Pretty much everything and anything under the sun. Rio de Janeiro is considered by many as the nightlife capital of the world and that’s not during Rio Carnival! Rio Carnival takes Rio De Janeiro to a whole new level. It offers something for everyone — the young, the old, the single, the married, gay, lesbian or straight. Whatever you want, you can find it in Rio De Janeiro. Over the course of the Rio Carnival festivities there will be parties in every corner of the city — from the streets, to the nightclubs and bars. You might consider starting the evening with a casual dinner, taking the party to a bar, hitting up a samba hall, a nightclub, a street party, or attending one of the infamous Rio Carnival Ball.
With a unique take on life, Cariocas are known to be a festive people; they literally could be doing something different every night of the week. They might start the evening at a casual restaurant, then catch a movie, mingle with friends at a cafe, enjoying themselves at one of the city’s many bars, have a drink at one of Rio’s baixos (popular streets concentrated with a multitude of venues) then hit up a favorite samba hall (gafieira) or nightclub and dance until the sun comes up. It’s also not uncommon to find a Carioca winding down by returning to a bar or cafe after a long night on the town. Cariocas love to meet in the neighborhood of Cinelândia for a brew after work at both Café Amarelinho and Verdinho located right next door.
Cariocas (Rio natives) really love to dance, and music and the beats runs through their veins; so if your nights aren’t booked up with the parades and the balls, it goes without saying that the dance clubs are something that must be experienced! Rio is a contemporary city and a truly cosmopolitan melting pot, so at a dance club you can expect to find the latest hits, ranging from house music to techno, trance, electronic — whatever is popular for that crowd. Whatever you’re looking for, you can find it in Rio and you are sure to have the time of your life!
You won’t have to look far to find a party in Rio, and with people flooding the city from all over the world, Rio Carnival makes it that much easier. What you are looking for is probably close to your hotel. Humaitá, Flamengo, Botafogo and the Centro have unbeatable popular spots for nightlife. Centro is a popular spot for raves and has a lot of really great night clubs like the Rio Scenarium. Lapa was once the center of bohemian life in Rio but has recently undergone a huge transformation; so the area around Lapa has become a very hot spot at night. The Friday night street party is a great party (word of caution: do not bring any valuables here) there are bars and clubs packed with people by the Arches. While in Lapa try Sacrilegio (Sacrilege), where not dancing the samba is the biggest sin you could possibly commit! Or check out Clube Dos Democraticos.The most popular sport in Rio is people-watching, and if you are broke you can do it sipping a caipirinha/Caipivodka or a beer on the street. Drinking on the street is perfectly legal here. Gavea is a great spot to check out. While you’re in Gavea try club 00 (Zero Zero). If you are staying near Ipanema, hit up Nuth, Shenanigan’s or Empório . If you are in Leblon, Melt is a great club. Caroline Cafe, Saturnino, Nuth Lounge and Jota Bar are known to attract a beautiful crowd, and the petiscos (snacks) are scrumptious. Devassa is a popular bar and brewery. The piers, an old train station, warehouses, and an old movie theater from the turn of the 20th century have been known to throw unforgettable parties. Fundição Progresso is a spot where mega-parties typically happen, attracting crowds of more than 5,000 — and that’s not taking Carnival into account! If you are staying near Barra, check out Av. Armando Lombardi, which is known as Baixo Barra because of its high concentration of night clubs — the club at the Hard Rock Cafe, Nuth the Lounge, Bombar and Guapo Loco, or various circuit parties right outside of Barra such as Vargem Grande.
Everywhere. In addition to having great bars, clubs, cafes and dance halls, many of the best party scenes will be happening in the streets. Lapa hosts the Friday night street party, but there are also great street parties near any of the world-famous beaches (like Copacabana or Ipanema). During Rio Carnival you are more than likely to stumble upon samba blocos or bandas rehearsing for a performance. You can take a stroll around Praca da Nossa Senhora da Paz and Rua Farme de Amoedo at Ipanema Beach and have a blast or even enjoy a free live concert at General Osório dancing to Banda de Ipanema. Or go to Leblon and walk down Av. Ataulfo de Paiva. Whether it be a samba rehearsal or a formal concert, live music really adds to the euphoria that is the Rio Carnival experience!
That depends on you. The cariocas are the friendliest people on the planet and are not looking for a fight. The carioca attitude will rub off on you and you should have no problems. Rio’s nightlife is really more about chatting with people, dancing, and having a good time. That said, it’s wise to be careful no matter where you are and don’t carry much money or jewelry.