The Top 10 Things To Do In Barra Da Tijuca, Rio De Janeiro

Barra da Tijuca beach
Barra da Tijuca beach | © Rafael Rabello de Barros/WikiCommons
Sarah Brown

While tourists tend to stick to the south zone of Rio de Janeiro (Copacabana, Ipanema, and Urca), Barra da Tijuca (often shortened to Barra) is a neighborhood in the west zone of Rio that stands out for its incredible assortment of things to do, stunning beaches and contemporary style. We round up 10 of the best things to try in Barra for an unforgettable visit.

1. Hike Up Pedra Da Gávea

Hike Up Pedra Da Gávea

Pedra da Gávea sits just on the outside of Barra, and with an elevation of 844 meters, it is one of the world’s highest mountains that ends directly in the ocean. There are many credible tour companies that offer pickups in Barra and a full-day excursion to the top. With sensational views of the Tijuca Forest and Rio’s most famous landmarks, this is not to be missed. Be prepared, though; this isn’t an easy hike.

Pedra da Gávea, Barra da Tijuca, RJ, Brazil

Pedra da Gávea | © KarlaFPaiva/WikiCommons

2. Party At The Pink Elephant

Party At The Pink Elephant

The Pink Elephant is one of Barra’s most-visited clubs and attracts young crowds every Friday and Saturday night looking to party until sunrise. Small yet energized by good music, plenty of drinks, and a fun group of visitors, this venue is one for the partygoers. Music is typically samba, funk, hip hop, and dance.
Pink Elephant, Av. Armando Lombardi, 333, Barra da Tijuca, RJ, Brazil, +55 21 3597 6000

The Pink Elephant | Courtesy of Pink Elephant

See A Show At The HSBC Arena

As one of the venues for the Paralympic 2016 Olympics, the arena also hosts a variety of sports and music shows throughout the year. It was the venue for the Pan American Games in 2007, a regular spot for the UFC, and has supported top music acts such as Queen, Miley Cyrus, and Iron Maiden. Events are regularly published on the website.
HSB Arena, Parque Olímpico da Barra, Av. Embaixador Abelardo Bueno, 3401, Barra da Tijuca, RJ, Brazil

Lounge On The Beach

There is no going to Barra without heading to the beach. Wider, longer and whiter than its more famous counterparts in the south zone, these beaches are the perfect way to spend a lazy day sunbathing before taking a dip in the cooler waters. Barra’s beaches tend to be much less crowded than Copacabana, allowing beachgoers to relax in peace while cooling down with a cold drink in any of the kiosks dotted alongside the sandy shores.

Barra da Tijuca beach

Shop At Barra’s Malls

Barra has plenty of opportunities for shopping, both high end and lower end. Village Mall is a luxury mall with shops such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Hugo Boss. New York City Center Mall is unmistakable with its giant Statue of Liberty outside and has more affordable shops and restaurants, along with Barra Shopping and Open Mall.

Barra’a Mall, Barra da Tijuca, RJ, Brazil

Shopping Malls in Barra

3. Race At The Go-Karts

Race At The Go-Karts

Top Kart Indoor offers the perfect rainy day activity with go-karting fun indoors and is available for adults as well as kids. It also caters for large groups for any team-building activities or alternative birthday celebrations. Having been in the business for the last 19 years, it is a safe and reliable place to race against the clock before heading to one of Barra’s many restaurants for a celebratory (or commiseratory) dinner.
Top Kart Indor, Extra Barra, Av. das Américas, Barra da Tijuca, RJ, Brazil, +55 21 2484 4545

4. Visit The Secluded Ilha Da Gigoia

Bar, Restaurant

Visit The Secluded Ilha Da Gigoia

This little island in the middle of a lake in Barra is unknown to most tourists and locals alike, hidden behind Barra’s large apartment blocks and shopping malls. Small and compact, this secluded island with its subdued atmosphere has no roads nor cars and can only be reached by boat or stand up paddle. With palms and lush vegetation, visitors can visit one of the few restaurants or bars there, the most popular being Laguna, a seafood restaurant, and Bar do Galego, a simple bar favored by locals.

Ilha da Gigoia, Barra da Tijuca, RJ, Brazil

5. Get Lost In Music At The Cidade Das Artes

Get Lost In Music At The Cidade Das Artes

Cidade das Artes (City of Arts) is the largest concert hall in South America and was opened in 2013 by its first major act: Rock in Rio. It is a main center of music and the current home to the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra. The building itself is impressively inspiring, yet none more so than being lifted by the beautiful melodies of one of the orchestra’s acts. Events are updated on the website.
Cidade Das Artes, Av. das Américas, 5300, Barra da Tijuca, RJ, Brazil, +55 21 3325 0102

Cidade das Artes | © NMaia/WikiCommons

Take On The Waves With Kitesurfing

With its long beaches, consistently good weather and regular windy days, Barra is the hot spot in Rio for kitesurfing. At the beginning of Barra, next to the shoreline, there are a few schools dotted on the beach where you can hire equipment for the advanced kitesurfers or try a few lessons for beginners. It is a tricky sport and requires good physical strength, but kitesurfers swear by its addictive nature. For the less active, pull up a towel, grab a chilled coconut, and watch the experts whip up and down Barra’s coast.

Watch A Movie At De Lux Cinema

With reclining sofas, a bar inside the cinema room, and personal sofa service, this place takes watching movies to another level. De Lux Cinema makes queuing up for popcorn a thing of the past as attentive waiters bring it to you. Even the popcorn is in a whole new world with flavors such as popcorn with rosemary oil. It’s the perfect way to watch a movie while enjoying being pampered.
De Lux Cinema, New York City Center (UCI, Salas 8/9), RJ, Brazil, +55 21 2461 1818

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article