Rio de Janeiro Bucket List: Top 15 Best Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Tourist Attractions and Things to do in Rio de Janeiro photo by Elizeu Dias via Unsplash

Amazing Rio de Janeiro: Top 15 Best Things to do in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Looking for a list of amazing things to do in Rio de Janeiro? This is the second-largest city in Brazil and it is blessed with one of the most beautiful natural settings for a metropolis in the world. It is known as the marvelous city because of its white sandy beaches, picturesque harbor, and soaring mountains. There are many places to visit here and you can go there any time of the year and you won’t miss out on the highlights of the city.

Amazing Things to do in Rio de Janeiro Brazil
Amazing Things to do in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Top fifteen (15) things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Visit the Christ the Redeemer

Christ the Redeemer by Agustin Diaz via Unsplash
Christ the Redeemer Photo by Agustín Diaz on Unsplash
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There is no way you will think about Rio de Janeiro and you will not think of this huge statue which stands tall over the city at the top of Corcovado Mountain. This is recognized as one of the seven wonders of the world and you should ensure you visit this place. You can hike up the mountain to have a magnificent view of the city or you can enjoy the scenic train ride up the mountain. You should try to go in the morning or at sunset as the place is crowded in the afternoon with tourist.

Go people watching at the Lapa Arches

Carioca Aqueduct by Rodrigo Solon via Flickr CC
Carioca Aqueduct by Rodrigo Soldon via Flickr CC

The Carioca Aqueduct was constructed in the mid-18th century so as to supply clean drinking water from the Carioca River to the people of Rio de Janeiro. A significant feature of the aqueduct is the segment which consists of two stories of huge arches. The top arches are being used to carry a tram which connects the city center to the neighborhood of Santa Teresa after the Aqueduct was shut down in the 19th century. The arches are a popular meeting spot of locals when the area comes to live with street music, dancing, vendors in the night.

Have fun at the Copacabana beach

Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro
Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro

This is one of the famous beaches in the world and your trip to Rio de Janeiro will not be complete without a visit to this beach. The highlight of the beach is that there are no hotels on the beach as they are all located across the road. You can watch the locals having a game of soccer or volleyball in play and you won’t get hungry here as there are vendors everywhere hawking their drinks and snacks from the kiosks. At one end of the beach, you can also go sightseeing in Fort Copacabana where there is a military base with a wartime museum which is open to the public.

Go watch the sunset at the Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain Sunset by Noah Cellura via Unsplash
Sugarloaf Mountain Sunset Photo by Noah Cellura on Unsplash

The mountain is 396m high over the Rio Harbor and you will get to see a mind-blowing view of the city’s spectacular skyline. The mountain looks like a sugarloaf and the reason for the name it is called. Apart from the panoramic views of the city, you will also get to watch the sunset on this mountain. To get to the top of this mountain, you will have to take two cable car rides dangling over the gap between the two mountains. You will surely enjoy the ride to the top of the city.

Explore the Jardim Botanico

Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden
Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden

This is found at the west of the Logoa neighborhood and it is the Botanical Garden or Jardim Botanico of Rio de Janeiro which houses 8000 species of plants. It was built in the early 1800 and the garden features many mature specimens which included palm trees. The highlight of Jardim Botanico is the numerous monuments, fountains, and features which includes pond filled with water lilies, Japanese garden, and the new Museu do Meio Ambiente that displays exhibit which focuses on the environment.

Have fun at Ipanema Beach

Ipanema Beach
Ipanema Beach

This is another famous beach in Rio de Janeiro and it was made famous because of the bossa nova song in the 1960s called The Girl from Ipanema. The beach is located in the upscale of the south zone and it lies in between the beaches of Leblon and Copacabana. Ipanema beach is always at the top of the best beaches in the world year after year and this is because of the well-organized grid of shops, restaurants, and cafes and the different theaters, clubs, and art galleries. The beach is divided into sections where different types of people can congregate.

Go for Favela Tour at Santa Marta

Favela Rio de Janeiro Brazil
Favela Rio de Janeiro Brazil

If you want to know more about the Rio culture, then the Favela tour is the right one for you to visit the local communities. Favelas are used to be run by the drug lords and gangs which are being slowly pacified and there are some favelas which are safe for tourist to visit. Santa Marta is one of the Favelas that has changed from crime to a nice community as there are businesses, outdoor gathering squares, community centers there. The highlight of the tour is that you will get to see where Michael Jackson filmed his music video “They don’t care about us”

Go sightseeing at the Lapa Neighborhood

Lapa Neighborhood Brazil Photo by Everythere via Wikipedia CC
Lapa Neighborhood Brazil By Everythere – Own work, Public Domain

Lapa neighborhood is situated at the downtown section of Rio known as Centro. The highlight of the neighborhood is the Lapa steps which are a colorfully tiled step that leads from Lapa neighborhood to Santa Teresa. Lapa neighborhood is known for its vibrant nightlife. You will enjoy your time here on the weekend where the street is lined with Samba and choro bars, music and dancing. This is the perfect place to meet friends and try out the local cuisine and to sip caipirinha.

Explore Santa Teresa neighborhood

 Santa Teresa Neighborhood by Chensiyuan via Wikipedia CC
Santa Teresa Neighborhood By chensiyuan, CC BY-SA 4.0

This is the place where you will step back in time and experience the faded elegance of Rio’s 19th-century plantation mansions and cobblestone streets. This district is known as the haven for artists, writers, and musicians in the 20th century but clubs and boutiques are all over the neighborhood now. The highlight of the neighborhood is the museum called Museu da Chacara do Ceu which is used to display art by the likes of Jean Metzinger and Matisse

Explore Downtown Rio

Downtown Rio de Janeiro
Downtown Rio de Janeiro

This is a place where you should try and explore. There are cafes and stores in the charming mazes in the alleyways. There are markets, museums, cathedrals and monasteries that you can visit.

Go sightseeing at the Museum of Tomorrow

Museum of Tomorrow
Museum of Tomorrow

The museum was opened in December 2015 and it is located on the waterfront of downtown Rio. The museum has one of the world’s most spectacular architectural designs. The museum is also devoted to finding ways to avoid the climate disaster, social collapse, and environmental degradation.

Enjoy nature at Tijuca National Park

Cascatinha Taunay by Halley Pacheco de Oliveira via Wikipedia CC
Cascatinha Taunay by Halley Pacheco de Oliveira via Wikipedia CC

This is one of the largest urban forests in the world and the park covers a big area of the mountainous landscape. You can hike to Rio’s highest peak which is Pico de Tijuca where you can enjoy the expansive views of Guanabara Bay and the city below. The park was nearly destroyed in the early 1800s by the encroaching coffee plantations and it was replanted by hand in the latter half of the century which houses nine million trees now. The highlight of the park is Mayrink chapel and the tumbling 100-foot Cascatinha waterfall.

Have lunch at the Confeitaria Colombo

Confeitaria Colombo photo via FB Page
Confeitaria Colombo photo via FB Page

If you visit Rio de Janeiro, then it is a must to have experience of eating lunch at Confeitaria Colombo. It was built in late 1800 with Parisian style café that serves pastries and desserts which are mixed with high tea. Many tourists come and have treats downstairs. You can also have an upstairs dining experience where you can eat food from the buffet while a piano man will play popular classic tunes while you eat your meal.

Visit the Maracana Stadium

Maracana Stadium
Maracana Stadium

There is no way you will want to know about the history of Brazil that you will not want to know about the most important sport in Brazil which is soccer. Maracana Stadium is one of Rio’s most important landmarks and it was once the world’s highest capacity football venue when it opened in 1950. You can have a tour around the stadium which is now the largest stadium in South America after it was rebuilt for 2014 World Cup.

Catch a performance at Theatro Municipal

Theatro Municipal
Theatro Municipal

This is located in the city center and this is Rio’s main opera house. It was built at the beginning of the 20th century and many people consider the building to be the most beautiful in the country. The highlight of the Theatre is that you can go watch a show in the building and if you cannot, you can book a guided tour of this spectacular theater.

Tourist Attractions and Things to do in Rio de Janeiro photo by Elizeu Dias via Unsplash
Tourist Attractions and Things to do in Rio de Janeiro Photo by Elizeu Dias on Unsplash

The carnival season in Rio attracts tourists from all over the world. The city is not only about relaxing and people watching at the shores of the various beaches in the city, there are other amazing things that you can visit.

Best Things to do in Rio de JaneiroRio de Janeiro Travel and Tour Packages

Find Hotels in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil according to your budget via Agoda.

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