Carioca culture

Authored by:
Alessandra B.

by Alessandra Barbagallo (CIEE RA; Artist-Therapist)

Rio is a city known for its lively people and laid-back atmosphere. Visitors usually come attracted by the beaches, outdoor activities, nature, and nightlife in Lapa. It's a sunny destination and people most of the time don’t know what to do when the weather is not like on the postcards. Nor do they have much information on other cultural options.
Check out these several other carioca rolês* that you can enjoy besides the clichés.


The city contains a variety of museums and cultural centers (most of them downtown) with different exhibits and attractions. Some of the buildings were cleverly planned so that the landscape integrates the architecture to please the nature of the cariocas and to inspire tourists.

CCBB – Centro cultural Banco do Brasil

A very interesting a cultural center with free entrance (except for plays and movies) where you can visit temporary and fixed art exhibits, watch a movie or go to the theater. It’s also a great place to chill, sit on the cafés, go through the titles of the bookstore and study at a very complete library.

Where: R. Primeiro de Março, 66 - Centro (Uruguaiana subway station)

When: Wed to Mon, from 9am to 9pm



MAR - Museu de arte do Rio

The museum combines past and future not only in its eclectic architecture, but also with the contemporary and historical exhibits it organizes. It also hosts an artistic-aducational project called Escola do olhar.

Where: Praça Mauá, Centro (Uruguaiana subway station)

When: Tue to Sun, from 10am to 5pm

Tickets: R$ 20; R$ 10 (consult the conditions in order to pay half); free for everyone on Tuesdays



Museu do amanhã

With a priviledged view to the Guanabara Bay, it explores a susteinability concept and is quite different from other science museums, for it approaches sutainability matters in very interactive way, nurturing experience and knowledge exchange.

Where: Praça Mauá, 1 - Centro (Uruguaiana subway station)

When: Tue to Sun, from 10am to 6pm

Tickets: R$ 20; R$ 10 (consult the conditions in order to pay half); free for everyone on Tuesdays




The largest aquarium in Latin America houses around 5,000 aqautic animals in its separate tanks, but also counts with the Big oceanic tank and fixed exhibits such as the Museum o science and  the Museum of surf.

Where: Praça Muhammad Ali - Via Binário do Porto, s/n -  Centro

When: Mon to Sun, from 10am to 6pm

Tickets: R$ 140 (full day, entering anytime); R$ 120 (at a scheduled time); special offers for students (R$ 60) and Latin American, Brazilian and Carioca citizens (consult the conditions on the website);




Theatro Munucipal do Rio de Janeiro

One of the main theaters in Brazil and one of the most important in Latin America, the building is worth the visit at least to checkout its mostly eclectic architecture from the early 20th Century. It also hosts events of ballet, opera and contemporary dance. Usually counts with a popular season where tickets can be bought with a special discount for alternative time shows.

Where: Praça Floriano, S/N - Centro (Cinelândia subway station)

When: Vary according to the season of the shows (consult website)

Tickets: Vary according to the show (consult the event schedules and prices on the website)



Teatro Riachuelo

Cinelândia neighborhood was known for the quantity of theaters and movie theaters around the same square, stimulating cultural and nightlife in Rio. Theatro Riachuelo dates from the 19th century and hosts music concerts, musicals and plays.

Where: Praça Floriano, S/N - Centro (Cinelândia subway station)

When: Consult schedule on the website

Tickets: Consult schedule on the website



SESC Copacabana

The space shelters more than one theater play during the week and on weekends. There is an arena theater and a multipurpose room where plays and performances can take place. It also counts with several educational programs such as mostly free classes and workshops for everyone, but especially for the elderly. The building shelters hospitality and entertainment structure for guests as well.

Where: R. Domingos Ferreira, 160 - Copacabana (Siqueira Campos subway station)

When: Consult schedule on the website

TicALkets: Consult schedule on the website




Maracanã stadium

The national passion could not be left out for it marks the inhabitants’ social life and culture. The most famous stadium in Brazil – dare I say, in the world - can be visited, but nothing better than going to Maracanã to watch a game. For that you need to consult the championships taking place in Rio (there are other stadiums that host important and classical matches as well). Another attraction is the Maracanã tour where you can learn about the history of the stadium and brazilian soccer and visit the backstage, locker rooms and step on the field to have the players' perpective of the stadium.

Where: Av. Pres. Castelo Branco, Portão 3 - Maracanã (Maracanã or São Cristóvão subway station - according to the sector)

When: According to soccer season

Tickets: Consult the website




Even though Carnival is usually by February and sometimes March, it’s always party time in Rio and street blocks (blocos de carnaval) will be rehearsing in different spots of the city. A great way to have a taste of the festivities' energy. You can check out the schedule online on specific apps, facebook events or the website

Well, as you can see, there are a lot of opportunities to mingle and experience the carioca lifestyle. Of course you shouldn’t miss the typical attractions so make sure you visit Sugar Loaf and Corcovado,  go to Copacabana and Ipanema Beach for a coconut water, to Pedra do Sal to listen to samba music, or even Lapa for a caipirinha. E aí? Partiu?**


*brazilian slang for attractions, places to go to have a good time

**brazilian expression meaning "let's go"


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