Things to do in Rio when it rains
If the rain wasn’t in your plans when you dreamed about your trip to Rio de Janeiro, don’t worry! There are so many things to do and see in Rio. Here we listed 11 activities to help you to take the best out of your time in Rio, and give you good choices of things to do in Rio when it rains!
And the first tip is: If it’s cloudy or rainy forget the two biggest post cards, Christ Redeemer and the Sugar Loaf, under these conditions it’s waste of time & money.
1. Walking Tours – Walk around
Maybe you’re thinking: Whaaat?! A walking tour in a rainy day?! Why not?! Take your umbrella and a raincoat and explore our wonderful city! This is actually our favourite option of things to do in Rio when it rains!
I’m going to recommend 3 areas to visit, these are not only beautiful but also part of Brazilian history! These are things you can do by yourself, but we also offer in our Rio Free Walking Tours, this way you can go in a group, with entertaining guides and by the end you’re gonna have more the nice pictures, you’ll also know a bit more of Brazilian history and some curiosities
1. Downtown and Lapa
The top one of our list of things to do in Rio when it rains! It is a MUST DO – For sure that’s the best tip we could give! Don’t hesitate to visit the Historical District. Rio was the capital of Brazil when the Porutuguese Royal Family run away from Portugal and moved here! That’s why there’s the Imperial Palace and other nice buildings! Just go! You won’t regret! In the walking tours we don’t go inside all the places (it would take more than one full day!) but we learn the history and get an overview of the city and later you visit on your own the places you’re more interested! To find out the days/schedule and meeting point check our Downtown and Lapa Free tour page.
Important: Do not visit the downtown on Sundays and Brazilian Nacional holidays for safety reasons…
The places we go: Largo da Carioca (Carioca Square), Colombo Bakery, Travessa do Comércio, Praça XV (XV Square), Imperial Palace, Tiradentes Palace, Municipal Theater, Nacional Library, Fine Arts Museum, City Council, Cinelândia Square, Selaron Stairs and Lapa Arches.
2. African Heritage (Docks Area & Mauá Square)
This area is also known as Little Africa, by this you can imagine what this tour / walk is about: the slaves who were brought to work and build this country! Moreover this Port Zone was completely renovated for the Olympics Games, the Olympic Torch was there during the games and the good vibes are still there… a nice Boulevard where you can walk, have some street food, to see some street artists on the way and even take a picture with the big letters: #CIDADEMARAVILHOSA, (Marvelous city), in the square, there’s also the famous Museum of Tomorrow & MAR (Museu de Arte do Rio). You can join us, or go by yourself! For schedule/rote please check Olympic Boulevard and Docks Area page
3. Copacabana & Ipanema
The famous Copacabana sidewalk is already an attraction! The famous waves, made of black and white stones, makes this pathway one of the most famous sidewalk in the world! Even if it’s rainy, this is one of the things to do in Rio when it rains! In Copacabana beach zone there’re other things to see such as the Forte de Copacabana (Military base), in between Copacabana and Ipanema there’s the beautiful Arpoador Zone, where a lot of people go for surfing or Just to chill.
When your’re doing a walk in this zone, walk from Ipanema beach to the other side of the neighborhood and you’ll get to the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, the lagoon that has a heart shape and stay a while drinking a coconut water! Again, you can go by yourself, or join us for a walking and entertainment tour! (We also provide same free samples of Brazilian snacks in our mini picnic in front of the lagoon) Please check more information of Copacabana and Ipanema Free Walking Tour Rio de Janeiro.
2. Colombo Bakery
Right down this tip: the Best place for a 5 o’clock tea or breakfast. There’re 2 main Confeitarias Colombo (Colombo Bakery) in Rio:
Colombo of Downtown: that’s the old & historic one, if you intend to walk in the downtown (and you should) for sure you must include Colombo in your stops (in our Free Walking Tour Downtown & Lapa, we make a quick stop there). The bakery is not only beautiful, but also really important for Brazil. It was there where the politicians and the high society of Brazil used get together and take important decisions about the future of our country! The perfect place for a rainy day in Rio
Colombo of Forte de Copacabana: well, this is post about things to do in Rio when it rains, so I must advise you: the Colombo of Forte de Copacabana has a nice view to Copacabana beach, but the problem is: the best sits are outside, so maybe it’s a better option when it’s dry, if it’s cloudy it’s ok! Another important tip: if you decide to go on Sunday morning, be aware of the long line! One last advise: as the Bakery is inside de Fort, and the fort is a museum, to go to the bakery you need to pay the entrance fee of the museum, but it’s only R$6,00 and R$3,00 for students!
3. Municipal Theater
Another really nice thing to do in Rio and stay away from the rain… There’re 2 different ways to visit the Theater:
- You can buy the guided visit (it lasts 45 min). The price is: R$20,00 and if you’re student R$10,00.
- Another worth choice is to choose a concert, purchase the ticket and get there some minutes before to explore the Theater from inside! There’re concerts from R$20,00! If you liked this idea, check the schedule directly on Municipal Theater official Page (unfortunatelly the page is only in Portuguese)
This is, in my option, the most beautiful building of Rio! It’s really one of the best things to do in Rio when it rains. The inside of the Municipal Theater is full of gold and beautiful details.
4 CCBB (Cultural Center of Banco do Brasil) – Things to do in Rio when it rains
CCBB (again, website is only in Portuguese) is Cultural Center nowadays, but it was originally the first bank agency of Brazil! There’s a floor dedicated to this part of the history, with old Brazilian Money and the old furniture! Ah, to get to the higher floors, do take the elevator! That’s those old elevators! It’s such an experience! Besides that, there are really cool temporary exhibitions! Entrance is free and it’s always closed on Tuesdays! Excellent option of what to do in Rio when it rains!
4 Santa Teresa e Bondinho (Yellow Tram)
It’s so hard to describe Santa Teresa, I could say it’s a cool residential área, where the high socieity built really nice houses with amazing panoramic views… still, it doesn’t express the other important side of the neighborhood: the artistic atmosphere! Really cool handcrafts and ateliês! Yet, it still misses one of my favorite parts: the gastronomy! You find great restaurants there! Make sure you visit Parque das Ruínas (Ruins Park). It’s an old mansion with an amazing view of the entire city! Don’t go too far of the tram line as the neighborhood is, unfortunatelly, facing safety problems. If you’re interested to go to Santa Teresa and don’t know the Best way to get there, check this our Santa Teresa Rio de Janeiro blog post with safety tips!
About the Yellow Tram, it costs R$20,00 to go up, and it’s always free to go down. (even if you didn’t buy the way up!) The only problem is the tram is still under renovation and the capacity is 30 people per ride and it goes every 30 min and sometimes they just close earlier, so no one can guarantee you will be able to take the tram on the way down!
5 Nacional Library
The National Library is totally connected to the history of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro! Of course that it is covered, so it’s one of my favourites of our list of things to do in Rio when it rains. The National Library was build to host the Royal Collection and to replace the old Royal Library when the king of Portugal decided to move to Brazil! Nowadays, the National Library is one the biggest library of Latin America and it’s among the 10 largest libraries in the world! There are free guided visits in Portuguese, English and Spanish, just make sure you bring a photo ID (they request for the visit).
6 Selaron Steps
Definitely if you decided to go for a walk in the Downtown, you can’t miss the famous and colorful Selaron Staircase! (yes, we visit this landmark in our Free Walking Tour Downtown and Lapa!) Even if you aren’t convinced that rainy or sunny the downtown is really nice, and even if you don’t want to walk around under the rain, take a cab/Uber and do go to Selaron Stairs! It’s another must do in Rio!That’s the famous staircase where a lot of movies and video clips were recorded. It’s basically a staircase, full of colorful tiles from all over the world (there are tiles from more then 70 countries), made by a Chilean artist who lived in Rio!
Another important tip: If you decide to go to Santa Teresa after or before the Selaron Steps, DO NOT take the way from the stairs. The stair itself is safe, but the top is not recommended! If you want to go to Santa Teres, take an Uber! It’s a huge slope to get to Santa, save energy to walk there! It won’t cost you more than R$12,00! Avoid the Selaron Stair area on Sundays!
7. Maracanã Stadium
The Maracanã Stadium is opened again for guided visits! Maracanã is one of the most famous Football stadium in the world and it was here the most important sport events of Brazil: Opening / Closing Cerimony of Olympic Games of Rio 2016, the final of World Cup of Brazil 2014 and so on… The tours are from 9:00 – 16:00. Price: R$50,00 (Students pay only R$25,00). More info about Maracanã
8 Real Gabinete Português (Library)
If you’re convinced that you must explore the Downtown as one of the things to do in Rio when it rains, there is another nice Library you can visit: Real Gabinete Português de Leitura. It’s a public Library, free entrance, but no guided visits. In a super quick visit you can have a nice overview! It’s open from Monday to Friday (closed on holidays).
9 Museum: Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow)/ MAR / Museu Histórico Nacional
Our last suggestion of things to do in Rio when it rains, but not least important! For sure you’ve already heard: if it rains, go to museums! Ok, it makes sense, but Rio is so full of outdoor attractions (that are still suitable in rainy days) that for the next topic we’ll list 3 museums, but we recommend to choose only one (unless you’re a super fan of museums). The 3 museums are quite nice, but Rio is so beautiful that we believe you should experience it talking to people, tasting its flavors and walking around!
Museu do Amanhã: This is the most famous museum of Rio! It’s open from Tuesdays – Sundays from 10:00 to 18:00 (last visit starts at 17:00). It costs R$20,00 for adults and R$10,00 students. If you want to visit the other museum in the same square you can buy the deal: MAR (Museu de Arte do Rio) + Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow) for R$32,00 (R$16,00 for students). If you plan to visit the Museum of Tomorrow (Museu do Amanhã) download the app, it’s free and this way you know the exhibition going on, check schedule and plan your visit! The tomorrow museum is free every Tuesday!
MAR – Museu de Arte do Rio: Also in Mauá Square, this is where you can buy the COMBO ticket. The building is very modern and the roof has a wave shape! On Tuesdays it’s free and for the other days R$20,00 and R$10,00 for students.
Museu Histórico Nacional: Recommended for those who really love history or have already visited the other places listed… I mean, it’s a super nice museum, but there are other options to explore the city! On Sundays the entrance is free, on the other days it costs R$10,00 (R$5,000 students). This museum is about the history of Brazil.