Rio de Janeiro is truly a magical place. This city is undoubtedly giant. So if you don’t really know much about the city, finding a cool neighborhood to stay can almost seem impossible. Each neighborhood in this sprawling metropolis is distinct and has its own charm which lends itself to feeling more like a big collection of small towns than one giant city.
We asked our worldly staff to give us suggestions on their favorite Rio de Janeiro neighborhoods to help you figure out where to stay based on what you’re looking for in your Rio vacation.
I’m sure you’ve heard of this neighborhood. Maybe from Barry Manilow’s song, or just from the rich history that this neighborhood possesses. While all the shine and luster from Copacabana has begun to fade slightly, it is still a hugely popular neighborhood to stay and for good reason. This neighborhood is plentiful with its incredible beaches and amazing food and drink. The seafood around here is absolutely to die for and there is fantastic shopping. Copacabana is full of people selling hand crafted tchotchkes so you will be sure to pick up some fantastic mementos along the way.
If you’re looking for a more relaxing stay than Santa Teresa is the neighborhood for you. This area has a distinctly bohemian vibe. You will find plenty of fantastic food here, as well as incredible live samba to dance the night away. The streets are filled with inspiring street art and there are some more tchotchkes thanks to the many artists and sculptors that make Santa Teresa their home.
Ipanema is the trendiest neighborhood in all of Rio which you will easily be able to tell by the collection of restaurants and bars that line the streets. Not only are there tons of hip options to wine and dine in this neighborhood, there is also incredible surfing at the beaches around here. If you haven’t guessed, surfing is a pretty big deal in Rio. Not as big as soccer, of course, but still extremely popular. If you really want to look like a local, learn how to play soccer while surfing a wave and you will undoubtedly look like the coolest kid in town.
Lapa is synonymous with nightlife. This neighborhood is definitely where the party is at. Whether you’re looking to just hang out in a dive bar or rock out in a giant, upscale nightclub you will find it in Lapa. We’re talking about nightclubs that are three stories high! If you’re headed to Rio to imbibe and let loose then Lapa is most definitely where you will want to hang out.
But even if partying isn’t what you’re looking for, there are plenty of incredible activities for you in this district, like the Escadaria Selaron, which are world-famous mosaic stairs that are a must on your trip to Rio.