When Riga's high society had enough of the hustle, bustle, noise and grime of the city in the early 20th century, they decided to build a garden city north of the centre where they could relax in the bosom of mother nature. Kaiser's Park, as it was then known, became the ideal place to live for anyone who needed a patch of green and had the requisite cash to spend. Today, not much has changed and the beautiful buildings erected during that period, even the ones in need of renovation after decades of Soviet neglect, still fetch some the highest real estate prices in the country.
But to view architecture and to see how the nouveau riche live aren't the only reasons to visit Mežaparks. Riga's most illustrious park is also home to the song festival grounds or lielā estrade, an impressive zoo, a lake for water sports and smooth paved streets for in-line skating. Visit some wildlife, rent a jet ski, enjoy the scenery or just have a beer at a local café.
Where to Eat
Mores 22, tel. (+371) 67 39 52 57. Open 09:00 - 20:00.
If you ever wanted to know what a Soviet restaurant was like, but with fresh, good quality food, than look no further than Mangali. Order a chicken or pork shashlik, spoon your ketchup from a giant communal bowl into a plastic cup and then pick a side order - either chopped tomatoes, gherkins, marinated onions or chives. We suggest you take a seat out on the terrace as there is no interior design to speak of inside. Beer and vodka are also available by the bottle. Walk northwest on Ostas prospekts from the song festival grounds to Mores.
Where to Drink
Annas Sakses 19a, tel. (+371) 26 32 05 51, www.cabo.lv. Open 11:00 - 01:30, Fri, Sat 11:00 - 06:00.
Not unlike its namesake, Cabo is a laid back café frequented by windsurfers during the day and wealthy Mežaparks residents with money to burn at night. Its excellent location on the shore of Lake Ķīšezers ensures beautiful views year-round and its affordable drinks and experienced DJs guarantee wild parties at the weekend. A surprisingly cheap menu of inexpensive international food is served from 12:00 - 22:00, but you can also just pop by for a Belgian brew or a strong cocktail by the beach. You can take tram No.11 from Barona to the Hamburgas iela stop and then walk down Annas Sakses iela about 10 minutes until the street ends at the beach or just take a taxi.