Is the weather forecast announcing a cloudy or rainy weather today? No worries, I got you covered ☂️ Here’s a whole day itinerary for a drizzly day in Rio!
Quick summary – click or scroll down for details ⤵️
- 10 AM – Breakfast at Confeitaria Colombo
- 12 PM – Visit of the Real Gabinete de Leitura Portuguesa
- 1 PM – Walk around the old streets of the Historical Center
- 5 PM – Drinks and dinner in a jungle house
Ideal days for these activities: any day from Tuesday to Friday. Most of the places mentioned below are closed on weekends. It’s also more advisable to discover the Centro neighborhood on weekdays, as it can be very quiet (too quiet) on weekends.
10 AM – Breakfast at Confeitaria Colombo
📍 Centro neighborhood 🗺️ 4.6 on Google Reviews
Go as soon as it opens! It’s one of the most popular touristic attractions in Rio and it is 100% worth the hype. Enjoy delicious pastries and coffees surrounded by the Belle Epoque and Art Nouveau architecture of a building filled with history.
Get an espresso with chantilly and a bomba de creme de chocolate (Brazilian éclair au chocolat!) for a delightful start to the day. If you’re more of a savory type of person – perfect! They have a numerous options of pasteis, croque monsieur, and quiches. Many vegetarian options too! 🌱
It is the perfect atmosphere to immerse yourself in the roaring twenties of the city – even Queen Elizabeth II had tea over there!
🗺 2 min by walk from the Carioca metro station – Itinerary
ℹ️ Check their website for the latest news – Closed on Sundays ⚠️
10 AM – If Colombo is too busy… Go for a brunch at Manon 🥐
📍 Centro neighborhood 🗺️ 4.5 on Google Reviews
Is there an infinite line of tourists in front of Colombo? No worries! I got you covered for that one too: head to Confeitaria Manon for a brunch in the fifties 🕺🏽 It opens at 8 AM sharp – perfect for an early breakfast!
The architectural style is less impressive than Colombo, but the vibe is much more local! No tourists around here, only professionals working in the surrounding business district, grabbing their coffee on the go.
You can also sit down and relax for a fat 50 reais brunch [10 USD, May 2022] and people-watch the hectic 50’s diner atmosphere.
🗺 5 min by walk from the Carioca metro station – Itinerary
ℹ️ Check their Instagram for the latest news – Closed on Sundays ⚠️
12 PM – Visit of the Real Gabinete de Leitura Portuguesa
📍 Centro neighborhood 🗺️ 4.8 on Google Reviews
I remember strolling around the neighborhood with a friend when we randomly found this gem. It is not really well-known, neither by locals nor tourists (even Confeitaria Manon has more Google Reviews than this monument! 😅). It is completely free to visit, open Monday to Friday, 10 AM to 5 PM.
Welcome to a real-life Harry-Potter-style Brazilian library!
Yes, I confirm: it is just as impressive in real life! Please, take the time to walk around the place, look at the tiles, the ceilings, the floors, the thousands of books on the shelves – appreciate the gothic style! Some research students actually use the large wooden tables to study, so it really does feel like you’re walking around the Hogwarts Library! 😂 Feel the studious atmosphere, hear the whispers, the turning of pages, and enjoy the quietness of this magical place ✨
🗺 7 min by walk from the Carioca metro station, 3 min from Colombo or Manon – Itinerary
ℹ️ Check their website for the latest news – Closed on weekends
1 PM – Walk around the old streets of the Historical Center
📍 Centro neighborhood
Let’s stroll around until we’re hungry again! Take a light walk in the oldest neighborhood of Rio. Here are some streets I advise to pass by – and a map to locate them:
- Rua do Ouvidor: a 300-year-old street which used to be the most important street in Rio! Locals used to get their newspapers and buy anything coming from the Old Continent’s shipment boats: books, linens, furniture… everything was traded!
- Rua Primeiro de Março: check out the oldest Granado shop and its apothecary atmosphere! From this cute little pharmacy boutique created in 1870, it’s now one of the most internationally famous Brazilian cosmetic companies. Fun fact! Dom Pedro II himself (Emperor of Brazil) used to get his medicines there!
- Pass in front of the Museum of Tomorrow: Fun fact! This gigantic building is 100% self-sufficient ♻️ It uses solar energy for electricity, but also the water of the Guanabara Bay to cool down the airflow system.
PS: if you’re short on time, I would actually advise you to… skip the museum 🙈 and instead, thoroughly enjoy the architecture of the building from the outside and garden area. If you’re already familiar with the subjects of sustainability, pollution, climate, I don’t believe it’s worth the time 🙈
I still strongly believe this is an important and necessary museum for Brazil and its citizens, where these subjects have only been recently included in the public education system.
- Boulevard Olimpico: Admire the beautiful commissioned street arts of the 2016 Olympics! You can see the famous murals made by the street artist Kobra. Feel free to walk around these blocks as you will find many other beautiful murals – use the office of L’Oréal Brasil as a central point.
Easy to find it: once you’re at the Museum, simply follow the tracks of the city tram going north! It goes all along the boulevard.
🗺 Starting from the Library or from the Carioca metro station, it’s overall a 1 hour of a slow walk around all the streets mentioned above – Itinerary
BONUS 🎁 For the ones interested in street art… I highly advise Nina’s Street Art Tours – she personally knows the artists and she’s a true passionate about their works. For each street art, she patiently explains the whole socio-eco-political context of those times. I 100% advise it to get a better understanding of the Brazilian culture and history. Tours in English, about 2 to 3 hours, between 60 and 120 reais/person (25 USD, May 2022) – you can directly book on her website.
5 PM – Drinks and dinner in a jungle house 🍹
📍 Santa Teresa neighborhood 🗺️ 4.4 on Google Reviews
It closes at 10 PM – make sure you go early ⚠️
Imagine: you’re running to escape from the tropical rain shower and find shelter under the lush branches of a tree… Robinson Crusoe meets Tarzans – lianas everywhere, massive old trees, wooden tables, exotic decorations… All of it in a cozy and warm atmosphere.
It is also well-known for the view (northern part). However, it’s not among my top favorite Rio views as it is missing its beautiful mountains ⛰ hence why I believe it’s okay to miss it, and go in the late afternoon/evening.
The dishes are Brazilian traditions…with a twist! Guacamole of acai, couscous of tapioca, spicy chicken with banana plantain… I advise the risoto suã – carne de costela suína com couve frita (pork risoto with fried cabbage) – and, of course, the special Bolo de chocolate Aprazível (chocolate cake!) for dessert!
BONUS TIP ✨ You can get there by uber or taxi (I don’t advise walking, as it’s quite a steepy hill 😅). But… I can be difficult to get a ride. If this happens, simply call the restaurant and give your location: they will send a taxi over for you (they have trustful contacts who know the place).
Why do uber and taxis don’t accept/cancel the ride? Well, the place is located next to a sketchy part of Santa Teresa (but the restaurant and its surroundings are super safe!) so, drivers cancel/don’t accept the ride, assuming that you’re planning to take them to an unsafe part of the neighborhood. Don’t give up and call the Aprazivel receptionists, they speak English and they’ll help you get there! ☺️
🗺 15 min by Uber from the Centro neighborhood – Itinerary
ℹ️ Check their English website for the latest news – Closes at 10 PM, 5 PM on Sundays, and closed on Mondays ⚠️
Still raining? 🌧 Looking for more places to discover around this neighborhood?
Check out these places for sightseeing (they don’t need a perfect sunny day to be appreciated!):
- Shopping at Saara: a super-cheap-all-made-in-China type of shopping experience! This is where locals meet to buy their Carnival accessories: sparkly tiaras, fun outfits, shiny pochettes, funky earrings… you can find everything there! 💃🏻 It’s also the right place if you need to buy electronics: phone chargers, cases, screen protectors, – feel free to ask them to test out the product in front of you 😅 (mostly if they can guess you’re a gringo 👀). My personal favorite there is to spend two hours at Cacula – the biggest arts and crafts store in Rio! It’s a gigantic two stories store dedicated to creativity: paints, fabrics, pearls, embroidery, stationery… everything you need to enjoy creative activities 👨🏻🎨
- Arcos da Lapa: I am personally not a fan of it because the place is quite empty during the day and it can be sketchy – but it’s on the way to go see the Selaron stairs, so you might as well take a look at it 😅
- Selaron stairs: as a super touristic place, it is way emptier on a cloudy day! Snap a picture and simply edit the light to remember it as a sunny day 😂
- Parque das Ruinas: same as the Aprazivel restaurant – it has a beautiful view, but it is not in my Top. It’s still an amazing place to visit in Santa Teresa and never not too busy with tourists.
- Strolling around Santa Teresa artist neighborhood: street art everywhere, traditional restaurants and cafés, a very local atmosphere – it’s the artist neighborhood of Rio! To get there, simply follow up the Selaron stairs. At some point, you’ll have the Parque das Ruinas indicated on your right- go visit it! Then, go back down and take the left this time. Simply follow the tracks of the cute little yellow tram going up! 🚂