Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum0
It's hard to place the era that the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum covers. Glancing around, you'll spot homes, churches, windmills and craft workshops that you can barely identify as anything but "old." Continue to walk around, and you'll find a blacksmith, a spoon-carver, and a bee-keeper laboring the day away. The outdoors museum intends to portray the lifestyle of different people groups throughout history, and despite the odd conglomeration of the buildings, visitors love it. One TripAdvisor user professes: "This is a great place to spend half a day. There is plenty to see and the surroundings are nice. Everything was well-maintained, even the toilets were surprisingly clean. You can buy a map at the gate, it makes sure that you see everything and is only a few cents." The site is along a lake, so be sure to enjoy the surrounding natural beauty.
Located north of downtown Riga, the Latvian Ethnographic Open Air Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. It's easily reached by public buses 1, 19, 28, or 821 through 826; just hop off at "brivdabas muzejs" or "open-air museum." For more information, check out the museum's website.
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#0 Old City Riga (Vecriga)
It's hard to believe that most of what you're seeing when walking the cobblestone streets of Old City Riga is relatively new. Much of this historic urban center was destroyed during 20th-century wars; since then, the city has recovered and rebuilt some of its oldest structures. Cars are not allowed, so you can leisurely stroll the narrow avenues and grand squares much like 19th-century Latvians did. Be sure to sample some of the traditional Latvian fare -- restaurants here are renowned for their quality, plus they're affordable compared to other major European cities. Plus, other top things to do, like St. Peter's Church and the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia pepper this area, so you are bound to spend some time enjoying the sights.
There are tours -- including a free one -- that will narrate the buildings' historical significance, but as one TripAdvisor user suggests, the best way to experience the neighborhood is to pick up a map “from the tourist information site in the center and walk through the old town" on your own. While exploring, look out for the Town Hall Square (Ratslaukums) with the impressive House of Blackheads andandand the Swedish Gate along the remains of the ancient city walls.
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