What to do in Rio? The 15 Best Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro

June 13, 2024
What to do in rio de janeiro?

Rio de Janeiro, often simply referred to as Rio, is one of the most iconic cities in the world, renowned for its stunning natural beauty, vibrant culture, and lively atmosphere. Nestled between lush mountains and the azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Rio is famous for its breathtaking landscapes, including the iconic Sugarloaf Mountain and the Christ the Redeemer statue, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Known as the “Cidade Maravilhosa” or “Marvelous City,” Rio de Janeiro captivates visitors with its rhythmic samba music, lively festivals, and the world-famous Carnival (Portuguese: Carnaval), a dazzling display of costumes, parades, and dance. The city’s beautiful beaches, such as Copacabana and Ipanema, are celebrated globally, attracting millions of international visitors every year.

Numerous international stars have visited Rio and expressed their admiration for its beauty and charm. Madonna, the Queen of Pop, has praised Rio for its vibrant energy and stunning scenery, describing it as one of her favorite cities. Actor Will Smith has also expressed his love for Rio, particularly enjoying the warmth and hospitality of its people.

Supermodel Gisele Bündchen, a native Brazilian, often highlights Rio’s unique blend of natural beauty and urban excitement in her global endorsements of the city. Additionally, singer Beyoncé has shared her experiences of Rio’s captivating culture and breathtaking vistas, further cementing the city’s reputation as a must-visit destination.

Rio de Janeiro continues to enchant visitors from around the world, offering an unparalleled experience that combines natural wonders, cultural richness, and a spirit of joy and celebration that is truly infectious.

If you’re planning a trip to Rio de Janeiro, you’ve come to the right place! This definitive guide to Rio de Janeiro will provide you with all the information about what to do in Rio de Janeiro.

What to do in Rio de Janeiro?

Rio de Janeiro truly offers something for everyone, blending its famous tourist spots with local secrets that provide a deeper connection to the city’s culture and lifestyle. Whether you’re basking on the beach, marveling at natural wonders, or enjoying the rich music and food scenes, Rio promises an unforgettable experience.

From its world-famous beaches to sophisticated hotels and restaurants, here’s a detailed guide to exploring Rio, featuring both iconic tourist spots and hidden gems that locals cherish.

1. Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentor)

This iconic statue is a must-see, offering breathtaking views of the city from the top of Corcovado Mountain, standing at 38m (125ft) tall, the open-armed Christ the Redeemer (Portuguese: Cristo Redentor) gazes out over Rio with a placid expression on his well-crafted face. The mountain rises straight up from the city to 710m (2329ft), and at night the brightly lit statue – all 1145 tons of him – is visible from nearly every part of the city.

It’s the sight that most quickly comes to mind when you think of Rio de Janeiro, and this incredible feat of engineering draws millions of visitors every year. Is there anyone who goes to Rio and doesn’t have a photo of themselves, arms spread open, in front of the Big Jesus statue?

How to Get There?

There are a few ways to get to Cristo Redentor including by van, train, and hiking. To avoid the peak crowds, either head up first thing at 8am, or wait until the end of the day when all of the tour groups will have departed.

What to Expect?

Look up close and see the soapstone tiles that form Cristo Redentor. The view of the city from where it stands is an experience in itself. Perched up in the clouds, surrounded by dense jungle, and looking down on the city below, standing atop the granite peak really does create a sense of magic.

Tips for Visiting

  • Cost: Varies based on transport
  • Time spent: 1 hour max at top, hike required 2+ hours each way.
  • Best for: First-time visitors to Rio

The iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer can be seen from almost anywhere in Rio. But seeing it towering above you and the view of the city from where it stands is an experience in itself.

2. Lage Park (Parque Lage)

Close to Christ the Redeemer, one of Rio’s hidden gems is the Parque Lage. This beautiful park, located at the foot of Corcovado Mountain, is often overlooked by tourists who flock to the famous statue above. Here’s why Parque Lage is worth a visit:

  • The park features a stunning 19th-century mansion that houses the Escola de Artes Visuais (School of Visual Arts). The mansion’s courtyard, with its picturesque pool and view of Christ the Redeemer above, is a tranquil and picturesque spot, perfect for photography and relaxation.
  • Inside the mansion, you’ll find Plage Café, a charming café that serves delicious breakfast and brunch. It’s an ideal spot to relax with a cup of coffee and enjoy the surroundings.
  • Parque Lage is part of the Tijuca National Park, so it’s rich with native flora and fauna. You might encounter monkeys, toucans, and various other wildlife as you explore the park.
  • For the adventurous, there are hiking trails that start in Parque Lage and lead up to Christ the Redeemer. This hike can be challenging but rewarding, offering stunning views and a sense of accomplishment upon reaching the top.

Parque Lage is conveniently located in the Jardim Botânico neighborhood, not far from the base of Corcovado Mountain. It’s accessible by car, taxi, or public transportation, and it’s a great addition to a day of sightseeing around Christ the Redeemer.

Visiting Parque Lage offers a peaceful and enriching experience, providing a perfect balance to the more crowded and well-known attractions in Rio de Janeiro.

3. Sugarloaf Mountain (Pão de Açúcar)

Sugarloaf Mountain (Portuguese: Pão de Açúcar) is a spectacular sight even when you admire it from a distance, but when you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking panorama of Rio.

From the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain, you’ll enjoy 360-degree views of Rio de Janeiro, including iconic landmarks such as Christ the Redeemer, Copacabana Beach, Ipanema Beach, and the expansive Guanabara Bay. The views are particularly stunning at sunset.

The journey to the top is part of the adventure. The Sugarloaf cable car (Portuguese: bondinho) takes visitors from the base at Praia Vermelha to the summit in two stages, first to Morro da Urca and then to Sugarloaf Mountain. The glass-walled cable cars offer spectacular views during the ascent and descent.

Sugarloaf Mountain has been an important landmark since the founding of Rio de Janeiro. The cable car, inaugurated in 1912, is one of the oldest in the world and offers a glimpse into the history of the city’s development.

Tips for Visiting

  • Arrive Early or Late: To avoid crowds and enjoy the best lighting for photos, visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: There’s some walking involved, especially if you explore both Morro da Urca and Sugarloaf Mountain.
  • Bring a Camera: The panoramic views are incredible, so make sure to capture the moment.
  • Weather Check: Check the weather forecast before you go. Clear days offer the best views.
  • Stay Hydrated and Protected: Bring water and wear sunscreen, as the sun can be intense.
  • Combine with Nearby Attractions: Plan to visit nearby Praia Vermelha, the Urca neighborhood, or the Claudio Coutinho Trail to make the most of your trip.


  • Cable Car Ticket: Prices for the round-trip cable car ride may vary, so check the official website for up-to-date information and discounts.

Time Spent

  • Duration: Plan to spend about 2 to 3 hours to fully enjoy the cable car rides, explore the viewpoints, and take in the scenery. If you combine the visit with nearby attractions, you might spend up to half a day in the area.

Best For

  • Photographers: The views and landscapes are perfect for photography.
  • Families: The cable car ride and views are enjoyable for all ages.
  • Nature Lovers: The surrounding natural beauty and panoramic vistas are breathtaking.
  • First-Time Visitors: As one of Rio’s iconic landmarks, it’s a must-see for anyone visiting the city for the first time.
  • Adventure Seekers: For those interested in rock climbing, there are various routes up the mountain for different skill levels.

4. Urca Neighborhood (Urca)

  • The charming Urca neighborhood, where Sugarloaf Mountain is located, offers quaint streets, historic buildings, and a laid-back vibe. Take a stroll along the Urca waterfront, visit the old Urca Casino, and enjoy the local ambiance.
  • Mureta da Urca is a popular spot along the Urca waterfront, perfect for enjoying the sunset with a beer or a traditional caipirinha in hand. Locals and visitors alike gather here to take in the views and relax by the water.

5. Tijuca National Park (Parque da Tijuca)

Tijuca National Park is one of the largest urban forests in the world, offering a lush, green escape from the bustling city of Rio de Janeiro. The park is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, stunning waterfalls, scenic viewpoints, and historic sites. Visitors can enjoy hiking trails, picnic areas, and the chance to see wildlife such as monkeys, toucans, and butterflies. The park also encompasses the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, which provides breathtaking panoramic views of the city.

Tips for Visiting

  • Bring Essentials: Carry water, snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat to protect against the sun.
  • Start Early: Begin your visit early in the day to avoid the midday heat and to have more time to explore.
  • Guided Tours: Consider taking a guided tour to learn more about the park’s history, wildlife, and vegetation.
  • Respect Nature: Stay on marked trails, don’t disturb wildlife, and carry out all trash to keep the park pristine.


  • Entrance Fee: Free. However, there may be costs associated with specific attractions within the park, such as the Corcovado train to Christ the Redeemer.

Time Spent

  • Duration: Depending on your interests, you can spend anywhere from a few hours to a full day exploring the park. Hikes can range from short, easy walks to longer, more strenuous trails.

Best For

  • Nature Lovers: The park’s diverse ecosystems and scenic beauty make it ideal for those who love nature and outdoor activities.
  • Hikers: Various trails cater to different skill levels, from beginners to experienced hikers.
  • Families: The park offers family-friendly trails and picnic areas.
  • Wildlife Enthusiasts: Opportunities to see a variety of wildlife in their natural habitat.
  • Photographers: Beautiful landscapes, waterfalls, and wildlife provide excellent photography opportunities.

6. Copacabana Beach (Praia de Copacabana)

Copacabana Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world, known for its vibrant atmosphere, stunning crescent-shaped shoreline, and lively promenade. Visitors can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, beach volleyball, and a variety of water sports. The area is lined with hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops, making it a bustling hub of activity day and night.

Tips for Visiting

  • Safety First: Keep an eye on your belongings as the beach can get crowded, and petty theft can occur.
  • Stay Hydrated and Protected: Bring water, sunscreen, and a hat. The sun can be very strong, especially during midday.
  • Beach Gear: Rent chairs and umbrellas from local vendors to stay comfortable while you relax.
  • Local Snacks: Try local beach snacks such as açaí bowls, queijo coalho (grilled cheese on a stick), and fresh coconuts.
  • Evening Strolls: The beach promenade, with its iconic black and white wave-patterned tiles, is perfect for evening walks.
  • Join the Locals: Engage in a game of beach volleyball or football to experience the local beach culture.
  • Beachfront Bars: Enjoy a drink at one of the many beachfront kiosks that offer refreshing beverages and snacks with a view.


  • Beach Access: Free.
  • Rentals: Chairs and umbrellas can be rented. Prices for food and drinks vary, with many affordable options.

Time Spent

  • Duration: Depending on your interests, you can spend anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day at the beach. Relaxing, swimming, and exploring the nearby attractions can easily fill your day.

Best For

  • Beach Lovers: Perfect for those who love spending time by the sea, enjoying water sports, or simply relaxing.
  • Fitness Enthusiasts: The beach offers space for running, cycling, and beach sports.
  • Tourists: An essential stop for first-time visitors to Rio, providing a quintessential Brazilian beach experience.
  • Nightlife Seekers: The area comes alive at night with numerous bars and clubs along the promenade.

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7. Ipanema Beach (Praia de Ipanema)

Ipanema Beach is renowned for its upscale atmosphere, stunning natural beauty, and vibrant cultural scene. Known from the famous song “The Girl from Ipanema,” this beach offers golden sands, clear waters, and a lively promenade lined with trendy bars, restaurants, and shops. It’s a great spot for sunbathing, swimming, surfing, and people-watching.

A Hub for LGBTQ visitors, Posto 9 is famous for being one of the most LGBTQ-friendly areas in Rio. It’s a vibrant, welcoming spot where everyone can feel comfortable and enjoy the beach atmosphere.

The area is known for its inclusive and open-minded vibe, attracting a diverse crowd. You’ll find a lively mix of locals and tourists enjoying the sun, sea, and social scene.

Tips for Visiting

  • Prime Spots: The beach is divided into several sections, or “postos,” with Posto 9 being the most famous for its lively and diverse crowd. Posto 10 is popular with sports enthusiasts.
  • Surfing and Sports: Ipanema offers good surfing conditions, particularly at the western end near Arpoador. Volleyball and football are also popular.
  • Shopping and Dining: Visit the nearby streets for high-end boutiques, artisanal shops, and excellent dining options. The Feira Hippie de Ipanema (Hippie Fair) on Sundays is great for souvenirs.
  • Safety Tips: Keep an eye on your belongings and avoid bringing valuables to the beach.


  • Beach Access: Free.
  • Rentals: Chairs and umbrellas are available for rent. Prices for food and drinks vary, with many affordable options available from beach vendors.

Time Spent

  • Duration: Depending on your preferences, you can spend a few hours to a full day at Ipanema Beach. Relaxing, participating in sports, and exploring the nearby area can easily occupy an entire day.

Best For

  • Young Adults and Couples: The trendy and lively atmosphere is perfect for socializing and enjoying the beach scene.
  • Surf Enthusiasts: Ipanema offers excellent surfing conditions, especially near Arpoador.
  • Fashion and Shopping Lovers: The nearby streets are filled with stylish boutiques and shops.
  • Foodies: Numerous beachside bars and restaurants offer a wide range of local and international cuisine.

8. Arpoador

Located between Ipanema and Copacabana beaches, Arpoador is a famous spot to watch the sunset. The rock formation juts out into the ocean, providing an unparalleled vantage point. It’s a local tradition to applaud as the sun sets, celebrating the beauty of the moment with everyone around.

Arpoador can get quite crowded in the evenings, especially on weekends. Arriving early ensures you get a good spot to sit and enjoy the view. Be cautious as the rocks can be slippery, especially after rain.

9. Selarón Steps (Escadaria Selarón)

The Selarón Steps, also known as “Escadaria da Lapa”, are a must-see for any traveler visiting Rio de Janeiro. Created by Chilean artist Jorge Selarón, these vibrant steps in Lapa neighborhood are adorned with thousands of colorful tiles from around the world. Located in Lapa, the steps are a stunning and unique work of art.

The steps are a tribute to Brazilian culture and the artist’s journey in his adopted homeland, Brazil. Visiting the Selarón Steps adds a cultural and artistic dimension to your exploration of Rio de Janeiro, making it a perfect complement to a day spent at Sugarloaf Mountain.

Tips for Visiting

  • Best Time to Visit: Early morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat and crowds. This also provides the best lighting for photos.
  • Explore the Neighborhood: Lapa is known for its nightlife and bohemian atmosphere, while Santa Teresa offers charming streets, local art studios, and historical buildings.
  • Bring a Camera: The vibrant colors and intricate designs of the tiles make for excellent photo opportunities.
  • Respect the Art: While it’s okay to touch and admire the tiles, avoid damaging or removing them.


  • Free: There is no cost to visit and explore the Selarón Steps.

Time Spent

  • Duration: Plan to spend about 1 to 2 hours exploring the steps and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Best For

  • Art Enthusiasts: The Selarón Steps are a remarkable piece of public art.
  • Photographers: The colorful tiles provide a vibrant backdrop for photography.
  • Culture Seekers: Learn about the artist’s story and the cultural significance of the steps.
  • Explorers: Combine your visit with a stroll through the Lapa and Santa Teresa neighborhoods to fully experience the local culture.

10. Maracanã Stadium

Maracanã Stadium, officially known as Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho, is one of the most famous football stadiums in the world. Located in Rio de Janeiro, it has hosted numerous historic matches, including World Cup finals and Olympic events. Visitors can expect a thrilling experience, whether attending a live football match, taking a guided tour, or exploring the on-site museum. The stadium’s vast size and electric atmosphere make it a must-see for sports fans.

Visiting Maracanã Stadium is an exhilarating experience that combines the thrill of football with a deep dive into Brazilian sports culture. Whether you’re attending a match or exploring the stadium’s history, it’s a memorable stop on any Rio de Janeiro itinerary.

Tips for Visiting

  • Attend a Match: If possible, try to attend a football match to experience the vibrant atmosphere and passionate fans.
  • Guided Tours: Take a guided tour to learn about the stadium’s rich history, see the locker rooms, the pitch, and the VIP areas. Tours often include access to the Maracanã Museum.
  • Book in Advance: Purchase tickets for matches or tours in advance, especially for high-profile games or events, to avoid long lines or sold-out situations.
  • Wear Team Colors: If attending a match, wear the colors of the home team to blend in with the local fans and enhance the experience.
  • Safety: Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas. It’s best to take public transportation or a taxi to the stadium.


  • Match Tickets: Prices vary depending on the match and seating category.
  • Stadium Tour: Discounts may be available for students, seniors, and children.

Time Spent

  • Duration: Attending a match typically takes around 3 to 4 hours, including pre- and post-match activities. Stadium tours usually last about 1 to 2 hours.

Best For

  • Football Fans: A dream destination for football enthusiasts wanting to experience the sport’s history and excitement.
  • Sports Enthusiasts: Those interested in sports history and major sporting venues.
  • Families: An educational and exciting outing for children and adults alike.
  • Tourists: A must-see attraction for anyone visiting Rio, offering a unique glimpse into Brazilian culture.

11. Lapa Arches (Arcos da Lapa)

The Lapa Arches, or Arcos da Lapa, are an iconic architectural landmark in Rio de Janeiro. Originally an aqueduct built in the mid-18th century, the structure now serves as a bridge for the Santa Teresa Tram, connecting the downtown area to the bohemian neighborhood of Santa Teresa. The arches are a popular spot for both tourists and locals, known for their historical significance and as the heart of Rio’s vibrant nightlife scene.

Lapa is the center of a vibrant night scene in Rio, with dozens of music clubs, bars, and old-fashioned restaurants along its avenues. Don’t miss the chance to visit Rio Scenarium, the most popular Brazilian club that features three stories, vintage decor, and a long list of craft cocktails. Other popular bars and nightclubs include Leviano, known for its variety of music ranging from samba to rock.

Tips for Visiting

  • Best Time to Visit: Visit during the evening to experience the lively nightlife, with numerous bars, restaurants, and live music venues. Daytime visits are also great for appreciating the architectural beauty and taking photos.
  • Safety: Lapa can get crowded, especially at night. Stay aware of your surroundings, keep your belongings secure, and avoid isolated areas.
  • Tram Ride: Take a ride on the historic Santa Teresa Tram that crosses the arches for a unique perspective of the structure and a scenic journey through the Santa Teresa neighborhood.
  • Nightlife: Explore the nearby streets, especially Rua do Lavradio, known for its vibrant bars and clubs offering live samba and other music genres.
  • Photography: Bring your camera to capture the stunning arches, especially when they are illuminated at night.


  • Visiting the Arches: Free. There is no cost to visit or walk around the Lapa Arches.

Time Spent

  • Duration: Plan to spend about 1 to 2 hours exploring the arches and the immediate area. If you stay for the nightlife, you might spend several hours enjoying the bars and music venues.

Best For

  • History Buffs: Those interested in the architectural and historical significance of the arches.
  • Nightlife Enthusiasts: Ideal for experiencing Rio’s famous nightlife with numerous bars and live music venues nearby.
  • Photographers: The arches provide a stunning backdrop, especially when lit up at night.
  • Tourists: A must-see landmark in Rio de Janeiro, offering a blend of history, culture, and entertainment.

12. Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa is set on a hill overlooking the city, with cobbled streets and aging mansions that retain the charm of days past. This hilly bohemian district boasts an eclectic array of art and architecture.

Strolling along Santa Teresa’s cobblestone streets, you’ll be enchanted by sidewalk mosaics, palatial mansions, and artsy galleries. Conveniently situated just southwest of Lapa, this neighborhood offers traditional Brazilian restaurants, bars, and craft stores. Catch the bonde (cable car) up to soak it all in.

It’s a perfect place to experience a different side of Rio, away from the bustling beaches and crowded tourist spots.

Tips for Visiting

  • Take the Tram: Ride the historic Santa Teresa Tram (Bonde) from downtown Rio to enjoy scenic views and a nostalgic experience.
  • Explore on Foot: Wander the streets to discover hidden gems, local art studios, and picturesque views.
  • Visit During the Day: While Santa Teresa is generally safe, it’s best to visit during the day for sightseeing and in the early evening for dining and nightlife.


  • Exploring the Neighborhood: Free to wander the streets and enjoy the views.
  • Art Studios and Galleries: Entrance fees vary, with many offering free admission or a small fee.

Time Spent

  • Duration: Plan to spend a half day to a full day exploring Santa Teresa, depending on how many attractions and eateries you want to visit.

Best For

  • Art Lovers: The neighborhood is filled with galleries, studios, and street art.
  • History Buffs: Historic mansions and the nostalgic tram ride offer a glimpse into Rio’s past.
  • Couples: The romantic, old-world charm of Santa Teresa makes it perfect for couples.
  • Foodies: The area boasts a variety of cafes and restaurants offering delicious local cuisine.
  • Photographers: The scenic views, historic architecture, and vibrant street scenes provide excellent photo opportunities.

13. Museum of Tomorrow (Museu do Amanhã)

The Museum of Tomorrow offers a unique and forward-thinking experience, blending cutting-edge science with thought-provoking exhibits on the future of our planet. Whether you’re interested in technology, sustainability, or simply enjoying Rio’s modern attractions, the Museum of Tomorrow is a must-visit destination.

Located in the revitalized Porto Maravilha area of Rio de Janeiro, and designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the museum’s striking architecture is as impressive as its interactive exhibits. Inside, you’ll find a variety of multimedia installations, immersive experiences, and educational exhibits that challenge visitors to think about the future and their role in shaping it.

Tips for Visiting

  • Buy Tickets in Advance: Purchase tickets online to avoid long lines, especially during weekends and holidays.
  • Plan Your Visit: The museum is extensive, so allocate enough time to explore all the exhibits thoroughly.
  • Use Public Transportation: The museum is easily accessible by public transport. The closest metro station is Uruguaiana.
  • Visit Early or Late: To avoid crowds, visit early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
  • Photography: Photography is allowed, but without flash. Capture the futuristic architecture and engaging exhibits.


  • Entrance Fee: Prices may vary, so check the official website for up-to-date information and discounts.

Time Spent

  • Duration: Plan to spend about 2 to 3 hours exploring the museum, depending on your interest in the exhibits and interactive displays.

Best For

  • Families: The interactive and educational exhibits are great for children and adults alike.
  • Science and Technology Enthusiasts: Those interested in sustainability, innovation, and future technologies will find the exhibits fascinating.
  • Architectural Buffs: The museum’s design by Santiago Calatrava is a highlight for architecture lovers.
  • Tourists: A must-see attraction offering a modern and thought-provoking experience in Rio.

14. AquaRio Aquarium

AquaRio, the largest aquarium in South America, is located in the revitalized Porto Maravilha area of Rio de Janeiro. The aquarium houses a diverse range of marine life, with over 8,000 animals from 350 different species. Visitors can explore a variety of exhibits, including a large central tank with a tunnel that allows you to walk through and experience marine life up close. Interactive displays, touch tanks, and educational programs make AquaRio an engaging and informative destination for all ages.

Tips for Visiting

  • Buy Tickets in Advance: Purchase tickets online to avoid long lines, especially during weekends and holidays.
  • Interactive Exhibits: Take advantage of the touch tanks and interactive displays for a more hands-on experience.
  • Photography: Photography is allowed, so bring a camera to capture the beautiful marine life. Avoid using flash to protect the animals.
  • Family-Friendly Amenities: AquaRio is stroller-friendly and has facilities like restrooms and cafes for a comfortable visit with young children.


  • Entrance Fee: Prices may vary, so check the official website for up-to-date information and discounts.

Time Spent

  • Duration: Plan to spend about 2 to 3 hours exploring the aquarium, depending on your interest in the exhibits and participation in interactive activities.

Best For

  • Families: The engaging exhibits and interactive displays are perfect for children and adults alike.
  • Marine Life Enthusiasts: Those interested in marine biology and oceanography will find the diverse range of species fascinating.
  • Tourists: A must-see attraction that offers a unique and educational experience in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Educational Groups: Ideal for school trips and educational outings, offering a wealth of learning opportunities about marine ecosystems.

15. Maua Square (Praça Mauá)

Praça Mauá is a vibrant public square located in the Porto Maravilha area of Rio de Janeiro. It serves as a gateway to some of the city’s most prominent cultural and historical attractions. The square is surrounded by notable landmarks such as the Museum of Tomorrow and the Museum of Art of Rio (MAR). With its modern design and open spaces, Praça Mauá is a popular spot for locals and tourists to relax, enjoy the waterfront views, and partake in various events and activities.

Tips for Visiting

  • Plan Your Visit: Combine your visit to Praça Mauá with trips to nearby attractions like the Museum of Tomorrow and MAR for a full day of exploration.
  • Attend Events: Check the schedule for any events or festivals happening in the square during your visit.
  • Explore on Foot: The area is pedestrian-friendly, so take your time to walk around and enjoy the sights.
  • Photography: Bring a camera to capture the modern architecture of the square and the surrounding landmarks.


  • Entrance Fee: Free to enter and explore the square. However, nearby attractions like the Museum of Tomorrow and MAR may have entrance fees.

Time Spent

  • Duration: Plan to spend about 1 to 2 hours in the square itself, more if you visit the nearby museums and attractions.

Best For

  • Families: The open space and proximity to museums make it an excellent spot for family outings.
  • Tourists: A central location with access to key cultural sites, perfect for a day of sightseeing.
  • Art and Architecture Enthusiasts: The modern design of the square and nearby museums offer plenty of visual interest.
  • Event Goers: A hub for public events, festivals, and cultural activities.

Attractions Nearby

  • Museum of Tomorrow (Museu do Amanhã): A futuristic science museum exploring themes of sustainability and innovation, just steps away from Praça Mauá.
  • Museum of Art of Rio (MAR): Offers a diverse collection of Brazilian art and rotating exhibitions.
  • AquaRio: The largest aquarium in South America, located nearby, is perfect for families and marine life enthusiasts.
  • Boulevard Olímpico: A vibrant waterfront area with murals, food trucks, and entertainment, ideal for a leisurely stroll.
  • Valongo Wharf: A historical site and UNESCO World Heritage Site that provides insight into Rio’s colonial past and the transatlantic slave trade.
  • Rio Star: A giant Ferris wheel offering panoramic views of Rio de Janeiro, located in the Porto Maravilha area.

Frequently Asked Questions – What to do in Rio de Janeiro

What to visit during your time in Rio de Janeiro?

Seeing the iconic Christ the Redeemer, spending a relaxing day at the beach or exploring the city’s natural wonders are some of the options to consider to make the most of your stay.

What are the best attractions in the city of Rio?

The best attractions are Rio’s festivals, such as: Rio Carnival, with samba school parades and vibrant festivities, is a unique experience that cannot be missed.

What is the best way to enjoy Rio de Janeiro?

Spending a day at the beach, exploring the city’s rich culture, taking a hike to Sugarloaf Mountain or simply relaxing at one of the many beach bars are great ways to make the most of what Rio has to offer.

Is Rio de Janeiro one of the best places to visit in Brazil?

Yes, Rio de Janeiro really is one of the most popular and exciting destinations in Brazil. With its stunning beaches, towering mountains and contagious joy, the city offers a unique experience that attracts visitors from all over the world.

How to enjoy the weather during your stay in Rio de Janeiro?

Rio’s climate is conducive to outdoor activities throughout most of the year. Take a walk along the Pedra da Gávea trail, climb to Mirante Dona Marta to enjoy panoramic views of the city or take a bike ride along the Copacabana promenade.

Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.

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