The neighborhood of Lapa in Rio de Janeiro is one of the best places in the world to experience the diversity of Brazilian music. Walk through the neighborhood on any night and you will hear the full range of Brazilian music as well as popular music from around the world. Spend the day visiting the city’s towering cathedral and relics from the colonial past, then hop between nightclubs and bars throughout the evening and dance until dawn.
Lapa is renowned for being one of Rio’s best neighborhoods for nightlife, so you can expect to find music and dance lovers here every evening. Start out the night by catching a concert at Sala Cecília Meireles (Cecília Meireles Hall), which specializes in relaxing choro music and classical chamber music. Then check out a singer-songwriter at Rio Scenarium, the neighborhood’s most popular bar. Despite its three floors, this bar can get very crowded, so make a reservation in order to avoid the line. Finally, dance the night away in a Lapa nightclub specializing in anything from classic Brazilian Funk to contemporary electronica.
In addition to being at the forefront of Rio’s cultural scene, Lapa is also one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. Visit architectural landmarks, like the Arcos da Lapa, an 886-foot-long (270-meter) Roman-style aqueduct built during Brazil’s colonial years. Ride a tram across the top for great views, then visit the nearby street fair to sample inexpensive local dishes.
Visit one of Lapa’s most striking structures, the Metropolitan Cathedral. Towering over the area from a height of 246 feet (75 meters), this cone-shaped church was built to resemble a Mayan pyramid. Attend a service or visit the Sacred Art Museum located in the basement, which features sculptures and many other religious artifacts. A short walk to the southeast is Passeio Publico (Public Promenade), based on a model of Lisbon’s main park. Established in 1783 this is the oldest park in Rio de Janeiro.
Lapa lies to the southwest of Cinelândiain downtown Rio. Arrive by bus or metro, but avoid driving since parking can be hard to find.