essential activities in Rio de Janeiro

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Visiting Christ the Redeemer

From a distance, it is already impressive. When you get closer, the experience is even more impactful. You can buy tickets at the box office or online. To go up, you can catch a van (Praça do Lido) or a train (Rua Cosme Velho, 513), or you can walk.

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Climbing the Sugar Loaf Mountain

Praça General Tibúrcio, 520

It is not an easy task to hold the title of Rio’s first postcard. Built in 1912, the cable car that connects the hills never loses its grace. The overlooks along the way offer a full view of the landscape, including such attractions as Christ the Redeemer, Pedra da Gávea, and Morro Dois Irmãos.

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Gobbling up a snack at Aconchego Carioca

Rua Barão de Iguatemi, 379

Chef Kátia Barbosa has transformed her dumplings into a culinary institution. The feijoada dumpling made the house famous, but other recipes, like the one made with sun-dried meat and curdled cheese, are also delicious. A bonus: the place is close to Maracanã Stadium.

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Having a draft beer at Amarelinho

A toast facing Cinelândia: this tavern with yellow tables on the sidewalk is located in the heart of downtown Rio. The ice-cold draft beer, accompanied by a portion of fried chicken, holds a special place in locals’ hearts.

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Observing Rio from above

Estrada da Vista Chinesa, 1294

Inside Tijuca National Park you’ll find the Vista Chinesa, a must-visit overlook. From there, you can see most of Rio’s postcards, including the Corcovado, Guanabara Bay, Rodrigo de Freitas Lake, the beaches of Ipanema and Leblon, and much more!

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Applauding the sunset

Praia do Arpoador, s/no

Yes, Rio natives do it. Yes, you too can do it. Dusk at Praia do Arpoador draws daily applause from beachgoers, who celebrate the sunset. If you want to check out another sacred stretch of sand, head to nearby Ipanema Beach beforehand.

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Having dessert at Colombo

Rua Gonçalves Dias, 32

It is no coincidence that the original location, with high ceilings and mirrors and tiles from Portugal, is still going strong after over 100 years. You can’t go wrong here: try a pastel de nata, a pingo de tocha, or a quindim — all with coffee.

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Letting samba envelop you

Just next to Praça Mauá, one of the busiest samba sessions in town takes place. Every Monday, at 7:30 p.m., samba classics draw people who sit on the steps carved on a rock in the plaza.

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Pedaling, pedaling, pedaling

With over 250 miles of bike paths and lanes and bicycle rental stations scattered around the city (look for the closest one here), it’s even easier to explore Rio on two wheels. The route going around the Lake and through the beaches of the south zone is lovely.

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Enjoying the new museums

Praça Mauá, 1 and Praça Mauá, 5

Praça Mauá, a region that was revitalized for the Rio 2016 Games, is home to new cultural centers. One of them is the Museum of Tomorrow , focused on science; and the other is the Museum of Art of Rio (photo), a remodeled old palace.