Um chafariz em funcionamento na frente de um casarão rosa
Selmy YassudaCasa Roberto Marinho guarda coleções de modernismo brasileiro e abstracionismo informal

The best cultural centers in Rio de Janeiro

Theater, music, dance, exhibitions, or fairs—these happening spots in the city have it all.

Renata Magalhães
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Every day of the week, these addresses offer the most intriguing cultural attractions. Some have stages for shows and theatrical performances, others feature exhibition and cinema rooms, and many have all of the above. Great programming is never lacking at the best cultural centers scattered throughout Rio de Janeiro.

Recommended: The best museums in Rio de Janeiro

The best cultural centers in Rio de Janeiro

  • Museums
  • Art and design

Opened in 1989, this space offers a variety of cultural activities in its theater and cinema rooms, along with workshops and music performances. However, it’s the excellent exhibitions that often cause lines at the doors. Works by Tarsila do Amaral, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Pablo Picasso have all been featured here. While you're in the area, the Centro Cultural dos Correios is also worth a visit.

  • Museums
  • Art and design

The home of journalist and collector Roberto Marinho houses a collection of Brazilian modernism and informal abstraction. Temporary exhibits feature works by Di Cavalcanti, Lasar Segall, Tarsila do Amaral, Iberê Camargo, and Tomie Ohtake. The garden, now showcasing works by Carlos Vergara, Elizabeth Jobim, and Ascânio MMM, was one of Roberto Burle Marx’s first projects for a private residence.

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  • Things to do
  • Cultural centers

A major promoter of contemporary national art, the institute founded by patron Frances Reynolds opened a space at Praça da Harmonia to revitalize the area and engage with the local community. The project includes artist and curator exchanges, exhibitions, artist residency programs, and educational activities.

  • Things to do
  • Cultural centers

A cinema and three galleries constantly renew their programs. The collection of nearly 2,000 works spans the last hundred years of national artistic production, from Modernism to the present, featuring artists like Tarsila do Amaral, Cândido Portinari, Djanira, Di Cavalcanti, Tomie Ohtake, and Anita Malfatti. There’s also another space on Avenida República do Paraguai, housing the Nelson Rodrigues Theater.

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  • Art
  • Arts centers

The former headquarters of the Supreme Federal Court in Rio is a must-visit. It offers three floors of history, with exhibition rooms, a grand library, preserved furnishings, a theater with modern installations, and beautiful settings for many photos. On the first floor, to the left, a bistro overlooks the VLT lines crossing in front.

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