Your Ultimate Guide to the Must-see Attractions in
Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema became famous due to the Bossa Nova songs of Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes. This neighborhood combines an astonishing view of the hill Morro Dois Irmãos, hippie fairs near designer stores, bars playing Bossa Nova, and Michelin-starred restaurants. Check out this ultimate guide with the best attractions and what to do in Ipanema. Get ready to enjoy an unforgettable stay in Rio de Janeiro.

 

Facts about Ipanema

Not everyone knows that, before inspiring the Bossa Nova music, the beaches of Ipanema served as a place for gentlemen duels in the Carioca society. One of the most notorious duels had happened in 1906 when the legislator Pinheiro Machado had encountered the journalist Edmundo Bittencourt in a political clash. Bittencourt got hurt, but he was able to recover completely. After this, he became a severe critic of the Machado legislature, creating many articles about it at Correio da Manhã newspaper.

 

Another famous duel in Rio involved the writers Raul Pompéia and Olavo Bilac. They had faced each other in the Botanical Garden, but this duel was just a farce, a fight between friends. Shortly after the clash, they were apologizing to each other.

Bars and restaurants to explore in Ipanema

Ipanema has some of the best restaurants in the South Zone of Rio. Here you will also find historic bars and laid-back pubs that celebrate the traditional Carioca lifestyle.

 

The best restaurants in Ipanema

The classic Italian food at Pici Trattoria

Pici Trattoria combines Italian cuisine with Brazilian ingredients to create sophisticated – and delicious – dishes. The jazz soundtrack creates a cozy atmosphere in this Michelin-starred restaurant. The most requested dishes include filet mignon tagliata with mushroom sauce, gnocchi al pesto, and gianduja ice cream with Nutella sauce.

A contemporary experience at Zazá Bistrô Tropical

Zazá Bistrô Tropical is a modern and stylish restaurant that serves contemporary cuisine with dishes inspired by trips around the world. We highly recommend the seafood feijoada with jasmine rice and the grilled octopus with vegetables. We encourage you to try their exclusive cocktails, such as Morena Tropicana, a Brazilian cachaça infusion with cocoa, cashew nuts, and uruçu honey.

 

A sophisticated dinner at Gero Restaurant

Gero Restaurant, located inside the Fasano Hotel in Ipanema, is considered one of the best Italian restaurants in the South Zone of Rio. The menu features roasted lamb and a risotto made with shrimps and pumpkins. Enjoy a sophisticated wine list with bottles from France, Italy, and Portugal.

Best bars to explore in Ipanema

Garota de Ipanema, the bar that inspired Girl from Ipanema song

Rumor says that Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes had written the internationally acclaimed Girl from Ipanema song on a table of this bar. Garota de Ipanema is one of the most famous bars in Rio. It attracts tourists from all over the world – and many locals too. 

 

Previously known as Bar do Veloso, Garota de Ipanema was the favorite bar of Tom and Vinícius. It seems that they were inspired to compose Girl from Ipanema when they saw the beautiful Helô Pinheiro on her way to the beach. 

 

The bar has preserved all the good memories of their notorious clients in pictures spread by the walls. To get a complete immersion in the Brazilian culture, order their tasty grilled picanha. Enjoy!

Invite your friends for a beer at Boteco Belmonte

Boteco Belmonte is a popular bar franchise spread across Rio de Janeiro neighborhoods. In Ipanema, Boteco Belmonte is near General Osório Square. It is common to see many Cariocas on the bar in the evening for happy hour events with friends. Order a cold beer and traditional appetizers, and get ready to immerse yourself in Rio laid-back nightlife. 

 

Enjoy a glass of wine at the laid-back Canastra Bar

Canastra Bar is the perfect place to find all the locals in Ipanema. This laid-back bar has three owners, French friends that were enthusiastic about the Carioca lifestyle. The menu includes several wine options, French appetizers, and even oysters while maintaining a relaxing atmosphere.

Ipanema_Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Rag Dutra

Must-see attractions in Ipanema

Ipanema is a charming neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, such an inspiring place for many artists. Discover must-see attractions and get ready to have an unforgettable stay in Ipanema.

 

Enjoy the beach in Ipanema

One of the most popular attractions in Brazil, the Ipanema lifestyle was celebrated by Bossa Nova songs. Before heading to the beach, discover how they are divided in the South Zone of Rio as it will help you find the best attractions – and the best beach spots. 

 

The beach has 12 spots called Postos that start on Leme and finish in the Leblon neighborhood. You will notice that each spot has its unique characteristics, attracting different people as well. 

 

Ipanema beach is the one between Posto 7 and Posto 10. At Posto 7, you will find Diabo and Arpoador beaches. These beaches are not as busy as Ipanema or Copacabana, as visitors are local surfers. However, it tends to get crowded at sunset. 

 

The trendiest area is the one between Postos 8 and 9. That is the perfect place to find tourists from all over the world and also some Brazilian celebrities. At Posto 10, you will have an amazing view of Morro Dois Irmãos. You will see more locals here, mostly families with kids.

Ipanema_Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Alexandre Brondino via Unsplash
Ipanema_Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Cerqueira via Unsplash

Appreciate the sunset at Arpoador

Many Cariocas say this is the best spot to appreciate the sunset in Rio. Do like them and guarantee your place on the shores of Arpoador beach in the late afternoon. Enjoy the sun dipping into the sea, don’t get surprised if you hear an enthusiastic applause from the crowd. This elegant performance from the sun will stir emotions in you too.

 

Applauding the sunset in Arpoador has been a common habit since 1968, started by a group of friends that included the filmmaker Gláuber Rocha, the journalist João Saldanha, and the TV presenter Jô Soares. A TV commercial of a sunscreen created by Roberto Duailibi helped promote the sunset applause until it had become part of the Carioca lifestyle.

Diving at Cagarras archipelago

Cagarras archipelago is composed of seven islands just 5km from the edge of Ipanema. You will spot several types of birds on this natural paradise, including seagulls, herons, owls, and local birds such as the bem-te-vi.


Go on a boat tour around the archipelago and take the chance to explore the ocean on a diving tour. You will also be able to enjoy an astonishing view of Copacabana and Ipanema from the Cagarras Islands.

Ipanema_Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Rag Dutra
Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Rag Dutra

Exercise on the beach in Ipanema

What about exploring new sports during your visit to Rio de Janeiro? Ipanema has an extensive stretch of sand that is perfect for playing all kinds of sports. Carioca’s favorite beach sport is futevôlei, a mix of soccer and volleyball. Common activities also include running by the beach, surfing, or practicing yoga.

 

88yoga88 studio organizes yoga classes at Ipanema beach twice a month, always on a Sunday morning. Due to the current social distancing restrictions, the studio is also streaming online – and free – yoga classes on YouTube.

Ipanema_Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Rag Dutra
Ipanema_Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Rag Dutra

Stumble around the promenade in Ipanema

Copacabana and Ipanema promenades are notorious in Rio de Janeiro. If you look carefully, you will see that every neighborhood has a unique design on its sidewalks. Copacabana resembles the waves of the sea; Ipanema has a squared pattern.

 

The first pattern was developed in Copacabana by the landscaper Burle Marx. It refers to the Rossio Square in Lisbon. Ipanema’s promenade was later developed by Renato Primavera Marinho in the 1960s. 

The Leblon neighborhood also has the same sidewalk pattern as the one in Ipanema. The beaches on the West Zone, including Barra da Tijuca and Recreio, have a promenade inspired by the local fish species.

 

Stumble around the promenade – or calçadão as locals call it – and appreciate the unique patterns of Ipanema. Morro Dois Irmãos and the ocean in the background will create an astonishing view.

Take a selfie with the statue of Tom Jobim

Rio de Janeiro has many monuments to celebrate artists and intellectuals that have lived in this vibrant city. You will find a statue of the poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade in Copacabana beach and another one for the writer Clarice Lispector in Leme.

 

As it should be, Ipanema pays homage to the singer and composer Tom Jobim, who immortalized the neighborhood in Bossa Nova songs. Near the intersection of Francisco Bhering and Vieira Souto Avenues, you will have the chance to see Tom Jobim walking along the shore with his guitar. Take the opportunity and get your selfie with one of the greatest Brazilian composers of all time.

Buy unique handcrafted art at the Hippie Fair in Ipanema

A must-see handcrafted art fair in Rio is the Hippie Fair in Ipanema. Here you can find more than 600 shoppers and several options of excellent – and authentic – gifts to take back home. 

 

Paintings displaying Rio’s unique views, jewelry and accessories made of Brazilian natural stones, handcrafted straw bags, and high-quality products await you in one of the most traditional open-air fairs in Rio. Ipanema Hippie Fair is open on Sundays, from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, at General Osório Square.

Go shopping at Quadrilátero do Charme

Ipanema is one of the best neighborhoods for luxury shopping in Rio de Janeiro, especially in the area known as Quadrilátero do Charme (Charming Square). The name refers to the notorious Quadrilatero della Moda in Milan, the location of the most important Italian brands.

 

The Carioca fashion area has international luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton and Hermès and Brazilian beachwear stores, including Lenny Niemeyer. Quadrilátero do Charme is located in the area comprising Aníbal Mendonça and Joana Angélica streets. 

Enjoy the view of the Leblon Belvedere 

To appreciate the best view of Ipanema, head to the nearby Leblon. To be more specific, we highly recommend you to go to the wood deck located at the end of Niemeyer Avenue. From there, you will have panoramic views from Arpoador, Ipanema, and Leblon beaches and also a closer look at Morro Dois Irmãos. 

 

The belvedere has several kiosks where you can sit and relax. Order coconut water and enjoy the views. There is also a very instagrammable wood swing overlooking the beach; it will be hard to resist the temptation of taking a picture there.

Visit Garota de Ipanema Park

The name of the park is a tribute to the Girl from Ipanema song. It is near Diabo beach, between Ipanema and Copacabana neighborhoods. You can explore the hiking paths that will take you to astonishing views or do some people-watching. Garota de Ipanema Park is famous for its skate facilities that attract enthusiasts from all over the city. Local tip: visit the park during the weekends, when there are more people around. 

 

Watch a play at Laura Alvim Cultural Center

Laura Alvim is a well-equipped cultural center. It has movies, theaters, art galleries, and museums near Ipanema beach. Laura Alvim organized artistic events in her house, most of them focused on theater companies. Brazilian actresses such as Fernanda Montenegro and Tônia Carrero were regular guests. 

 

In the 1980s, the house became the cultural center we see today. Laura Alvim Cultural Center is at Vieira Souto Avenue, near Posto 8. It is open every day from 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm. You can check future events and exhibitions on their Instagram.

Ipanema_Rio de Janeiro
Photo: Rag Dutra
Photo: Rag Dutra

How to get around in Ipanema

Cycling is one of the best – and most pleasant – transportation modes in Ipanema. You can cycle around the beach and take a break to enjoy the views while drinking coconut water. 

 

We highly recommend you to call an Uber or a 99 at night, even for short distances. That is the safest way to get around at this time in Ipanema and Copacabana neighborhoods.

Best places to stay in Ipanema

Morais Beach Suite

An inspiring stay awaits you in this two-bedroom apartment just five minutes from Posto 10 at Ipanema beach. Enjoy the ocean view from your private balcony while sipping the craft beer or tasting the snacks we had carefully prepared just for you.

Tom Tropical Condo

This two-bedroom apartment has an air conditioner and a private balcony. It also has an equipped kitchen and high-speed WiFi. Stay with all the comfort and sophistication just one block away from Ipanema beach.