Revel in Rio de Janeiro

Be prepared to be wowed! See our recommendations for not-to-be-missed attractions when visiting Rio de Janeiro, including Ipanema Beach, Pedra Bonita, Sugarloaf Mountain and Maracana Stadium.

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: iStock

Photo By: Edmar Moreira

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: iStock

Photo By: Paulo R C M Jr, Wikimedia Commons

Photo By: Bruno Mello Teixeira, flickr

Photo By: Thinkstock

Photo By: Getty Images

Photo By: Reuters

Photo By: iStock

Photo By: Carlos Luis M C da Cruz, Wikimedia Commons

Photo By: Lauren Steely

Christ the Redeemer

Take a train ride through the Tijuca Rainforest to see Christ the Redeemer. The 125-foot statue of Jesus sits atop Corcovado, a granite peak located in central Rio de Janeiro.

Ipanema Beach

This famous beach is located in Ipanema, Rio’s upscale neighborhood with dozens of world-class restaurants, shops and cafes. Made famous by the catchy tune “The Girl from Ipanema,” Ipanema is also the site for nonstop waterfront action. Beachgoers stay active playing soccer, volleyball and footvolley, a local sport that is a combination of volleyball and soccer.

Pedra Bonita

Take a hike up Pedra Bonita, aka Beautiful Rock. From the top of the deforested mountain, tourists can get a beautiful and closer view of Pedra da Gavea, another seaside mountain, and enjoy the best views of Rio de Janeiro.

Paragliding over Pedra Bonita

Enjoy the sights of Rio from above. Go paragliding over Pedra Bonita, a hidden gem towering over the forests of Tijuca National Park. Thrill seekers can take the plunge at the paragliding station just 1,700 feet above Rio's Zona Sul, or South Zone. For those with weaker stomachs, a platform is located under the wooden runway to watch adrenaline junkies take off.

Cable-Car Ride

Add this to your must-do list when visiting Rio: Take a cable-car ride for a spectacular view of Copacabana Beach. Each glass-walled cable car can hold 65 passengers and runs between the peaks of Sugarloaf Mountain and Urca’s Mountain every 20 minutes.

Sugarloaf Mountain

Rising 1,299 feet above Rio’s harbor and the mouth of Guanabara Bay, Sugarloaf Mountain is a popular destination for rock climbers. Sugarloaf -- together with Babylon Mountain and Ucra’s Mountain -- forms one of the largest urban climbing areas in the world, with more than 270 routes.

Museu Nacional

Once the home of Brazil’s royal family, Museu Nacional is now home to a collection of items acquired by the Emperor Pedro II and Empress Teresa. The collection includes aboriginal tribes’ costumes, weapons and masks, as well as unique artifacts like a saber-toothed tiger skull.

Jardim Zoologico

No time to get to the Amazon? Make a trip to the Rio City Zoo, where you’ll find approximately 3,000 reptiles, birds and mammals -- most of them indigenous to Brazil and particularly the Amazon. It’s the perfect place for a family trip to see tigers, elephants, lions, gorillas, chimps and more than 2,000 exotic plant species.

Leblon Beach

Visit Leblon, Rio’s most affluent neighborhood. Located next to Ipanema, Leblon is also the name of the local beach, which has a reputation for being quieter and more relaxing than the hip and trendy beach in Ipanema.

Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas

Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas is a lagoon and district surrounded by Rio’s residential areas of Ipanema, Leblon, Gavea, Jardim Botanico, Copacabana, Botafogo and Humaita. During the Christmas season, tourists flock to the area to see the gigantic Christmas tree found on a floating platform that moves around the lagoon. Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas will host canoe sprint and rowing events for the 2016 Summer Olympics and rowing events for the 2016 Summer Paralympics.

Maracana Stadium

While you’re in Rio, check out a soccer game and watch the local teams from Botafogo, Flamengo, Fluminense and Vasco da Gama sports clubs play at Maracana Stadium, partially rebuilt for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, the 2014 World Cup, 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2016 Summer Paralympics.

Paqueta Island

Take a step back in time. Locals and tourists can only get around Paqueta Island by bicycle and horse-drawn carriage. The island is an auto-free zone. We recommend visiting Paqueta Island in June for the Saint Peter Festival and in August for the Saint Roque Festival.

Chafariz do Mestre Valentim

Chafariz do Mestre Valentim is an ornate fountain that marks Rio’s former coastline. Mestre Valentim Creole Portuguese Brazilian who became one of the most important names in Brazilian colonial art.

Parque do Catete

Explore the Parque do Catete, a quiet refuge from the city. The park’s pond and shade-covered walkways are popular with neighborhood strollers and children. It also plays host to special performances, including plays and concerts.

Next Up

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

Experience the greatest show on Earth in Rio de Janeiro. Get the inside scoop on the city's epic Carnival celebration, including what you should know about the hottest Carnival parades and balls.