Things to do in Zona Central (Central Region)

Top 10 Things to Do in Zona Central (Central Region), Rio de Janeiro

Top Things to Do in Zona Central (Central Region)

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Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.
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What travellers are saying

  • Ben F
    Bloomington, IN1,065 contributions
    I would recommend more iconic sights like Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf to folks visiting the city for only a day or two, but if you’re staying longer and seeking additional things to do and see, I suggest you spend an hour or two at this museum, especially if there are free admission days and the weather is good enough to tour the outside. Like others have mentioned, I do wish there was more, and I feel the entry fee could be lowered for the quantity of offerings, but this doesn’t mean you should avoid the museum entirely.

    A nice cafe is inside with a good selection of items (at high prices for the portion sizes, though), and the staff are all friendly. Wheelchair users can navigate the facility with ease, and exhibits are translated for speakers of English and Spanish, as well as Portuguese of course. Some smaller displays out in the halls on the second floor lacked signage in any language, which made me confused as to what I was looking at, but most areas were equipped with either physical labels or technology that enables visitors’ phones to capture the info and show it to them or activate sounds.

    Once done with the inside, I strongly encourage everyone to take a bit to stroll the museum grounds by the water and near Olympic Boulevard. The vistas are wonderful, and in good weather like during my visit, it’s an awesome place to eat food and/or people-watch. The way they constructed the museum allows for the best in-and-out combo of seeing the exhibits and enjoying fresh air around a stunning piece of architecture that is the Museum of Tomorrow.

    Thanks for a nice visit!
    Written 4 April 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Lucy G
    Rancho Santa Margarita, CA17 contributions
    We decided to go the aquarium on a holiday. It was so crowded!
    But walked thru the tunnel under the water was very exciting!
    Kids there were very happy and we ended up having a good time too.
    If you have time and kids, definitely have to go there.
    Written 26 October 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Sellest
    Bushey, UK4,649 contributions
    Came here a couple of weeks ago with my partner and our 12 year old. This place is definitely worth a quick pop in if you are passing or in the area. The inside of the building is stunning (from the beautiful ceilings to the stunning floor and, of course all the books) and it reminded me of something you might see in a Harry Potter film. It is a small place, so you would only be looking at a 10 to 15 minute stop, but, well worth it!
    Written 30 April 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Trekkieboots
    Dublin, Ireland592 contributions
    This place is so ornate, its beautiful! Every inch of it is decorated. It is absolute decadence. Would love to see a show here.

    They do run an English tour in the mornings, but we missed this so we went to the Portuguese tour just to get inside and see the place.
    Written 30 November 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Gerado_Kern
    Nova Friburgo, Brazil28 contributions
    Excellent cultural center in an excellent location and free. For me is the best place in Rio to visit for an exposition and other cultural events, like theatre, cinema, instalations with a excellet restaurant (Colombo) and a very good café. It's a triple excellent place.
    Written 5 March 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Jake
    Minneapolis, MN125 contributions
    I had a perception in my mind of the history of Brazil being rather ruthless. This exhibit did not make me feel that way. It made me feel like it was definitely the perspective of the Portuguese. I wanted to learn more about the truth and brutality of the African slave trade and the wars the with indigenous people. This exhibit seemed to focus more on the Portuguese. I don't think that is a bad thing but just wanted a more holistic approach to their history. I am a history nerd and I studied Brazilian history online almost every night while in Rio. This exhibit left me almost with more questions than answers, and I found that the stuff online was almost better than this exhibit.
    Written 20 March 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Beatriz Sons 💋
    Sao Paulo, SP909 contributions
    It's a trains 🚅 station too with covid fewer people here a great walk long side of trains station marino do olimpo is the other side
    Written 13 February 2021
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • IpanemaGuys
    Rio de Janeiro, RJ79 contributions
    If your visit requires a historic church this is possibly the best one in town. Covered with gold that reminds you of the wealth that was Brasil it's stunning
    Written 3 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Heather E
    England, UK217 contributions
    Having done a walking tour of central Rio, I saw this tram cross the Lapa arches and throught it looked a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours. Easy walk to the station (with Google Maps), no queues, no waiting, straight on the tram. I decided to ride it up and the straight back down (you have to stand up to let the staff flip the seats but you don't need to get off). Not quite as good as the trams in Lisbon but you get some lovely views on the way up.
    Written 23 February 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Myo M
    Coquitlam, Canada20,851 contributions
    With my personal preference of paintings to sculptures when it comes to "Fine Art", this museum for me was the least interesting among the four such museums I visited on my journey through South America (with the other three museums being those in Santiago, Buenos Aires & Sao Paulo), but yes "definitely impressive" in this museum (aside from my personal preference) is its great collection of life-sized sculptures nicely displayed in two rows in a long room and also some more similarly arranged but in shorter rows in another room (really a "pretty great" spectacle in each room as you walk through between its two rows of sculptures). So yes, not many great paintings to find here, but there are some that I liked which are actually not by European artists or such but just "local scenes" depicting Rio (which as seen in those paintings seemed "quite rural" at about the time of a century ago or so), and also two noteworthy great paintings are a big portrait of Emperor Pedro I & a "royal assembly" scene or such with him among his subordinates (which I actually also found an identical one but quite a bit "bigger-sized" than the one here later at Palacio Itamaraty in Brasilia).

    Coming by metro, Carioca Station (both Lines 1 & 2) is where to get off followed by just a short walk of 5 minutes or so to this museum: a left turn after coming out of the station then to the right when getting to the "second intersecting" street where this museum is to the left after a short walk (and where to the right which is across the street from this museum is Theatro Municipal with quite an attractive exterior of gold upper trims & beautiful green domes above but the interior of which I only got to just inside the entrance where there was a small performance going on at the time).
    Written 26 November 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Alesch2014
    Jundiai, SP83 contributions
    we went on a Tuesday and entrance was free. The line was acceptable as everyone was at " Museu do Amanha". Well it is an option to see something different. Collections are of samba, politics, modern art. Inspiring
    Written 7 August 2019
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • PrestonGuild
    United Kingdom54,328 contributions
    This was originally a customs house and a spectacular one at that.

    It is now a museum located in an island in Guanabara Bay.

    We went past it on a ferry trip which gave us a closer look. It can also be viewed from many other vantage points in Rio.
    Written 23 September 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • SIBARITA0305
    Mexico City, Mexico663 contributions
    Our tour took us to this famous place where the Squadras do Samba make their dancing parade during Carnaval do Río. We could imagine the excitement here during Carnaval.
    Written 2 January 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • Sellest
    Bushey, UK4,649 contributions
    Stopped here for a quick visit with my partner and our 12 year old. From the outside it is the strangest looking cathedral I have ever seen (and certainly not the most beautiful) as it was based on the Mayan pyramids, but, step inside and the beautiful stain glass provides vivid colours and a total contrast to the external building. We spent about 30 minutes in here – don’t think any longer would really be required, but well worth a quick stop if passing.
    Written 1 May 2022
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
  • samcat
    maryland46 contributions
    The inside is beautiful, with art deco features, a high atrium, and sweeping staircase. You have to store your bags in a locker, which is very cheap and you get your money back when you're finished. You're not allowed to go in the research rooms but you can peek in, and the whole thing is worth a 20-30 minute visit.
    Written 27 February 2020
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.