Rio’s nature is something to marvel at, and the rich nightlife will dazzle your senses. But there are also plenty of places for art lovers. If you’re looking for things to do in Rio that involve art, make sure to check out these 7 museums and cultural institutes.
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How about a glimpse into the future? Oi Futuro might not have a crystal ball, but this cultural exhibition center has its eye focused firmly on innovation, technology and art.
Opened in 2005, Oi Futuro is housed in a bright, three-story building in the neighborhood of Flamengo. As well as a permanent exhibition on the history of telecommunications, this space includes temporary multimedia exhibitions featuring photographs, video installations and interactive technology.
Oi Futuro isn’t huge, but it’s a great way to spend a couple of hours pondering technological achievements and the future.
Where: Rua Dois de Dezembro 63
Tel: +55 21 3131 3060
Getting there: Largo do Machado
Quinta da Boa Vista & National Museum of Natural History
A trip to Quinta da Boa Vista park gives you two attractions in one visit. Firstly, there’s the public park itself. Featuring a lake with a little rotunda which can be reached by a footbridge, this is an amazing spot for both romantic walks around the green parkland – and for children to roam about. You can also take a pedal boat out for a spin.
Secondly, you have the National Museum of Natural History, former home of the Emperors of Brazil in the 19th century. The museum takes you on a tour of topics like zoology, anthropology and archaeology.
Otherwise enjoy a snack at the Quinta da Boa Vista restaurant where you’ll be served by staff dressed in period costumes.
Where: Parque da Quinta da Boa Vista
Tel: +55 21 3938 6900
Getting there: São Cristóvão
Museum of Modern Art
Rio’s Museum of Modern Art (MAM) is housed inside a striking modernist building and a city landmark – a huge structure of triangular panels holding the main building off the ground.
This light and spacious museum may host as many as six exhibitions simultaneously, ranging from international and Brazilian artists to cinematic retrospectives. The museum is located in Aterro do Flamengo, so combine your visit with a stroll in the park and great views of Sugarloaf Mountain.
Where: Avenida Infante Dom Henrique 85
Tel: +55 21 3883 5600
Getting there: Glória
Instituto Moreira Salles
Tucked away in the often overlooked neighborhood of Gávea, Instituto Moreira Salles is a wonderful example of modernist design. Fans of modernistic architecture will most likely be dazzled by the curvaceous pool, clean lines and airy rooms of this 1950s construction. The gardens, designed by world famous Brazilian landscape architect Burle Marx, add to the aura of serenity.
The institute was built in 1948 as the home of Walter Moreira Salles, a hugely successful banker famous for his philanthropy. It now holds huge collections of books and artworks, and varied exhibitions of photography, music, literature and visual arts.
Where: Rua Marquês de São Vicente 476
Tel: +55 21 3284 7400
Getting there: Bus 105/537/2014 to Estrada Santa Marinha stop 429
Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil
Looking for Rio’s best exhibitions? Look no further! Converted from a bank to a museum in 1989, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB) is one of the world’s most visited museums and hosts some of Rio’s most outstanding exhibits. As you walk through the door, take a moment to appreciate the main hall with its impressive stained glass dome.
Apart from the exhibitions, CCBB also screens cult films and shows theater performances. CCBB’s biggest draw, however, will always be its travelling exhibitions – perhaps a selection of European masterpieces or a showcase of Japanese animation.
Where: Rua Primeiro de Março 66
Tel: +55 21 3808 2020
Getting there: Uruguaiana
Centro Cultural dos Correios
Although often overshadowed by its larger neighbour, the famous CCBB, the Centro Cultural dos Correios (CCC) puts on 50 exhibitions a year covering the realms of theater, music, dance and film. Built in the early 20th century, the exhibition center spreads over three floors and includes a theater hall and three large exhibition spaces.
Although the main attractions are inside, don’t miss the open air square, Praça dos Correios, with its reflecting pool and small stage for outdoor performances.
Where: Rua Visconde de Itaboraí 20
Tel: +55 21 2253 1580
Getting there: Uruguaiana
Museu Casa do Pontal
This large museum allows you to – virtually – travel throughout the entire country. Museu Casa do Pontal is Brazil’s largest folk art museum, and features more than 8,000 works from Brazilian artists collected by French designer Jacques Van de Beuque over a 40 years period.
The collection features a large number of sculptures created in a wide variety of artistic styles, such as the colourful ‘Naïve Art’. Many of the pieces cleverly reflect the religious and cultural history of Brazil.
Guided tours are available in English and Portuguese, and some are accompanied by performing artists to help bring the art and history to life.
Where: Estrada do Pontal 3295
Tel: +55 21 2490 3278
Getting there: Bus 818/823 to Estrada Do Pontal stop 2305