Rio de Janeiro knows how to party. From the hedonistic revelry of Carnival to the city's massive New Year's celebrations, Rio loves nothing better than to let its hair down. It is hardly surprising then, that Rio de Janeiro nightclubs are both abundant and lively. What can come as a surprise to visitors, however, is the fact that the city's famous party spirit can actually be a little difficult to uncover.
Take a nocturnal walk through the touristic Zona Sul - the scenic South Zone that takes in such famous destinations as Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon - and one could easily come to the conclusion thatsur nighlife in the city amounts to little more than either strip joints and over-priced pizza restaurants (Copacabana) or ludicriously-priced posing palaces modelling themselves on Western night clubs (Ipanema and Leblon). Scratch the surface, however, and you'll find locals shaking those booties with great abandon in all manner of locations.
Any partier's first stop in Rio de Janeiro should be Lapa, the down town party district that has recently undergone a massive transformation from seedy nocturnal hangout to every clubber's destination of choice. From sultry samba to Bass-heavy hip hop, tinny favela funk to sultry bossa nova, you can heat it played loud - and often live - in Lapa.
Elsewhere in the city, there is smart clubbing and dining in the unlikely setting of a planetarium at Gavea institution 00 (Zero Zero), electro sounds at Copacabana's Fosfobox, and hipster happenings at Casa da Matriz in Botafogo.