São Cristóvão is a neighborhood in the north zone of Rio de Janeiro, and beneath its hard exterior lies a whole wealth of history and fascinating attractions, from being the childhood home of one of Brazil’s past emperors to housing a modern-day zoo with over 2,000 birds and animals. Culture Trip takes to the streets of São Cristóvão to discover why it should have some space on anyone’s itinerary.
Quinta da Boa Vista is a popular park, especially among residents in the north zone where there is a lack of green, natural spaces. The public park is of great historical importance in Rio, and is part of the gardens of the São Cristóvão Palace, the once-residence of the Emperors of Brazil in the 19th century. Take time out to stroll around and appreciate the vibrant green areas, the calm lakes and lush vegetation.
One of the most popular attractions within the grounds of Quinta da Boa Vista, the Zoological Gardens opened in 1945 and is the oldest zoo in Brazil. It houses more than 2,000 different species of animals and birds, and the resident monkey and bird population is particularly significant. It’s a great way of seeing some of Brazil’s native wildlife up-close and learn about the conservation programs that protect the more endangered and threatened species.
If Rio de Janeiro had a theme tune, it would most certainly be a samba jingle. The history of samba is rich and of deep culturally significance, and there is few better ways to learn about its history than a visit to the Museum of Samba. Take a walk around and see the various exhibitions that gradually unfold samba’s history, or even participate in a samba-related workshop. Don’t miss the opportunity to feel like a carnival queen and try on some of the samba costumes laid out on display.
Have lunch or dinner at the traditional Portuguese restaurant Adegão Português. Try their delicious traditional cod dishes that are simple and rustic, yet filled with flavor. They also have an extensive wine list with a focus on Portuguese wines. Try any of the green wines available for a fresh and sweet drink. Their authentic desserts will send you straight to Portugal, so make sure you save room for one.