The Bohemian neighborhood of Lapa, Rio de Janeiro

Fabio Jardelino | Live the World

November 23, 2022

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


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.

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

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. 

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. 

Book a nearby experience

Let our AI assistant help plan your trip

Create a personalized plan and share it with your friends

Never run out of things to do! Sign up to our newsletter today, what are you waiting for?

live the world logoMaking travel planning easy.
Supported bykbc logo
instagram logotiktok logo facebook logo pintrest logo