O VLT passa no trilho em frente aos dois prédios do Museu de Arte do Rio
Alexandre Macieira/RioTurMuseu de Arte do Rio foi construído na Zona Portuária

The best museums in Rio de Janeiro

From iconic landmarks to hidden gems with rich collections, here's an unmissable guide for art lovers.

Renata Magalhães
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A city as rich in history as Rio de Janeiro is bound to have a variety of museums with diverse focuses. Some are internationally renowned, while others are hidden gems full of surprises. Whether you're exploring the new tourist circuit in the revamped Port Zone or venturing into historic mansions across neighborhoods from the North to the West Zones, there's something for everyone. We've got the world's only museum dedicated to the future, thematic spaces for samba, folk art, and folklore, and institutes preserving Afro-Brazilian culture, which has been so vital to the city's social fabric. Check out our list of the best museums in Rio below.

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The best museums in Rio de Janeiro

  • Museums
  • Art and design

Your visit starts from the top, with a stunning view of Praça Mauá from the modernist building’s terrace. Then, head down to explore the temporary exhibitions—there can be up to four or five at once, so plan to spend some time here. The museum's collection boasts over 20,000 items, frequently featured to offer fresh perspectives on our history.

  • Museums
  • Art and design

Home to one of the leading modern art collections in Latin America, with 16,000 items fueling its year-round temporary exhibitions curated by artistic director Pablo Lafuente. The museum also features a cinémathèque presenting rare films, workshops, and lectures with industry experts. Take a stroll around Aterro do Flamengo—on Sundays, you might catch some Carnaval block rehearsals.

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  • Museums
  • Art and design

The world’s only museum focused on the future, with contributions from MIT, Google, and NASA, making the main exhibit highly interactive and tech-forward. The journey is divided into five areas: Cosmos, Earth, Anthropocene, Tomorrows, and Us, featuring over 40 experiences in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. It presents a narrative on how we can shape the years to come. Keep an eye out for seasonal programs with great options.

  • Museums
  • History

For a deeper dive into Rio's history, the IPN offers a historical circuit around the Port Zone. It oversees the archaeological site of the Cemitério dos Pretos Novos, showcased in its Gamboa headquarters. The main hall features archaeological windows and artifacts unearthed during excavations.

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  • Museums
  • Music

Ever dreamed of parading down Marquês de Sapucaí? At Museu do Samba, you can don one of the glamorous costumes, join dance and percussion workshops, all part of the four-hour Samba Experience package, priced according to group size. Finish off with a traditional feijoada (R$70). The museum’s extensive collection of over 45,000 items powers exhibitions that delve into the genre that defines Rio.

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