, themed bar in the heart of Riga Old Town is a pop-up establishment is a perfect spot for a relaxed afternoon after shopping in the outdoor Christmas markets and sightseeing and will feel like whipped cream on top of the day. All drinks, cocktails and food here are Christmas-themed and lovingly decorated in the holiday spirit creating the merriest ambience one can imagine.

Address: Šķūņu iela 10

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Riga Design Christmas Gift Market

In recent years, the Riga Design Market has become a traditional and popular event for true fashion and design gourmands who appreciate the creations of Baltic artists and craftsmen. This year, the market will take place in the splendid building of the Riga Latvian Society on December 17 and 18, offering Christmas gifts from unique fashion, artworks, jewellery, interior items and much more created in the Baltic countries. There will be delicious snacks and hot drinks for everyone who feels slightly chilly after walking in the crisp winter air.

Address: Merķeļa iela 13


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