Travelling with children can be challenging under the best circumstances. Medieval churches, dusty museums and uneven cobblestones often have a way of sending the little dears over the edge, usually at the worst possible moment. A full blown tantrum in the middle of a posh art museum can have the most experienced parents ruing the day they became moms and dads (if only for a guilty second). Having been there ourselves, we’ve attempted to lighten your load with some suggestions that will keep your offspring entertained without boring you to tears.
Finding child-friendly restaurants and cafés in Riga can sometimes be a bit of a chore, but a few have realised that providing a play area for children can actually add to their bottom line. Vairāk Saules offers a kids’ menu and all the legos a child could ever want and T.G.I.Friday’s offers colouring books, a kids’ menu and sometimes even balloons. Begemots (Dzirnavu 34) offers a separate kids room with a dollhouse, a play kitchen set, drawing table and TV separated from the dining hall by a large glass window. Charlestons has a children’s corner and supervised activities during weekend brunch, while Street Fries Kitchenhas a small kids’ area as well as plenty of pancakes and fries.
The Open-Air Ethnographic Museum is a great place for kids. Not only can children learn about Latvian customs and rural living, but they can also see people in period costume performing various tasks like shaping iron at the blacksmith’s.
The Riga National Zoo is always a good option and kids can see everything here from bears to crocodiles. If the word 'museum' already has the kids rolling their eyes, then the Laima Chocolate Museummight just change their minds.
You can also combine a shopping outing with some kids' fun at Zinoo Rīga. This fascinating children’s science centre in the Galleria Riga shopping centre offers a number of interactive exhibits that teach kids about the natural world in interesting ways. The little ones can also take a look at St. Peter’s golden rooster through a telescope or take advantage of the play room that’s filled with development toys. Open 12:00 - 20:00.
Just for fun
The little ones might appreciate a show at theLatvian Puppet Theatre, but all kids love Līvu Akvaparks, which offers a wave pool, a children’s pool, six water slides and a tubing river guaranteed to keep your offspring happy all day long. The giant LIDO Leisure Centre also has plenty to offer including a huge skating rink and lots of children’s attractions, but if you’re child loves bouncy houses, slides, ball rooms, labyrinths and climbing obstacles then head over to City Kids. However, both young and old can enjoy Jump Space Riga, a huge hangar-like building filled with wall-to-wall trampolines. If you’re kids are into skateboarding, inline skating or BMX there’s a big skatepark in the Miera dārzs park (Between Katoļu, Kalupes, Daugavpils and Jēkabpils iela in the Moscow district) that’s open to the public in the spring and summer. Year-round they can hone their shredding skills at The Spot.
In the city centre you’ll find a good playground at Vērmanes Park (corner of K.Barona and Elizabetes) and at Esplanāde Park behind the Latvian National Museum of Art (F-3, Valdemāra and Elizabetes). Mežaparks offers two huge playgrounds, but you’ll find the biggest playground in Riga on Kr.Barona iela. Take tram No.6 to the Sporta nams Daugava stop. The massive outdoor complex is hard to miss.