Treat yourself to the 3 best museums of Riga

As a recent European capital of culture, Riga, the capital of Latvia has been investing in several of its museums lately to turn them into the some of the best up-to-date museums. I recommend those three as a must see for your Riga visit: The Riga Bourse Art Museum, Latvian Museum of Art, and Riga Motor Museum. The latter two were opened after reconstruction just in 2016. The Riga Bourse Art Museum and Latvian Museum of Art are located in the buildings of high historical and architectural value and are worth seeing just because of that. Those two are in easy reach by foot from the Old town.

The Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA)

The building of the museum holds just as much cultural and historical significance as thousands of works of art that it houses. The building dates back to the early 1900’s and is highly regarded as an architectural monument of the style known as historicism, representing the city’s heritage.30 latvian museum national art 1070693

It was the first building in the Baltics designed especially for the museum.The façade demonstrates a classical baroque style showing sculptural details and ornamentation. The core of the new visual identity of the museum is its striking evening illumination, a play with the hidden and the obvious. Visitors have access to the museum’s attic and cupola and the two newly designed roof terraces that offer a panoramic view of Riga. Exquisite Art Nouveau elements decorate the staircase railings. The sweeping marble staircase and the red carpet in the Museum's atrium provide you with a VIP welcome an art-lover deserves, and the exhibits themselves are very impressive too.

31 latvian museum national art 107070332 latvian museum national art 107071234 latvian museum national art 107072036 latvian museum national art 107076037 latvian museum national art 1070791LNMA’s permanent exposition provides for a comprehensive overview of the Latvian art of the 19th and 20th centuries. This collection is located in the museum’s historical building on two levels, placed chronologically according to the style of work. It reflects the overall development of art in Latvia, with emphasis on the masterpieces of each period.

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Included into the permanent exhibition are the artwork from 1945-2000, the Soviet occupation years and the 90’s. Exhibitions of contemporary Latvian artists Boriss Bērziņš (1930 – 2002) and Miervaldis Polis (1948) were placed in the new block of the museum after its reopening.

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The room dedicated to the Roerich father and son is on its own worth the entrance fee. These two wanderers went off to India and found enlightenment before developing their distinctive style.
Museum restaurant invites for a nice meal.

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Address: 1 Janis Rozentāls Square. The museum is closed on Mondays.

The Riga Bourse Art Museum

The museum is located in the Riga Bourse building that is an architectural monument of national importance. The building was constructed in the middle of the 19th century praising Venetian Renaissance palazzo forms that symbolize wealth and abundance. The building was designed by an architect of German origin Harald Julius von Bosse (1812-1894).

1 riga bourse museum 11909722 riga bourse museum 119094722 riga bourse museum 1190942After its successful reconstruction about 5 years ago, the Art Museum Riga Bourse now houses a lot of rooms on its six floors. There are modern exhibition halls, various expositions, the “Small School” for children, seminar and conference rooms, museum souvenir and art catalogue shop, as well as a café.

25 riga bourse museum 1190950The Riga Bourse stores the largest collection of foreign art in Latvia. The collection was started by Riga’s council members, mayors and traders in the 19th century. The Riga Bourse museum is positioned as a point of cultural exchange where excellence is more important than national origin.
The museum has four permanent expositions.
Egyptian mummy
In the safe room of the Eastern Gallery, you can see the popular exhibition of Ancient Egyptian art, which includes an Egyptian mummy in a wooden sarcophagus, the only one in Latvia.
Northern European School of Painting
Painting Gallery was created by putting the best-quality 16—19th century works in a chronological order, according to nation and genre. The collection offers predominantly Dutch, Flemish and German art. Examples of the 17th century Northern European School of Paining are the pride of the collection.

8 riga bourse museum 11908739 riga bourse museum 1190876Porcelain and its collectors in Riga
The Western Gallery is dedicated to the exquisite Western European 18—20 century porcelain collection and stories about the collectors themselves. The 19th century atmosphere permeating this gallery is intentional, as this century is the time when the interiors of the building were created as well as the heydey of collecting among Riga’s Germans.

7 riga bourse museum 1190871Oriental Art
The Oriental Gallery houses the voluminous collection of art from the Middle and Far East. The museum can be proud of holding the collection that is the largest one in Latvia, and one of the largest in the Baltics. The traditional art of Japan, China, India and Indonesia is broadly represented.

13 riga bourse museum 1190892The 1st floor halls have been turned into modern exhibition halls offering international exhibitions.

3 riga bourse museum 119093715 riga bourse museum 1190904The museum offers audio guide services in Latvian, English, and Russian. Don’t miss the cosy museum’s café with local pastry.

27 riga bourse museum 1190953Address: 6 Dome Square. The museum is closed on Mondays.

Riga Motor Museum

This museum’s roots lie in the Antique Automobile Club of Latvia’s traditions, with its members’ enthusiasm and passion towards antique vehicles that are both an aesthetic value and a part of cultural heritage. It led to opening Riga Motor Museum in 1989. After a major reconstruction, the museum has gained modernised exposition space, a comfortable and enjoyable environment, as well as accessibility for all visitors. In July 2016 the museum opened after reconstruction for everyone.

50 riga motor museum 1180357The Riga Motor Museum hosts the largest and the most modern antique vehicle collection in the Baltics. The museum’s collection is located on three floors and covers more than 4000 square meters. The museum exhibition is organized in a form of an exciting interactive story about unique vehicles, notable persons and the most significant events in the history of the automotive industry, complemented by modern multimedia technologies.
The museum showcases more than a hundred unique antique vehicles and the collection is enriched with several significant acquisitions. Among the newest additions are the «Benz Patent Motorwagen» replica, the Czech pride «Tatra 87» manufactured in 1949, and the result of the joint effort of Austrians and Germans — cabriolet «Steyr 220 Gläser Sport Cabrio» made in 1938. Then again, there are «Krastin auto» — a car created by Latvian Augusts Krastins in 1903 in USA, «Cadillac V8» of 1930 or the «twin» of the car of president Kārlis Ulmanis, and others.

51 riga motor museum 118036353 riga motor museum 118036854 riga motor museum 118037855 riga motor museum 118038156 riga motor museum 118049658 riga motor museum 118040959 riga motor museum 118042060 riga motor museum 118043163 riga motor museum 118045964 riga motor museum 118046665 riga motor museum 1180468Historical vehicles displayed in a modern way make a visit to Riga Motor Museum an exciting way to spend a day exploring them. To ensure diverse and dynamic work, the museum has a separate exhibition hall and a modern conference hall. For the comfort and enjoyment of visitors, there is a café and a kids’ area.

67 riga motor museum 1180522Address: S. Eizenšteina Street 8. Open daily.

Read also my post about Riga’s Art Nouveau architecture.

  • Published by Anita on February 25, 2017

    Author: Anita Sane

    Anita 03 18

    About the author
    Anita is a part-time traveller, passionate photographer and a retired career woman from Latvia, 
    travelling mostly solo for more than 15 years. She is a skilled travel planner who plans and executes her travels by herself. Anita wants to show you how to travel the world and open your mind to new experiences. Follow her on FacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter and Bloglovin.





    Typically, I don't love visiting museums, but these look gorgeous! The architecture along on some of them makes it worthwhile!
    Nice photos, loved the cars especially.
    I didn't know Riga has beautiful museums. Im not much of a museum goer but these 3 museums look wonderful.Thanks for sharing this as I include this in my next trip to eastern Europe. Also, I love your photos. Great jobAnna from
    What a great place to go. Riga is on my list and I'll make sure to go visit some of these museums when being there. Great pics! Thanks for sharing!
    Amazing pics! Seems like you had a great time there.The old car museum seems really interesting :)
    These are three great museums each appear worthy of a visit. I will surely be returning to Latvia so will look forward to enjoying each one. I especially like the art museum and would enjoy seeing all the vintage automobiles. Very nice post.
    Shane Prather
    The old fashioned cars are so neat! Makes me wish I had one of my own to drive around. Loved all the accents on the interior of the beautiful buildings.
    A really interesting insight into the museums of Riga, Latvia. I've never been to the Baltic states, and this post has shown it looks definitely worth a visit. How architecturally stunning!
    These three museums look all beautiful and seem full of interesting things to see! I always snob the motor museums but when I see the pictures you took from the Riga one, I realize that I really shouldn't!!
    Great post! To be honest Latvia is a European country I have never thought of visiting! Thanks for broadening my horizons!Kristi e (you.theworld.wandering)
    I must admit, although I live in Riga, have been to none of these museums :( I must fix that soon! I also just recently learned about the Art Nouveau museum in Riga, and must visit that some day too! Studied next door to it, apparently, but never knew it existed (or, perhaps, not back then?).
    Beautiful pictures and helpful information. These museums are lovely, thanks for sharing!
    Riga seems so interesting! All of the architecture looks beautiful! My mom has been a few times, so i'll have to go with her next time she makes the trip!
    The photographs are just so mesmerizing. Riga has been on my destination list for some time. There is just so much of the world left to travel!

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