A Brazilian’s Guide to Leblon, Rio de Janeiro
Leblon is a vibrant, cosmopolitan district in Rio de Janeiro. It’s been featured in many Brazilian soap operas, making it one of the city’s most famous neighborhoods. Its fame is completely justified! There are many attractions, natural beauties, and fun options for things to do and see while you’re here.
If you’re planning on staying in this area, you’ve made a great choice! In this complete guide to Leblon (written by a Brazilian Carioca), we’ll share with you our top restaurant recommendations and the best attractions in town.
Fun facts about Leblon
First, let’s understand the name “Leblon”.
While most Rio de Janeiro neighborhoods have names of indigenous origin like “Copacabana” and “Ipanema”, Leblon has a French-sounding name. Why is that?
In 1845, the name “Leblon” was given as a tribute to a Frenchman who lived in Rio de Janeiro. His name was Charles Le Blond, an important businessman who owned a lot of land in the city and bought acreage in the Leblon region with the intent of opening a whaling company.
Despite the area’s beautiful natural landscapes, the neighborhood was considered an undesirable place to live because it was too far from downtown Rio and too inaccessible due to the absence of streetcar lines.
Who would have thought that years later Leblon would become one of the most desired and valued neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, associated with sophistication and famous people sunbathing while they contemplate the beautiful Morro Dois Irmãos?
Where to eat and drink in Leblon
If you’re staying in Leblon, grabbing a drink or dinner at a Baixo Leblon locale is a must. In this area, you’ll find everything from small, quaint bars to 5-star restaurants. The variety of establishments here is pretty impressive.
The only thing they have in common is that they’re always crowded. Baixo Leblon’s vibrant nightlife appeals to everyone – from university students to famous artists like Cazuza.
If you walk a little further down Visconde Albuquerque Avenue, you’ll find Alto Leblon, Baixo Leblon’s quieter and less crowded cousin. While it doesn’t attract as many partygoers, Alto Leblon also has an excellent bar and restaurant options.
The best bars and restaurants in town
If you want a taste of the authentic Leblon experience, pay a visit to Bar Jobi. This restaurant bar has been serving traditional Portuguese-Brazilian recipes since 1956. Dishes like the delicious bolinhos de bacalhau (small codfish cakes) are what keep this establishment brimming with happy customers.
The Bracarense is another Leblon favorite. Since its opening in 1961, it has been attracting Cariocas and international tourists alike. Once you’ve treated yourself to a delicious Brazilian snack, take the opportunity to visit Leblon Beach, only 2 blocks away.
Where to eat pizza in Leblon?
Who doesn’t love pizza? Our best recommendation for your late-night Italian pie fix in Leblon is Pizzaria Guanabara. This Carioca jewel is open until 5 am, so if you are hungry after going to Baixo Leblon or Alto Leblon, this is the place for you! Keep in mind that the pandemic may cause changes in opening hours, so be sure to verify opening and closing times.
Leblon’s bars and restaurants aren’t the only points of interest. There’s much more to see and do in this cultured neighborhood!
Must-see attractions in Leblon
Check out all the natural beauty and cultural options Leblon has to offer.
Relax on Leblon’s beach
Although always crowded, the Leblon beach is one of the most beautiful in Rio de Janeiro. Don’t be surprised if you spot a Brazilian celebrity while you’re here!
On Sundays, Leblon Beach Avenue is closed off for traffic (just like the Ipanema and Copacabana beaches). We recommend you take full advantage of this by going rollerblading, electric skating, or renting a bicycle at any of the bike stations around the area.
Go to Mirante do Leblon
While you’re walking, biking, or rollerblading at Leblon beach, head to the “Mirante do Leblon”. This seafront observation deck will give you a breathtaking view of the city. The best time to go is before sunset when the sun descends behind the Morro Dois Irmãos, making it a beautiful scene to watch.
Visit “Parque Municipal Dois Irmãos” in Leblon
Near Mirante do Leblon, you’ll find the equally beautiful Parque Municipal Dois Irmãos, also known as “Parque Penhasco Dois Irmãos”.
The park is open until 5 pm, so take the opportunity to visit it before watching the sunset at the Mirante. Dazzle in the stunning views you’ll see throughout the park and admire the surreal landscapes of Rio de Janeiro among trees, plants, and the flight of birds.
Watch a show at Teatro Casa Grande
If you enjoy a good theater play, don’t miss the famous Casa Grande Theater. A cultural icon of Rio de Janeiro, this theater and arts space has been entertaining tourists and Cariocas alike for more than 50 years. Its accessible location next to Shopping Leblon makes it an ideal place to visit.
If you love photography, this is definitely worth your time!
Stop by Shopping Leblon
Shopping Leblon is one of the area’s top malls. It has beautiful architecture and a wide variety of stores, restaurants, cinemas, and services. For a more sophisticated shopping experience, stop by Rio Design Leblon, a fashion and gastronomy center with high-end retail stores and restaurants.
Get to know the Jockey Club
If horse racing excites you, check out the Jockey Club! This racecourse is really close to Leblon (between Lagoa and Gávea) and will give you all the excitement of horse racing, in a delightful atmosphere with an incredible view of Corcovado. All of this is for free!
The view at night is also beautiful, and you can enjoy it while eating in one of Jockey’s restaurants, such as the excellent Rubaiyat.
Take a walk at Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas
The Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas is also very close to Leblon. Here, you can bike, rollerblade, or run while admiring one of the most beautiful landscapes in Rio de Janeiro.
The lagoon has many parks and playgrounds scattered along its perimeter, making it a great place to come with children.
Getting around Leblon
Throughout Leblon, you’ll notice many bicycle rental stations, subway stations, and buses. If you don’t feel comfortable using public transportation, you can always book an Uber or call a 99 Taxi. The sidewalks around the neighborhood are spacious enough for pedestrians to walk and learn more about the area.
Where to stay in Leblon
If you’re staying in Leblon while visiting Rio de Janeiro, here are our top accommodation recommendations:
Imagine staying in a sophisticated, beautifully designed apartment with a delightful private balcony overlooking Leblon.
In addition to an incredible balcony, the Veloso Charming Condo has smart home technology including Google Home and Chromecast, a fully equipped kitchen, and high-speed Wi-Fi.
This spacious apartment is strategically located in Leblon and offers a truly stunning view. It has ample closet space, air conditioning, smart home technology, high-speed Wi-Fi, and a complete kitchen. When you stay here, you can enjoy complimentary organic bath products from the best local brands and soft cotton towels.
When you’re here, it’ll be hard to decide between watching your favorite series on the Smart TV or contemplating the stunning view from your windows.
Isn’t Leblon amazing?!
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