The 2016 Olympic Games are set to kick off on Friday in Brazil. Whether you’ll be watching from the stands in the Maracanã Stadium or in one of Rio de Janeiro’s sport cafés (tickets are hard to snag), you can still enjoy the magic of the marvelous city—or the cidade maravilhosa as residents call it—in a number of other ways.
Along with the thrill of the Games, Rio offers miles of enviable beaches, year-round warm temperatures, and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Here, we highlight the most Instagram-worthy spots to visit outside of the Olympic Village. If you weren’t able to make it this year, don’t worry. These hot spots will have you adding South America to the top of your travel list.
Niterói Contemporary Art Museum
Also known as the MAC, this saucer-shaped structure was the designated location for the Louis Vuitton Spring 2017 Resort show. Situated on a cliff overlooking the Guanabara Bay, the museum offers stunning panoramic views of Rio. The building is equally as remarkable on the inside, and boasts over 100 treasured pieces—making it a great indoor activity should Mother Nature decide to spoil your plans.
Christ the Redeemer
Standing at 125 feet tall, this landmark is the most recognized symbol of Rio. Named one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the statue is situated atop Corcovado Mountain and overlooks the entire city.
Pão de Açúcar, or Sugarloaf Mountain, gets its name from its unusual round shape. Situated at the mouth of Guanabara Bay, the landmark is a playground for nature lovers. Whether you opt for a cable car ride or a hike to reach the mountain peak, you’ll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the city.
Bira de Guaratiba Restaurante
If you are headed to Rio this year, take a break from the Olympic madness and catch a cab to Bira de Guaratiba. The seafood restaurant is an hour outside of Rio, and located in a rainforest treehouse that overlooks the coast. Don’t forget to order the Caipirinha de Maracujá (a delicious passionfruit refreshment) while you wait for your sea bass.
You can’t come all the way to Rio and not visit one of its breathtaking beaches. A two-mile stretch of sand, Ipanema Beach is one of the top tourist destinations in Brazil. Aside from working on your tan, you can join locals for futevolei (a Brazilian volleyball game that prohibits the use of hands), try surfing, or take in the stunning views of the adjacent mountains.