22 of the Best Things to do in Rio de Janeiro

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Nestled along the stunning coastline of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is a city that pulsates with life and energy. Known for its vibrant culture, breathtaking landscapes, and iconic landmarks, Rio has something to offer every type of traveler. Whether you’re exploring the historic streets, relaxing on beautiful beaches, or taking in the panoramic views from Sugarloaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro never fails to leave an indelible mark on those who visit. Here are the 22 best things to do in this marvelous city.

1. Christ the Redeemer

Book your Corcovado Official Train Ticket in advance and make sure you get an up-close view of one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, Christ the Redeemer. Travel through beautiful urban forest before taking in the stunning views of Rio de Janeiro.

2. Visit Ilha Grande

Enjoy a 4-hour boat ride through some heavenly sceneries and calm waters of Ilha Grande in Angra dos Reis. See the Blue Lagoon, Freguesia de Santana, and more before having lunch at Japariz Beach. Beyond its beautiful beaches, embark on hikes through lush rainforests and explore hidden waterfalls and secluded lagoons.

3. Go to the 2024 Samba Parade

Watch the biggest show on Earth, the Carnival Samba School Parade in Rio’s Sambodrome. Benefit from pickup and drop-off from your hotel or cruise ship and the expertise of a professional tour guide. Discover the vibrant culture and community spirit in Santa Marta, a favela turned artistic hub.

4. Favela Santa Marta Tour

Discover the culture of Rio de Janeiro on a favela walking tour, guided by a local activist promoting social and cultural development. Marvel at breathtaking views, visit inspiring community projects, and immerse yourself in the vibrant daily life of this unique neighborhood, gaining a profound understanding of the city’s resilience and creativity.

5. Arraial do Cabo Day Trip with Boat Tour

Embark on a captivating boat journey through Arraial do Cabo’s crystal-clear waters, often referred to as the “Brazilian Caribbean.” Experience an intimate encounter with vibrant marine life up close.

6. Sugarloaf Cable Car

Ride the Sugarloaf cable car to explore one of Brazil’s most famous attractions. Enjoy beautiful views of Rio de Janeiro and its surrounding area from the top of Morro da Urca and Sugarloaf Mountain. Then explore the vibrant Copacabana Beach, where you can indulge in Brazil’s street food delicacies and refreshing caipirinhas.

7. Hang Gliding Adventure

Take part in a unique hang gliding experience in Rio de Janeiro and fly through the tropical air. Benefit from the services of safe and experienced instructors aboard the hang gliders and glide between the mountains and Atlantic Ocean. After soaring through the skies, land on São Conrado Beach and relax with a caipirinha in hand while admiring the coastal beauty.

8. Tijuca Rain Forest Tour

As you hike through the Tijuca Rain Forest, immerse yourself in the sounds of nature and don’t forget your binoculars to spot a variety of bird species and perhaps even some capuchin monkeys. You can also experience this in an open top jeep which will provide you a unique overview of the delicate balance of a tropical jungle located in the heart of a large, thriving urban area.

9. Visit Jungle Waterfalls

Discover the hidden gems of Tijuca National Park, where enchanting waterfalls await your exploration. As you meander through the park’s dense rainforest, the melodious sounds of cascading water will draw you closer to these natural wonders. Among the park’s many waterfalls, two stand out as must-see destinations: the Cascatinha Waterfall and the Taunay Waterfall.

10. Explore Rio From Above

Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime experience as you fly above the city of Rio de Janeiro in a helicopter. Admire the sights of the city on a 6 or 12-minute flight and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the beaches, Christ the Redeemer, and/or Sugarloaf Mountain.

11. Six Stops Highlight Tour of Rio

Immerse yourself in the diverse culture of Rio as you customize your tour, exploring neighborhoods and landmarks that pique your interest. Don’t forget to sample delectable local street food along the way, infusing your adventure with a rich tapestry of flavors that only Rio can offer.

12. Sunset Sailing Tour

Elevate your sailing experience by opting for a private charter, where you can indulge in a sumptuous Brazilian barbecue while witnessing the breathtaking spectacle of the sun setting below the horizon. This romantic excursion creates lasting memories against the backdrop of Rio’s iconic landmarks.

13. Pub Crawl in Lapa

Get an authentic taste of Lapa’s nightlife by delving into hidden samba clubs and intimate bars. Here, you can groove to the rhythms of live music and mingle with friendly locals, making the most of your night out in this vibrant neighborhood. 

14. Imperial City Tour

Discover the Imperial City of Petrópolis, one of the most important historical cities in Brazil. On this full-day tour, you’ll see palaces, villas, imperial jewels, and learn about the lives of the Brazilian imperial families!

15. Go to Maracanã Stadium

Go behind the scenes at Maracanã and come close to the sacred pitch of the most famous stadium in the world. Check pieces of Brazilian football history, visit the changing room, the players’ tunnel, sit in the dugout and the press conference room.

16. Take a Tram Ride to Santa Teresa & Lapa

After your scenic tram ride, continue your journey with a visit to a local café in Santa Teresa. Here, you can relish Brazilian coffee and indulge in delectable pastries, all while soaking in the artistic ambiance of this charming neighborhood.

17. Visit the Marine Aquarium

Explore the Marine Aquarium while taking part in engaging marine life presentations and gaining a deeper understanding of conservation efforts in the South Atlantic Ocean. Witness the incredible diversity of aquatic life in the region.

18. City Sights Tour

Personalize your city sights tour to focus on your specific interests, whether it’s delving into the city’s history, admiring its diverse architecture, or exploring its vibrant street art scene. Engage with local artisans at each stop to gain a profound appreciation for their craft.

19. Petrópolis Day Trip

Admire the Imperial Museum on a city tour of Petrópolis, the former summer residence of the Brazilian Royal Family. Upgrade to a buffet lunch or a visit the Bohemia Brewery.

20. Guided Bike Tour

Extend your bike tour by pedaling along the scenic boardwalks of Ipanema and Copacabana, making stops at beachside kiosks for refreshing coconut water. This extended adventure lets you soak up the coastal beauty and vibrant atmosphere.

21. See Rio's Street Art

For a comprehensive exploration of Rio’s dynamic street art scene, embark on a guided graffiti tour in Santa Teresa and Lapa. Engage with local artists, gain insights into their creative process, and even participate in creating a collaborative mural, leaving your mark on the city’s artistic landscape.

22. Take a Traditional Samba Class

After your lively samba class, dive deeper into the energetic Lapa nightlife by heading to Rio Scenarium, a renowned samba club known for its pulsating dance floor and captivating live music. Put your newfound dance skills to the test as you revel in the city’s rhythmic beats.


Q1: When is the best time to visit Rio de Janeiro?

A1: The best time to visit Rio is during its summer months from December to March. You can enjoy warm weather, outdoor activities, and vibrant carnival celebrations.

Q2: Is Rio de Janeiro safe for tourists?

A2: While Rio is generally safe for tourists, it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded areas. Follow local advice and take common-sense precautions.

Q3: What is the traditional Brazilian dish to try in Rio?

A3: Don’t miss feijoada, a hearty black bean stew with various meats, and açaí, a delicious purple fruit dessert, while in Rio de Janeiro.

Q4: How do I get to Christ the Redeemer?

A4: You can reach Christ the Redeemer by taking a train or hiking up the Corcovado Mountain. The train departs from Cosme Velho station.

Q5: What should I pack for my trip to Rio?

A5: Pack lightweight clothing, sunscreen, a hat, comfortable walking shoes, and a swimsuit. You can also look at the Must Have Travel Accessories For Travel.