A bustling mix of historical buildings and imposing skyscrapers, Centro is considered the financial core of Rio de Janeiro. It also has a number of significant and cultural landmarks including the National Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Tomorrow, and the largest street mural in the world by Eduardo Kobra. During the weekdays, Centro becomes a heaving mass of busy workers rushing between meetings and lunch breaks, yet the evenings and weekdays remain empty. On the contrary, nearby Lapa is Rio’s nightlife district and comes alive after dark when hoards of party-goers head to the many bars and nightclubs that line the streets for all-night parties.

WHY WE LOVE CENTRO AND LAPA?

Centro’s gritty and dangerous image is shifting as the region slowly transforms itself into a vibrant cultural hub, helped by the renovation of the old port area which has become the base point for art exhibitions, music shows, and food truck events. While Lapa is known for its numerous bars and clubs that jostle for the attention of passersby, it’s the all-night street parties at Lapa Arches with homemade caipirinhas from makeshift stalls and animated live Brazilian music that set the scene for a great night out. We hope you enjoy our Centro and Lapa Guide! 

Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatravahe, the neo-futuristic façade of the Museum of Tomorrow draws in hundreds of visitors per day. While the striking architecture demands attention, the content of the museum is equally though-provoking with various interactive displays that discuss issues of sustainability, climate change and future possibilities of our planet.

A must-see in Centro is the largest street mural in the world designed by Eduardo Kobra. It features five tribal people that represent five of the world’s continents in a blend of photorealism and abstract shapes in vibrant colours.

 

With three floors that overlook the main stage and lavish decorations of antiques and vintage items, Rio Scenarium in Lapa is one of Rio’s most popular nightclubs among locals and international visitors. The nightlife venue is a great place to check out some of Brazil’s best local bands that bring a giddy mix of samba, choro, forró, MPB and Brazilian rock.

Known as the birthplace of samba, Pedra do Sal is a small network of streets where live samba bands gather every Monday night to play to the crowds that come to drink cold caipirinhas or an icy beer to the rhythmic beats of Rio’s most traditional music. The improvised style of the bands creates one of the most authentic samba performances you can find in the city.

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