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. Christ the Redeemer

    Cosme Velho | Mountain

    Rio's iconic Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue stands arms outstretched atop 690-meter-high (2,300-foot-high) Corcovado mountain...Read More

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  • 2. Jardim Botânico

    Jardim Botânico | Garden

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

  • 3. Palácio do Catete

    Catete | Garden

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

  • 4. Pão de Açúcar

    Urca | Viewpoint

    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...Read More

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  • 5. Praia de Copacabana

    Copacabana | Beach

    Maddening traffic, noise, packed apartment blocks, and a world-famous beach—this is Copacabana, or, Manhattan with bikinis. Walk along the...Read More

  • 6. Praia de Ipanema

    Ipanema | Beach

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

  • 7. Theatro Municipal

    Centro | Arts/Performance Venue

    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 its...Read More

  • 8. Forte de Copacabana and Museu Histórico do Exército

    Copacabana | Military Sight

    Copacabana Fort was built in 1914 as part of Rio's first line of defense, and many original features, such as the thick brick fortification...Read More

  • 9. Museu Nacional de Belas Artes

    Centro | Museum/Gallery

    Works by Brazil's leading 19th- and 20th-century artists fill the space at the National Museum of Fine Arts. The most notable canvases are those...Read More

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  • 10. Praia do Arpoador

    Arpoador | Beach

    At the point where Ipanema Beach meets Copacabana, Praia do Arpoador has great waves for surfing. They're so great that nonsurfers tend to avoid...Read More

  • 11. Museu Carmen Miranda

    Flamengo | Museum/Gallery

    This tribute to the Brazilian bombshell Carmen Miranda is in a circular building that resembles a concrete spaceship (its door even opens upward...Read More

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