Gay Guide to Riga

3 min read    37 comments

Gay rights in Riga have a long way to go before the country catches up with its Western European counterparts, so don't pack your bags expecting anything as raucous as the gay scene in Barcelona or Berlin. Though Riga itself is not as deeply Catholic as Vilnius, another Baltic city, it is nevertheless a relatively conservative place politically, and public officials (and of course church officials) have been known to openly speak out against homosexuality and homosexual organizations.

Riga tried to organize its first pride event in 2005, but government and church leaders and even several important public figures denounced the event and homosexuality in general, and the parade went off with more protesters than participants, with eggs, tomatoes, and even faeces being thrown and reports of violence being common. In 2006, the parade was unlawfully banned by the government under the pretext that it would threaten the peace of the country. Even after the ban, a conference was organized by the gay rights group Mozaika instead, but the participants were again faced with protesters throwing faeces and holy water at the participants. Perhaps the greatest sign of change is the fact that this year's Riga Pride Parade was the first one to go off successfully - if you count success as the lack of violence and throwing of faeces. Today, the gay rights groups are better organized and have the support of European officials and participants, and the potential for change and understanding is higher than ever.

 

Above: The 2007 Riga Pride parade, the first successful gay pride march in Riga

Riga's gay and gay-friendly venues:

Bars and Clubs

XXL:
A. Kalnina iela 4
The first and biggest gay club in Riga, XXL features a loud and colourful dance floor, labyrinth, darkroom, and even private video cabins.

Purvs:
Matisa 60/62
Purvs, "The Swamp", is a gay-friendly club popular with straight clients as well.

Accommodation and Tours:

Centrum Gay Hotel:
A. Kalnina iela 4
+371 28861634
Centrum is the only gay hotel in Riga, and is conveniently located next to XXL club and Riga's only gay sauna. The hotel is friendly and discreet with luxurious rooms and includes all the amenities of a high class hotel.

Pink Baltics features several options for gay tours: pinkbaltics.com

Other Services

Varaviksne:
A. Kalnina iela 4
Varaviksne is the first gay sauna in Latvia. It's open daily from 3 pm until 2 am weekdays, and until 7 am Fridays and Saturdays. The sauna has its own bar, and features steam and dry saunas, a jacuzzi, cruising area, cabins and video rooms, and showers. Entrance is 7 Ls for under 25, 10 for over, and the entrance fee includes a towel, and even condom and lubricant.

Latvian GLBT Organizations and Websites:

Mozaika, the main GLBT alliance of Latvia, and organizer of the "March for Equality": mozaika.lv
Latvian Gay Portal: gay.lv
Pink Baltics, the first gay travel company for the Baltics: pinkbaltics.com
ILGA Europe, the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association: ilga-europe.org

If you know of other particularly gay-friendly places in Riga, please let us know; and feel free to post your comments about gay Riga on this page below. We encourage different viewpoints and want to hear your thoughts about the gay cause in Riga and Latvia (though we won't tolerate abusive or hateful comments). For more information about pro-gay organisations and events in Latvia, visit mozaika.lv. We've included a few Lativa-specific GLBT websites above, though a few are only in Latvian. We hope they'll be a helpful resource; if you know of any other helpful websites, let us know as well!

More reading here and here

Comments

Dens
Latvia

XXL Club, Purvs and sauna Varaviksne are all closed. At the moment there are only 2 gay club in Riga: the newest one is TOP Club, that oficially calls themselfes Gay Club (fb.com/TopClubRiga), and Golden - as gay friendly club

Reply Jun 28th, 2017
Sergei
Mexico

Hi Im from Mexico Would like to meet any locals to go out for a coffee or a beer Im 59 yrs old on the medical field, contact me citoglez@hotmail.com

Reply Jun 24th, 2017
Sweden
Sweden

Empty place with old dudes.

Reply May 5th, 2016
Aden
France

the xxl terrible and not safe place. If u want to be agressed and descriminated by local criminal russians u are welcome to XXL. When i was last time the local criminal guys entered each dark room and laughed at gay guys. The security didnt react, so avoid visiting this depressive place

Reply Apr 24th, 2016
RAVI

i am coming to riga in feb, stay there for two years, i am 23 looking for a good gay friend, i am stright, any one for good friend ship contact me ravis225ss@gmail.com

Reply Jan 20th, 2016
Christina
Canada

I'm thinking about coming to Riga with my gay son for a few days next year. I hope he will feel safe there and enjoy Golden. He'd like to make some English-speaking friends. Where could he meet them?

Reply Dec 6th, 2015
Clive Taylor
United Kingdom

I'm a regular visitor to Riga and had a great holiday in Latvia just recently with friends. Visited XXL on Friday night, 5 euros to get in, hardly anyone in, maybe 20 people tops, old fashioned place, hasn't changed since I first went 13 years ago, drinks expensive, vodka and coke 10 euros! Not at all friendly. Went to Golden bar on Thursday night, free to get in, very friendly and not expensive but only five or six people in, then went again on Saturday night and they charged 10 euros just to get in! We decided to go elsewhere for drinks and went into the old town in the bars around the cathedral, had a great time, great music, very chilled and cheap. The gay scene really needs to sort itself out, its such a rip off, not good music and very old fashioned and I'm by no means young. If I thought it was expensive then how do young Latvians afford to go? Latvia and Riga great for a holiday but I wont be going on the gay scene again, its a complete let down!

Reply Sep 19th, 2015
Jeferson Martinez Bustria
Norway

hi everyone :) ill be coming to visit in riga latvia on july 8, 2015. im 25 years old. asian guy but im living in oslo norway. id really love to meet new people. just right a message on my email jmb_143@yahoo.com see you guys.

Reply Jun 23rd, 2015
Richard
United Kingdom

I live in UK and I'm coming fi Riga, my Latvian friends are helping me to learn to ski in the mountains. I'm hoping I might find a gay ski instructor and maybe make friends while I'm there... If you can help or give any advance I like to hear from you.. Thanks Richard you can email me richardluxmoore@gmail.com

Reply Feb 7th, 2015
Louis
France

Mature (50) Gay-fun in Riga in 2015 ! Connect first meeting for a drink. Absolute discretion guaranteed, formal dress code suit (and tie), classic manager looks. Feel free to connect before visiting by email: louisdb69@yahoo.fr

Reply Jan 2nd, 2015
Javier
Mexico

Mexicans visiting Riga on Friday 24 January 2014 , I want to meet some hot boys. :D

Reply Jan 19th, 2014
arny!
Latvia

hy all, who will wisit Latvia in december? you can write me on email arny89@inbox.lv im guy 22y... lets do somthing fun ;)

Reply Dec 21st, 2013
Toro
Turkey

33 years old Turkish top guy visiting Riga in the week time from 12 to 15 th of August, anyone who wants to hang around?

Reply Aug 2nd, 2013
kees
Netherlands

will be in the same period in Riga.. also looking for hot fun... etc.. profile on planetromeo.com/cees2meet

Reply Aug 7th, 2013
Jay
Colombia

I am also in Riga for one night only!!! I will be on Grindr or Scruff TONIGHT!

Reply Aug 12th, 2013
Jonas B
Norway

Anyone else visiting Riga this weekend (27-29 july)?

Reply Jul 24th, 2012
abnce
France

went to the sauna today, it's durty expenseve (12ls and in internet was suppose to be 7 untill 20h....) steamroom didn't work, waste of time and money

Reply Jun 29th, 2012
Manue
Spain

I'm going to Latvia (Letonia in Spanish) next week. You said Golden is the most interesting place, would yo give the address please? Gracias

Reply May 31st, 2012
Moreno
Brazil

I need an invitation code for conect in the Gay.lv, but i haven't mobile from Latvia. How can i get this code? Thanks!

Reply Mar 13th, 2012
Mike
United Kingdom

Went to Golden on my first night and it was amazing! Friendly staff and even more friendly men! Drinks prices are very reasonable and music is brilliant. Went to XXL the second night. It was OK. Drink prices were more expensive than Golden and the men there seemed on the hunt for a 'man for the night' constantly. Overall, brilliant!!!

Reply Aug 1st, 2011
Jim
United Kingdom

Sorry guys, if you think Riga is a catholic city, we can't believe anything you tell us. One can only assume you have never been there.

Reply Jun 28th, 2011
Estonia

I'm 25 years old and was thinking about going to the sauna Varaviksne and club XXL on april 7th in the evening. Is there anything going on?

Reply Apr 7th, 2011
Sebastien Boucher
Canada

I was thinking about going to the sauna Varaviksne on June 7th in the evening. Am I going to have fun?

Reply Apr 6th, 2011
max
Italy

I'll be in latvia from 3rd to 7 june

Reply Apr 5th, 2011
sani
United Kingdom

can any body tell me what can I do for 2 days in Riga, i ll be on 06.06 and 07 of June there and it is during the week, any suggestion?

Reply Mar 30th, 2011
Sebastien Boucher
Canada

I'll be in Riga in June 6th and 7th. Any suggestions as I'll be in town on a Monday and Tuesday night? I'm a young and nice Canadian.

Reply Mar 28th, 2011
Andreas J
United States

Purvs doesnt exist anymore (thanks god for that)and Golden is litle more popular than XXL at the moment. But XXL is bigger and they have lowered the price on drinks now, so for guys XXL is better than Golden. When I visit Riga I start at Golden and somewhere between 1 and 2 0`clock I go to XXL.

Reply Nov 1st, 2010
silly and wolf
Germany

y..we are for 4 weeks (starting) from 16.10.2010 in Riga, aged 44 and 42 and we looking for some swinger fun (cpl straight and cpl bi)..perhaps s.o can give us some advice..we living in a hotel..and looking forward

Reply Oct 10th, 2010
Kriss
Latvia

I m living in Riga! Best here is Golden bar (It is like club) ;)Not xxl!

Reply Feb 11th, 2010
albert
Saudi Arabia

me and my group were in riga just a week ago (15-19 july) and we were looking for gay venues and found none. though Latvian boys are hot specially the ones driving this tricycle tourist vehicle all around the old town for tourist joyride. I've talked with some one named chris or is it kriss? is that you? if you are, then I love to meet you again next time I come there.

Reply Jul 28th, 2014
Martin
Canada

This is a nice website perhaps you could remove the first comment on here as it is very unfriendly?

Reply Feb 7th, 2010
mica
United Kingdom

hi i m going to riga with my best latvian friend and i m lil bit scared about the population s reaction first for being openly gay and also having a mixed race color(black-arabian) so i m sorry for being straight forward to my point but i seriously need some advice on my problem,thx in advance

Reply Oct 16th, 2009
Pelle
Sweden

I am not from Riga, but I know there is a place called Golden bar. It is a mixed place, but mostly gay. Never been ther, though.

Reply Sep 8th, 2009
alex
United Kingdom

hey its a great page but i was sure there is more places to go too.....is it only xxl and purvs????as im bringin 12 english friends with me in the middle of august gotta show them the gay scene in capital please some1 get back to me:)cheers alex

Reply Jul 16th, 2008
Alexander
United States

You should correct your comment about Riga not being as Catholic as Vilnius. 80% of Latvians are Lutherans and 20% are Catholic from the southeast of the country where they are known as Latigals. The Slavic population is Orthodox. This says nothing about acutal church attendance which is quite low.

Reply Mar 13th, 2008
Sam
India

am going to visit latvia. any idea of good gay places to visit?

Reply Jan 16th, 2008
Erik
Latvia

Hi thanks so much for this page its very helpful! Please add more clubs if there are any!

Reply Nov 21st, 2007