Explore Centro Cultural Municipal Parque das Ruinas – the former residence of Belle Époque art aficionado Laurinda Santos Lobo, who invited intellectuals and artists to her mansion in the early 20th century for wild parties. Long abandoned and restored in the 90’s, beautiful views of the city.
Spend an afternoon at Museu Chacara do Ceu – mansion of art patron and industrialist Raymundo Ottoni de Castro Maya. In addition to showing his modern art collection including works by Portinari, Di Cavalcanti and Lygia Clark, the museum displays furniture and Brazilian maps dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. Awesome gardens to explore with amazing views – worth the hike.
Go Swimming at Prainha Beach or Grumari Beach – get away from the crowds in Ipanema and Copacabana and head to where the locals eat and swim in cleaner waters. Be sure to bring an umbrella or rent one, its hot out there.
Take the Cable Car up Sugarloaf – the views are to die for, plus there is a nice spot for lunch up top. Be sure to meet the nice ladies who work in the jewelry store – they gave Sas a lucky charm because they loved her (who can blame them?).
Tereze – refined and elegant dining at Hotel Santa Teresa, one of the best meals we had in Rio during our visit. Try the meats (steak was divine) with a heavy Portuguese red.
Kraft Café – delicious coffee and small bites while on the way to the beach in Copacabana, definitely worth the visit to this Australian run coffee shop.
Via Sete – tasty gastropub in Ipanema with tasty wine and nice sidewalk feel.
Bazzar – amazing international, worth a visit with nice wines.
Bottega Del Vino – delicious Italian restaurant, just down the street from Leblon. Sit at the bar to start with some charcuterie and have a sampling of the amazing wines – elevated with an iPad menu.
Sushi Leblon – Sas and I enjoyed our anniversary here, lovely but simple sushi – worth the wait if not in a rush. Have a drink at Bottega Del Vino while you wait.
Bar dos Descasados – the porch bar at Santa Teresa Hotel, what can I say we love that place.
Mirante da Prainha – escape the sun and down cold beers with fresh fish at this perfectly situated beach restaurant just beyond Prainha Beach
Rua Dias Ferreira – loads of shops interspersed with the restaurants, check it out between bites.
Hotel Santa Teresa Rio MGallery – simply the best in Rio, located in the hills of Santa Teresa this hotel is elegant, modern, quiet, but conveniently located near everything.