Firstly, be sure to visit Latvia in Winter. The city has a magical aura around when it's covered in snow!
1. The Christmas Markets
An absolute must during winter time, and there's no better place than the centre of the capital city. The market is located in Doma Laukums Square which is in the centre of the old town. Packed with various ranges of stalls with food definitely being the highlight (the pancakes nom nom nom), although there are plenty of traditional Christmas stocking fillers to be purchased here also.
Even the buildings that house this market are impressive, being that the five pavilions are built upon old German Zeppelin hangars in Art Nouveau style. This place is dubbed "the largest market in Europe" so you'll likely find whatever you're looking for. Plenty of unexpected treasures, as well as local groceries and everyday products. It's popular with the locals as well as visiting tourists.
Okay so we've all seen the movie 'Cool Runnings' so now is the time to actually live this moment. With only a handful of places worldwide where it's actually feasible to ride in a bobsleigh, Latvia is one of them. Located in Sigulda (1 hour from Riga) is the Latvian Olympic Bobsleigh Track. A professional will control the steering of the bobsleigh while you enjoy the huge adrenaline rush!
This building is home to over 4 million books and publications. Some label the library building ugly, whereas I label it an architectural masterclass both inside and out. Even if you're not an avid reader (like me) the building also attracts photographers as it's great location to snap some shots.
Both within walking distance of each other. The Freedom Monument is a memorial dedicated to the soldiers killed in the Latvian War of Independence, whereas the Laima Clock is just a clock. However, the clock has became an iconic landmark over the years and was a popular dating meet point before the invention of mobile phones.
The Old Town of Riga has building after building of impressive architecture as well as various monuments scattered across the capital. Yes it's walkable by yourself, but you never get to fully understand and appreciate the history and importance of each building. There are plenty of free walking tours that depart daily at 10am outside St. Peters Church. Tip appropriately based on your enjoyment of the tour. I found this company great Free Tour Riga.
This statue is found in the Old Town of the city and is a monument you'll likely stumble across without even knowing. Small in size and very easy to miss so keep a look out. This statue is all about the story associated with it, as well as there being an identical statue in the German city of Bremen. Ask you guide or a local about the fairytale story.
Hotel Justus was an absolute winner! Located in the heart of the Old Town, low cost and in the most perfect location. The rooms have a very cool design and the staff are extremely helpful when providing sightseeing tips. Downside was perhaps the average breakfast.
Steikku Haoss is a local steak house in the city centre offering superb meat cuts. As steak restaurants go, the price is very reasonable and the menu offers a very good selection of both appetizers and deserts. The price of alcohol is very low compared to most European capitals, so go wild!