Parque Lage
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Pedro BottonParque Lage

The most instagrammable places in Rio de Janeiro

Use and abuse these spots to shine on Instagram. Don’t forget to hashtag #timeoutriodejaneiro. Say cheese!

Renata Magalhães
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There's a famous Brazilian song that says “Rio de Janeiro is still as stunning as ever” and that’s totally true. With its breathtaking landscapes, famous landmarks, a packed event calendar, and a booming food scene, it's no wonder Rio has inspired iconic songs and even a Walt Disney character (José Carioca was sketched at the Copacabana Palace). Probably one of the happiest cities in the world, Rio has something for everyone. Whether it’s your first time in the Marvelous City or not, we’ve put together a list of must-see spots perfect for social media, sending to family and friends, or keeping as cherished memories.

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The most instagrammable places in Rio de Janeiro

  • American

Bringing a Brazilian twist to the classic American diner, restaurateur Edu Araújo wins Carioca hearts with brunch. The retro-style space features cushy booths, high stools around a striped bar, and a majestic wood-fired oven. Don’t forget your phone when you head to the bathroom, which looks like a '70s disco, complete with a mirrored ball. You’ll want to recreate it at home.

  • Attractions
  • Sightseeing

This open-air masterpiece by Chilean artist Jorge Selarón has been the backdrop for music videos by U2 and Snoop Dogg. You’ll love posing on the colorful staircase, with over 200 steps covered in thousands of tiles from Brazil and around the world. Located between the Lapa and Santa Teresa neighborhoods, it’s the third most-visited tourist spot in the city and has become a symbol of Rio.

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  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens

This 19th-century mansion houses the renowned Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage and is a tourist hotspot for its historical beauty. In the central courtyard, a cinematic pool is surrounded by tables from Plage Café, known for its organic products and famous breakfast. You’ll also score great photos in the European-style romantic garden, which vies for attention with the Atlantic Forest and invites you for a stroll or picnic.

  • Attractions
  • Libraries, archives and foundations

With over 350,000 volumes, it’s the largest and most valuable collection of Portuguese works outside Portugal. This uniquely beautiful neomanueline-style library instantly transports visitors to another era. The endless bookshelves, massive chandelier, and colorful stained-glass ceiling create a magical atmosphere reminiscent of Harry Potter movies.

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The view captures Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain, Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, and several South Zone neighborhoods. In other words, perfect photos, especially with the colorful drinks served there. Enjoy delicious snacks at charming wooden tables while soaking in what’s known as the tastiest view in Rio.

  • Attractions
  • Historic buildings and sites

The old Carioca Aqueduct is one of the most iconic symbols of old Rio, preserved in the Lapa neighborhood. Built in the 18th century in Romanesque style, it transported water from the Carioca river to supply the population. The structure’s 42 double arches are recognized worldwide and remain a top postcard image. Today, it serves as the track for the tram to Santa Teresa. When snapping a photo, try to include Circo Voador just behind.

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  • Things to do
  • Cultural centers

The former Parque das Ruínas was home to Laurinda Santos Lobo, a major patron of the Belle Époque in Rio. She hosted intellectuals and artists for grand parties and soirees. After her death, the place was abandoned, leaving ruins that were transformed into a cultural center with a theater, exhibition hall, and an outdoor area with a stunning city view. Great photo ops abound.

  • Things to do
  • Walks and tours

This trail in the Parque Estadual da Pedra Branca is considered moderate and takes about 50 minutes – plus the wait in line. The attraction has become as popular as Christ the Redeemer, with hundreds waiting to snap a photo on the rock that, thanks to an optical illusion, appears to be on the edge of a cliff. This makes for fun shots that rack up likes on social media, much like most of the city’s natural landscapes.

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