We visited Riga in mid-August 2012 and had a wonderful time. One of the things that impressed me about Riga was the nightlife. Walking down the street (make sure you have some comfortable walking shoes), live music was pouring from the open restaurant windows. In Vilnius, it is unusual to go to a restaurant which features live music. In Riga, it seemed to be everywhere.
There were many opportunities for outdoor entertainment including cafes, outdoor restaurants, and parks with play areas. While we visiting, there was an outdoor festival going on featuring a variety of musicians and performers.
We had no problem finding good food. One of the places we really enjoyed was called Ribs & Rock. There are two of them in Riga. We were impressed with the delicious ribs and the quality live music. At the time of our visit, the musicians were a talented guitar trio. We were well entertained and well fed.
The Ribs and Rock Website says it all:
“Every big city has a place that specializes in the art of BBQ; in Riga, that place is Ribs&Rock restaurant”.
Where is that place in Vilnius? If Ribs and Rock came to Vilnius, I would be the first in line.
My impression of Riga was that it was a much more active city, perhaps a bit too commercial, but a nice change from sleepy, calm little Vilnius. Definitely worth a return visit.