Top Family-Friendly Things to Do in Rio de Janeiro

Families heading to Rio de Janeiro can rest assured that the kids are unlikely to complain of boredom   The thick jungle teems with monkeys and colorful birds; it's beach weather all year round, and the opportunity to ride cable cars, funicular railways and rattling street cars further adds to the kid-pleasing experience. 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, and juice bars on every corner keep energy levels topped up in delicious fashion.

The beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema are 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. 

Should rain put a dampener on 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. 

Santa Teresa
Photo courtesy of Lucy Bryson


There's more to Rio de Janeiro than its beaches, and the artistic heart of the city can be found up in the jungle-clad hills of Santa Teresa. Here, pastel-colored colonial mansions have been converted into bucolic bars, friendly guest houses,...  Read More

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 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



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



While Copacabana wins out as the most picture-perfect city beach in Rio, Ipanema is easily the more chic of the two neighboring stretches of sand. Less flanked by high rise hotels than its neighbor, Ipanema is the ideal place to while away...  Read More


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.