Ipanema has a mix of upscale and bargain shopping areas. Some streets, such as Rua Garcia d’Avila and Rua Maria Quiteria, house the bigger, more expensive brands, yet the main street Rua Visconde de Piraja is home to more reasonably priced ones. Start at the end of Rua Visconde de Piraja by the metro and walk the length of it, dipping into fashion stores as you fancy. Ipanema also has the Hippie Market, which is held at the General Osorio square every Sunday. This market is a concentration of dozens of stalls that sell leather bags, hand carved wooden furniture, jewelry, clothes, ornaments, food and paintings. Take a stroll and pick up exclusive souvenirs or quirky accessories along the way.
This fair happens the first Saturday of every month in downtown Lapa, where hundreds of stalls concentrate around the old houses in Lapa famous for selling antiques, vintage items and handcrafts. The crumbling houses open to reveal a treasure chest of items; rummage through to find some real vintage gems. The fair is close to many local restaurants and there are often musicians in the street playing samba and chorinho, two traditional styles of Brazilian music.
The most Americanized neighborhood in Rio, Barra da Tijuca is packed with shopping malls, bars and restaurants. The summer heat in Rio can be sweltering, so the air conditioning in the malls will come as a relief. The shopping options are varied, too, with plenty of national and international brands. Village Mall in Barra is the most luxurious, with brands such as Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, whereas Barra Shopping and New York City Center Shopping offer an assortment of more affordable shops.
Upscale neighborhood Leblon has the upmarket stores to match. Things here get pricey, but for shopping, it has some of the best brands in terms of style and quality. Take a stroll down Avenida Ataulfo de Paiva for high-fashion boutique stores and browse some of Rios’ hidden yet gorgeous clothing brands. Be sure to stop at Shopping Leblon to pick up a classic Brazilian bikini from Salina, some cool streetwear from Osklen or a new outfit from Animale for a night out.
Right outside of the metro station, Uruguaiana is one of the city center’s biggest permanent markets. Row after row of stalls set up to sell a whole range of merchandise from clothes and electronics to piercings, jewelry and knick-knacks. Whenever anyone in Rio needs something a bit obscure, Uruguaiana is where they venture to. Take your time strolling through to pick up souvenirs and other little bits and bobs such as cute purses and strappy bags. It is also worth visiting Uruguaiana pre-Carnival to pick up a costume for fancy dress that is ready for the parades and street parties.
Feira Nordestina São Cristóvão occupies a space of 32,000 square meters and accommodates around 600 stalls. Open Tuesday through Sunday with weekends open around the clock nonstop, this fair specializes in products from Bahia and the northeast of Brazil and has something for everyone. Here is where you can buy northeastern foods, cachaca, souvenirs, clothes, hammocks and a whole range of other items. With live music all day and night, it is impossible not to feel a little spring in your step as you browse through the hundreds of wonderful items waiting to be bought.
Shopping Rio Sul is a shopping mall in Botafogo. This mall is roomy enough to support a variety of cool and trendy brands such as Forever 21, Zara, Eclectic, Osklen and Mr. Cat, yet is compact enough to have everything within close range. It also has a great restaurant area with popular eateries such as Outback Steakhouse and Delirium Tropical. Use the large touchscreen computers to help find your favorite shops and their interactive maps will guide you there. In addition to stores, there are salons to get your hair and nails done at on the top floors for the ultimate treat and pampering day.