Santa Teresa is a great place to pick up vintage clothes and handmade accessories — Photo courtesy of Lucy BrysonFirst-time visitors to Rio de Janeiro may find themselves initially underwhelmed by the city´s shopping scene. While the US-style mega malls of Barra da Tijuca and other wealthy neighborhoods offer clothes whose quality rarely merits their high price tag, stores along the beachfront (with a few exceptions) often sell little more than tourist tat.
Whether you're a fashionista looking for a natty outfit that goes beyond the standard tiny shorts, clingy top and flip flops, an artsy type looking for locally-produced arts and crafts to take home or just a window shopper, heading to Santa Teresa should be a priority.
This picturesque, historic hillside neighborhood is widely known as the artistic heart of Rio de Janeiro, and its cobbled streets are lined with independent stores and galleries selling everything from colorful home furnishings to paintings and handicrafts.
Santa Teresa is also a top spot for fashionistas to find vintage pieces, with several stores dotted around the neighborhood offering well-chosen vintage clothing and accessories at prices that are not beyond the financial reach of travelers on a budget. Regular weekend street markets are held throughout the summer, with live samba forming the musical backdrop to a spot of retail therapy.
Starting at Largo do Guimaraes, the main square in Santa Teresa and the hub of much activity in the neighborhood, take a stroll along the tram path, stopping to take in street sellers´wares as well as those in the stores - there are some talented locals here offering unique pieces of artwork at very fair prices.