Rio’s Maracanã stadium is hallowed ground among football lovers. The massive arena has been the site of legendary victories and crushing defeats. Maracanã played a starring role in the 2014 World Cup when it hosted major games, including the final between Germany and Argentina. The stadium also staged the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2016 Summer Olympics. No matter who takes the field, the 78,800-seat arena comes to life in spectacular fashion on game days.
For a quasi-psychedelic experience, go to a football match here. These rate as among the most exciting in the world, particularly during a championship game or when local rivals Flamengo, Vasco da Gama, Fluminense or Botafogo go head to head.
Games take place year-round and generally happen on Saturday or Sunday (starting at 4pm or 6pm) or on Wednesday and Thursday (around 8:30pm). Seating at the stadium is by sector, A through F. The north (E and F) and south (C and B) seats are behind the goals and are generally the cheapest and liveliest sections. East (D) and West (A) sectors have better sight lines and are pricier; these have numbered seats and are not as rowdy as the goal seats. Maracanã Mais is part of the west sector, with buffet service included with your ticket. The ticket price is R$40 to R$80 for most games.
If you prefer to go in a group, a number of English-speaking tour operators organize game-day outings, including round-trip transportation. Leading big group tours are Brazil Expedition and Be A Local. For something more personalized, independent guide Sergio Manhães takes small groups with him (usually via metro) on game days.
For a behind-the-scenes look at the stadium, take a stadium tour with Maracanã Tour, available daily.