Miera Iela, or ‘Peace Street’, is Riga’s burgeoning bohemian quarter, offering travelers a calm, hip respite from the bustle of the city center. This colorful street is lined with charming little cafes and shops, where you can while away a happy afternoon hunting for local treasures, with a break here and there to snack on Latvian delicacies. Save your souvenir shopping for this special corner of town, and check out our picks for the top stops along Miera Iela.
Taka Bar is Riga’s Bohemian dive bar par excellence. Their music strikes a hip balance between alternative classic and obscure indie, and their drinks range from locally brewed beer to homemade apple wine. The decor leans toward kitsch with its brightly colored cushions and walls (which often display work from local artists) yet the dim lighting keeps the atmosphere surprisingly intimate. Taka also offers free WiFi to its guests, making this a great spot to catch up on emails over lunch while sampling the neighborhood’s best beverages.
Laima is an iconic Latvian brand of chocolate sold all over the country. If you’re a die-hard chocolate lover, you won’t want to miss the Laima Chocolate Museum: its exhibits take you through the whole history of cacao, the modern processes for manufacturing chocolate in Latvia, and the special magic that goes into Laima’s mix. You’ll even get the chance to try making some chocolatey treats yourself. The museum building was designed by Latvian architect Staņislavs Aloizs Borbals in 1939, and today the structure is counted as one of the country’s heritage buildings. If history, heritage and hands-on chocolatier experience isn’t enough to tempt you, we should mention that the tour always ends with a tasting.
20.gadsimts is a veritable trove of handpicked vintage finds, mostly from the 1950s-70s; if you’re a fan of sixties mod style and design, get ready to swoon when you step inside this shop. There are also a number of much older antiques, which have been loving restored and given new life by the shop’s owners. Whether you’re searching for a truly special piece of furniture, a unique nick knack to take home for someone special, or a fun place to browse colorful remnants of Riga’s past, something’s sure to catch your eye in this eclectic boutique.
Miera is a great hidey-hole to escape the harsh Northern temperatures and thaw out with warm service and a strong cup of coffee. Their menu is sure to tempt you too, with its homemade cakes, flaky croissants, rich chocolate truffles and freshly made sandwiches. If you’re in the mood for something stronger than coffee, Miera’s drink menu also offers an impressive selection of Latvian microbrews, as well as a local berry wine. The atmosphere is airy, homey, and almost zen-like: as you sit surrounded by a jungle of houseplants and scattered piles of old books, it’s easy to see why this sweet place is simply named ‘Peace’.
Come to Buteljons to browse some of the coolest sustainable art in all of Latvia. This unconventional boutique specializes in mugs, glasses, and housewares all handmade from recycled wine, spirits and beer bottles. Even if you aren’t planning to make a purchase, you can always help them (and the planet) out by donating your own bottles as materials, knowing that your trash will soon be transformed into treasure: any materials the shop’s team receives will go toward making more gorgeous, functional, eco-friendly creations.