Sambadrome and the Rio Carnival Parades

The famous Sambadrone in Rio comes to life every year during Carnival Days

Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro
Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro cc licensed photo by Ben Tavener

The Sambadrome is a special parade route constructed along both sides of Marquês de Sapucaí street in Rio de Janeiro's old city centre. It consists of permanent spectator stands, viewing boxes, and event lights running for 700 metres along both sides of the street.

The unique design of the Sambadrome allows up to 90,000 spectators to view the parade within along a much shorter route that would normally be required. Built in 1984 the Sambadrome was designed by the well known Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.

The Sambadrome is primarily used for the official Rio Carnival Parade events in which samba schools compete with one another, each getting exactly 90 minutes to complete their vivacious routines which consist of thousands of dancers in vibrant colorful costumes along with a section of drums and several lavish floats. They take this competition very seriously and are judged on a wide range of aspects.

At the end of the parade the parade participants gather together in Apotheosis Square. This square has spectator stands that are set farther back. This space has been used for many big name concerts over the years.

During the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio the Sambadrome served as a venue for the archery and athletic marathon events.

Even if you aren't attending an event at the Sambadrome you may want to swing by and take a look at it, to give you a better idea of the atmosphere when you watch one of the famous carnival parades on TV.

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: Yes - for events and parades

Address: R. Marquês de Sapucaí - Santo Cristo, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20220-007, Brazil

Official Website: Sambadrome and the Rio Carnival Parades

Sambadrome and the Rio Carnival Parades Reviews

Rated 4.5 out of 5 Star Rating

5 Star Rating An experience everyone that visits Brasil during carnival should attend. The energy was wild, the costume elaborate, the people wonderful. Great idea to eat beforehand or bring food and drinks.
steven lomeli - 4 months ago

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5 Star Rating Incredible show, however it was hard for us to find our entrance, i would recommend better instructions. One way or another this is the absolute must on carnaval. Front box seats highly recommended.
Karolina Elsner - 4 months ago

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4 Star Rating Seeing the parades is an amazing life experience, but if you're on the fence about the Sambodromo, you can probably skip it. I personally enjoyed it and the tickets are not expensive at all. If you do go, I recommend you go on the day of Carnaval, as the best schools perform then. It's also worth getting there early to get a spot at the railing. Just expect people to try to squeeze in next to you or hover over you for most of the night. Rio is incredible, and as great as this place is, it was not the highlight of our vacation. Going around the city is the real treat! You can even see the parades line up near the port early in the day if you want to see the floats without going to the Sambodromo.
Rob Snyder - 4 months ago

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4 Star Rating Just do it! If your in Brazil during Carnival, you have to go. We ended up buying tickets from some locals. Communication was relatively easy. The stadium is not as well maintained as you would see in the US. I recommend wearing clothes, toed shoes. Many people also smoke and the stands. But the show is amazing and it's a once in a lifetime opportunity if you're in Brazil. Being the obviously white Americans, we left a little early to avoid any potential uneasiness that might occur in a crowd after the show. We are glad that we did. Because we were able to get out of the area easily.
April & Randy Lucchesi - 3 months ago

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Metro Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Line 1 - OrangePraça Onze4 Minutes

How to get to Sambadrome and the Rio Carnival Parades by Metro

Exit the metro at Praça Onze and walk north to Rua Bendito Hipolito and go right (east). The Sambadrome is just one block east of the station.

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