Riga’s Central District
Escape the Old Town and head out towards the vibrations of the Central District of Riga; the beating heart of the city. Home for the many cafes, bars, shops that are frequented by locals, it is also a busy working and living district. This is the city center!
The Central District stands where one of Riga’s first suburbs developed, along the old road leading to St Peterburg. During the late 1800’s early 1900’s the area experienced a construction boom, with the old wooden houses making way for 5 and 6 storey apartment buildings, many built in the Art Nouveau style. This area is not the “Art Nouveau District” that you will find in your guide books, yet there are more examples than you will find on Elizabetes iela or Alberta iela, including many in the regional National Romantic style.
The Central District is divided into blocks, making it easy to navigate around and find what you need. You can easily access the Central District on foot, by bike or by tram. There are many nice places to stop for coffee and food along Terbatas iela, Kr. Barona iela, Lačplēša iela, Ģertrudes iela and Miera iela. Have a look in the designer and speciality shops and get a feeling for Riga’s city life. Places to note in Central Riga are Kino Riga (The Splendid Palace), Riga Circus, the Riga Puppet Theater, Dailes Theater (Soviet monumental building), Riga New Theater, Berga Bazars, Matisa Tirgus (Matisa Market), the viewing platform on Riga Gallery shopping center, the Old KGB headquarters and Old Ģertrudes Church.
So many people get stuck in the Old City of Riga and never leave, never explore further, never even meet any locals. The Central District is worth a visit, for its architecture, the increased chances of meeting some friendly locals, and the quality and quantity of better, cheaper places to eat, drink, enjoy and entertain yourself. Check our our guide of Where to Eat in Riga and Where to Drink in Riga for some great suggestions. Get out of the Old Town and discover the heart of Riga.