In downtown Rio de Janeiro, you can get a feel for the city’s history and learn about the locals, or “Cariocas” as they call themselves. Downtown has a lot to offer with its coffee shops, secret urban gems, museums, cathedrals, and a variety of restaurants and bars where you can get a glimpse of the notorious samba dancing.
- Start your journey back in time in Confeitaria Colombo, a historical gem that has been a symbol of the “belle epoque” in Rio since 1893. Grand mirrors brighten its halls and the dining room of the second floor has an opening so that its beautiful stained-glass dome can be seen from the first floor. You can come here to dine on the second floor or sample their coffee and one or more of their incredible sweets from the sweets menu for which they are known for; whichever you choose you’ll get to soak up the lively experience with its crowds, flavors and live music of Brazilian songs.
Com vista para a belíssima Praia de Copacabana, o Café do Forte é perfeito para passar um dia especial! Que tal começar a sexta-feira com todo o sabor que a @confeitariacolombo pode proporcionar? Venha nos fazer uma visita! Foto: @alvaroheming #ConfeitariaColombo #Copacabana #cariocandonorio #riolovers #FortedeCopacabana #regram
2. Recover from your sugar high at the Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura, which translates into Royal Portuguese Reading Room, Brazil’s first library, built in 1837. The stunning library houses the largest collection of Lusitanian literary works outside Portugal with over 350,000 books! Even just a quick tour of this architectural masterpiece, constructed in the neomanuelino style (Portuguese Gothic), will take your breath away. The facade of the building features sculptures of historical figures, while the interior is divided into three levels of wooden bookshelves and a bright skylight guarantees plenty of natural lighting. Entrance is free and it is closed on weekends.
3. For lunch, stroll through Arco do Teles (“Telles Arch”), a colonial gateway to the 18th century leading from the Praça Quinze de Novembro (Square November Fifteen, or Praça XV) to the quaint Travessa do Comercio. The arch has witnessed much of Rio’s history. What was once an area for Rio’s high society is now a popular location for parties, bars, and samba. Saturday afternoons in particular are perfect for those who want a taste of Brazilian finger food for lunch with some samba. Note that bars and restaurants are closed on Sundays.
Happy hour no Arco do Teles: essência do Rio Não gosto de ser categórica em relação a nada. Do tipo "essa é a melhor sobremesa do mundo","esse é o melhor país que já estive" e coisas do tipo, embora me pegue fazendo isso centenas de vezes. Eu bem que gostaria de dizer que o Arco do Teles é o MELHOR lugar para happy hour do Rio, mas aí lembrei do Rivalzinho, da Lapa e por aí vai. Pra não ser desonesta sob nenhum aspecto, eu posso dizer que a energia e o clima do Arco do Teles são bons. São bons demais mesmo. Aqui as preocupações do expediente são suspensas, o terno vai para as costas da cadeira e o chopp não sai da mão. Às sextas já presenciei samba no final da Rua do Ouvidor na esquina com a Rua do Mercado, mas ouso dizer (mesmo sem ter certeza absoluta) de que ele rola praticamente todos os dias. De segunda a sexta a partir das 17:30h você vai passar por lá e vai encontrar o Arco assim: fervilhando. Tem bar, restaurante, livraria, boate, café… Andando um pouquinho mais dá pra abraçar o CCBB e a Casa França de um lado e o Paço Imperial do outro. Em relação ao flerte, ele rola solto. Também pudera, com a quantidade de homens e mulheres lindos por metro quadrado difícil é sair daqui sem um whatsapp trocado se a sua intenção for essa. Só eu já me apaixonei várias vezes em uma única noite aqui (barbudinhos engravatados do centro, queremos!). Analisando assim, tem como não dizer que é o melhor happy hour do Rio? ?❤ #oquefazernorio #oquefazernoriocultural
4. Following lunch, try Curto Cafe a coffee shop that is anything but ordinary. Here, there are no fixed prices, rather the founders have instituted an honor system. A chalkboard by the bar lists the costs and expenses and what they need on a monthly basis to sustain the business – the rest is up to the customer. Sound crazy? Go check it out.
5. Now that you’ve got your caffeine boost, walk down to the Olympic Cauldron and Candelaria Church. When the 2016 Rio Olympic Games ended, the Olympic Cauldron, which announced the start of the games accompanied by a large kinetic sculpture representing the sun, were placed in the downtown area in front of the beautiful Candelaria Church. The Olympic Cauldron now acts as a monument to mark the Rio Olympics and provides the public a unique opportunity to see and photograph it from up close.
6. After exploring some historic sites of the city, visit the new icon of the harbor, Museu do Amanhã (“Museum of Tomorrow”). This science museum explores and imagines the possibilities for building the future. The modern structure functions as a monument and focal point of the new Mauá Square and is surrounded by gardens, pools, and a leisure area. It is the perfect place to take a walk or watch the sunset. If you have the time to tour the inside the museum, you’ll find interactive and thought provoking exhibits. Buy tickets online. Entrance is free on Tuesdays.
7. From the museum, take a walk down Olympic Boulevard where you can see a new addition to Rio’s vibrant street art scene. These colorful murals titled “Ethnicities,” cover the span of a 190-meter long-wall and feature five faces, each representing an indigenous population.
8. Then head to Pedra do Sal (“Rock of Salt”) the birthplace of samba. This place was once close to the sea. It served as the location where salt was imported and used in leather production and food preservation, as well as the site where slaves arrived from Africa. The area is historically known as Little Africa, the place where samba originated. Today, in the evenings, Pedra do Sal becomes a stage for samba, drinks, and fun, attracting both locals and tourists to join in the energetic atmosphere. Monday is traditionally the best day to partake in the festivities.