Advice for guests to Riga
At Paddy Whelan’s we always offer what we think is the most important and interesting advice about the Latvian capital city to the city’s guests. We want to make sure we do that in most languages that our guests speak in and English is one of them for sure. Let us share some thoughts that might be of use to you.
1. Ours is a sufficiently European country, and common sense will serve you well. One group of people to watch carefully, though, are cab drivers. Absolutely make sure that you know the approximate cost of your trip, preferably from the operator with whom you make the reservation or before getting into the taxi. Make sure that the meter is running, because otherwise you may end up paying a ridiculous sum. The drivers may be naughty enough to turn on the meter and then drive around aimlessly for a bit, particularly if they notice that we have had a couple of drinks or are foreigners. Always be careful with your money.
2. With very rare exceptions, public transportation shuts down at midnight, and there are no real night-time public transportation services. Check your bus, trolleybus, tram and train schedules to make sure that you don’t miss the last one. Also, even though we have warned you about taxis, the fact is that cab fares in Rīga are still comparatively cheap in comparison to other cities in Europe, particularly if you choose one of the economy companies. If you want to summon a taxi, ask a friend, a waiter or an employee of your hotel to help you.
3. Some of the guests to our city, sad to say, are rather impolite and not really focused on cultural entertainments. Be clam, though – such people are becoming rarer and rarer, and it is also true that folks from distant lands are increasingly discovering that Latvia is an interesting destination. Rīga is often crowded with tourists, tour groups, cruise ship passengers and other guests. Our recommendation is that you carefully assess the price and quality of various services, particularly at central locations that are popular among tourists. Not everything will be authentic and at a high level of quality, and not everything needs to be all that expensive. Perhaps right around the corner there is something much more interesting, much tastier, and with a much better relationship between price and value. Paddy certainly recommends that you ask locals, even on the street. Even if people in Latvia tend to look a bit grouchy, the truth is that the people of Rīga are nice, and they are usually delighted to offer their advice.
4. It is illegal to be on the street with open containers of alcohol, and that is why we insist that our guests never bring their drinks outside of our territory. That can lead to an administrative fine. At shops, alcohol can only be purchased until 10:00 PM, though at Paddy Whelan’s of course, we will be happy to serve you your pint later than that.
5. There are many interesting and outstanding opportunities in Rīga for everyone – events, concerts, tours, museums, parks, restaurants and saloons. There are so many opportunities that it would be impossible for Paddy’s to list all of them here, so here are a couple of links to homepages where we ourselves would look for information:
a) The official Live Riga tourism information portal (www.liveriga.com) has information about major events, various activities in the city, dining and shopping opportunities, accommodations, important tourist destinations that must not be missed, and more.
b) If Rīga is not enough, Latvia has its own official tourism portal, too (www.latvia.travel), with information for travellers, including advice about Rīga.
c) We also enjoy looking at the city from a less than official perspective, and so take a look at the more untraditional stories about Rīga and the advice and views about the city that can be found in blogs on the My Rīga portal (www.manariga.com).
d) The international Like a Local Guide (www.likealocalguide.com/riga) now has a section on Rīga. It offers information only in English, but it discusses very varied opportunities in the city that are appreciated by local residents, too. The content of the section really has been written by people from Rīga.