Best Family-Friendly Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro



Families heading to Rio de Janeiro can be pretty sure that the kids won't complain of being bored. With jungle, beaches, mountains and monkeys all to be found in abundance, the city is an outdoorsy kid's dream. While the city is not the world's best for baby-changing facilities and indoor play areas, children are welcome at most bars and restaurants in the city.

The beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema are like giant sandy playgrounds, while the smaller, secluded Praia Vermelha is a popular spot for families with young children. The city's other legendary landmarks - Sugar Loaf mountain and the Christ Statue - are accessed by cable car and funicular railway respectively, making them hugely popular with adventurous kids. 

Soccer lovers should be sure to catch a match at the mighty Maracana stadium - one of the world's most famous sports stadiums and the scene for many a legendary match. Having undergone a massive revamp ahead of the 2014 Fifa World Cup, the stadium is now a modern, sleek affair. 

Should rain stop outdoor play, there are child-friendly activities to be found at the many museums and cultural centers. The Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, located downtown, is our pick of a pretty impressive bunch and has free cinema screenings for kids at weekends. 


Botanical Gardens
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


The informal restaurant inside the leafy gardens that give Jardim Botanico its name is one of the most pleasant spots in the city to enjoy a sandwich, salad and a coffee or glass of wine. This shady botanical garden is a must-visit for...  Read More


Maracana Stadium
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


The mighty Maracana is arguably the world's most famous soccer stadium and, while it is no longer the largest in the world, its 78,000 capacity means it is still a giant among sports arenas. The stadium, whose official title is Estadio...  Read More




This impressive domed building in the heart of Rio's downtown 'cultural quarter' was formerly the headquarters of the Bank of Brasil, and today is an arts center hosting visiting exhibitions from big name international artists. There are...  Read More


Lagoa
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


Lagao Rodrigues de Freitas, or Lagoa as it is popularly known, is Rio's beautiful city lake and yet another postcard perfect scene in this city of so many natural wonders. The vast stretch of water is flanked by jungle-clad, cloud-swathed...  Read More




This beautiful park, located right next door to Rio de Janeiro´s famous Botanical Gardens, is largely overlooked by tourists. More fool them, as the park is home to one of the most spectacular builldings in the city, framed by the figure of...  Read More




Surprisingly overlooked by many visitors to Rio, Praia Vermelha is a small curve of coarse sand that sits right at the foot of Sugar Loaf mountain. The mountain-and-ocean backdrop is stunning, and the calm waters are occasionally clean enough...  Read More


Copacabana Beach
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


Copacabana beach is famous the world over, and while it's 1950s glamorous heyday is over, it is still a spectacular stretch of sand. The crashing waves, scantically-clad beachgoers and skilled beach soccer players all call the eye, while the...  Read More




This grand building was a Royal residence until the late 19th Century, when it became a presidential building following the overthrowing of the monarchy. It remained a presidential home until the 1950s, when then President Getulio Vargas,...  Read More




No trip to Rio would be complete without a trip to see 'the Big Guy', and the views from the feet of this most iconic of statues are truly breathtaking. One of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World, the 'Christo Redentor' stands tall atop...  Read More


Sugar Loaf (Pao de Acucar)
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


One of the most famous mountain peaks in the world, Sugar Loaf (Pao de Acucar in Portuguese) scarcely needs an introduction. But while you may be familiar with the tourist board images of the cable car making its dizzying ascent up to the top...  Read More


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Meet Lucy Bryson

Lucy is a British freelance writer living in Rio de Janeiro since 2007. While there are some things she misses about her home country, the lure of year-round sunshine has proved too powerful to resist.

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