It would be very difficult or even impossible to enumerate all the natural beauties, main tourist attractions and local points to visit when one are in Rio de Janeiro. Considering my personal point of view, here are some places that is worth a visit.
Going Sightseeing | Sights to See
Besides Corcovado Mount and Christ The Redemeer statue, Sugar Loaf Mount and Its cable car, and beachs such as Copacabana and Ipanema, Rio is plenty of attactions. It is only a brief list. On the top of the page, Riotur tourist map.
Since I present here personal descriptions of visited places, I reveal here what it is of interest under my point of view, mainly the case of somebody who have only some days in the city and will have that to choose only some places among many others.
The selected places places to go, can be part of the main scripts of tourist attractions of the city, involving nature, beaches, cultural and artistic life, as well as places of historical interest. Some of that places are also very frequently visited by locals, so you can mix with the Cariocas and see how is the real life in Rio on a normal day. Cariocas is the way the locals of Rio de Janeiro City are called.
Some of the places and attractions listed below, are located in the main touristic areas of the city, next to the most famous hotels, so it not difficult to get to that places. Anyway, others points to visit, can be a little more distant of the hotels and tourist areas, but in accordance with the taste and interest of each one, is worth visit as well.
Many sights to see, listed here, you can be visited on your own, and It is what the majority of the locals and many visitors and travellers do when they have enough time to walk around and visiting.
Anyway, if you plan to stay few days in Rio, you may consider to arrange with some travel and tourism agencies that offer city tours, excursions and sightseeng. Not only they have tours that take you to the main attractions and landmarks but also options to visit different places throughout the city and out of the beaten route if you want to.
Some city tours includes in the package the main points to visit and even a break to have a meal on some barbecue restaurante. with accessory of guides that explain the particular ones and history of the places also exist. The advantage of a city tour is the fact that, you have a guide tour at your disposal that will explain the particulars and the history the concerns the sights to see.
On the Maracanã stadium, the most famous stadium of Brazil and one of the greatest in the world. About the guided tour that includes the hall of the fame, the sidewalk of the fame where the players also leave its marks, the lawn, the football (soccer) player´s dressing room and the museum of the soccer (football).
If you are in Rio, and has plenty of time, it is a good idea to visit Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon. Alongside the lagoon banks there are leisure areas for walking, and bike lane and juice kiosks. You can also enjoy beautiful landscapes and rent a pedal boat. Nearby there is Catacumba Park, a wounderful ecological reserve.
The Jockey Club of Brazil has a beautiful architecture, and a race track with beautiful sights of mount ranges and Corcovado mount. You can visit the Botanical Garden in the morning (which is to close), and Jockey Club in the afternoon. The best day and hour to visit Jockey Club is on Sunday.
The Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro, was founded by order of the Prince Regent D. João VI, in 1808. It is an ecological sanctuary and one of the 10 more important in the world. It is a place for leisure and to watch the lots of green and brazilian flora. In the place you can alse see wild birds as part of the scene.
For all who like adventure, you can fly with a professional pilot of Hang Gliding. You can jump from Pedra Bonita mount, a peak 510 meters height, and after a panoramic flight you land on Pepino Beach, in São Conrado neighborhood.
If you do not want to fly, you can just go to the hight place to see the landscape.
If you go to 15 Square (Praça XV) and get the ferryboat that crosses Guanabara Bay towards Niteroi City, you have nice view of both cities and the bay. Once in Niteroi, you can visit the Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum, designed by Oscar Niemeyer. It is next to beach of Icaraí, with sights of the Guanabara Bay.
The Museum of Modern Art (MAM) is located on Flamengo Park, alongside Guanabara Bay and next to city center. The MAM facilities includes auditorium, library, bookstore, bar and restaurant.
Flamengo Park is a huge lawn with lots of trees, including sports courts, bike lane, walking and jogging lane as well. Visit it only during the daytime, becouse in the evening it is desert.
Warning: Some people has been mugged when visiting Flamengo Park in 2008. There are robbers and muggers in the area.
The old and picturesque district of Santa Teresa is in a high part of the city, next to city center.
The most interesting way to get to the place is through "bondinho of Santa Teresa" or Santa Teresa Street Car that passes on "Arcs of Lapa", an old aqueduct built in the colonial times.
During the 1960´s and 70´s many artists of moved to old mansions of Santa Teresa giving the place a different atmosphere. The place is an interesting area of Rio, with an alternative cinema of art, some bars and restaurants.
The neo gothic palace on Fiscal Island was built to be the maritme customs headquarter of Rio de Janeiro City in the end of the nineteenth centuary. It was the King D. Pedro II who chose the island to locate the palace and the architectural style of the building. The Engineer Adolph del Vecchio was in charge of the construction, that was completed in 1889.
Not only the palace is famous for it beautiful lines, but also for having been the place the place where the last Imperial Ball took place, in 9 of November of 1889.
Rio de Janeiro city center is the financial and commercial center of the city. Once there you can see old and moderns buildings and skyscrapers. Most of the areas of the city center is crowd during daytime and empty in the night.
Cinelandia square is the most popular place of Rio, with its bars, restaurants, and some cinemas, which is lively even in the night. The Municipal Theater, the National Library, the National Museum of Beautiful Arts, and Federal Justice Cultural Center are located in Cinelândia square.
Praça XV ( 15 Square) and surrounds areas are part of the historical center of the City and it was the center of Rio in the colonial times and during the 1º and 2º reign in the 19º century. There are many buildings from the colonial age such as Paço Real, an old dwelling of Vice the Kings, historical churches and a water fountain that was a landmark of the old city. Arco do Teles is a building which has a passage to narrow streets, bars and restaurants with an special enchantment. The are is lively on week days and empty in the weekend.
Quinta da Boa Vista is a large area with gardens which belonged to the King of United Kingdoom of Portugal and later to the Kings of Brazil, in the 19th century. Since Republic was proclaimed, the gardens became an open space. In the huge lawn area you can picnic, walk surrounded by trees, palms, enormous gardens, lakes and alleys.
The old Imperial Palace, located on the grounds, today houses the National Museum of Natural History with a rich collection of specimens and artifacts from all around the world.
There is a tropical forest in the middle of Rio de Janeiro City. For those one about to visit the woods, they will find not natural beauty such as cascades and water falls, but also old briges, miradors or belvederes and historical attractions. Tijuca Forest is a National Park as well, being enormous, and in case that it is your first visit, it is advisable to arrange for a guided tour with some seasoned guide who knows the place well.
The Zoological Garden of Rio de Janeiro is located inside Quinta da Boa Vista Park and Gardens. It has innumerable animals of brazilian fauna and the whole world. Beyond fauna, the grounds has lots green, picturesque paths, and palm alleys.
If you want to visit thoroughly the Zoo, The National Museum and Quinta da Boa Vista Park It will take you at least an entire day.
If you want something exotic and different, you can visit Northeastern Fair. It can sound unusual and inexpected even to people from other parts of Brazil. It is a permanent and popular fair, located in São Cristóvão Disctrict. There you find everything that has to do with the culture of Brazil Northeastern, including popular arts and literature, crafts, and typical northeastern food. Some bars and restaurants has place to dance.