Life in Riga
Riga is an exciting destination not only for international students and guests, but also for students who come to study at RSU from other parts of Latvia.
Riga is the capital and the largest city in the Republic of Latvia with a population of 641 423 (by actual place, 2017; The Central Statistical Bureau). It is also the political, economical and cultural centre of the country and a city of dynamic improvement and change.
It has an enchanting medieval Old Town with a maze of cobbled streets and small cafés scattered all around it, and the greatest concentration of 19th and 20th century Art Nouveau architecture in Europe. However, Riga is not just history, old buildings and museums. You will also find it to be a vibrant modern city with a rich cultural life.
Riga offers a wide range of leisure and social activities. With its rich cultural heritage, lively art scene, concerts, annual festivals, internationally recognised National Opera, classical and modern theatres, parks, sports centres, cinemas, cafés, bars and vibrant nightlife – Riga has something for all tastes and preferences.
To connect with Latvian culture LIVE Riga has many great suggestions for you. The Riga Tourism Development Bureau will keep you informed about the National holidays and celebrations that take place around you.
Latvian public broadcasting is the best way to follow the most recent news on various topics. The news channel offers insight into politics, society, culture, economy, as well as the weather forecast and a name day calendar. LSM is the unified news portal of Latvia's public television and radio services, with a mission to deliver informative, accurate and engaging content.
There are many museums and art galleries in Riga, e.g., Latvian War Museum, Museum of the History of Riga and Navigation, Latvian National Museum of Art, National History Museum of Latvia, Riga Porcelain Museum to name a few. Some museums have been established only recently, so it’s up to you to find what you like best and what you want to see, but here are a few that are not to be missed during your stay in Riga: Riga Art Nouveau Museum, Ethnographic Open Air Museum, Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, Pauls Stradiņš Museum for History of Medicine.
Riga boasts several theatres – showcasing nationally- and internationally-acclaimed professional repertoires or even amateur productions. Unfortunately, almost all performances in the theatres are in Latvian with only some in Russian, and occasionally in English.
Creative Hubs and Ticket Offices
For comprehensive information about what Riga has to offer, and to buy tickets, consult the websites of Latvia’s three largest Ticket Offices:
Latvian National Opera and Ballet is a repertoire theatre, which performs opera and ballet with a season that runs from September until the end of May. In one season, the LNO will have approx. 200 performances. The LNO productions are of an internationally-recognised artistic quality. Operas are subtitled in English. Ticket prices range from EUR 5 to EUR 70, depending on the seat, see www.opera.lv.
There are several movie theatres in Riga, and all films are shown in their original language with Latvian and Russian subtitles. The largest cinema is Forum Cinemas in the city centre, with 14 movie theatres and the recently-opened, most high-tech movie theatre in the Baltics - “SCAPE”. Other cinemas in Riga: Multikino, Cinamon, Kinogalerija, Kino Bize.
Built as an elegant and modern cinema back in the 1930s, Splendid Palace has experienced many changes to welcome its visitors as the most magnificent cinema in Riga. Splendid Palace usually screens independent films and hosts various international and local film festivals, e.g., the International Film Festival Baltic Pearl, Lielais Kristaps and many others.
Riga offers a wide variety of places to go shopping. For more information visit the Finances and Shopping section.
- Alfa Parks 372 Brīvības gatve
- Domina Shopping 3 Ieriķu iela
- Galerija Centrs 16 Audēju iela (Old Town)
- Mols 13 Krasta iela
- Olimpia 5 Āzenes iela (Pārdaugava)
- Origo 2 Stacijas laukums
- Riga Plaza 71 Mūkusalas iela (Pārdaugava)
- Spice 29 Lielirbes iela
- Galleria Riga 67 Dzirnavu iela
Western, Central and Northern parts of Latvia are mostly Lutheran, whereas the Eastern part of Latvia is mostly Roman Catholic. An Orthodox community can be found in all major cities in Latvia and the Eastern part of the country. Most services in churches are held either in Latvian or Russian; however, some churches in Riga offer services also in English: Evangelical Christians - Mežciems International Baptist Church, Roman Catholics - St. Jacob’s Cathedral, Roman Catholics - St Mary Magdalene’s Church, The Nativity of Christ Cathedral (Orthodox), Riga Synagogue (Peitav Shul), Mosque in Riga.
Riga and Latvia, in general, are fairly safe. Violent street crimes are rare and most security problems are associated with petty theft, such as pick-pocketing, which is a problem in certain areas of the centre of Rīga (e.g., Central Market). Take care of your personal belongings and avoid unlit streets late at night.
In public, you are only allowed to smoke in places specially designated for this purpose. It is forbidden to smoke in parks and at bus stops, as well as closer than 10 metres from the entrance of any government and public building. Smoking on University premises is prohibited!
Campus-wide Wi-Fi is accessible on the entire RSU campus. However, in order to use Wi-Fi you have to obtain a username and a password. This can be done at Student Services upon registration at the University.
In 2014 Riga was announced as the European Capital of WiFi. Free high-speed wireless internet is now easily accessible in more than 930 locations throughout Rīga, including parks, city squares and other open-air spaces.
Mobile phones are an important part of communication for every student. It is possible to buy different pre-paid phone cards for mobile phones – the costs vary from 2 to 25 EUR/month depending on the provider and the specific deal you choose.
If you want to get more information not just about Riga, but also the whole of Latvia, see the official Latvian Tourism website which provides a wide variety of information on many other subjects not included here.
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