Shopping malls in Brazil are more than just a convenient place to buy everything under one roof; they are social hubs where people meet to catch up with friends, have dinner out, drink wine and watch the latest films. Rio de Janeiro has plenty of shopping malls to choose from ranging from cheaper options to extreme luxury. We round-up some of the best shopping malls across the city.
Located in shopping mall central, Barra da Tijuca, Shopping New York City Center is easily identified with its large statue of liberty right outside. It appears deceivingly small on first impressions but the entrance just has restaurants and a couple of small shops. Pass through that and you enter the huge main shopping mall. Its cinema alone has 18 rooms and has hundreds of shops, restaurants and leisure areas. It’s big, it’s bold and it has everything. Just make sure you wear comfortable shoes because there is unavoidably a lot of walking around.
Shopping Nova America is a huge mall in the north zone of the city. The layout inside is like it was designed by a Penrose stairs lover with random escalators, sudden new floors and plenty of twists and turns. It’s easy to spend hours in this mall purely from getting lost! However, that wouldn’t be a bad thing as with plenty of shops with reasonably priced items, it’s an easy way to have a splurge without feeling the guilt. There’s also a cinema to catch the latest flicks and a large dining hall. One wonderful addition here is ‘Rua do Rio’, an artificially built street leading from the mall that has rows of bars and restaurants, perfect to relax, drink and be merry.
Shopping Tijuca takes its name from the neighborhood it’s located in, in the north of Rio. Its smaller than some of its larger counterparts but that is not a bad thing; everything is easy to locate and doesn’t have large walking sessions between each shop. Shops are mostly cheaper with old classics such as C&A and its Brazilian rival Renner, to mid-rangers such as Oh, Boy and Eclectic. It’s totally normal to go out for dinner in a shopping mall in Brazil and one of the most popular eating points at this mall is Outback, an Australian-themed restaurant famous for its burgers, steaks and deep-fried onions and large, super-cold beers.
Near to Botafogo in the south of the city, Shopping Rio Sul is a large mall that will fulfill all your shopping needs and more with its 140 different shops and 21 restaurants. It has a wide range of national and international brands such as Havaianas, Zara and more recently Forever 21 with the majority of the shops priced around the mid-range mark. With white marble floors and polished silver furnishings, the layout is clean and logical with handy touchscreen aids dotted around to help you locate shops. To eat, try the Delirio Tropical for fresh salads and pasta dishes. The queue always looks daunting but it goes down pretty quickly.
Shopping Leblon matches the style of its surrounding upmarket neighborhood Leblon with a luxury design and expensive stores with plenty of international brands. The shops range from mid-price up to high-range with stores such as Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, and Diesel. Some Brazilian brands worth checking out there are Animale, with its sophisticated yet funky style, and Farm, which has youthful, cool designs. Like any other shopping mall in Rio, it has a cinema and a wide range of excellent restaurants and places for snacks. One that stands out is Bacio di Latte, a local ice cream parlor that does freshly made ice cream with pure, natural ingredients. For those hot summer days, it’s perfect.
This is the crown jewels of the shopping mall world and is nothing short of pure luxury. With big names such as Hugo Boss and Gucci, it’s popular with the rich and famous with many Brazilian celebrities papped shopping here. Its exclusivity to the rich market limits the number of people who go there keeping the shopping mall peaceful and never crowded. The leisure area outside is a large wooden patio that stretches out with low, comfortable seating and breath-taking views across Barra and the mountainous skyline. The cinema here has ‘couple sofas’ that stretch out like a huge bed bringing the ultimate cinema experience. Strangely enough, despite everything else being wallet-busting, the cinema is surprisingly affordable. Avenida das Américas, 3900, Barra da Tijuca, RJ, +55 (21) 3003 4177
Located in Recreio where this shopping mall gets its name, Shopping Recreio is a large shopping mall with cheaper to mid-range shops with many Brazilian brands and some international brands such as Nike. There’s a kids play area where tired parents can drop off their kids in a safe and fun environment, and there’re also a few salons where it’s cheap to get a hair cut, wax or nails painted in between shopping sprees. There are a few restaurants with the most popular being Balada Mix which serves fresh and healthy meals, and also the legendary Outback where waiting lines are common. By Sarah Brown