An imposing domed building that dates back to the late 19th Century in the heart of the downtown district, this is one of the country's best cultural centers. It includes a cinema with high-quality art films, state-of-the-art theaters, and a large exhibition of fine arts and photography, with some permanent exhibitions like the collection of Brazilian coins. Displays are diverse, ranging from photography to experimental film festivals. Daily newspapers will have the schedule of events, some of which are free of charge.
An unmistakable landmark from the top of Corcovado and a breathtaking view as you leave the tunnel, Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas is largely used by locals as a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Visitors to Rio should take advantage of the wonderful water-side walk and bike path or maybe the public tennis and volleyball courts, the baseball diamond and soccer grounds. At night, the many kiosks offer good food and live music - some are informal branches of great restaurants.
The best place to visit to get an idea of what Rio once looked like, with miles and miles of tropical rain forest, walking trails, stunning views of the city, waterfalls, creeks and wonderfully varied greenery. At this huge urban reserve, it only takes about 20 minutes to immerse yourself in nature. Serious hikers can climb to the summit of Pico da Tijuca, while others can simply enjoy the waterfall, Cascatinha Taunay, at the Alto da Boa Vista.
At 710 meters (2329 feet), this hunchback mountain is where the Christ Redeemer statue stands with outstretched arms. At night, the 30-meter (98-foot) statue seems to float as if it were a guardian angel for the city. Of course it will be crowded with many tourists, but, nothing can prepare you for the view you will witness. Stand with the statue at your back, and to your left is the soccer temple Maracanã and the northern districts. Straight ahead in the distance is Niterói with its snaky bridge and Rio's other must see, the hump of the Sugarloaf. To the right is the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas in the foreground, and Copacabana and Ipanema beaches further out.
Casa do Pontal is one of the largest museums of Brazilian folk art, displaying around 5000 sculptures by more than 200 artists from every region of the country. The pieces that represent many aspects of the life and culture of the Brazilian people are the main reason why the International Council of Museums (ICOM) considers Casa do Pontal a real anthropological museum. It is located 50 minutes from downtown, between the sea and the Serra de Grumari ecological reserve. Species of tropical flora and fauna can be seen in the garden. The museum offers a database on Brazilian folk art and guided tours in four languages. It has a bookstore and a coffee shop.
Tracing its history back to 1926, Gávea Golf and Country Club is one of the most prestigious in the city. The club is located between the Pedra da Gávea and the Parque Nacional & Floresta da Tijuca, almost 900 metres (2952.76 feet) above sea level. Although the course is not a very long one, it hardly matters when the surroundings are so charming. São Conrado Beach is close by.