The Bohemian neighborhood of Lapa, Rio de Janeiro

2 minutes to read

Rio de Janeiro city, as you know, is a massive city in Brazil, and back in the time used to be the Capital of the Federation. Besides the Copacabana Beach, the Christ the Redeemer, and the Car cable at the Pão de Açucar hill, I could say that Rio's vibrant Lapa neighborhood, is itself one of the most interesting tourist attractions. With this in mind, in this article, I will write about the best places to enjoy during a day and night out in the neighborhood of Lapa, Rio de Janeiro's downtown.

© Istock/ Leo Chines
© Istock/ Leo Chines

Architecture

Besides its bohemian night vibes, Lapa is also famous for its colonial architecture, with the "Aqueduto da Carioca" as its most significant symbol. Even today, this imponent structure is one of the main photos used in postcards depicting Rio. It was built to function as an aqueduct in the times of Colonial Brazil and, since 1896, serves as a tramway that connects the Center to the Santa Teresa neighborhood.

Aqueduto da Carioca, Rio de Janeiro
Aqueduto da Carioca, Rio de Janeiro
Aqueduto da Carioca - Lapa, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20031-040, Brasil

Escadaria Selarón

Another famous spot in Lapa is the "Escadaria Selarón," which was decorated by the Chilean artist Jorge Selarón. With contrasting colors spreading in more than 2,000 pieces of tile, the 215 steps of the Selarón Staircase are considered a landmark of the city of Rio de Janeiro. The idea began with a simple renovation of some steps, near to Jorge's house. Rumor has it that at the beginning of the construction, the neighbors even made fun of the color combinations used in the tiles; some of the pieces were in blue, green, and yellow - in fact,  the colors of the Brazilian flag. 

© wikimedia/ Marshallhenrie
© wikimedia/ Marshallhenrie

The stair even served as the setting for several music videos, such as "Beautiful," by the American rap singer Snoop Dogg, and "Walk On" by the Irish rock band U2. The stairs connect the neighborhoods of Lapa and Santa Teresa, and as citizens and tourists always crowd it, the tip here would be to visit in the morning, especially if you want to take good pictures. 

Escadaria Selarón
Escadaria Selarón
R. Joaquim Silva, S/N - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20241-110, Brasil

Rio's Montmartre

Although Lapa is well-known because of its bohemian vibe, its popularity dates back to old times. Since the 50s, the region was already called Rio's Montmartre, being a stage for intellectuals, artists, politicians, and the people of Rio. After some reformations of the neighborhood's architecture in recent years, the region has declared itself to be the second-largest destination for foreign tourists in Rio, just after behind Copacabana.

My tip for you, while visiting Rio, is to save at least one day to enjoy the bohemian Lapa. There are plenty of options for clubs, bars, restaurants, or just cultural sightseeing while walking down the street. 


The author

Fabio Jardelino

Fabio Jardelino

I was born in a big city back in Brazil, called Recife, but I realized that it was not big enough for me. I lived around in Brazil, then abroad and currently, I'm in Europe, but always when I have a chance, I go back to Brazil to enjoy my wonderful country. Also, I want to give a little of this Brazilian Experience to you, through my articles and pictures.

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