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

Phone: (21) 2976-7310

Official Website: Sambadrome and the Rio Carnival Parades


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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Rated 4.4 out of 5Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí Star Rating

4 Star Rating Gigantic purpose-built venue for the crowning jewel of Rio's Carnaval season, the Sambadrome offers great views of both the event itself as well as the surrounding natural beauty. 2 hours before the parades are due to start, all the food stands and bars open for business, and remain open for the majority of the night. A word of warning: the general seating areas are a) Unmarked and b) Not cushioned. Arrive early to bag a good seat and bring something soft to sit on. Street vendors outside the venue can be found selling items that will make sitting on bare breeze-block a little easier.

Jacob Constable - 3 days ago

5 Star Rating Great place. Great atmosphier. Lots of food and drinks. Very helpful and friendly staff.

Ahmed Malik - 6 days ago

5 Star Rating Given the complexity of the choreographed presentations of the samba schools parading on the Sapucaí in the "Grupos Especiais", the sheer numbers of people marching with multiple contingents in each school, and the enormous number of spectators in the Sambódromo, it is quite impressive how seemingly organized the entire process turns out to be and how it is all carried out with near military precision.

William Owen - 12 days ago

4 Star Rating Make sure to know where your entrance is!! Don't make our mistake, to walk from section 2 to 7 took almost 45 minutes of very confusing and unmarked walking! My little Spanish (similar to Portuguese to crudely understand) saved us otherwise we would have been completely lost!!

Medi Natanzi - 12 days ago

3 Star Rating Went on a friday and had an absolute ball. As an australian though it wasnt that great when the majority of people around you are chain smoking, especially if you book section 9 which is allocated seating. However i would recommend seeing carnaval from section 9 or across from it because that is where the judges are and they always perform so well infront of the judges.

NadineInColour - 13 days ago


Rio Carnival dancers show off their steps and more in front of more than 80,000 spectators at the Sambadrome during Carnival Days

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