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Rio de Janeiro Off the Beaten Path

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It is always lovely to visit Rio de Janeiro, but discovering the city's essence is even more amazing. Straying off the beaten tourist path is the best way to understand the soul of the local people, known as 'Cariocas.' Below is a selection of new — or hidden — addresses for you to discover. Specially chosen for those of you who have already done the basics in the city, or want to have a rest from the beach and the sun.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Beach Goer
  • Like a Local

10 Places

7 City Tips

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Map

10 Places

Feira de Sao Cristovao

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Museum of Contemporary Art

Art Museums

Casa Daros

Speciality Museums

Miam Miam

Restaurants

Favela Santa Marta Tour

Walking Tours

Instituto Moreira Salles

Speciality Museums

Museu do Acude

Speciality Museums

Estrada das Paineiras

Other Outdoor Activities

Pedra do Sal

Geologic Formations

Prainha Beach

Beaches

Gisele T's City Tips

  • If you like architecture, walk down Copacabana. The neighborhood has the largest number of Art Deco buildings in Rio.
  • Rio is insuperable for music concerts and theaters. Guides come out in the papers on Friday.
  • On the streets of downtown Rio, you will see bars with plastic tables outside (botequins). To feel like a local, sit down and have a cold beer.
  • Unless you know exactly where you want to go, take a taxi at the end of the night.
  • The subway is modern, clean and safe, but sometimes delays. Don't worry, Cariocas are never on time and won't be upset if you arrive late.
  • Buy at least one pair of "Havaianas," the rubber slippers that are the face of Cariocas.
  • As souvenirs, take home a "Canga" (sarong) or a bikini. Cariocas are always releasing new models.
  • Save
    Feira de Sao Cristovao
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Gisele T Says:

    For a taste of Northeast Brazil without leaving Rio de Janeiro, the best option is to spend a couple of hours at Feira De Sao Cristovao — the haunt of immigrants from this region. The architect Sérgio Bernardes designed this cultural center, and its official name is 'Centro Municipal Luiz Gonzaga de Tradições Nordestinas.' The place has about 700 stalls selling typical food, crafts, ingredients for regional cuisine, as well as arts and crafts. Of course, there is also live music: forró bands and dance groups (typical music and dance from the northeast), and 'repentistas.' The concerts are held in three stages and five different squares. Be careful not to get lost!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • The market is open from Tuesday to Thursday (10am-6pm). On Fridays, it opens at 10am and does not close until Sunday at 9pm.
    • Six to nine bands play every night. Check out the schedule on the website.
    • If you feel like eating, try a local specialty, cassava (mandioca, in Portuguese) with corned beef.
    • Advice — don't be shy! Dance and have fun!
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #121 of 755 things to do in Rio de Janeiro
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great experience 13/05/2018
    • Great place 02/10/2017
    • Feira de Sao Cristovao
    Address:
    Campo Sao Cristovao
    Sao Cristovao
    Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro 20921-440
    Brazil
    Phone:
    +55 21 2580 5335
    Other:
  • Save
    Museum of Contemporary Art
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Gisele T Says:

    For a different view of Rio de Janeiro, take a ferry and spend a day in Niteroi. One of the city's main attractions is the Contemporary Art Museum — better known as MAC. In 'flying saucer' style, it was designed by the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer and built on Boa Viagem beach in a privileged area with a 360' view of Guanabara Bay. It hosts some good exhibits, but the highlight is the architecture itself.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • To get to Niterói, take a ferry from the Estação das Barcas (Praça VX) and then a bus or taxi to the museum.
    • Take a taxi and lunch at Mercado de Peixes São Pedro. The restaurants are on the first floor. Simple setting but delicious food.
    • You can buy fresh fish on the ground floor at Mercado de Peixes São Pedro and ask the restaurant to prepare it for you.
    • If you want to enjoy the beach, go to Itacoatiara or Sossego.
    • Take advantage of the crossing to see the sights of Rio: Guanabara Bay, Rio-Niteroi Bridge, Fiscal Island, and the Sugar Loaf.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #10 of 101 things to do in Niteroi
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Far from downtown Rio, but worth a visit 16/05/2018
    • fabulous building unexciting contents 19/01/2018
    • Museum of Contemporary Art
    Address:
    Mirante da Boa Viagem
    Boa Viagem
    Niteroi, State of Rio de Janeiro 24210-470
    Brazil
    Phone:
    +55 21 2620 2400
    Hours:
    Tue - Sun
    10:00 - 18:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Casa Daros
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Gisele T Says:

    The first thing that strikes you at Casa Daros is its size. This space, devoted to contemporary art, covers more than 11,000 square meters in the Botafogo neighborhood, as well as a garden with imperial palm trees and a spacious interior courtyard. It has exhibition rooms, a library specializing in contemporary Latin American art, a gift shop, and a cafe.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Foodie
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • LGBT
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • There are often activities for kids! Check out the schedule on the official website.
    • The pleasant café-restaurant (open for lunch and dinner) sometimes has menus inspired by the ongoing exhibitions.
    • The shop is a good place to buy designer items and gifts.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 things to do in Rio de Janeiro
    • There is no Casa Daros anymore! 10/02/2016
    • Great architecture - Ok expo 08/07/2015
    • Casa Daros
    Address:
    Rua General Severiano 159
    Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro 22290-040
    Brazil
    Phone:
    +55(21)2138-0850
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 - 18:00
    Wed - Sat
    11:00 - 19:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Miam Miam
    Restaurants (Brazilian, Contemporary)
    See more photos
    Gisele T Says:

    Miam Miam (meaning 'yum-yum' in French) is all about good food. And that is exactly what you will find at this restaurant near the Casa Daros. Roberta Ciasca — trained at one of the famous Cordon Bleu schools — is in charge of the cooking, and the menu offers 'comfort food:' homemade cuisine with innovative touches, beautifully presented. The restaurant is in an old house full of antiques in a delightfully retro setting. Everything invites you to linger.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • LGBT
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The decor is an attraction in itself, with items from the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
    • Try the grilled calamari with Thai jelly and toasted ciabatta or the shrimp with spaghetti shredded from 'pupunha' (palm heart).
    • If you feel like shopping, Rio Sul Mall is just a few blocks from Miam Miam.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #105 of 9,634 restaurants in Rio de Janeiro
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Valentine’s Day 11/06/2018
    • Excelent criative food and good service and price 02/04/2018
    • Miam Miam
    Address:
    Rua General Goes Monteiro 34
    Botafogo
    Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro 22290-080
    Brazil
    Phone:
    (21) 2244-0125
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    12:00 - 15:30
    19:00 - 00:00
    Sat
    20:00 - 01:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Favela Santa Marta Tour
    Walking Tours
    See more photos
    Gisele T Says:

    This 'favela' gained fame for being the setting for the Michael Jackson music video for 'They Don't Care About Us' in 1996, and offers one of the most beautiful views of Rio. The best way to do it is by a guided tour offered by the favela community association. The visit starts with a very steep climb up the hill via cable car, followed by a descent on foot, to explore the nooks and crannies of the favela. There are several guides who speak different languages, even Japanese. The favela is becoming safer and has around 6,000 residents.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    Tips
    • When you go to the favelas, be sure to take with you the “Guia Gastronômica das Favelas” guidebook to the 22 best places to eat in eight Rio favelas.
    • Also, try "Bar do David," which serves an excellent 'feijoada' (famous dish with black beans and meat). It is in Morro do Chapéu, in Leme neighborhood.
    • For fun, be sure to go to the “Bar da Toinha,” which has a famous 'forró' (Brazilian dancing) on Saturday from 10pm in Santa Marta.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #62 of 551 Tours in Rio de Janeiro
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • This company is a must! 07/04/2018
    • Unmissable fun tour and lots to learn 04/04/2018
    • Favela Santa Marta Tour
    Address:
    Rua Sao Clemente, 307. Botafogo.
    Shell Gas Station corner Rua da Matriz
    Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro 22260-007
    Brazil
    Phone:
    +55 21 99177-9459
    Price range:
    US$8 - US$8
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 18:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Instituto Moreira Salles
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Gisele T Says:

    This is one of the most charming places in Rio. It is an impressive house, a landmark of 1950s architecture, and the former residence of the Moreira Salles family. It was designed by Olavo Redig Fields with landscape design by Burle Marx. Nestled high in the Gávea, on approximately 10,000 square meters of land, in the midst of the lush Tijuca rainforest. The location alone is worth a visit, but it also houses a great cultural center, cafe, and cinema.

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • LGBT
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The photographic collection is amazing, with more than 450,000 photos by Marc Ferrez and Marcel Gautherot, among others. You can find the temporary exhibitions online.
    • You'll hear nice online radio featuring Brazilian music played here.
    • There are guided tours of the Instituto Moreira Salles from Tuesday to Saturday at 5pm. There are access ramps and adapted toilets for wheelchair users.
    • Don't miss the brunch on weekends by the beautiful pool.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #28 of 755 things to do in Rio de Janeiro
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Mix of culture , green views and nice bistro 23/04/2018
    • A Hidden Gem! 05/03/2018
    • Instituto Moreira Salles
    Address:
    Rua Marques de Sao Vicente 476
    Gavea
    Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro 22451-044
    Brazil
    Phone:
    21 3284-7400
    Hours:
    Tue - Fri
    13:00 - 20:00
    Sat - Sun
    11:00 - 20:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Museu do Acude
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Gisele T Says:

    Surprisingly, this museum is not often visited by locals or tourists, which is an injustice! For many years, this colonial mansion, built in 1913, was the summer residence of the industrialist Raymundo de Castro Maya and houses many beautiful art collections. Located on a property of 150,000 square meters in the Tijuca Forest, its gardens have sculptures by contemporary Brazilian artists such as Helio Oiticica, Lygia Pape, Iole de Freitas and Nuno Ramos. You can get some great pictures so take your camera with you.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • LGBT
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The museum has a collection of European art by Matisse, Modigliani, Degas, Seurat, Miró, and more.
    • The Brazilian art collection consists mainly of works by modern artists, including Guignard, Di Cavalcanti, Iberê Camargo, and Portinari.
    • The oriental art collection has rare examples of Chinese, Indian, and Indo-Chinese sculptures and porcelain of different origins.
    • Spend some time here and take a picnic with you to enjoy in the mansion's beautiful gardens. Unfortunately there is no cafe or restaurant to purchase food from.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #188 of 755 things to do in Rio de Janeiro
    • Fantastically beautiful gardens and house in Tijuca Forest 10/08/2015
    • a museum in the atlantic forest 26/11/2014
    • Museu do Acude
    Address:
    Estrada do Acude 764
    Alto da Boa Vista
    Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro 20531-330
    Brazil
    Phone:
    (21) 3433-4990
    Other:
  • Save
    Estrada das Paineiras
    Other Outdoor Activities
    See more photos
    Gisele T Says:

    Accustomed to living in harmony with nature, the locals have discovered many places to enjoy the beauty of the region. One such location is the Tijuca Forest, the third largest urban green area in Brazil, with more than 15,000 square meters of dense vegetation, hills, trails, and caves. Estrada das Paineiras is nearly three miles long and winds through the Tijuca Forest. The path goes from the Alto da Boa Vista and comes close to the Christ the Redeemer statue, offering a beautiful view of the city.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The road is closed to cars on weekends and is perfect for walking.
    • If the water from the waterfalls proves to be cold, don't worry — you can scream! Everyone does and it's good to cleanse your soul!
    • The best way to get there is by car, but you can also go by bike, minibus, or taxi.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #71 of 367 Outdoor Activities in Rio de Janeiro
    • Best unknown spot in town 10/04/2016
    • Sunday Bike ride 31/08/2015
    • Estrada das Paineiras
    Address:
    Inicio no Alto da Boa Vista e termina no Morro do Corcovado
    Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro
    Brazil
    Other:
  • Save
    Pedra do Sal
    Geologic Formations
    See more photos
    Gisele T Says:

    Pedra do Sal (meaning salt rock), at Morro da Conceição, was once a slave market and was also considered a sacred place for African religious offerings. Today, it hosts lively samba jam sessions by the Roda de Pedra group every Monday in Largo João da Bahia. The music starts in the afternoon and usually goes on until 11pm. Pedra do Sal is a historical and religious heritage site.

    Good for
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • There is a typical carioca program, free of charge; good music, cold cheap beer, and a relaxed atmosphere.
    • Because the action happens outdoors, the music is cancelled in heavy rain.
    • It's best to take a taxi to go home.
    • There is also music on Fridays evenings, with Samba de Lei. On National Samba Day, on December 2nd, there is a ceremony to celebrate the washing of the rock.
    • There are always many vendors around, take the opportunity to sample some street food — especially 'acarajé' (popular fried food).
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #85 of 755 things to do in Rio de Janeiro
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Dancing to the Beat 30/01/2018
    • New schedule... Missed it ! 04/01/2018
    • Pedra do Sal
    Address:
    Largo Joao da Baiana
    Saude
    Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro 20081-120
    Brazil
    Phone:
    021420420420
    Other:
  • Save
    Prainha Beach
    Beaches
    See more photos
    Gisele T Says:

    If you can't go a day without entering the ocean, go to discover the Prainha Beach, a paradise 45 minutes from Ipanema. Approximately 150 meters long, Prainha Beach offers white sands and crystal-clear waters suitable for bathing. If you tire of the beach at some point, enjoy getting to know the Natural Park of Prainha. It has 586 square meters of native forest, where you can also see bromeliads and orchids, as well as Maçaranduba, a regional tree species, almost extinct due to the exploration of the construction industry.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Be sure to eat at Mirante da Prainha, at the end of the beach. Besides the delicious food, the view is wonderful.
    • Access is by car. Another option is to take the "Surf Bus," which comes out of the Largo do Machado and runs along the entire coast.
    • Prainha is preferred by surfers for its perfect waves for surfing, In other words, the sea can be violent sometimes so be careful.
    • Remember never to throw garbage on the beaches and to respect the locals.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #22 of 755 things to do in Rio de Janeiro
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful little beach 04/06/2018
    • The Best Beach in the Rio region 26/05/2018
    • Prainha Beach
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