Rio de Janeiro

Theater, classical music (música erudita), and opera may be largely the preserve of the affluent upper classes in Rio, but tickets remain reasonably priced by international standards and can be purchased easily from box offices. Although understanding Portuguese may prove difficult for some visitors, musicals provide a good opportunity to catch the glitzier side of Rio, and the international language of song and dance is considerably more comprehensible. Since many of the venues are in downtown or more out-of-the-way areas, use taxis to get to and from them, as the surrounding streets can feel dangerously deserted by night.

Visual-art venues and museums are also very well endowed, with privately funded cultural centers hosting a rich variety of exhibitions, specific details of which are again best sought out in the Friday editions of the Rio press.

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  • 1. Instituto Moreira Salles

    Gávea

    Surrounded by beautiful gardens, spectacular modernist architecture, and an interesting museum, the institute creates the perfect atmosphere for classical music. Listen to musicians performing pieces...Read More

  • 2. Theatro Municipal

    Centro

    Built in 1909, the stunning Municipal Theater at Cinelândia is the city's main performing-arts venue, hosting dance, opera, symphony concerts, and theater events for most...Read More

  • 3. Acadêmicos do Salgueiro

    Andaraí

    The samba school Salguiero holds its pre-Carnival rehearsals only on Saturdays, from 10 pm. The school also runs Samba Experience events from 9:30 pm, which...Read More

  • 4. Beija-Flor

    Nilópolis

    The several-times winner of Rio's annual Samba School competition, Beija-Flor holds public rehearsals on Thursdays at 9 pm in the months leading up to Carnival....Read More

  • 5. Centro Cultural Luiz Severiano Ribeiro

    Cinelândia

    The last remaining movie palace in historic Cinelândia—once the focal point of moviegoing activity in Rio—is one of the most well-preserved and important in the...Read More

  • 6. Centro Cultural Municipal Parque das Ruinas

    Santa Teresa

    With a glorious view of Guanabara Bay and downtown, the Parque das Ruinas houses the remains of a mansion building that was Rio's bohemian epicenter...Read More

  • 7. Cidade das Artes

    Barra da Tijuca

    This enormous cultural complex and live-music venue opened in 2013 and is now the largest concert hall in South America, seating 1,780. Designed by French...Read More

  • 8. Escola de Música da UFRJ

    Lapa

    The music school auditorium, inspired by the Salle Gaveau in Paris, has 1,100 seats, and you can listen to chamber music, symphony orchestras, and opera,...Read More

  • 9. Estação Net Ipanema

    Ipanema

    The charming two-screen Estação Net Ipanema cinema is part of a lively area of small restaurants and bookstores, perfect for hanging out before or after...Read More

  • 10. Estação Primeira de Mangueira

    Mangueira

    One of the most popular schools and always a challenger for the Carnival title, Estação Primeira holds its rehearsals on Saturdays at 10 pm....Read More

  • 11. HSBC Arena

    Barra da Tijuca

    HSBC Arena hosts big-name rock and pop stars....Read More

  • 12. KM de Vantagens Hall

    Barra da Tijuca

    This huge venue hosts some of the biggest Brazilian and international names playing in Rio, such as Caetano Veloso, Adele, Smashing Pumpkins, and Lady Gaga....Read More

  • 13. Sala Cecília Meireles

    Lapa

    A popular concert venue for classical music in the city, the Sala hosts regular performances in a midsize hall and is known for its excellent...Read More

  • 14. Teatro das Artes

    Gávea

    Located in a shopping mall in well-heeled Gavea, this theater hosts popular productions. Two smaller theaters are reserved for less commercial productions. Most productions tend...Read More

  • 15. Teatro João Caetano

    Centro

    The city's oldest theater dates to 1813, and while the building itself is less than spectacular, the 1,200-seat venue hosts some interesting productions. These tend...Read More

  • 16. Teatro Villa-Lobos

    Copacabana

    This 463-seat theater close to Copacabana Beach presents excellent drama productions and occasional dance performances....Read More

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