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In Riga there's no need to even think about getting a cab. The place may seem huge, but the city center (both old and new) is actually quite compact. Rather take a tram and head to the suburbs to see the 'ugly' side of Riga. Although most of the natives live in the city, be sure not to miss the surroundings. If you're not interested in making the obvious choice (Jürmala) you might want to try Sigulda or Turaida instead. Or if you're tired of the Latvians, reasonably prised busses operate to Vilnius several times a day.
Walking through the largest Baltic city opens a broader perspective on the history of Europe in the world. Riga actually is a lovely city and home of quite a lot amiable people who are even more European than the majority of the citizens of several other countries in 'the old Europe'. A free Riga Tour starts every day at 12.00pm in front of the St. Peters Church. Look out for the yellow suitcase! I can recommend this tour as it covers loads of exciting places off the tourist paths.
Outside the center is the Victory Monument representing the soviet style of building monumental statues. Getting there is a great adventure: we took a tram across the river and tried to step off at the right stop. The monument is worth seeing, if for no other reason than to go outside the touristy old town...
Nice place to stop at, good dining and wining. Be sure to check out the sky bar at the top of hotel Reval. We rented a limo to drive around, since it was quite inexpensive. Some of the bed&breakfast places can be quite rugged, so try not to choose from the cheapest end.
You can go for a river cruise on the boats in Riga. Nothing much to see (except the old town which is better explored on foot) but they sell cheap vodka and let you bring your own drinks too. That's quite a good way of starting the night. :)
A visit to the Jurmala beach is a must if you're in Riga. Take the local train here, it will take you about a half an hour. Tons of people and very, very many beautiful and thin girls. You will twist your neck. Trust me.
Hundreds of beautiful old "datchas" are worth seeing. Also, the local food is excellent (and cheap!) no matter which restauran you choose. Sun-lovers: don't forget to visit the 12km-long beach with fine, golden sand.
Before you go download the Riga In Your Pocket city guide for free from http://riga.inyourpocket.com or grab a hard copy when you are there.
A nice statue that you can't miss if you're walking in Riga. It seems to be a popular hangout for local youngsters.
I visited this hostel in the old location but if the spirit (and the staff) is still the same - great youth hostel!