Centrs is a district in Riga, right northeast of the old town. In addition to the official Centrs district, this article also includes the northwesternmost third of Maskavas Forstate, west of Lacplesa iela.
Centrs is within walking distance (around a kilometre) from the Old town and the central railway station. It also has the Riga Coach Station to the west of the central railway station, with buses to domestic cities and other EU capitals like Tallinn and Vilnius.
If you don't want to walk, trams 3, 6 and 11 as well as a range of bus and trolley bus lines take you up; have a look at the public transportation network maps.
Monuments and historic buildings near the Freedom Monument
- 1 Freedom Monument, Brivibas iela 1. One of Latvia's national symbols. It was erected during the first independence and surprisingly never taken down by the Soviets (although laying flowers at its feet was forbidden). The statue of a woman holding three stars at the top of the monument represents Freedom embracing Latvia's regions.
- Art Nouveau Buildings. Alberta and Elizabetes streets (iela) are the best place to see the creations of Art Nouveau architect Eisenstein, famous of his splendid style. Other Art Nouveau buildings can be seen in the area around the Freedom Monument, including the embassies on Raina Bulvaris and on Strelnieku iela.
- 2 Kobe Clock (Western corner of the park). Donated by Riga's sister city Kobe in celebration of anniversary of restoration of independence.
Museums near the Freedom Monument
- 3 Museum 'Jews in Latvia' and Jewish Community, Skolas 6, 3rd floor, ☏ , email@example.com. Su-Th 11:00-17:00, Closed F Sa. Small museum dedicated to Jewish life in Latvia since the 16th century. Includes information on destruction of the synagogues by the Nazis, and the Latvians that saved Jews during the Holocaust. Exhibits are in English and Latvian. Free, donations welcomed.
- 4 National Museum of Art, 1 Janis Rozentāls Square, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Th 10:00-18:00, F 10:00-20:00, Sa Su 10:00-17:00. Latvian National Museum of Art is the most significant depository in the nation for works of art. Houses many works by Latvian artists. Adults €6; students, seniors €3.
- 5 Former KGB Building, 61 Brīvības iela, ☏ , email@example.com. M Tu Th F 10:00-17:30, W 12:00-19:00, Sa Su 10:00-16:00. The former KGB building is actually an attractive, ornate historic building at the corner of Brivibas and Stabu. It stood empty for years, but for the 2014 celebration of Riga becoming the European Capital of Culture it was revived with a number of artistic initiatives taking place there. It is now a branch of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, holding a general exhibition about the KGB activities, and guided tours of the cellar where interrogations took place. exhibition free, €5 for a guided tour of the KGB cellar.
Religious buildings near the Freedom Monument
- 6 Riga Orthodox Cathedral, Brīvības bulvāris 23, ☏ . The Orthodox Cathedral was erected during Russian rule for Russian residents. In contrast to its relatively plain exterior, it is spectacular on the inside, but be aware that shorts are not allowed. free.
- 7 St. Gertrude Old Church (Vecā Svētās Ģertrūdes baznīca), Ģertrūdes iela 8, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. M Tu 10:00 - 14:00; W Th 14:00 - 19:00; Su 09:00 - 14:00. The brick neogothic church of St. Getrude, despite "old" in its name, is an entirely late 19th-century creation that replaced a series of stone and wooden churches that stood there (and were repeatedly destroyed due to being outside of the city walls) since the 15th century. The unusual veracity with which the 19th-century architects interpreted the principles of Gothic architecture may make the church pass for an authentic medieval creation, both inside and out.
St. Gertrude has long-standing links with Riga's German Lutheran community, and offers religious services in German. The Latvian Lutheran community which used to share the church with the German has moved to the "new" St. Getrude church further east down Brīvības Street. Free.
Maskavas forštate (Moscow district)
Maskavas is the area along the Daugava River east of the train station. While Maskavas has a bad reputation due to its high crime rate, buildings in disrepair, and homeless vagrants, it has some of the oldest buildings in Riga. The area closest to the city center is being gentrified, although it is not recommended to hang out in parks in Maskavas after dark.
Religious buildings in Maskavas forštate
- 8 Choral Great Synagogue, At Gogola and Dzirnavu iela. Mostly in ruins since the Germans burned it down on July 4, 1941 with 600 people locked inside. There is a memorial to 400 Latvians who saved Jews during the Holocaust.
- 9 Russian Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, Gogola iela 9.
- 10 Jesus Church, 18 Elijas iela. An unusually-designed Lutheran church.
Viewpoints in Maskavas forštate
- 11 Latvian Academy of Sciences, Akademijas laukums 1, ☏ . Balcony open May-Sep: daily 09:00-20:00. Built in 1953, this building is often called "Stalin's Birthday Cake" because of its austere yet ornamented design. The 17th-floor balcony is open to visitors. Entry to the 17th-floor terrace: €3.
Museums in Maskavas forštate
- 12 Riga Ghetto Museum, Maskavas iela 14a (entrance from Krasta Iela), ☏ , email@example.com. Su-Th 10:00-18:00, except Jewish religious holidays. The museum, which encompasses a relocated historic wooden house and cobblestones from the Jewish ghetto created by Nazi Germany in occupied Riga during the Second World War, documents both the history of the ghetto and the tragic fates of Riga's Jewish population who perished in the Holocaust. It also attempts to recall Jewish community life from before the war. Voluntary donations - €5 suggested.
- 13 Red warehouses. A huge cluster of mid-19th century warehouses between the train station and Central Market. They remind of the former trade harbor.
- 1 Esplanade Park (a block from the Freedom Monument). Designed by Georg Kuphaldt, who was expelled by Germany in 1915 as a spy because he had a telescope in his garden.
- 2 Koncertzāle Ave Sol (Ave Sol Concert Hall), Citadeles 7. Hosts the renowned choral ensemble Ave Sol. The hall also plays host to a range of other concert activities.
- 1 Riga Central Market (Centrāltirgus) (right next to international bus terminal, 2 min walk from Central station or Old town). Different hours for different parts, see website for info. Noticeable for its huge hangars, built from parts of actual zeppelin hangars bought for the market in 1920. The market has also a large open-air area. It deals mostly in fresh food and is a good place for fresh local fruit and vegetables, like mushrooms, berries and tomatoes – especially during summer and fall. The market is quite non-touristy but very good for souvenirs. There are lots of small cafes scattered around the markets that serve up cheap local eats. Cheap clothing and accessories can be found as well. It is especially beloved by Scandinavian tourists coming via ferry for its cheap cigarettes.
- 2 Galerija Istaba, Krišjāņa Barona iela 31. Nice local artwork can be found here. There is also a small cafe/bar on the second floor with a nice, laid-back atmosphere.
- 3 Stockmann, Janvara iela 13 (Near the train station), ☏ , fax: . 1st Floor: M-Sa 09:00-22:00, Su 10:00-22:00, 2nd Floor: daily 10:00-21:00. The Latvian branch of the Finnish department store chain.
- 4 Bergs Bazaar, Elizabetes ielā 83/85. The Bergs bazaar is a 19th-century courtyard passage with a number of fashion boutiques, restaurants and a farmers' and crafts market on the second and fourth Saturday of each month.
- Origo. A large shopping mall beside the Central Train Station. It has clothing stores, pharmacy, candy store and a supermarket with bakery and "ready to eat" sections that opens late (to midnight).
- 1 Vermanitis, Elizabetes iela 65. A fantastic range of Latvian food in "authentic" environment. Fried fish €3, salmon steak €5, half chicken €2.50, large side of mashed potatoes or pasta €1, 500 ml beer €2.10.
- 2 La Kanna, Terbatas Iela 5, ☏ . Modern and cozy atmosphere.
- 3 Milda, Dzirnavu 113a-103, ☏ . Eastern European cuisine. Only 20 seats.
- 4 Café Osiris, Krisjanis Barona iela 31, ☏ . M-F 08:00-23:00; Sa Su 10:00-23:00. An artsy cafe with a cool interior, fireplace and pancakes worth killing for. While there, drop by Gallerija Istaba for another cup of coffee or beer, and make sure to check out some of the artwork sold downstairs.
- 5 Singh's, Gertrudes Iela 32, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Great Indian food.
- 6 Stargorod, Republikas square 1 (In the front of Riga port, next to President Castle), ☏ , email@example.com. Noon-Midnight. Traditional Czech and Latvian cousine, brewery, beer, tours in brewery, entertainment
- 7 Bergs, Elizabetes iela 83/85 (Hotel Bergs). The restaurant of the hotel Bergs may be just about the best that Latvia has to offer. The food can be described as a fusion of Latvian and Western European cuisine. Menus are seasonal, and the ingredients always fresh - meaning sometimes not everything on the menu is available. With impeccable food and service, it is a wonder this place has not yet received the first Michelin star of any restaurant in Latvia.
- 8 Vincents, Elizabetes iela 19, ☏ . M-F 12:00-23:00, Sa 18:00-23:00. If you're splashing out try Vincents Restaurant which compares favorably to any up market western restaurant at half the price. Mains: €30-35.
- 1 Galerija Istaba, Krišjāņa Barona iela 31a, ☏ . M-Sa 12:00-23:00. Literally, room. An art gallery with a small café with 5 tables. Popular for its cozy atmosphere.
- 2 Miit Coffee, Lāčplēša iela 10, ☏ . M 07:00-21:00; Tu-W 07:00-23:00; Th 07:00-00:00; F 07:00-03:00; Sa 10:00-03:00; Su 10:00-18:00. Great coffee and vegetarian food, with gluten-free options. Try the pancake brunch on Saturday and Sunday
- 3 French Bar, Mazā Monētu iela 8 (Old Town), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Su-W 17:00-06:00; Th-Sa 16:00-07:00. One of the cheapest, smallest, and oldest bars in Riga. It is popular among foreigners and local students. TV shows international sports matches. From 16:00-18:00: 0.5L beer €1.00; from 18:00-21:00: 0.5L beer €1.50.
- 4 Leningrad, Krisjana Valdemara iela 4. Serves Latvian beers and food.
- 5 Skyline Bar, Elizabetes iela 55 (On the 26th floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel). Just perfect view at sunset. Finding a table next to the windows might be difficult after 23:00. Cover charge at popular times. Beer €3-5; wine €5; cocktails €6.50-12.
- 6 Neo Bars, Stacijas laukums 2, ☏ . M-F 11:00-23:00, Sa 12:00-23:00, Su 11:00-23:00. Enjoy the view of Riga from the 10th floor of the Central Station clock tower. Drinks, cocktails, European and Japanese cuisine. You need to take the elevator from the Central Station ground floor to the 8th to 10th floor.
- 1 Central Hostel, E. Birznieka-Upisa iela 20, ☏ , email@example.com. Dorm bed: €5.25-13.00; single: €17-24.
- 2 Cinnamon Sally Backpackers Hostel, Merkela 1, 3rd floor. Dorm bed: €12-20.
- 3 Elizabeth's Youth Hostel, Elizabetes iela 103-2, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. HI Hostel. Dorm bed: €10 (low season), €12 (high season); single: €20 (low season), €28 (high season).
- 4 Mr. Hostel, Marijas Iela, 9-11, ☏ , email@example.com. Friendly and laid back. Free coffee and tea. Close to the old city. Dorms from €9.
- 5 Barons City Central Hostel, Krisjana Barona Iela 25, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Australian & Latvian owned. 24-hour reception. Dorm bed: €10-13; single: €20-22.
- 6 Riga Style Hostel, Alfreda Kalnina street 4 - 11. On a top floor of a 100-year-old historic building. €8.50-14.00.
- 7 Tiger Hostel, Raiņa bulvāris 31 (Across from the train station), ☏ , email@example.com. The décor is extremely ugly - even for 1970s style. Free coffee and tea. Dorm bed: €7-9.
- 8 Posh Backpackers Hostel, Pupolu Iela 5 (Opposite the police station), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Despite the name, the hostel is not posh at all. Privates, doubles, and 6-, 8-, and 12-bed dorms. Dorm bed: €9-10; single: €20-30; double: €26-35.
- 9 Hotel Edvards, Dzirnavu iela 45/47, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Opened in September 2008, cosy, family-run hotel in a renovated 19th-century building. €46-56 for single.
- 10 Krisjanis and Gertrude Bed & Breakfast, Krisjana Barona iela 39 (in the wooden house diagonally opposite the Barona shopping center, entrance from Gertrudes iela), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Homely, popular with artists and musicians, city centre, en-suite rooms. Single: €40; double/twin: €50; triple: €60; breakfast included.
- 11 Mercure Riga Centre, Elizabetes iela 101 (next to the railway station), email@example.com. Interesting postmodern decor based on the neighbourhood's Art Nouveau heritage. Additional charge for parking. From €60.
- 12 , Elizabetes iela 24, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. 256 rooms. Clean and modern.
- 13 Hotel Valdemars Riga, Krišjāņa Valdemāra Iela 23, ☏ .
- 14 Hotel Bergs, Elizabetes iela 83, ☏ , fax: . Great service, modern rooms, fitness center, and a small sauna. €180 and up.
- 15 Radisson Blu Elizabete Hotel, Elizabetes iela 73 (Tram 1, 6, 8, 10, 11 to Dzirnavu iela), ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Contemporary style. €89.
- 16 Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija, Elizabetes iela 55, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. The largest business and conference hotel in the Baltics. With 27 floors, this hotel is noticeable on the Riga skyline. €81.
- 17 Radisson Blu Ridzene Hotel, Reimersa iela 1. A sombre, and slightly dated, Radisson next to the Esplanade €84.
- 18 Hanza Hotel, Elijas iela 7 (Close to Riga Old Town), ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. 3-star hotel in Riga center.
- 19 Westa, Negu iela 5, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. The rooms are clean, private, safe, spacious, and have private bathrooms. Next to a market for food and clothing. Double: €32.