The heart and stomach of the city
The Riga Central Market is a major highlight for any visitor of the city. Fresh local products as well as foreign imports are on sale in a huge area that has a unique character and is well worth a lengthy visit while staying in Riga. This is also one of the best places to try Latvian food.
Within the market you will find all kinds of fresh produce, from meats to milk, fish to bread, wild berries to fresh fruits and even clothes and hardware. Spend some time here and buy as much local produce as you can. In season you will see things like birch tree juice or wild berries and mushrooms.
The trade area of the market consists of 5 pavilions which were constructed during the 1920’s and completed in 1930. The roofing of these pavilions was actually constructed using old zeppelin hangars that had been left in the South West of Latvia after the First World War. It is a great testimony to the engineers, who took it upon themselves to recycle these metal works, creating a great piece of architecture whilst preserving a part of history at the same time. The facades of the market pavilions are in the Art-Deco style. When these pavilions were constructed, they were one of the largest covered markets in Europe. But the market is not only made up of these great structures, you will also find a huge area of outdoor trading, as well as the many brick warehouses that date back to the 1800’s within Riga’s Central Market. You may also wish to check out Spiķeri, an area of the market that is slowly developing into a creative part of the city.
The market is not just about fresh food; there are a number of places to get something quick and tasty to eat in the Central Market. You will find a number of Ēdnīcas (Eateries) around the market, the largest being Cepelins just behind the flower sellers. In these you can find typical Latvian cafeteria food, lots of meat potatoes and cabbage. Just inside the Dairy pavilion there is a place selling hot virtuļi (donuts) and between the Vegetable and Fish pavilions there is Siļķītis un Dillītes fish restaurant and opposite a small hole in the wall selling hot Uzbek non bread filled with cheese, spinach or meat. Baked on the walls of their brick ovens, this makes a hot tasty snack on the go.
Ask your hotel or the tourist information for more info. Or feel free to join our food tasting tour of the Central Market to get closer to the district.