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.
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.
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.
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.
Finished in 1909, the Theatro Municipal was built along the lines of the Paris Opera. It is home to the city's orchestra, opera and ballet ensembles. It is built in the Neoclassical style, all in marble, granite and bronze, and is one of the most prestigious venues in the country for big performances. There is also a bar and restaurant, the famous and imposing Café do Teatro, decorated with Assyrian-style mosaics.