Rio de Janeiro’s markets are just as much about the local flavors and live music as they are about the shopping. Make a day of it: grab yourself some bargains, enjoy the music and taste the local dishes at our 10 very favorite spots for shopping in Rio de Janeiro.
PS: If you’re up for more great tips from locals, download our free travel guide momondo places for iPhones.
Feira das Yabás
On the second Sunday of every month, 16 matriarchs of Rio’s black community, some of them well into their 80s, set up their stalls to become the centerpiece of an upright delicious event: Feira das Yabás – a market which concentrates on traditional Brazilian food and music. Bring your appetite and dive into dishes like ‘galinha com quiabo’ – chicken with okra, and ‘rabada com angu’ – oxtail with polenta.
Apart from the gastronomy, Feira das Yabás is all about enjoying the music. The market has close ties to Portela, the local samba school, and often hosts samba legends such as Paulinho da Viola.
Where: Praça Paulo da Portela
Nearest station: Oswaldo Cruz
While the prices are low, the noise levels are high. Salesmen with microphones give it their best to entice shoppers in with their slick sales patter. You’ll need to keep your wits about you if you want to avoid getting bumped about in this area of hectic shopping streets. In every other part of town the locals stroll at an easy pace, but here they suddenly increase their walking speed as they hunt down bargains in the Saara shopping streets.
Check out Rua da Alfândega – it’s the epicenter of pre-carnival shopping with every other shop filled with spectacular carnival costumes.
Where: Rua da Alfândega
Nearest station: Uruguaiana
Feira da Glória
Feira da Glória is a riot of color and sound. Held every Sunday from 7am–1pm, this is the perfect activity for foodies.
The market sets up right next to the Glória metro station. The normally busy Avenida Augusto Severo is closed to traffic and instead the street is lined on both sides by dozens of stalls, stacked high with exotic fruits, vegetables, fish, cheeses, honey and spices. Traders are friendly and have no problem with people taking photos. In fact, many will offer you a taste of their delicious, sweet and exotic fruits such as the cacao-related ‘cupuaçu’ and the thick-skinned berry ‘jabuticaba’.
Where: Avenida Augusto Severo
Nearest station: Glória
Feira Rio Antigo
Every first Saturday of the month, Rua do Lavradio in Lapa turns into one big party. Feira Rio Antigo is a street market, but get here at the right time, and you’ll find lots of festive vibes as well.
On market days the street is closed to traffic and you can relax while you browse the many stalls offering antiques, colorful second-hand goods, craft items, trinkets, clothes and souvenirs.
The bars and restaurants set up tables and chairs in the street, locals kick back and have a good time, while food stalls and live music spark all senses. Try a ‘chope’, a Brazilian draft beer, from Bar Brasil. The market runs from 10am–6pm.
Where: Rua do Lavradio
Nearest station: Carioca
Mercadão de Madureira
One of the largest markets in Brazil, Mercadão de Madureira is buzzing with locals going about their everyday business.
Housing more than 580 stores, this market caters for the average working Brazilian. You won’t find fancy designer brands here, but there’s a huge variety of items at low prices.
Here you will find everything from ‘pipas’ (Brazilian kites) to hand-woven baskets and perhaps most intriguing, there are more than 20 shops selling items related to Afro-Brazilian faiths, such as the carranca statue and the white Candomblé outfit.
Where: Avenida Ministro Edgard Romero 239
Nearest station: Mercadão de Madureira
Forget tie-dye t-shirts and free love – the hippies who gave this market its name in the 1960s are long gone. Instead you’ll find dozens of market stalls selling all manner of items such as rugs, paintings, jewellery, bags and clothes as well as souvenirs ranging from tasteful to tacky.
Located in the large and somewhat grubby square of Praça General Osório, you’ll find this market very busy with a mix of travelers and locals all jostling for position as they attempt to pick out something nice. Look out for the stands selling ‘acarajé’, a fried snack from Northeast Brazil.
Open every Sunday from 7am–7pm.
Where: Praça General Osório
Nearest station: General Osório
Feira de São Cristóvão
Also known as ‘Feira dos Nordestinos’ – Market of the Northeasterners – this huge market comes alive on weekends. Rio has quite a few citizens from Northeast Brazil, and they come here to eat, drink and generally revel in all aspects of Northeastern culture. Entry is just a few reais and the prices at the countless restaurants, food stands, bars and shops are similarly low.
Daytime visits are fun, but the real party atmosphere happens on Friday and Saturday nights. With two large stages, live Forró music is played constantly, so you may soon find yourself being whisked around the dance floor by an eager partner aged anywhere between 18 and 85.
Where: Campo de São Cristóvão
Getting there: Bus 209/296 to Campo São de Cristóvão stop 310
Read more: The buzzy nightlife of Rio de Janeiro
Praça São Salvador
Rio is a bustling city of six million souls, but you’ll still find places with a peaceful, small-town vibe in between. Praça São Salvador is a lovely little square in the neighborhood of Laranjeiras. It’s best visited on Sundays, when a market springs up and you can enjoy a stroll among stalls of colourful clothes, artworks, jewelery and ornaments.
Praça São Salvador is generally known for its genial atmosphere. You’ll find a small playground for children, and also a large bandstand, under which local bands play samba and ‘chorinho’, the instrumental Brazilian music. On sunny days, crowds gather to sing along with the band and enjoy a few drinks – it’s all very festive.
Sample some traditional Brazilian food at one of the market stalls, and you have yourself the perfect Sunday.
Where: Praça São Salvador
Nearest station: Largo do Machado
Parts of Cadeg send your thoughts right back to Portugal. This enormous covered market in the neighborhood of Benfica specialises in flowers, plants, excellent wines and Portuguese cuisine.
The best day to go is Saturday, when a large area around restaurant Cantinho das Concertinas transforms into a huge party with live music, dancing and a light-hearted atmosphere. Hordes of happy diners line up on long tables and enjoy classic Portuguese dishes such as bacalhau – salt cod – grilled sardines and a variety of sweet pastries.
Most of the market stalls close on Sundays.
Where: Rua Capitão Félix 110
Nearest station: Triagem
Feira da Praça XV
This buzzing flea market is a treasure hunter’s dream – among the dolls with missing legs and all types of marvelous junk, you’ll find ancient typewriters, antique cameras, vintage jewelery and second-hand clothes. It runs every Saturday in Praça XV, and not even dynamite can stop it.
In late 2013, an impressive 1.2 tons of explosives were used to demolish the ugly overpass, which had acted as a roof for this open air market, but meanwhile the 350+ market stalls just moved their business to nearby Praça do Paço Imperial. Sure, you’ll have to sift through a lot of rubbish to find your treasure, but the search is half the fun.
Open Saturdays 8am–2pm.
Where: Praça do Paço Imperial
Nearest station: Carioca