What to do in Riga on New Year’s

Riga on New Year’s Eve will be as busy as ever, but how not to get lost in the crazy abundance of theme parties and carnivals and maybe even more important – what to do on the day after when everything seems to be shut down? We’ll try to shed some light.

Riga - Freedom Monument - Winter 01

Almost every bar/nightclub/restaurant and cafe will be open on the 31st for the last party of 2015, between private events and fully booked out restaurants there still places you can just turn up at the door without a ticket, provided you fit the dresscode. Some places will have a suggested one, but some might have very strict rules, so always check before you go. Also no need to worry about transportation – trams, buses and trolleybuses are all free of charge on the 31st and 1st.

City Centre

Nightclub Piens will take it up a notch and have an Aristocrat ball, in both their premises and the recently rediscovered K.K. fon Strick mansion next door, you’ll walk in the footsteps of the 19th century elites in style, so don’t forget your best suit or dress. But if all you really want is Latvian craft beer, stay in Labietis until 3AM and enjoy their quality brews just around the corner in the same courtyard.

If you’d rather immerse yourself in the hipster underground of Riga, head down the street to Aristīds for Paris 1996 party, much more relaxed dress code and laid back 90s attitude. For those that like even more obscure venues, the Rasols drum and bass, ragga and jungle rhythms will move those who choose to celebrate New Years at Bruņinieku 2 together with the local ravers.

Old Town

For the Rock and Roll and Punk fans we suggest trying Aptieka or one of the oldest clubs in the city Depo. For those who just can’t get enough of the ultimate Latvian experience – Folkclub Ala, however if you show up here wearing Lāčplēsis costume, they might be already full by 22:00. Plenty of space on 3 floors and a basement can be found at the Rock Cafe where besides DJs, people humiliating themselves at karaoke you’ll also find live band playing all the best form rock classics.

Besides all the fun indoors, do not forget that just after the midnight we’ll have the big firework show, best seen from a high building, the bridges or the 11th November embankment between the Town Hall square and Presidents Castle. That is also the only time when you’ll see people drinking in public and not get a fine – an exception as you can’t really control 10s of thousands of revellers and it’s the New Years, so enjoy your champagne and remember that next morning it’s back to business as usual.

1st of January

If you haven’t had enough, don’t worry as not all of the shops will be closed (just open up later than usual) and even some bars and nightclubs will make the most of the long weekend ahead of us all, after all the saying goes: you’ll spend the year as you’ve started it. Kaņepes Kultūras Centrs have promised sauna and hip hop-schlager MCs(we have no idea what to expect), however you must acquire a ticket to participate. The Folkclub Ala will have a traditional dance event, perfect for catching a glimpse of this integral part of Latvian culture.