If you’re a sports fan, I’m sure your heart is already beating faster. After all, the Olympics in Rio are less than two months away. At the beginning of August, athletes from all around the globe will be landing in Brazil to compete for medals in several sports.
Besides the competitors, there will be tourists all over the Wonderful City (it really is, I’ll give you that) to see the games. But not only the Olympic games will fill these tourists’ weeks in Rio.
It’s a nice idea to make an itinerary, including what to eat, what to do, where to club, etc etc etc… Well, and this is exactly why I decided to create this post. I’m sure you have read thousands of texts about the Olympics, which sports to see and so on and so forth.
But things work differently here! Of course I’ll show you the schedule and venues of the games, but our focus still lies on things you can do when you’re not watching anything Olympics-related. Are you ready to drink a lot of beer, see great beaches and party down? So, keep on reading below.
Where it all happens
First off, you should know where the games will take place. Here they go: Deodoro (Sports Complex Deodoro), located in the west, Barra (Olympic Park Barra), also in the west, Copacabana (beach games, cycling, water marathon, among others), in the south and the remarkable Maracanã (soccer matches), up north.
If you intend to stay in Deodoro – or maybe spend a few hours before or after the games – you should know that the district is not so close to many bars and clubs. Still, you can arrange cultural visits, like movies and parks.
Now, if your thing is the beach, I’m sorry, the nearest one is about an hour away. But lighten up! You can go to beaches elsewhere. Just keep reading up.
According to my search, which was quite exhaustive as I’ve talked to friends living in Rio, I can tell Deodoro is a simple neighborhood. So, it isn’t bustling at all. Which does not mean you can’t stop by a typical bar and order an ice-cold beer.
A good idea is the Boteco 05. It’s located in Deodoro and it’s quite casual. All you gotta do is sit down and chat with friends (Brazilian or not) around the place.
Catching a glimpse of the beach
Still in the west of the city, we go down a bit, near the south (a very famous area in Rio). I’m talking about Barra da Tijuca. Known for its Brazilian celebrities, you’ll also find gorgeous, although not packed, beaches.
If you’re free sometime and the sun is shining, visit the a Praia da Barra. One of the longest in Rio – 18 km, 6 of which have kiosks where you can stay and get some appetizers and drinks. Order some coconut water and contemplate the wonderful view.
And if you’re adventurous like me and feel like visiting a more unexplored beach, you should definitely visit the Lagoa de Marapendi. Turned into an Environmentally Protected Land and a Biological Reservoir of Barra da Tijuca, its waves are high and strong, and that’s where you’ll see surfers bodyboarders flock.
Now, on Praia da Reserva, where the waters are calm, you could take up stand-up paddling. Can I give you just a fantastic suggestion? Do it during sunset. And get your camera ready for a bunch of selfies.
The night at Barra
When dusk falls, you’ll notice all the bars get really crowded. I suggest, my dear reader, that you join these thirsty people for some appetizers and a drink.
I recommend going to Bar do Oswaldo. Quite traditional among the visitors to Barra da Tijuca, they specialize in “pastel”. If you’re not Brazilian, it’s a typical dish that consists of a fried crunchy pies filled with assorted fillings, that can also be sweet. And, of course, don’t miss the ice-cold draft beer. Or, who knows, a capirinha.
Do you like cocktails? Well, it’s made with fruits, vodka or cachaça, among other things. It’s sweet and totally worth the shot. That’s why I recommend Bar do Oswaldo. They say that late at night it’s crowded with people selecting songs on a jukebox there is there.
But if you’re looking for something more classical in Rio, you can’t miss Bar 399. One of the most bohemian districts in Rio, it’s got tables and chairs all over the bar, both indoors or outdoors. It’s worth picking the sidewalk (which is usually more crowded), order some beer and appetizers.
If you want to try something different in terms of drink and are willing to try the Brazilian cachaças, I suggest you go to Academia da Cachaça. With over two thousand bottles of drink, they offer lots of different kinds of caipirinha. Plus, you can take a course with them and learn how to prepare a shot (a great idea if you want to come back home making caipirinhas for everyone).
Had a little to drink and decided to stay out? I heartily recommend it! Trips must be enjoyed in all senses. If you prefer to stick to Barra da Tijuca, no problem. You can check out Barra Music . You won’t regret it.
Lively concerts and clubbing are their specialities. It’s more that 3 thousand m² where you’ll dance and meet new people. I suggest checking their scheduling beforehand. It may not be your style.
A Quiet Dinner
But let’s say you’re tired and feel like eating something good: you will not believe the variety of eat places you’ll find. The options are just many, but I’ve picked a few I liked most. I hope you like them too.
Feeling like pasta? So your stop will be Restaurante Duo. It’s a quite fancy atmosphere (nice place to take a girl you met at a game or a bar) and offers a 400-label wine list.
If you love beef, Royal Grill offers many different kinds of cuts and preparation (roast, fried, charred). You can also go for grilled fish with delicious sides.
Still along the lines with beef, I had to mention the famous Porcão. The steakhouse, where a lot of celebs and athletes meet up, offers the best cuts, all freshly prepared, and tastiness. If money and time are not a problem, check out the place.
In the heart of Rio, it’s common to walk along the waterfront, enjoy the sun and the Sugar Loaf. You can – and should – do all that. But, naturally, this plan also involves partying. So, let’s get down to business.
If you’re thinking about sitting and enjoying some appetizers, then I recommend Adega Pérola. Their menu features over a hundred different portions, like the Pérola Mar (their flagship), which is a mix of seafood including shrimp and mussel.
Now, Botequim Informal, which counts with several locations around the city, specializes in draft beer. That could be pale, dark with pale head, which they call “carioquinha”, and “paulistinha” (pale with dark head).
Now if you’re after a cool place where you can feel the spirit of Rio, then Pavão Azul is your home. They specialize in seafood. Order the crab au gratin with the sauce of the house. You won’t regret it.
How about a wonderful view to the sidewalk in Copacabana? Search for Bar Manoel & Juaquim. The place is always packed (but it’s worth the wait). And the menu really needs no comments. I’ll just make you curious: check the place out for yourself and pick the food you want to try.
Another suggestion of appetizer in Brazil that is just a must: the “empadinha”. The best I had up to this day was in the bar Belmonte. Since 1952, it’s always crowded as well, specially in the evening. But, in case you’re not in the mood to wait, order some great dishes to go at the counter.
I’ve done that myself! I sat by the beach and had my empadinhas with a cold beer. Just gazing at that incredible view. It’s totally worth it! Really.
And speaking of history, you can’t miss Confeitaria Colombo. Located in the Copacabana Fort, its decoration resembles the imperial times. In the menu you’ll find savouries, pies and cookies. And, naturally, the traditional tea colombo.
Places To Eat
My first suggestion is La Fabrique. The place is charming and cool at the same time and the menu quite ecletic. I’ll give you an example. Spanish tapas with a touch of thai cuisine.
This is great for vegetarians (not my case, though). The restaurant Bio Carioca doesn’t serve any kinds of meat (clearly) or any animal foods. I found that very interesting about the place, as it makes it 100% vegan. In the menu: soups, salads, pasta, omelettes. All prepared with organic ingredients.
If you, like me, enjoy traditional places, Cervantes is the choice. Working at the very same building for 60 years now, they serve seafoods, meats, sandwiches (over 30 options) and salads.
Off to Party
If your idea of fun is to spend all night out, my recommendation is Fosfobox. It’s a quite diverse club, where you’ll find all types of people. According to my search, their qualities are: great music and the best underground scene you’ll find around the city.
I’m sure you’ll find other places too. I guess you could always talk to the receptionists at the hotel where you’re staying and ask for some recommendations during the Olympics. There may be a special party going on. And don’t forget to watch the sunrise at least once. It’s breathtaking.
Bars and restaurants around the stadium are just many. So, I suggest you enjoy these places before and after the games. Almost everyone does that. This way you can meet new people, make new friends and, who knows, maybe you can fix a date.
I think I should also mention that there are different kinds of places near each stadium gate. Near gates A, B and C (to get there you need to get off the subway at Maracanã Station), you’ll find Planeta do Chopp.
There’s an extensive variety of appetizers near the stadium. Cod cake and fried chicken are the most ordered dishes. Go for a draft beer or other stronger drinks. It’s up to you.
And if the topic is traditional, there’s more. Petisco da Vila. With this name, I guess you can imagine they serve all kinds of savouries (there are 84 in total). They specialize in seafood. It’s worth stopping by and getting at least one dish and an ice-cold draft beer.
In case this is the location informed in your ticket, please, don’t be sad! There are bars around here too. In this case, get off at São Francisco Xavier Subway Station.
How about trying different beers after the game? They have this option! Cerveja Social Clube . Slowly sit down and pick a drink. Don’t be afraid. Drink as much as you want.
If you don’t have a ticket some day and you’re around Maracanã, my suggestion is the Bar Buxixo. A traditional place among the soccer fans. Just pick a table and get ready to shout “goal” at all times, toasting with cold beer, of course.
Gates E and F
Here, you must get off at São Cristóvão Station and look for Galeto Bandeira. The beer place, at Bandeira Square, is traditional when it comes to service during the matches. Can I suggest an appetizer? Go for the “coxinha de galeto empanada”. If you don’t know what a “coxinha” is, my friend, you gotta try this one. You won’t be sorry.
Hey, we’re not done here! Places for drinking and having fun are endless. At Quinta da Boa Vista, located at the old chapel called D. Pedro, in Parque da Quinta da Boa Vista, their flagship is the roast cod in olive oil, served in a clay pan with garlic, onion, potato, black olives, broccoli and bell pepper.
And to wrap the Maracanã bar list, I’ll suggest Rampinha. One of the oldest Portuguese restaurants in the area, they serve (delicious) cod portions.
Restaurants next to Maracanã
If even after nibbling some appetizers you’re still considering dinner, don’t sweat. There happen to be just fantastic options around. For starters, Aconchego Carioca. The restaurant at Bandeira Square is known for its typical cuisine with the northeast touch. Suggestion: the “feijoada” cake.
Feel like a good beef? Galeto F3 specializes in these cuts, specially the roast chicken. But you can also order barbecue, picanha, filé mignon, carré and lombinho.
As for clubs, I haven’t found anything around. So, maybe you should check Copacabana, Barra da Tijuca or other areas where you feel more comfortable to spend the night.
Olympic Games dates and venues
And as I had promised, here is the schedule with the locations and dates for each game. It’s simple, but I guess you can get organized. Just watch for some games that won’t take place in Rio, but in other cities instead.
Athletics – 12 to 20 of August – Engenhão (Arquias Cordeiro St.)
Athletics (Marathon) – 14 and 21 of August – Sambódromo (Marquês de Sapucaí St.)
Badminton -11 to 20 of August – Riocentro ( 6555, Salvador Allende Ave.)
Basketball – 6 to 21 of August – Parque Olímpico da Barra (Embaixador Abelardo Bueno Ave.) and Complexo Esportivo Deodoro (Duque de Caxias Ave.)
Boxing -6 to 21 of August – Riocentro ( 6555, Salvador Allende Ave.)
Slalom Canoeing – 7 to 11 of August – Complexo Esportivo Deodoro (2660, Duque de Caxias Ave.)
Speed Canoeing – 15 to 20 of August – Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (Epitácio Pessoa e Borges de Medeiros Ave.)
BMX Cycling – 7 to 19 of August – Complexo Esportivo Deodoro (2660, Duque de Caxias Ave.)
Road Cycling – 6, 7 and 10 of August – Forte de Copacabana (Coronel Eugênio Franco Square)
Track Cycling – 11 to 16 of August – Parque Olímpico da Barra (Embaixador Abelardo Bueno Ave.)
Mountain Biking – 20 and 21 of August – Complexo Esportivo Deodoro (2660, Duque de Caxias Ave.)
Fencing – 6 to 14 of August – Parque Olímpico da Barra (Embaixador Abelardo Bueno Ave.)
Soccer – 3 to 19 of August – Maracanã (Prof. Eurico Rabelo St. – RJ) / Mané Garrincha (Eixo Monumental, Centro Poliesportivo Ayrton Senna – DF) / Mineirão (1001 Avenida Antônio Abrahão Caram Ave. – MG) / Fonte Nova (Ladeira das Fontes das Pedras – BA) / Itaquerão (111 Miguel Ignácio Curi Ave. – SP) / Arena Amazônia ( 3637 Djalma Batista Ave. – AM)
Gymnastics – 6 to 11 and 14 to 16 of August – Parque Olímpico da Barra (Embaixador Abelardo Bueno Ave.)
Trampolining – 12 and 13 of August – Parque Olímpico da Barra (Embaixador Abelardo Bueno Ave.)
Rhythmic Gymnastics – 19 to 21 of August – Parque Olímpico da Barra (Embaixador Abelardo Bueno Ave.)
Golf – 11 to 14 and 17 to 20 of August – Campo Olímpico de Golfe (10,001 Américas Ave.)
Handball – 6 to 21 of August – Parque Olímpico da Barra (Embaixador Abelardo Bueno Ave.)
Horseback Riding – 6 to 19 of August – Complexo Esportivo Deodoro (2660, Duque de Caxias Ave.)
Field Hockey – 6 to 10 of August – Complexo Esportivo Deodoro (2660, Duque de Caxias Ave.)
Judo – 6 to 12 of August – Parque Olímpico da Barra (Embaixador Abelardo Bueno Ave.)
Weightlifting -6 to 16 of August – Riocentro ( 6555, Salvador Allende Ave.)
Wrestling – 17 to 21 of August – Parque Olímpico da Barra (Embaixador Abelardo Bueno Ave.)
Greeco-Roman Wrestling – 14 to 16 of August – Parque Olímpico da Barra (Embaixador Abelardo Bueno Ave.)
Swimming – 6 to 13 of August – Parque Olímpico da Barra (Embaixador Abelardo Bueno Ave.)
Water Marathon – 15 and 16 of August – Forte de Copacabana (Coronel Eugênio Franco Square)
Synchronized Swimming – 14 to 19 of August – Parque Olímpico da Barra (Embaixador Abelardo Bueno Ave.)
Modern Pentathlon – 18 to 20 of August – Complexo Esportivo Deodoro (2660, Duque de Caxias Ave.)
Water Polo – 6 to 20 of August – Parque Olímpico da Barra (Embaixador Abelardo Bueno Ave.) and Centro Aquático Júlio de Lamare.
Rowing – 6 to 13 of August – Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (Epitácio Pessoa e Borges de Medeiros Ave.)
Rugby – 6 to 11 of August – Complexo Esportivo Deodoro (2660, Duque de Caxias Ave.)
Diving – 7 to 20 of August – Parque Olímpico da Barra (Embaixador Abelardo Bueno Ave.)
Taekwondo – 17 to 20 of August – Parque Olímpico da Barra (Embaixador Abelardo Bueno Ave.)
Tennis – 6 to 14 of August – Parque Olímpico da Barra (Embaixador Abelardo Bueno Ave.)
Table Tennis – 6 to 17 of August – Riocentro ( 6555, Salvador Allende Ave.)
Archery – 6 to 12 of August – Sambódromo (Marquês de Sapucaí St.)
Shooting – 6 to 14 of August – Complexo Esportivo Deodoro (2660, Duque de Caxias Ave.)
Triathlon – 18 and 20 of August – Forte de Copacabana (Coronel Eugênio Franco Square)
Sailing – 8 to 18 of August – Marina da Glória (Infante Dom Henrique Ave., Aterro do Flamengo)
Beach Volleyball – 6 to 18 of August – Arena de vôlei de praia (Atlântica Ave.)
Volleyball – 6 to 21 of August – Maracanãzinho (Professor Eurico Rabelo St.)
Make your itinerary
Well, it’s up to you now! Pick the bars you liked best and enjoy Rio and everything this amazing city has to offer.