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Things to do in the cold

Should you get the urge to leave the warm comfort of your sauna this winter, there are plenty of other venues that are sure to keep you warm in Latvia.

Livu Akvaparks

This huge, indoor, wet and wild fun land is suitable for all ages. It is place to take the kids or to simply act like a kid. There is something to do for everyone, whether it be getting an adrenaline rush, trying the various steam rooms, splashing about, or drinking Jamaican rum. Here there is no need to be body conscious, you are more likely tostand out more if you are not wearing Speedos or a bikini. Livu Akvaparks literally rises above the competition — it's the biggest water park in Eastern and Northern Europe, and it's so big that cosmonauts use it for training.

Everybody knows that one of the biggest shopping times is the holiday season and Riga is ready to capitalize on capitalism. Riga now sports many huge new shopping centers, but only Spice however has an indoor Lido restaurant and play center for the kids, for hours of entertainment. You can leave your kids in the enclosed, supervised play areas and shop till you drop. Spice boast many popular stores including Jysk, Zara, The Body Shop, Elkor and more. Domina Shopping Center and Dole shopping center also have a variety of restaurants and niche shops for those unique holiday gifts.

Due to the sub-freezing weather conditions, indoor bowling has evolved into a favorite Baltic pastime. Huge centers such as Bowlero, Zelta Bowling and Boulinga Centrs Meness not only offer bowling but also food, drinks, games, and snooker all in a disco-like atmosphere. Toss Boulinga Halle is the largest bowling center in the Baltics with 24 lanes and even hosted the world bowling championship. Price per lane is about 10Ls but you can stay and bowl the cold day away for as long as you like.

For those seeking more high-brow entertainment that fits the budget, head to The National Opera. This winter, famous operas such as Verdi's Aida, Puccini's Madam Butterfly and Mozart's The Magic Flute are bound to keep you entertained. In the same venue, Tchaikovsky's famous winter ballet The Nutcracker also premieres Nov. 29 and will continue until Christmas.