Although most people associate spring with the aroma of flowers and perhaps the buzzing of bees, in Riga it's often the smell of sawdust and the din of hammers and power tools that remind us that the big thaw is about to grace the Latvian capital with its warm and desperately desired embrace. Yes, the opera gardens will soon begin to put on a show with pink, purple, yellow and magenta blossoms for anyone to enjoy and an ambitious insect or two will eventually make their presence known, but it’s often local builders assembling summer terraces and beer gardens on the city’s squares and pavements that alert us to the advent of this wonderful season.Soon enough you’ll be able to enjoy a tasty Latvian brew with a view, but there are also other indications that sunshine is nearing these northern shores. The annual Baltic Ballet Festival will soon be in full swing, but you’ll have to wait until the end of May to participate in this year’s Latviabeerfest. Hundreds of other events are listed in our culture chapter, but if its sport that makes you get up in the morning then find out where to wakeboard, rent a bicycle with which to explore the city or where to sign up for the upcoming Riga Marathon on our Leisure pages. Still not satisfied? Then take a road trip to the seaside city of Liepāja for a great café scene, medieval architecture, white sand beaches and an abandoned naval fort that will make you ponder the past. See all you can see this spring with Riga In Your Pocket.