The Shortest Shopping Street!
One of the quaintest of all streets in Riga’s Old Town is only 70-meters long, but jam-packed among the cobblestones are a variety of one-of-a-kind shops that could keep you occupied for hours. Laipu iela, which literally translates as “Footbridge Street,” connects Livu Laukums (Livs Sqaure) with Skunu iela (Barn Street). This little lane dates back to the 13th century, and it was originally known as Steku iela (Truncheon Street); it was only in 1923 that the name was changed to Laipu iela. While originally a river ran through Livu Laukums, this meant that Laipu iela was at the very edge of the city of Riga, thus the Iron Monk Gates were located at the end of the street. There was also a Franciscan cloister here.
Nowadays the street is located precisely in the epicenter of the Old Town. You can find everything here from souvenir shops and galleries to private apartments and businesses – just don’t let the strip club on the corner deter you! By day the hustle and bustle of shoppers and sightseers keeps this street alive, and by night, the merry reveling of party-goers keeps residents up a night…especially in summer, when the music and noise of Livu Laukums floats through the alley to their windows. While there are plenty of places to shop and stock up on souvenirs in the Old Town, Laipu iela warrants special attention. It may take you more time than you think to make it through this road’s meager 70 meters!