Things to do in Rio de Janeiro
Once you arrive in Rio de Janeiro, you will have a wide range of activities to choose from, including swimming and sunbathing, shopping and eating out, and enjoying the city's parks and gardens. At night, you can dine out, go to the theatre or go dancing and clubbing.
Swimming and sunbathing
Visitors to the city have numerous beaches to choose from, the most famous being the Copacabana. Located just south of the city, the beach is about 4 kilometres long and fronted all the way by a promenade. To get there, you have the choice of more than forty city bus routes or three metro stations. You can also visit the less expansive but equally famous beach at Ipanema, which inspired the very famous song composed in the distinctive Brazilian bossa nova beat.
Shopping and bargain-hunting
As in other cities, you will find many exclusive shopping venues, so it does pay to look for bargains. Trendy bikinis and practical swimwear abound in downtown stores, as do bags of all kinds, from beach bags to purses accessorizing day and evening wear. Antique aficionados will enjoy browsing for vintage clothing and other collectibles at the Feira de Rio Antigo, a Saturday fair in the historic city centre. When shopping, check the full price of an item before buying, since item tickets don't always reflect this.
Eating and dining out
Like all cosmopolitan cities, you will find restaurants that offer a wide range of international foods. To enjoy traditional Brazilian fare, visit one of the churrascarios that bolded-Rio de Janeiro is famous for, where you can savour a range of meat-based dishes. Vegetable lovers can enjoy salads and other foods. Go truly Brazilian by lunching on feijoada, a dish of beans stewed in gravy and accompanied by crispy potatoes. For dessert, sample a sweet tapioca crepe. For a real sweet treat, visit the Confeitaria Colombo in Centro, where you will find sumptuous desserts in a colonial-inspired, art deco hall.
Public gardens and the zoo
In addition to strolling the streets of the town and relaxing on the beaches, you can enjoy the Brazilian sunshine in the Passeio Publico garden. The entrance is a wrought-iron gate in the distinctive Rococo style, and the garden terraces are lined with historic bronze statues and fountains, a reminder of the city's Portuguese legacy. Younger members of the family will enjoy a trip to Rio Zoo, in the grounds of Quinta da Boa Vista gardens.
Night life in the city
When the sun sets, there is no need to retreat to your accommodation. Opera, ballet and classical music lovers will find a year-round programme of events at the ornate Theatro Municipal, and also at Cidade das Artes in the Barra da Tijuca district. To dance the night away following a hot Brazilian day, head downtown to Lopa where venues for samba, hip-hop and bossa nova music abound. At the Zero Zero club in Barra da Tijuca, patrons combine smart dining and dancing.