MAR - Rio Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro

Getty Images/Moment RM

Museu de Arte do Rio

Top choice in Rio de Janeiro

Looming large over Praça Mauá, the MAR is an icon for the rebirth of Rio's once derelict port. The huge museum hosts wide-ranging exhibitions that focus on Rio in all its complexity – its people, landscapes, beauty, challenges and conflicts. Start off by taking the elevator to the top (6th) floor, and absorbing the view over the bay. There's also an excellent restaurant here. Then work your way down through the galleries, taking in a mix of international and only-in-Rio exhibitions.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Rio de Janeiro attractions

1. Morro da Conceição

0.05 MILES

One of Rio's oldest neighborhoods, this pretty area feels like a tiny slice of Portugal, with its old shuttered houses, quiet cobblestone streets and…

2. Museu do Amanhã


Designed by famed Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, this thoughtfully conceived science museum has interactive exhibitions on outer space, the earth…

3. Mosteiro de São Bento

0.23 MILES

This is one of the finest colonial churches in Brazil. It was built between 1617 and 1641 on Morro de São Bento, and has an excellent view over the city…

4. Boulevard Olímpico

0.31 MILES

Rio's formerly derelict port district has been reborn as a wide promenade lined with massive street art. A handful of renowned artists have painted…

5. Cais do Valongo

0.35 MILES

Unearthed in 2011, the Valongo Wharf was the first arrival point for an estimated 900,000 enslaved peoples brought to Brazil after long, harrowing voyages…

7. Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil

0.44 MILES

Housed in a beautifully restored 1906 building, the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil hosts some of Rio's top exhibitions. Facilities include a cinema, two…

8. Casa França-Brasil

0.44 MILES

In a neoclassical building dating from 1820, the Casa França-Brasil sponsors small-scale exhibitions that often deal with political and cultural facets of…