Rio de Janeiro

When in Rio, don't be afraid to follow the tourist trail—the major attractions really are "must-sees." Contrary to tourist-board images, the sun doesn't always shine on the city, so when it does, make the most of it. If the skies are clear, waste no time in heading for Cosme Velho to visit the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado mountain, or to Urca to make the cable car ascent to the peak of Sugar Loaf. Time-pressed travelers will find that whistle-stop city tours are a good way to see many attractions in one day, while those lucky enough to spend a week or more here can afford to take a more leisurely approach. Cloudy days are a good time to visit the attractions of leafy Lagoa and Jardim Botânico and the breezily bohemian hilltop neighborhood of Santa Teresa. The historic buildings, museums, and cultural centers of Centro, Catete, Glória, and Lapa are ideal rainy-day options.

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  • 1. Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil

    Centro

    What was once the headquarters of Brazil's oldest bank is now an enormous cultural space in downtown Rio. With areas designated for cinema screenings, expositions,...Read More

  • 2. Christ the Redeemer

    Cosme Velho

    Rio's iconic Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue stands arms outstretched atop 690-meter-high (2,300-foot-high) Corcovado mountain. It wasn't until 1921, the centennial of Brazil's independence...Read More

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  • 3. Corcovado

    Cosme Velho

    There's an eternal argument about which city view is better, the one from Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf) or the one from Corcovado. In our opinion,...Read More

  • 4. Escadaria Selarón

    Lapa

    After traveling the world and living in more than 50 countries, Chilean painter Selarón began working in 1990 on the iconic tile staircase that is...Read More

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  • 5. Jardim Botânico

    Jardim Botânico

    The 340-acre Botanical Garden contains more than 5,000 species of tropical and subtropical plants and trees, including 900 varieties of palms (some more than a...Read More

  • 6. Maracanã

    Maracanã

    Fans have witnessed many historic sports moments at this stadium that hosted the finals of the 1950 and 2014 FIFA World Cups and was the...Read More

  • 7. Mosteiro de São Bento

    Centro

    Just a glimpse of the Monastery of St. Benedict's main altar can fill you with awe. Layer upon layer of curvaceous wood carvings coated in...Read More

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  • 8. Museu de Arte do Rio

    Centro

    Rio's once run-down port zone is now the focus of a major investment and regeneration program, and the 2013 opening of the Museu de Arte...Read More

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  • 9. Palácio do Catete

    Catete

    Once the villa of a German baron, this elegant, 19th-century granite-and-marble palace became the presidential residence after the 1889 coup overthrew the monarchy and established...Read More

  • 10. Pão de Açúcar

    Urca

    The indigenous Tupi people originally called the soaring 396-meter (1,300-foot) granite block at the mouth of Baía de Guanabara pau-nh-acugua (high, pointed peak). To the...Read More

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  • 11. Parque Lage

    Jardim Botânico

    This lush green space down the road from Jardim Botânico was acquired by Antônio Martins Lage Jr., whose grandson, Henrique Lage, fell head-over-heels in love...Read More

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  • 12. Praia de Copacabana

    Copacabana

    Maddening traffic, noise, packed apartment blocks, and a world-famous beach—this is Copacabana, or, Manhattan with bikinis. Walk along the neighborhood's classic crescent to dive headfirst...Read More

  • 13. Praia de Grumari

    Grumari

    A bit beyond Prainha, off Estrada de Guaratiba, is Grumari, a beach that seems a preview of paradise. What it lacks in amenities—it has only...Read More

  • 14. Praia de Ipanema

    Ipanema

    As you stroll this world-famous beach you'll encounter a cross section of the city's residents, each favoring a particular stretch. Families predominate in the area...Read More

  • 15. Sítio Roberto Burle Marx

    Jardim Piaí

    Nature lovers and architecture buffs will find it worth making the advance booking required to visit this plantation-turned-museum honoring Roberto Burle Marx, Brazil's legendary landscape...Read More

  • 16. Theatro Municipal

    Centro

    If you visit one place in Centro, make it the Municipal Theater, modeled after the Paris Opera House and opened in 1909. Now restored to...Read More

  • 17. Casa Daros

    Botafogo

    A grand 19th-century neoclassical building has been lovingly restored in conjunction with the acclaimed Swiss art institute Daros to create one of Rio’s most impressive...Read More

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