Brazil is a family-centric culture, and Rio de Janeiro is no exception – families are well received anywhere, and even though it's a big, chaotic city, Rio is easier to navigate with little ones than you might imagine. It's all about knowing where to go.
If you're considering a family holiday in Rio de Janeiro, here’s our guide to discovering the best places to visit with kids, and our top tips to make your family's travels to Rio de Janeiro as marvelous as the Marvelous City itself.
Rio de Janeiro is a major metropolis unlike any other – the city sits inside of a jungle, sandwiched in between limestone hills and breathtaking beaches.
This unique landscape means that, along with the typical urban offerings of a cultural capital, Rio also has an endless number of outdoor adventures and natural immersions available right in the middle of town.
Plus, cariocas (residents from Rio), might rate as some of the friendliest, most outgoing people on earth, happy to welcome families at any venue, be it a museum, restaurant, concert hall or the like.
That doesn't mean there aren't any downsides. Rio is still a big, chaotic city, and for about half of the year, it's very, very hot.
Accessibility can vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood. While the beachfront boardwalk is stroller friendly, for instance, most city streets are not. Knowing where (and when) to go can help to ensure that your family holiday in Rio is a success.
Which is the best neighborhood in Rio for kids? It depends on the age and interests of your children. Ipanema, Leblon and Copacabana, near the beaches, are the best for lovers of swimming, sand and sunshine.
Jardim Botânico, Horto or São Conrado are the best for outdoorsy families who love waterfalls, jungles and hiking; and Santa Teresa and Centro are the best neighborhoods for families who love art, culture and history.
Spend the mornings at the beach
Most baby and toddler parents from Rio hit the beach super early to make the most of the cooler temperatures and quiet of the day.
You can get chairs, umbrellas and fresh coconuts on the beach at a barraca (vendor). When you've had your fill of seaside bliss, wash off in the freshwater showers on the sand and head for a lovely bunch at La Bicyclette, The Slow Bakery or Empório Jardim before wandering through the Botanical Gardens. Follow things up with a stroll through the beautiful mansion-turned-art-school in the jungle, Parque Lage.
Beat the heat by heading to a museum
Avoid the afternoon heat by heading indoors – grab your baby carrier and continue on to a museum. Favorites are the family-friendly Centro Cultural Banco Brasil (CCBB) or the Museu de Arte Rio (MAR) in Rio's Center, or the Parque das Ruínas and the Museu da Chácara
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