Riga Vintage

Photo not taken in H&M

Exciting or depressing news, depending on how much you value Riga’s uniqueness over cheap accessories. The famous budget clothing store H&M will open its first store in the Baltics in Riga this August. It will join a number of other big European retailers that have already opened branches in Riga.

Just the other day I was walking down Dzirnavu street, a street I’ve walked many times before, but this time something wasn’t right. It smelt wrong. Strange. Different to the normal smell of the street and its Lido restaurant. And then I noticed it… a LUSH shop, that chain that sells smelly soaps and other equally overpowering products. Now in Riga. And just round the corner you’ll find a Costa Coffee.

On a recent trip to the UK, I began to realise that every High Street in the country, and there are a lot of them, looks the same. The same chain coffee shops, the same chain bakery, the same chain cosmetics, book, clothing and even charity shops. You could be in Glasgow or London or anywhere in between for all you could tell. Is this Riga’s destiny?

Don’t despair just yet, Riga still has a lot of great, local and independent shops where you can pick up some great stuff, from gifts and souvenirs, clothes, wooden toys, art through to great food and drink products. But the invasion is underway. You have been warned!

We here at Eat Riga encourage you to avoid those foreign invaders. Instead of a chain coffee, head to one of the great cafes that have sprung up all over the city recently. Spurn H&M and head to a cool vintage stores in Riga or buy clothes from the Central Market… ok, maybe not. Check out some of our suggestions on Shopping in Riga, or join a Riga walking tour, we’ll point out all the best places to find whatever it is you’re after.