Yes you can officially drop the empty shelves cliche of the old Eastern bloc - it's about twenty years out of date after all. These days you'll find Riga offers all the variety and quality you would expect of a city approaching 1 million in size, and you can have plenty of fun shopping for familiar brands in spanking new shopping centres. Be warned however that Western labels are something of a status symbol in Latvia and as such they can be more expensive than back home. Bargain hunters might prefer to see what reputable national stores offer - or for real cut price deals check out the Riga Central Market.
In Riga you can find almost all well-known European labels. Compact location of shopping centres, quality service and ongoing sales make Riga a good place for nice and price-wise shopping.
In Riga you can find such popular brands as Alberta Ferretti, ARMANI, Baldinini, Betty Barclay, Brioni, Burberry, Boss, Boss Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Christian Lacroix, Dolce&Gabbana, Emilio Pucci, Emporio Armani, Furla, Gaetano Navarra, Gucci, Guess, Gerry Weber, GF Ferre, Iceberg, Jean Paul Gaultier, Moschino, La Perla, Lloyd, Marithe+Francois Girbaud, Marni, Max Mara Moschino, Pollini, Roberto Verino, Trussardi Jeans, Valentino, ZARA.
Main shopping spots in the Old Town are Valnu street (from Gunpowder Tower to Hotel de Rome) and adjacent Basteja Pasaza (Basteja Passage) with huge concentration of fashion shops and famous brands’ boutiques. Jekaba Kazarmas (Jacob’s Barracks) houses mostly souvenir shops where you can buy amber jewellery. Galerija Centrs (Center Gallery) is a shopping arcade in the center of the Old Town (more than 100 shops, mainly tax-free). Nearby there are small streets Tirgonu and Laipu with art galleries and souvenir and antiques shops.
In the center: Elizabetes street (from Kr. Valdemara str. to Marijas str.) with fashion shops, shopping arcade in Reval Hotel Latvia and shopping “town within city” - Berga Bazars (Berg’s Bazaar) near Kr.Barona street. Terbatas street is an excellent place for buying footwear and clothes. There you can find boutiques of well-known brands. Many shops are also located on the main street of Riga - Brivibas. Origo and Stockmann shopping centers are near the Central Railway Station.
Kristap Bergs, a real estate pioneer of the 19th century, was the man responsible for the original incarnation of 'Berga Bazars'. Today's visitor will find all manner of funky boutiques and upmarket furniture stores, not to mention the prestigious Hotel Bergs and even the odd angling shop in the confines of the Parisian arcade. If you're not in a retail mood however then we recommend you drop into D'Artanjans or the Light Bar for some liquid refreshment.
Like most new or recently renovated shopping centres in Riga seem to be, Galerija Centrs is Norwegian-owned, Western-styled, and includes a food court and grocery store. Galerija Centrs' advantage, however, is its central location in the Old Town, where during Soviet times it served as the city's main department store. Nowadays, its shelves are overstocked and variety is abundant, as are escalators and shops. Though right now it's just two stories in a historic Old Town building, renovations are planned for the future, making Galerija Centrs a modern four level shopping centre with a gym and fitness centre, as well as a glass-covered passage featuring shops, cafes and restaurants.
The Domina shopping centre is located next to Zemitans Bridge, across the river from the Old Town. It calls itself the "biggest shopping centre of its kind in Latvia," though Alfa Centrs might need to wrestle them for that title. Nonetheless, if size indeed matters, then Domina rules, with 110,000 square metres of brand-name fashion, footwear, and lifestyle choices under one gi-normous roof.
This Finnish version of Sears or Harrods sprawls out on four floors of fabulous shopping. Stockmann features men's, women's, and youth clothing and footwear, as well as tableware, home textiles, toys, appliances, cosmetics, a flower shop, and a fully stocked grocery store and deli.
Heralded French shoe designer, Stephane Kelian, has opened his first boutique in the Baltics, much to the delight of Latvian sole sisters. The Gallic wizard of clogs is loved by women around the world for his funky, fresh and yet elegantly designed footwear. In fact each pair comes with a money-back guarantee to draw gasps of 'oooh, where did you get those shoes?' Head down to see the latest concepts that have made their way down from the drawing boards to the streets.
Famous Latvian jewellers Inita and Vitauts Straupe are the couple behind this intriguing gallery, which has welcomed the likes of Hilary Clinton and Queen Margaret of Denmark. They reproduce classic Baltic and Scandinavian designs, as well as developing their own wholly original products. At their gallery you can purchase everything from metal and amber work to textiles, pottery and even CDs of Latvian music.