A short taxi ride from Instituto Moreira Salles is Silvia Cintra + Box 4, an elegant white cube space that shows work by young contemporary artists such as Cinthia Marcelle and Chiara Banfi, as well as established figures like Amilcar de Castro and Nelson Leirner. A short stroll away is Anita Schwartz Art Gallery. The building itself, a tall concrete confection, is worthy of attention along with the works by Brazilian and international artists within.
Just a few streets away, Praça Santos Dumont, a square named after the pioneer of Brazilian aviation, is a favourite gathering place—especially on Thursday and Sunday evenings. Flocks of relaxed young cariocas spill out of simple bars and grills to convene over bottled beer in the open air.
For dinner, head to Rubaiyat Rio, the local outpost of São Paulo’s famous Figueira Rubaiyat restaurant. The beautiful indoor space is only bettered by its amazing outdoor dining terrace, which looks across the Jockey Club’s racecourse to the hills and mountains beyond. Watch the races in the lap of luxury over an exquisite dinner of fine steak and assorted grilled meats. Afterwards, head over to the Amazonkitsch bar Palaphita, across from the finishing line, for a drink.
Still up for some fun? For a taste of nightlife beyond the upscale South Zone (which includes Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Jardim Botânico and Botafogo, among other districts), head downtown to Lapa, where the streets overflow with samba and the carioca spirit. Utterly chic Casa Momus is a recent addition, the result of a loving, two-year renovation of an early-1800s building. Try for a table on the front terrace to watch the street fun, or settle inside over wine or a zingy caipirinha. Roll on to Rio Scenarium, a beautiful bar-cum-antiques emporium, where you can samba till dawn, or look up Circo Voador or Fundição Progresso, two lively Lapa music venues, where you might just catch one of the stars of Brazilian music. For a saideira—that’s Portuguese for the last drink of the night—wrap up with a tipple and a saltcod rissole at Nova Capela.