Rio de Janeiro Shopping Guide

Whether you're heading to the Brazilian city for the Olympic 2016 Games or just taking a trip to Latin America, don't miss our definitive guide to the best places to shop in Rio de Janeiro
Street scene and fashion boutiques at Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Shutterstock
Street scene and fashion boutiques at Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Yadid Levy/APA

Street scene and fashion boutiques at Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Yadid Levy/APA


Rio’s shopping options cater to all tastes and income brackets. The modern shopping centres located in the Zona Sul are great mid-range options, while the chic wares found in Ipanama’s boutiques are a must-visit for fashionistas


Rio is a hot-zone of consumerism, and those with a charged card will find themselves as sated as they would be in Beverly Hills, Paris or Milan. The difference is that in Rio, designer labels can often be had for a fraction of the price charged in those other cities. Conversely, travellers on a budget can browse many of the local feiras for authentic clothing, jewelry, handicrafts and musical instruments, most of which can be had for a song.

What to buy in Rio

Some of the items you may wish to take home from Rio include: art – particularly native and primitive works; antiques, from the shops along Rua do Lavradio or the antiques fair; figas, the Afro-Brazilian good-luck symbol in the form of a fist (to bring good luck, it must be given as a gift); handmade hammocks; jacaranda-wood salad bowls and trays; cloth kites in fighting-bird shapes and bright colours; leather bags, belts, wallets and shoes; musical instruments, such as the berimbau; recordings of samba, bossa nova and MPB (música popular brasileira); and swimsuits (if they’re not too risqué for the beaches you frequent back home). Brazil is also a leader in world fashion and currently many of even the most fashionable boutiques offer excellent value when compared with Europe and North America.

Precious gemstones are sold in such varied places as hotels, downtown stores and even on city streets. The most popular buys are amethysts, aquamarines, opals, topaz and tourmalines, but diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires are also mined in Brazil. Check with your consulate concerning customs regulations if you are considering a purchase.


Discover the best routes around the city with Insight Guides: Explore Rio de Janeiro. This guide covers the city's best routes, with practical maps and the best places to eat and drink along the way. Available as both an app or an eBook.



The trendy upmarket

The trendy upmarket "Gilson Martins" bag shop in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Yadid Levy/APA


Main shopping areas in Rio de Janeiro

Ipanema is home to the most sophisticated boutiques in the city. The main shopping drag is Rua Visconde de Pirajá, but it is well worth exploring the side streets and the new shops that always seem to be popping up. Those who need to pick up a sarong, bikini, or pair of sunglasses can head to any of the beach vendors, and visiting the Sunday ‘Hippie Fair’, located at Praca General Osório (9am–6pm), is a must. Here visitors can find arts and crafts including paintings, leatherwork, carvings, tapestries and many other items.

For gems and precious stones, head to the west side of Ipanema. The two best-known and most reputable dealers of gemstones, H. Stern and Amsterdam Sauer, have branches in this area, and they also offer free museum/workshop tours. H. Stern’s headquarters is at Rua Visconde de Pirajá, 490 (tel: 21-2106 0000; www.hstern.net); Amsterdam Sauer’s is at Avenida Garcia D’Ávila, 105 (tel: 21-2512 1132; www.amsterdamsauer.com). 

Copacabana has more options for shoppers than Ipanema (except where it concerns clothing) and prices are generally lower. It’s a great area to go for casualwear and beachwear. Most cariocas do their shopping at the big malls such as Shopping RioSul (Rua Lauro Müller, 116; www.riosul.com.br), located in Botafogo just before the tunnel leading into Copacabana. Famed swimwear retailer BumBum (www.bumbum.com.br) has a location here, and no, thongs are not the only option.

Soccer fans can get their jerseys in Copacabana at Loja Fla (Avenida N.S. de Copacabana, 219; www.lojafla.com.br). They are well stocked in every piece of Flamengo apparel and products you can imagine. Be forewarned, wearing a local jersey, like those of Flamengo or Botafogo, means you are adding your voice to the chorus of millions of rabid futbol fans. Expect heated but good-natured competition. Also, Loja Fla can personalize any jersey by printing the customer’s name on the back.

To get to the northern zone, take any bus marked São Cristóvão or grab a cab. Feirarte II (Thu−Fri 8am–6pm), at the Praça XV de Novembro, offers dolls, jewelry, embroidery, leather goods and musical instruments (and Bahian food).


All shopped out? Then head to one of Rio's best beaches or sample its raucous nightlife


Shopping in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Yadid Levy/APAShopping in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Yadid Levy/APA


Sales

The best places to score deals on goods are generally at the aforementioned feiras and open-air street markets. For retail sales, head to any of the city’s shopping malls.

Opening times

Shops and stores are generally open 9am–6pm, but in certain neighborhoods they have much longer hours, sometimes opening before 8am and closing around 10pm. Shopping centers, like Rio Sul and BarraShopping, open 10am–10pm, except on Sun-day when Rio Sul opens at noon and Barra-Shopping at 1pm. Some businesses close for lunch between noon and 2pm. Some local food stores open Sunday morning.


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