Take the lift to the top of the tower and enjoy the view. There’s really not much to it. You’ll have to pay a fee – a small one – but you don’t have to pay the additional to tour the church unless you want to do so. We did not tour the church because we tend to agree that once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Very few pass the test of needing to see more.
Best Walking Tour: Old Town
Don’t do an actual tour. Old Town is relatively small so if you’ve done your own research on the Art Nouveau architecture and some of Latvia’s political history, you won’t need the guide. You’ll be able to wander each street more slowly (or quickly, if it’s a particularly uninteresting one) and take in the confection-like looks in-between café stops.
Best Breakfast: Pastries
Get yourself a pastry, preferably one with berries, sometime between 9 and 10. The pastries will still be warm and you’ll be surrounded by dozens of locals getting on with their day. The chocolate versions leave something to be desired, but anything with a jam, pie, or simple fruit topping/filling was amazing.
Best Souvenir: Animal Masks
We got these at a little shop, but you can also find them at holiday street fairs throughout the city. The woman who makes them only comes into Riga from her village during those big events, but a few artisanal shops sell them at cost.
We also picked up a few knit toys from a booth at a street fair, which are a close second.
– M. Ray Hall