Housed in a gem built in the heyday of the style (see the picture), Riga's Art Nouveau Museum (Alberta iela 12) takes you inside a lavishly decorated period apartment. History, art and architecture in one beautiful package.
The National Art Museum of Latvia (Jaņa Rozentāla laukums 1) has a rich collection of Latvian art, and the grand building dating from 1905 is a masterpiece in itself.
Riga Motor Museum (take trolleybus 14 to the stop "S.Eizenšteina iela") is a fun, interactive venue full of historic cars, including ones that belonged to Stalin and Brezhnev. Well worth the trip to Soviet-era suburbia.
The former KGB Headquarters (Brīvības iela 61) gives a deep dive into Latvia's brutal 20th century history. Get your tickets for a tour of the cellars by the museum's guides.
The Museum of Occupation (Latviešu Strēnieku laukums 1), located in Old Town in a Soviet brutalist building, also recalls those harrowing times.
The museum Jews in Latvia (Skolas iela 6) recounts the story of the Jewish community over several centuries.
The Žannis Lipke Memorial (Mazais Balasta dambis 9) on Ķīpsala Island is a museum dedicated to a Latvian family who rescued dozens of Jews during the Holocaust.
The Museum of Riga's History and Navigation (Palasta iela 4) has a magnificent collection of everything to do with Riga's past, from canons to ancient ship to silverware.
Discover more gripping historical sights on my Riga Soviet history tour!
Designed by American Latvian architect Gunārs Birkerts, the National Library of Latvia is known as the Castle of Light, a reference to an ancient legend about a sunken palace full of knowledge. You can wander the floors with a visitor's pass or join a tour.
Housed in a revamped factory building, the Zuzeum houses Latvia's largest private collection of modern art. The rooftop terrace cafe is lovely.
Set picturesquely on Lake Jugla on Riga's eastern outskirts, the Latvian Open Air Ethnographic Museum is a treasure trove of historic farmhouses, churches and windmills. Plan on at least half a day. Take bus No 31 from the central station to the stop "Brīvdabas muzejs."
Ghostly Lielie kapi (the Great Cemetery) with overgrown monuments to cultural figures and statesmen, and architecturally monumental Brālu kapi (Brothers in Arms) are fascinating places to stroll around.
South of the river, the University of Latvia Botanical Gardens are a great place for a green break. Don't miss the butterflies in the tropical house. Take trolleybus No 9 from the central station to the stop "Botāniskais dārzs."