If you're planning a Baltic break to Latvia, we're here to help. Riga's offbeat collection of hidden museums has something for everyone in your group! Riga is a popular destination for a short group break, with an impressive array of cultural hotspots in the Old Town alone. Look beyond the UNESCO-protected medieval center to find some of our favorite museums.
Latvian National Museum of Art
If you’re an art lover, the Latvian National Museum of Art is a must in your to-do list. This magnificent museum consists of four museums and an exhibition hall - Latvian National Museum of Art, Art Museum RIGA BOURSE, Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Museum of Romans Suta and Aleksandra Belcova and ARSENALS Exhibition Hall. It’s a great way to get to know the history of Latvian culture as well as gain an appreciation for the development of decorative art over the years.
While attention is rightfully lavished on Riga's glorious Art Nouveau Museum, it might be at the expense of an even more refined relic: Mentzendorff's House. This recreated eighteenth century home used to be owned by a wealthy merchant, and it exhibits a stunning array of original paintings and frescoes, an exhibition of artistic glass-works, and a vast collection of period furnishings and household objects. It's an opulent side of Latvian history rarely seen since the Soviet era.
Museum of the Occupation of Latvia
The monolithic Museum of the Occupation of Latvia has a bold, imposing presence in the heart of Old Town - rarely does a museum's architecture match its name and subject matter so well. The dark architecture represent "the progression from the dark past, to the bright present and enlightened future." If you are interested in Latvian history, this museum is worth a visit.
Zanis Lipke Memorial
A more sophisticated monument to the past stands at the end of a 20 minute walk from city center to the north western district of Kipsala. There you'll find what looks, at first glance, like a giant black shed. Look closer and you'll see that it's the Zanis Lipke Memorial, a monument and museum highlighting Lipke's bold rescue of more than 50 Jews from Nazi ghettos during the occupation. The quiet environs are the perfect place to contemplate his noble actions, and the subtle architecture makes this building a hidden treasure - and a fitting tribute to one of the war's unsung heroes.
Railway History Museum
Almost directly opposite the Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija, Riga, the Railway History Museum displays a sprawling range of railroading across its large interior and exterior spaces. A must-visit for railway buffs, it's also one of few museums to embrace the city's proud industrial heritage. Riga was the railway workshop of the Soviet Republic, and the museum proudly displays the city's many engineering achievements.