Start the day in a dazzlingly Rio way— stroll to the beach for a dip. Settle on the golden sand and soak up views of the island-dotted ocean as the cariocas, Rio’s fortunate residents, come to life.
Slip on some comfortable shoes and take a cab downtown to Praça Mauá in the revamped Porto Maravilha district, where a fabulous collection of Brazilian and international art awaits at the Rio Art Museum (MAR). On the other side of the square, jutting dramatically into Guanabara Bay, is Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava’s landmark Museum of Tomorrow. Its fascinating exhibits and interactive displays pose questions on the themes of Cosmos, Earth, Anthropocene, Tomorrows, and Us.
Grab another cab and head to the neoclassical Banco do Brasil Cultural Centre (CCBB), which recalls the history of Rio during its time as the nation’s capital from 1763 until 1960, when the modernist new city of Brasília took the mantle. From there it’s an easy walk to Candelária Church, a baroque 1775 structure much in demand for the weddings of Rio’s great and good.
A 20-minute cab trip will get you to Sugarloaf Mountain, the perfect spot for lunch. Ask the driver to drop you at the cable car and ride up to Cota 200, the stunning new restaurant on the first of the mountain’s two peaks. Be sure to make a reservation, which will allow you to breeze past the queue for the cable car. At Cota 200, ceilings soar over a cool, elegant, white space, and the topnotch menu features generous serves of dishes such as sun-cured grilled steak (picanha de sol) and duck magret with jabuticaba, a deep purple, berry-like fruit.
With a reservation made well ahead— we’re talking days rather than hours—it’s off to Oro, the newest and brightest jewel in Rio’s gastronomic crown. Owned and run by chef Felipe Bronze, Oro started life elsewhere in the city but closed in mid-2015, with the new incarnation opening in April this year. From the molecular wonders of the original Oro, Bronze has developed a new, grill-based menu that’s just as sophisticated, but celebrates smoke, fire and glowing embers. Choose the full “Creativity” tasting menu and enjoy the stunning surroundings.
Round off the day with cocktails in the urban-industrial setting of the bar Usina 47, just four blocks from Oro—or rev up for a long night out (Usina 47 has a spacious bar and dancefloor upstairs).
From top: the museum of Tomorrow is an architectural showstopper; Ipanema Beach; Cota 200 on the first peak of sugarloaf mountain is a dreamy lunch spot