Being the second largest city in Brazil, you will find Rio de Janeiro sitting on the Atlantic Coast, capturing the hearts of many travelers and people alike with its relaxed beaches, world-renowned landscapes, vibrant culture and its much awaited annual carnivals.Rio provides many activities and sites to see, from the famous statue, Christ the Redeemer, to the cable car ride up Sugarloaf Mountain.This important city is known for being one of the seven natural wonders of the modern world due to it holding the world’s largest natural bay, which became a very important trading port that we know today.Choosing where to stay in Rio de Janeiro is not hard – even though this is a large city – it offers various places that cater towards different travelers and their interests.Here we will break down the best areas to stay in Rio de Janeiro, where it is safest, the best nightlife and the things you can do in the area. Below are 11 of the best neighbourhoods in Rio de Janeiro to help you make the right decision when trying to work out best places to stay in Rio de Janeiro for you. We have tried to make the guide as easy to follow as possible.We have also included some things to do or places to visit as well as some eatery suggestions of either our favourite places or some funky places to eat at within the areas in Rio de Janeiro so you can use this as a go to guide.Plan your trip?Avoid hidden fees in the exchange rate while withdrawing from millions of ATMs abroad, paying in restaurants and shops, and buying your accommodation and flights using the Wise Card. You can hold up to 50+ currencies at once, and convert them in real time with the free Wise app.Need help planning your trip from start to finish? Check out these helpful links:This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.Plan your trip?Avoid hidden fees in the exchange rate while withdrawing from millions of ATMs abroad, paying in restaurants and shops, and buying your accommodation and flights using the Wise Card. You can hold up to 50+ currencies at once, and convert them in real time with the free Wise app.Need help planning your trip from start to finish? Check out these helpful links:This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.Lapa (City Center) – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro on a BudgetSanta Teresa – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro for FoodiesBotafogo – Best place to stay in Rio de Janeiro for NightlifeLeme – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro with FamilyIpanema – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro for Beach LoversCopacabana – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro for first timersLeblon – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro for carnivalRocinha – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro like a LocalBarra da Tijuca – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro for surfersRecreio dos Bandeirantes – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro for relaxationGaleão – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro near the airportAreas to Avoid in Rio de JaneiroFrequently Asked Questions:Lapa (City Center) – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro on a BudgetIf you’re wondering where to stay in Rio de Janeiro on a budget, we have that covered. Check out this historical neighborhood, Lapa, located in the city center. Why stay in Lapa?Staying in Lapa is a great choice for any traveler or visitor, especially on a budget, since it is the heart of the city with some of the best places to stay in Rio de Janeiro and makes it convenient to explore many of the city’s tourist attractions and cultural landmarks.It also adds to the fact that everything is all within walking distance, making travel easy and money-friendly in this beautiful city.Lapa hosts many backpacking hostels and low cost restaurants – traditional and international – making it a prime location for those traveling on a budget especially compared to the surrounding neighborhoods.We recommend visiting during the months between April and September. The city is cheaper and calmer around then. Things to do in Lapa?Built in the 18th century, these iconic arches were adapted in 1896 to serve as a bridge for a popular tram that connects the city center with the Santa Teresa neighborhood uphill. Also known as Escadaria Selarónis, is a great activity to do. This landmark is a world-famous colorful staircase, made up of tiles from all around the world and created by a Chilean-born artist named Jorge Selarón who claimed it as “my tribute to the Brazilian people”.The Metropolitan CathedralAlso known as the Cathedral of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro and inspired by the Mayan pyramids in Mexico.We suggest taking a street tour, where various tour companies offer guided street art tours that showcase numerous murals and graffiti pieces, scattered throughout the neighborhood, lighting up the best of Lapa’s urban art.Just to add to it, Lapa is home to several museums and cultural centers, including the Museum of Image and Sound, the Casa do Povo, and the Centro Cultural Municipal Parque das Ruínas.Top 5 favorites accommodation options for LapaBest places to stay in LapaCheapest Backpacking Hostels in LapaBudget accommodation in LapaMid range accommodation in LapaFamily Friendly accommodation in LapaAffordable Luxury accommodation in LapaSanta Teresa – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro for FoodiesSanta Teresa is a bohemian neighborhood right out of story books that you simply cannot miss, especially if you are wondering where to stay in Rio de Janeiro as a food enthusiast. Why stay in Santa Teresa?Santa Teresa is a little village-like area that offers a very charming atmosphere with its colorful colonial-style houses, narrow streets, and historic architecture.The neighborhood itself is a perfect place to relax and explore, since it has such a laid-back and friendly atmosphere with an exciting and vibrant food scene.From budget to blow-out, there is a lot to expect in terms of eating out in Santa Teresa. If you’re looking to eat traditionally, check out Simplesmente and Bar do Mineiro, these places are well-known and offer a great vibe as well.Healthier options include Cantinho de Santa and Raízes do Brasil, both offer fresh organic produce, two perfect places for vegans and vegetarians.If more refined restaurants are your thing, visit Aprazível and Samba of Guimarães. Both are a little different to the other but highly recommended by locals and travelers. Things to do in Santa Teresa?Take the Santa Teresa TramThis is one of the best options, since you will get to pass the Arcos da Lapa, check out the sights of downtown Rio and to Guanabara Bay, Museums and the airport. With its famous winding, narrow streets and a great combination of boho and surf culture, Santa Teresa offers a great tour, explored on foot. Where you can take in the colonial architecture and amazing views around every corner. With such warm weather, we would recommend visiting the relaxing beaches in the area such as Praia do Meio, Praia das Cariocas, and Praia dos Mineiros. The Ruins Park (Parque das Ruínas)This beautiful area holds a lot of history and allows travelers to explore the Ruins Park that features the remains of an old abandoned mansion in the 1950s.The Chácara do Céu Museum Which holds an impressive collection of Brazilian art, including works by famous artists like Candido Portinari and Di Cavalcanti.Top 5 favorites accommodation options for Santa TeresaBest places to stay in Santa TeresaCheapest Backpacking Hostels in Santa TeresaBudget accommodation in Santa TeresaMid range accommodation in Santa TeresaFamily Friendly accommodation in Santa TeresaAffordable Luxury accommodation in Santa TeresaBotafogo – Best place to stay in Rio de Janeiro for NightlifeChoosing where to stay in Rio de Janeiro for the best nightlife experience depends entirely on your personal preference.Botafogo is a popular neighborhood and while it does offer some great nightlife options, it provides more of a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. It has a lively street scene and is known for its stylish bars and restaurants. You can find various traditional Brazilian bars and music venues to international bars and clubs.However, if you are looking for a more intense and wild nightlife scene with a higher concentration of clubs and party venues, then other neighborhoods such as Lapa or Copacabana might be a better fit for you.Why stay in Botafogo?Located in the southern zone of Rio de Janeiro, Botafogo is a neighborhood with a lively cultural scene, superb shopping and great dining options.Its proximity to some of the best attractions in the city do not go unnoticed and it is known to be one of the safer areas in Rio to travel.In terms of nightlife, you may have heard of other places to party but surprisingly Botafogo was known for being the hottest neighborhood in Rio a few years back and it still rocks some exciting spots.If you’re a die-hard wine fan then look no further than WineHouse. Our suggestion? Stick with the Brazilian offerings, they’re the best. If beer is your calling, visit Hocus Pocus DNA, voted as the best artisanal beer in Rio de Janeiro.The Jungle Garden Pub is where the atmosphere is at with vines sprawling up the walls and lit-up palms. Comuna is Botafogo’s original hipster hangout, it often collaborates with local artists and is known for getting really busy.Things to do in Botafogo?With plenty of things to do in Botafogo, you have various options to choose from. With it being one of the best places to stay in Rio de Janeiro for nightlife, Botafogo also offers plenty of other things to do. Home to several museums, these cultural institutions allow a glimpse into Rio’s heritage and background. We recommend taking a walk in the Parque do Flamengo park which stretches along the waterfront. It offers walking trails, sports facilities, and stunning views of the bay and Sugarloaf Mountain.Enjoy a day of shopping in the multiple shopping centers this neighborhood provides or a trip to the surrounding beaches in other popular destinations and areas. Top 5 favorites accommodation options for BotafogoBest places to stay in BotafogoCheapest Backpacking Hostels in BotafogoBudget accommodation in BotafogoMid range accommodation in BotafogoFamily Friendly accommodation in BotafogoAffordable Luxury accommodation in BotafogoLeme – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro with FamilyIf you are trying to figure out where to stay in Rio de Janeiro with your family, we suggest visiting Leme.Why? Well, it’s located just south of the famous Copacabana beach and It’s a great location for families who enjoy a quieter and more residential atmosphere than the buzz of the surrounding areas.Why stay in Leme?It’s centrally located, making it easy to explore other parts of the city, especially with a family in tow. It’s close to the city center, as well as other neighborhoods such as Ipanema, Leblon, and Botafogo.Leme is considered a relatively safe neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro compared to its counterparts and it is a great choice for families, with several parks and playgrounds in the area. The neighborhood also has a more residential feel, making it a quieter and more peaceful option than some other parts of the city.Things to do in Leme?Leme beach tends to be much quieter and more comfortable for its visitors compared the famous Copacabana beach.Walking the Forte do Leme TrailAlso known as Forte Duque de Caxias, is a walk to a spectacular fort with beautiful views. Surrounded by the Atlantic forest, look out for monkeys and birds along the way.Take the family shopping at this well known spot.Explore the Praia VermelhaA small beach located at the base of the hill where the Forte do Leme is situated.Top 5 favorites accommodation options for LemeBest places to stay in LemeCheapest Backpacking Hostels in LemeBudget accommodation in LemeMid range accommodation in LemeFamily Friendly accommodation in LemeAffordable Luxury accommodation in LemeIpanema – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro for Beach LoversIpanema is filled with beautiful beaches, upscale shopping, exciting nightlife and fine dining.Putting Copacabana and Leblon to one side, Ipanema is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in Rio de Janeiro due to it being fashionable and trendy, currently stealing the spotlight as the younger crowd moves in. Why stay in Ipanema?If you didn’t know, now you do. Ipanema has one of the best beaches in Rio de Janeiro – the famous Ipanema Beach – known for its stunning scenery and lively atmosphere.It is centrally located, right in between Copacabana, Leblon, and Botafoga. Ipanema has a range of dining and shopping options, from upscale restaurants to trendy boutiques and a colorful nightlife.This neighborhood is sandwiched between the famous Copacabana beach, separated by Arpoador Beach, which is a fine spot for watching the sunset from rocky outcrops.This place is perfect for beach lovers since there is constant access to surf, grab a coconut or caipirinha from a kiosk on the sand, play volleyball or people-watch.Things to do in Ipanema?Visit the beaches, especially the famous one and explore the area with everything it has to offer. With it being so close to such great attractions, you won’t find yourself stuck not knowing what to do. Take a walk around this beautiful spot, located in the intersection of the famous Ipanema and Copacabana neighborhoods.Exploring the open-air Hippie Fair every SundayLocated in the heart of Ipanema and shops at the Farme de Amoedo Street Market that takes place on Sundays and is known for its fashion, crafts, and food.Top 5 favorites accommodation options for IpanemaBest places to stay in IpanemaCheapest Backpacking Hostels in IpanemaBudget accommodation in IpanemaMid range accommodation in IpanemaFamily Friendly accommodation in IpanemaAffordable Luxury accommodation in IpanemaCopacabana – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro for first timersFirstly, Copacabana is a popular choice for visitors looking for a vibrant and lively area to stay in.Secondly, it’s one of the more budget-friendly areas to visit compared to the other areas and it is known for being a neighborhood that never sleeps. Why stay in Copacabana?If you’re a traveler, currently wondering “where should I stay in rio for the first time?” look no further.Putting to one side its famous beach and beautiful settings, you can enjoy the famous wavy mosaic pavement in black and white marble, that thousands of Cariocas and tourists stroll and jog on everyday.Copacabana has a range of accommodation options, from budget hostels to luxury guest houses, this pretty part of the city has some of the best hotels in Rio de Janeiro. This makes it a great choice for first-time or general visitors on a variety of budgets.It is in the top 3 favorite places in this beautiful city that holds the award for being the safest place to stay in Rio de Janeiro as well. Our final comments are that Copacabana is the best area to stay in Rio, Brazil. Especially since the metro station connects to places like Copacabana and Ipanema, making it easier to travel. Things to do in Copacabana?Visiting the famous Copacabana Beach This beach should be the very first choice on your list, especially if you are wondering Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro for first timers. Visit the Basilica of Our Lady of CopacabanaA beautiful church built in the 16th century. Take a boat ride and visit the nearby islands of Isla del Sol and Isla de la Luna. A hill located just outside of Copacabana with breathtaking views of the town and the surrounding area. The Inca ruins of Tiwanaku Is just a short drive outside the area and a great place to get lost in history and learn a little more of their impact on Rio de Janeiro. Top 5 favorites accommodation options for CopacabanaBest places to stay in CopacabanaCheapest Backpacking Hostels in CopacabanaBudget accommodation in CopacabanaMid range accommodation in CopacabanaFamily Friendly accommodation in CopacabanaAffordable Luxury accommodation in CopacabanaLeblon – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro for carnivalLeblon is known for its upscale lifestyle, beautiful clean beaches, and luxury real estate. Its most famous attraction is its beautiful beach. It is less crowded than other beaches in Rio, making it a great spot to relax and enjoy the sun.The best carnival beach party in the world is on Leblon beach, with many people from around the world attending each year.We recommend Leblon as the best area to stay in Rio de Janeiro during the famous carnival period, since it offers quiet when you want to get out of the buzz but close enough to get to other locations when you need to. Why stay in Leblon?Apart from its famous beach, Leblon used to be the heart of the bohemian movement in the 70s and 80s, it’s also a popular meeting spot for the youth to celebrate football match wins.High in festivities, Leblon falls under being one of the best neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, and for good reason. It’s a lovely place to step right into culture and a slightly more upper-class vibe with lots to offer. If your intention is to join the festivities and you’re asking where to stay in Rio de Janeiro for the carnival, then look no further, Leblon is a great option since it’s so close to Copacabana and Ipanema. t’s a popular spot to stay thanks to its safety and quick accessibility to surrounding areas. Things to do in Leblon?The Jardim de Alah LagoonAs we have already mentioned, if you’re looking for something different check out thia picturesque lagoon located at the eastern end of Leblon Beach. An imposing mountain that offers stunning views of Rio and the surrounding areas. Visit the Fundação Eva KlabinA museum home to an impressive collection of European and Brazilian art, including works by Picasso, Matisse, and Portinari. Lastly, check out the Parque Natural Municipal da CatacumbaA beautiful oasis in the middle of the city. Offering hiking trails, bike paths, and picnic areas. It is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy nature.Top 5 favorites accommodation options for LeblonBest places to stay in LeblonCheapest Backpacking Hostels in LeblonBudget accommodation in LeblonMid range accommodation in LeblonFamily Friendly accommodation in LeblonAffordable Luxury accommodation in LeblonRocinha – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro like a LocalRocinha is a favela, an informal settlement, located in Rio de Janeiro, and is known as one of the largest favela in Rio and Latin America.Rocinha is known for its vibrant culture and sense of community, despite its reputation as a place of poverty and violence. The favela is home to several community organizations and cultural centers, as well as a thriving music scene.Why stay in Rocinha?Rocinha has become a popular destination for tourists looking to experience a different side of Rio de Janeiro.Guided tours are available, but it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and to exercise caution. You need to be respectful of the residents and their community, and avoid treating the favela as a tourist attraction.This is a great location to visit if you want to appreciate and learn about cultural traditions, eat the local food, experience the original nightlife and meet the locals. Things to do in Rocinha?Learn about the community’s history, culture, and daily life. Visit the community projects that include art centers, music schools, and social services. These projects provide opportunities for residents and visitors to engage with the community and learn about its culture and challenges. Selling a variety of goods, including fresh produce, crafts, and souvenirs. The markets are a great place to experience the local culture and interact with residents. Where you will find impressive street art murals, which provide a colorful and unique backdrop to the community.Top 4 favorites accommodation options for RocinhaBest places to stay in RocinhaCheapest Backpacking Hostels in RocinhaMid range accommodation in RocinhaFamily Friendly accommodation in RocinhaAffordable Luxury accommodation in RocinhaBarra da Tijuca – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro for surfersBarra da Tijuca is a neighborhood located in the western part of Rio de Janeiro. It is one of the largest and most modern neighborhoods in the city, known for its great surfing beaches, shopping centers, and high-rise buildings.Why stay in Barra da Tijuca?Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro for surfers and other sport enthusiasts requires one answer and that is, Barra da Tijuca.Besides its beautiful beaches, this area is a modern and cosmopolitan neighborhood and a great place to stay if you want easy access to modern amenities and conveniences.Barra da Tijuca is surrounded by natural beauty, including the Tijuca Forest and several parks and ecological reserves.It is known to be the host beach for many national and international surf championships, thanks to its wave reliability. The beach is huge and stretches for kilometers, with some parts ideal for bodyboarding too.Things to do in Barra da Tijuca?Barra da Tijuca is the best location to stay in Rio de Janeiro for relaxation since it has several beautiful beaches, including Praia da Barra da Tijuca, Praia do Pepê, and Praia da Reserva to enjoy. A mountain that offers stunning views of Rio, a popular spot for hiking and rock climbing.A beautiful natural reserve, home to several waterfalls, hiking trails, and wildlife or check out the Casa do Pontal Museum, dedicated to Brazilian folk art. Top 5 favorites accommodation options for Barra da TijucaBest places to stay in Barra da TijucaCheapest Backpacking Hostels in Barra da TijucaBudget accommodation in Barra da TijucaMid range accommodation in Barra da TijucaFamily Friendly accommodation in Barra da TijucaAffordable Luxury accommodation in Barra da TijucaRecreio dos Bandeirantes – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro for relaxationSlightly less known than its surrounding areas, visitors and locals love it for its beautiful beaches, nature reserves, and surfing spots, Recreio dos Bandeirantes holds many delights for travelers and surfers alike, offering a more relaxing atmosphere and sport orientated feel. Why stay in Recreio dos Bandeirantes?If you’re looking for a true paradise, then visiting Recreio dos Bandeirantes is a great choice for those who love to be in direct contact with nature and appreciate a place full of relaxation.If you’re looking for accommodation in Rio de Janeiro for quieter spots, then Recreio dos Bandeirantes is a good bet.The neighborhood is located close to several clean and quiet beaches, as well as environmental reserves. That way, taking a walk along the waterfront and relaxing after a tiring day at work will be much easier.Things to do in Recreio dos Bandeirantes?An obvious choice, since it hosts multiple beautiful beaches for you to visit.Chico Mendes Municipal ParkA nature reserve with several hiking trails, waterfalls, and wildlife. A mountain that offers stunning views of the coastline and a popular spot for rock climbing and hiking.With multiple routes that run along the beach and through the Chico Mendes Municipal Park, we highly recommend renting out a bike and using up your summer day enjoying this activity.Praia do Recreio is particularly known for its consistent waves.Top 5 favorites accommodation options for Recreio dos BandeirantesBest places to stay in Recreio dos BandeirantesCheapest Backpacking Hostels in Recreio dos BandeirantesBudget accommodation in Recreio dos BandeirantesMid range accommodation in Recreio dos BandeirantesFamily Friendly accommodation in Recreio dos BandeirantesAffordable Luxury accommodation in Recreio dos BandeirantesGaleão – Where to stay in Rio de Janeiro near the airportGaleão is located in the North Zone of the city and is home to Rio de Janeiro–Galeão International Airport. Why stay in Galeão?Convenience is probably the biggest reason, if you have an early morning or late-night flight, staying near the airport can make the process much easier. This includes layovers, travelers in transit and people visiting for business purposes.You can look at it from a budget point of view, if you are only visiting for a certain amount of time then it’s most likely more beneficial for you to choose accommodation closer to the airport or within the area.Things to do in Galeão?Visit the beach Praia da BicaLocated just a few kilometers from Galeão and is a popular spot for swimming and relaxing. Another option is Quinta da Boa Vista A park located about 15 kilometers from Galeão and is home to the National Museum of Brazil. If traveling with families, check out RioZooLocated about 20 kilometers from Galeão and is a popular attraction for families. The zoo is home to a variety of animals, including lions, tigers, and monkeys.Top 4 favorites accommodation options for GaleãoBest places to stay in GaleãoCheapest Backpacking Hostels in GaleãoBudget accommodation in GaleãoMid range accommodation in GaleãoFamily Friendly accommodation in GaleãoAreas to Avoid in Rio de JaneiroIt’s important to understand that all areas can attract a certain amount of crime, it’s necessary to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings no matter where you go in the city.Rocinha is the largest favela in Rio de Janeiro and is located on a hill overlooking the city. While it’s a fascinating place to visit for its unique culture and architecture, it’s also known for high levels of crime and violence.If you are traveling as a family, we suggest Rocinha is not the best neighborhood to stay in rio de janeiro to stay in but we highly recommend still visiting it. Frequently Asked Questions:What is the nicest part of Rio de Janeiro?Rio de Janeiro is a vibrant city with many beautiful and interesting neighborhoods. The nicest part of Rio de Janeiro may vary depending on personal preferences and interests, but some of the most popular areas among tourists and locals include: Copacabana, Ipanema and Santa TeresaIs it better to stay in Copacabana or Ipanema?Both neighborhoods have their unique charm and attractions, so it’s worth considering what you’re looking for in a trip to Rio de Janeiro.Copacabana is a more lively and bustling neighborhood with a long stretch of beach, a wide range of restaurants, shops, and nightlife options. It’s a great choice to experience the vibrant energy of Rio de Janeiro.On the other hand, Ipanema is a more upscale and sophisticated neighborhood with a more relaxed and laid-back atmosphere.Its beach is often considered one of the most beautiful in the city, and the neighborhood is known for its trendy boutiques, cafes, and restaurants.If you’re looking for best hotels in Rio de Janeiro on the beach? Copacabana and Ipanema are both perfect, even Leme is a perfect spot right on the beach.Where is the safest place to stay in Rio de janeiro?How to be safe in Rio de Janeiro is not difficult. Rio is a beautiful city with many great neighborhoods to explore, but like any big city, there are areas that are safer than others.If you’re concerned about safety, it’s generally recommended to stay in the more tourist-friendly areas of the city, such as:Ipanema, Leblon. Copacabana and Botafogo. All of these places are considered safe, with a low crime rate compared to others. 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