guide to Rio 2016

The 2016 Olympic Games start this weekend, and for those of you coming to Rio who may want to skip crowds and the most well-known tourist attractions, I have asked my friends (and the best Rio ambassadors I know) Thomaz Azulay and Patrick Doering to put together a list of things to do and places to visit while you are in town.


  • Take the newly launched VLT to Praça Mauá (Parada dos Museus) and visit MAR (Museu de Arte do Rio) and Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow), designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The Paradise, the new Rio label designed by Thomaz and Patrick, has a corner shop at the museum.
  • Stop by Goaybeira, a charming local bar at Largo das Neves in Santa Teresa, for great appetizers and bar food to the sound of Chat Baker and Cartola.
  • Walk by Aterro do Flamengo, the largest public park in Rio, designed by architect Lota de Macedo Soares with gardens and landscapes designed by Burle Marx, until reaching MAM (Museum of Modern Art). Make sure not to miss the “Em Polvorosa” exhibit at the museum, on display now until November 6th.
  • Everybody loves açaí, and the best açaí in the city is at Tacacá do Norte, a bar that receives weekly shipments of açaí from Belém. Also highly recommended is the “casquinha de carangueijo” (or stuffed crab shells) and the actual “tacacá,” a soup common to north Brazil, made with manioc, shrimp, and jambu leaves, which have a numbing effect on your tongue.
  • Visit Fábrica Bhering, an old chocolate factory from the turn of the century which is now home to studios of renowned artists, furniture stores, vintage shops, and cafés. Brechó Belchior and Feira are two stores you should not miss.
  • Antique Saturday: antiques fair at Shopping Cassino Atlântico in Copacabana and the antiques street fair at Praça XV in downtown Rio.
  • For a more sophisticated shopping experience, Gabinete on Rua Lopes Quintas in Jardim Botânico is the design shop to visit – a trip to the past and the future.
  • For the best drinks in a very intimate setting, head over to Sub Astor, located inside the Astor restaurant in Ipanema. Their cheeseburger is also amazing!
  • Another option with an excellent drinks menu is Crazy Cats Bistrô, a cozy retro-themed bar featuring live music from the 20’s and 30’s.
  • For a great dinner in the beach, the Italian cuisine at Quiosque Gávea Beach Club in São Conrado is the best option at night. During the day, a good alternative is Quiosque Atlântico, on Avenida do Pepe (close to number 530). Headed by hermanos argentinos, it serves fresh fish and amazing drinks all day!
  • For a late night meal (or a meal any time of the day), Café Lamas in Flamengo in an institution in Rio and has been around for over 140 years.
  • For more sophisticated bar food than the regular “boteco,” Canastra Bar in front of Praça General Osório in Ipanema is a great choice. Owned by a group of French friends that set base in Rio, it attracts a mixed crowd of artist types. Make sure to get there early as the place is small and tends to get very busy.