No city can match the natural beauty of Rio de Janeiro. The landscape of the Cidade Maravilhosa—the Marvelous City—undulates in conical peaks, curlicue bays, and arcing beaches. The world’s largest urban rainforest—over forty square miles—carpets Rio’s rippled granite backdrop. At dusk, the sky glows purple and crimson over the South Atlantic.
This otherworldly setting captivated early European visitors, who founded the city at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain in the 16th century. Rio served as the capital of Brazil for nearly 200 years, and as the Portuguese Empire’s seat from 1808 to 1815.
Today, Rio is the capital of active lifestyle. Within city limits one can surf, scull, rock climb, bike, and hang-glide. Rio’s beaches are its social heart—the place to shed stress and melt into the friendly, forward culture. Some of the beaches (like the far end of Leblon) even have playgrounds for toddlers.
First-time visitors are surprised by the city’s artistic, culinary, and rhythmic range. Family travelers are pleased to find that children are welcomed and adored. We’ve seen kids as young as five dancing samba with their grandmothers during early evening performances in Lapa District nightclubs.
Some of our family’s favorite activities in Rio include:
- Fruit market tours and tastings
- Biking tours
- Beach games like volleyball, soccer, beach tennis, and foot volleyball
- Samba school performances
- Funicular to Corcovado Mountain and cable-car to Sugarloaf
- Surf lessons and sea kayak trips
- Jeep tours and waterfall hikes in the Tijuca Forest
- The Metropolitan Cathedral
- The botanical garden and Parque Lage
- Soccer games
- Swan pedal boats at the Rorigues de Freitas Lagoon
Rio is warm year-round. Summers stretch from November to March with highs in the 80s. The cool season—highs in the 60s—extends from June to September.
Why We Love It
- Loads of family friendly outdoor activities
- Unbelievable landscapes
- Beachfront hotels
- Live music
- Great architecture
- Lots of dining options that make parents and kids happy (e.g. acai smoothies and sushi hand-rolls)