Top 7 Christmas Markets In Riga, Latvia - Updated 2024

christmas markets in riga
Anne
Anne 
Contributing Writer
Updated
| 5 min read

Riga is the capital of Latvia and nestles at the mouth of the River Daugava on the Baltic Sea. The city is becoming popular due to its affordability and as a historic and interesting place to visit. Walking the streets reveals fascinating wooden buildings among beautiful art nouveau architecture. The medieval Old Town from the 1800s and 1900s is also of interest with its narrow, cobblestone streets and is an area designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here there are many quaint shops and restaurants, as well as Livu Square, a popular nightspot with many nightclubs and bars. Travelers visiting Riga will be delighted to know that there are several things to do here. The cultural center of the city hosts a number of museums and concert halls. As for the accommodations, you can book one of the best hotels or Airbnb vacation rentals for a comfortable stay. The city goes all out when it comes to the annual festive season, which can be seen from the most delightful events and Christmas markets in Riga, Latvia,–details of which are listed below.

Popular picks in Riga

  • Families visiting with kids can explore the Latvian Museum of Natural History and view different exhibitions, such as ‘Animals of the World,’ 'Birds of Latvia,’ and more.

  • Architecture enthusiasts can admire the Gothic, Baroque, and Art Nouveau features of the Riga Dome Cathedral.

Winter in Riga

  • According to Weather Atlas, winter in Riga lasts from December through February with temperatures dipping to -1.3°C (29.7°F) to -4.8°C (23.4°F). The harsh winter often comes with snowfall measuring 70 mm (2.76 inches) to 84 mm (3.31 inches). So, do not forget to pack warm clothes to layer yourself as well as coats, jackets, socks, gloves, a hat, and a muffler.

Christmas traditions in Latvia

According to Visit Europe, Latvia has deep-rooted Christmas traditions aimed at reviving ancient traditions and fostering community bonding. Some of these include:

  • Making puzuri (straw ornaments) and saules rati (sun wheels) to symbolize the return of the sun during the darkest day of winter
  • Visiting the market squares to attend cultural performances
  • Watching the Riga Christmas Tree lit up and mark the official beginning of the holiday season

Visiting Riga this holiday season? Be sure to visit its many colorful Christmas markets. Browse our Christmas market guide that has all the information to get you started.

Christmas markets in Riga

1. Cathedral Square Christmas Market, Doma Laukums, Riga

Riga_from_top_17-6
Source: Photo by user Krists Luhaers used under CC BY 2.0

The Cathedral Square Christmas Market is held on Doma Laukums (Dome Square) during November and December of each year, ending on January 6. This is Riga’s most authentic and traditional market where the many stalls sell a range of beautiful crafts, including wool sweaters, linen tablecloths, mittens, socks, ceramics, wooden toys, and jewelry. Other stalls sell delicious traditional local food, including bacon and sausages with sauerkraut and gingerbread cookies. I feel this market is perfect for families with kids. Children have fun visiting with Santa Claus, who is in the market each day, and they can also feed a range of barnyard animals. Adults enjoy the traditional karstvīns (mulled wine). Almost every evening sees live bands performing at this Riga, Latvia Christmas market.

Doma Laukums Riga Christmas Market

Address: Cathedral Square, Doma Laukums, Centra Rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia

Dates: For updated dates and hours, please visit the official website of Riga Christmas Market

Website: Doma Laukums Riga Christmas Market

Market highlights: Traditional Latvian gifts such as linen tablecloths, socks, wool sweaters, mittens, furry hats, wooden toys, ceramics, jewellery, sausages with sauerkraut, gingerbread cookies, mulled wines, and hot Black Balsams cocktails

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2. Esplanade Park Christmas Market

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The sprawling Esplanade Park is located in the center of Riga and is surrounded by Kalpaka, Krišjāņa Valdemāra, Brīvības, and Elizabetes Streets. In the center of the green and pretty park, there is a monument to Oskars Kalpaks, as well as the Art Academy of Latvia and the Latvian National Museum of Art. Esplanade Park is next to the Nativity Cathedral and offers stalls selling the usual, traditional Christmas gifts, including candles, hand-knitted items like mittens socks and shawls, and wood crafted toys. As a traveler, I love to collect souvenirs from the places I visit and will surely buy some from here during my Christmas holidays in Riga. They also sell a selection of delicious traditional delicacies and mulled wine. Also, this market has a lovely addition for the children which is a little village which is populated by live rabbits. Occasionally Santa arrives on the scene, selling carrots for the children to feed to the rabbits.

Esplanade Park Christmas Market

Address: Esplanade Park, Riga, Latvia

Dates: For updated dates and hours, please visit The Official Website of Riga City Council

Market highlights: Products from local artisans such as jewelry, wooden products knitwear, decorations, homemade wine, gingerbread cookies, and wine

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3. Christmas Fair at Kalnciema Quarter

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

The arts and crafts market at Kalnciema Quarter in Riga is renowned for selling quality local products from farmers, designers, and artisans, including organic food and items of Latvian origin. During the Christmas period, the market turns festive and Christmas trees, gifts, and festive decorations are added to the mix. Art lovers can experience the Art Hunt Premium exhibition sale to purchase work by young Latvian artists. The Christmas market is backed by festive music, along with mulled wine, Christmas concerts, a circus, and plays for the whole family to enjoy.

Christmas Fair at Kalnciema Quarter

Address: Kalnciema iela 35, Zemgales priekšpilsēta, Rīga, LV-1046, Latvia

Website: Christmas Fair at Kalnciema Quarter

Market highlights: Christmas trees, gifts, festive decorations, mulled wine, Christmas concerts, and homemade produce

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4. Christmas Market at Riga Central Market (Rīgas Centrāltirgus)

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Rīgas namu kolektīva vārdā sakām lielu paldies katram, kas vakar ieradās Vidzemes tirgus ZIEMASSVĒTKU tirdziņa...

Posted by Rīgas nami on Thursday, December 7, 2023

The Central Market in Riga is the largest of its kind in Europe and consists of a market and shopping Bazaar. The market, built between 1924 and 1930, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At Christmas, the market turns appropriately festive, with the bazaar section selling traditional Christmas gifts and souvenirs, locally crafted toys and jewelry, decorations, and more. Mulled wine is available to warm up chilly hands as well as the traditional festive food of Latvia.

Christmas Market at Riga Central Market (Rīgas Centrāltirgus)

Address: Nēģu iela 7, LV-1050 Riga, Latvia

Website: Christmas Market at Riga Central Market

Market highlights: Traditional Christmas gifts, souvenirs, locally crafted toys and jewelry, decorations, mulled wine, and festive food

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5. Livu Laukums Christmas Market

Līvu laukums - panoramio (4)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Алексей Решетников used under CC BY 3.0

The Christmas Market at Livu Laukums (Livu Square) is approximately a four-minute walk from Doma Laukums (Dome Square), surrounded by Zirgu, Meistaru and Kaļķu iela streets. The Riga Russian Drama Theater is in this area of the city. The market is set up with a blue-striped theme and has less of a Christmas “feel” than the Cathedral market. No traditional snacks are available, but there are a number of craft stalls selling Christmas gifts, as well as jewelry and clothing. The buildings surrounding the square are decorated beautifully for the season. During winter, an ice skating rink is set up here. The Livu Laukums Christmas Market sells many cat souvenirs–this is because the market is next to the cat house. I’ll surely buy one for myself when I visit here. Other items on sale included cutting boards, wooden coasters, and a variety of typical Latvian gifts. There is also a stall selling the traditional mulled wine.

Livu Laukums Christmas Market

Address: Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia

Market highlights: Christmas gifts, jewelry, clothing, cat souvenirs, mulled wine, and typical Latvian gifts

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Christmas events in Riga

6. First Advent Concert

Riga Dome Cathedral at twilight
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ryzhkov Sergey used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Every year on December 1, the First Advent Concert is held at Riga Cathedral to herald the coming festive season. Visitors and residents can head to the cathedral to listen to Orchestra Riga performing Christmas music by composers like Vivaldi, Bach, Schubert and more. Several soloists perform during the concert, including Lauras Grecka, Jolanta Strikaite-Lapiņa and Marlēna Keine. The conductor for the concert is Atvars Lakstīgala.

First Advent Concert

Address: Riga Cathedral, Herdera laukums 6, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia

Dates: For updated dates and hours, please visit the official website

Website: First Advent Concert

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7. Festival performances at Latvian National Opera and Ballet

Opera Nacional, Riga, Letonia, 2012-08-07, DD 04
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Diego Delso used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Watching operas is not as intimidating as they portray it in the movies. Liven up your trip to Riga this Christmas season by checking out some of the holiday performances at Latvian National Opera and Ballet. It is known for its timely operettas at any given season, and Christmas is no stranger to it. On a typical season, the national opera features almost 200 performances, and they see their busiest when December comes in. Opera fans all over Europe (and the world!) visit Latvian National Opera and Ballet for the grand performances. As an explorer, I am always excited to see new things and will surely book my seat for this show!

Latvian National Opera and Ballet

Address: Aspazijas bulvāris 3, Centra rajons, Rīga, LV-1050, Latvia

Website: Latvian National Opera and Ballet

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Priecīgus Ziemassvētkus (Merry Christmas) in Riga, Latvia

Take your time exploring the beautiful streets of this remarkable city, with their attractive Art Deco and wooden buildings, visit the museums, enjoy a little retail therapy in the shops, but when visiting over the Christmas period, make sure you take a turn at some of the most delightful old town Riga Christmas markets and events.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Anne Sewell was born in England, but has spent most of her life in Africa - Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa - and now resides on the beautiful Costa del Sol in southern Spain. She loves writing...Read more

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