Riga offers all sorts of interesting attractions in both the old and newer parts of the town, enriched by a lively museum scene. Whether you are interested in Latvia's history, how Riga rose to fame and wealth as a port city or you want to see historical cars from up close, the city's top museums and galleries cater for all tastes.
Situated in Riga’s picturesque Old Town, one the Latvia's UNESCO world heritage sites, the House of the Black Heads is one of the city’s most impressive landmarks. The magnificent edifice was built in 1334 to serve as a meeting and banquet venue for various public associations. While the building was destroyed during World War II, it was completely restored in 1999 and has been one of Riga's most popular tourist attractions ever since.
Take a tour and discover luxurious crystal chandeliers, beautifully painted ceilings and marvel at the museum’s treasures in the Medieval cellar as well as belongings of the Brotherhood of Black Heads like silverware, paintings and snuffboxes. The museum also frequently hosts festive events and offers changing exhibitions.
Discover one of Europe’s largest and oldest open-air museums just half an hour away from Riga’s city centre. The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia was established in 1924 and consists of 118 historical buildings from all over the country, ranging from whole villages including farms, craft shops and windmills.
From May to September, you can witness folk artisans like weavers, woodworkers, potters and teachers of traditional games do their magic at the museum and who are happy to assist you in trying out their crafts. Discover Latvia throughout the centuries with educational programs and lessons as well as guided tours and get to know the country from a different perspective.
The Latvian National Museum of Art is a true gem for art lovers. Even the baroque- and classical-influenced building, that was the first building in the Baltics specifically constructed to be used as a museum, is an attraction by itself. Discover a comprehensive and rich collection of Latvian art, covering various stylistic periods and artists who were instrumental to the country’s art scene.
The museum is the largest repository of professional art in Latvia and is home to a permanent collection of over 52,000 works, ranging from fine and decorative arts from the mid-18th century to the present, reflecting the upcoming of professional art of Latvia and the Baltic States during that time.
This museum signifies the influence of the Soviet Union on the small Baltic state. The building in which the KGB museum is located in a building that was formerly used as the headquarters of the Soviet KGB in Latvia. The building nowadays often referred to as the ‘corner house’ was used to incarcerate and interrogate Latvian citizens.
Nowadays, you can experience the oppressive atmosphere in the museum and get a glimpse into how life must have been during this time. You can see how tough the conditions for prisoners used to be in the scarce cells. Take a guided tour through the cellars to learn more about how Latvians used to live under the oppressive rule.
The Riga Ghetto Museum only opened its doors in 2010, yet it is one of the most intense museums, commemorating the Riga ghetto and the fate of its inhabitants as well as portraying Jewish life in Riga before the Holocaust. The museum aims at preserving the lessons of the past and build a future full of tolerance and compassion.
The museum is located outdoors and walks its visitors through multiple moving exhibitions, making history come to life. From a memorial wall with over 70,000 names of Latvian Jews who fell victim to the Holocaust, a room full of lanterns displaying hundreds of destinies to an old restored house from the Riga ghetto, the museum provides an intense and educational experience.
The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia is aiming at educating its visitors and documenting the period during the 20th century when Latvia was occupied by the USSR, Nazi Germany and then again the USSR for over 50 years. The museum’s motto is remember, commemorate and remind of what happened to the Baltic state, its people and those who were unjustly murdered and convicted during the occupations.
The museum guides visitors through the decades with more than 60,000 registered exhibits, an audiovisual archive containing more than 2,300 video testimonials of refugees, deportees and others affected as well as 10 documentary films, making it an intense and thorough walkthrough of Latvia’s history.
This amazingly beautiful museum that is actually an apartment is a haven for art lovers and design enthusiasts and the only museum in the Baltic States dedicated to the Art Nouveau heritage. It is situated in the former private house of the famous Latvian architect Konstantīns Pēkšēns with a façade decorated with ornamental reliefs of Latvian animals and plants.
Discover the architect’s luxurious 20th century lifestyle. Marvel at the most luxurious room in the house, the dining room where the architect used to invite friends and family to, how the owners found peace in their bedroom or where the maid’s used to sleep. Wander through the prestigious house representing the Art Noveau and Jugendstil eras and admire the highlight of the museum, the unique spiral staircase, while catching a glimpse into how Riga’s elite used to live.
Certainly one of the most unique museums in Riga, the Motor Museum is the perfect destination for car buffs, giving a glimpse into important milestones in car history and telling unique vehicles’ stories. Only a 15 minute drive away from the Riga’s Old Town, the museum exhibits more than a hundred unique cars, other vehicles and modern exposition.
Discover origins of the automotive industry and how it changed the world, take a look at the unique Kremlin collection and discover cult classics and Riga’s locally manufactured vehicles. Highlights include the 1966 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow that Brezhnev got into a car accident with as well as classics such as Beetles.
Located in the former Riga Stock Exchange right in the heart of the city’s Old Town, the Art Museum Riga Bourse is one of Riga’s and Europe’s most successful museums and one of the most visited art museums in the world. Step into this architectural monument that was designed in the style of a Venetian Renaissance palazzo.
Discover exhibitions building bridges between art from Asia, Europe and America, making the museum’s six permanent exhibitions a place for cultural exchange. Marvel at 16th to 20th century paintings, luxurious porcelain and silverware, discover art from Japan, China and India and go on a journey through time to the Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greek Chambers.
Last but not least, the Museum of the History and Navigation showcases rare artefacts related to the Baltic state’s history, taking you back on a journey through the centuries, starting from the 11th century when the city was founded.
Discover antiquities such as a 13th century ship wreck, traces of Riga being a part of Livonia and how Latvia’s politics and culture were shaped throughout the centuries, for example under Swedish and Polish rule or as a part of the Russian Empire.