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Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

Wondering what to do in Rio de Janeiro if you didn’t come in February or March for Carnival? There are plenty of other classic things to do in Rio de Janeiro.

New Year's Eve, also known as the Reveillon, is another main event, with traditions such as wearing white clothes and making offers to the oceans, for the Iemanja, the goddess of the Sea. The Jardim Botânico is one of the greatest botanical gardens, in both size and reputation, in the world; it has groves of cocoa and rubber trees, as well as giant Amazonian water lilies—some more than three feet across—that float in ponds.

What to do in Rio de Janeiro with kids? Don't miss Mil Frutas, the shop near the Jardim Botânico that has perhaps not a thousand, but more than a hundred flavors of natural ice creams and sorbets. Mil Frutas makes its frozen desserts by hand, when fruits like the tropical jungle cupuaçu and berries from the açaí palm are in-season. Rare flavors range from avocado and pineapple-cilantro to French toast. Scoops are relatively pricey, but you can ask for samples first.

Get to Know that Girl from Ipanema with the mile-long, 300-foot-deep white-sand beach which inspired the song. It has granite peaks and a jungle-covered range as its backdrop, and its palm-tree-lined boardwalk is made for strolling and great people watching. Four blocks inland, however, is Garota de Ipanema, the bar where, legend has it, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Morais wrote the song “The Girl from Ipanema,” and where you can still hear live bossa nova.

  • Academia da Cachaça

    Opened in 1985, this institution draws fans of cachaça, the potent sugarcane liquor that's the base for Rio's most famous export, the caipirinha. S... More
  • Antonio Bernardo

    Rio-born-and-bred Bernardo sells strictly contemporary jewelry designs, many in his signature matte finish. Earrings go for about $2,000, but the a... More
  • Bar d'Hotel

    The Marina All Suites Hotel bar is a Technicolor pastiche of ice-blue and orange walls and Jetsons-style bar stools—all occupied by tall, tan, lean... More
  • Bus Bike

  • Carlinhos de Jesus

    Dancer and choreographer Carlinhos de Jesus heads this Rio ballroom dance school, where teachers give instruction in typical Brazilian rhythms like... More
  • Confeitaria Colombo

    Brazil's most venerable chocolatier (founded in 1894) is hidden on a narrow street in chaotic Centro. The sweets, coffees, and tropical marmalades ... More
  • Corcovado

    Atop one of the city's highest peaks, the world-renowned statue of Christ the Redeemer gives way to 360-degree views. Take the 123-year-old Corcova... More
  • Garota de Ipanema

    The bar where, legend has it, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinícius de Morais wrote the song The Girl from Ipanema, and where you can still hear live b... More
  • Ipanema Beach

    What to Expect: Majestic granite peaks jut from a jungle-covered range to create a spectacular backdrop for this mile-long, 300-foot-deep white-san... More
  • Jardim Botânico

    Vast palm-lined avenues lead to groves of cocoa and rubber trees. Giant Amazonian water lilies—some more than three feet across—float in ponds. Est... More
  • La Vereda

    Above the city's fray in the boho-chic hilltop neighborhood of Santa Teresa sits a tiny shop specializing in native crafts. Loosely woven cotton ru... More
  • Maria Bonita Extra

    Skinny pants, diaphanous camis, and slinky tube dresses in eye-popping orange and fuchsia fill the racks at this younger, hipper sister to Brazilia... More
  • Mil Frutas, Jardim Botânico

    Although not quite a thousand, there are more than a hundred flavors of natural ice creams and sorbets at this shop near the Jardim Botânico. Mil F... More
  • Niterói Contemporary Art Museum

    Oscar Niemeyer's architectural masterpiece was completed late in his life—1996—but has the same fantastic improbability and masterful precision of ... More
  • Osklen, Rio de Janeiro

    Designer Oskar Metsavaht's clothes, wave-riding gear, and microscopic bikinis are a sleek, no-frills marriage of Miu Miu and Quicksilver—and come a... More

Explore things to do in Brazil for more options.

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