There are not many places where shoppers can browse arts and craft stores, pick up handmade bags and accessories and hunt out new and vintage fashion finds at four o´clock on a Saturday morning. Still fewer where you can liven up your shopping spree with a spin on the dance floor to the sound of live forro music, while sipping a caipirinha and thinking about where to dine and whether or not to buy a jar of super-hot chili Brazilian chili peppers.
There are many places to refuel during a shopping spree at the Northeastern Fair — Photo courtesy of Emma Brennan
Rio de Janeiro´s Feira Nordestina de Sao Cristovao (or 'Northeastern Fair,' as we foreigners usually refer to it) is one place where visitors can shop, dance, drink and dine under the same roof. And while this off-the-tourist-track location closes after dark during the working week, it opens up on Friday morning and stays open straight through to Sunday night.
As the name suggests, everything here has a Northeastern flavor - from the food at the many restaurants to the music and dancing and handicraft stalls. The purpose of the Fair is to celebrate the traditions of Northeastern Brazil, and relocated 'Nordestinos' (Northeasterners) flock here to dance forro in celebratory style.
Head here on a Friday or Saturday night and the vast purpose-built venue resembles a curious mix of market and nightclub with the dance floors, restaurants and clothes stalls all equally busy. For a quieter experience, visit during the daylight hours.