You might not feel like standing out in the rain all afternoon, but that doesn't mean you can't watch other people doing it. Sports fans can take cover in the often inspired, equally often soap opera-esque Brazilian top flight of football, or if the outdoors just looks too much to bear, grab a carton of popcorn and the latest blockbuster; most films are shown in English with Portuguese subtitles (just avoid the dublado versions if you're language skills aren't up to the voiceovers).
Sandwiched in between the Lagoa and the Tijuca Forest, Rio’s Jockey Club is one of the unsung heroes of the city’s attractions. To get into the smarter main stand by Praça Santos Dumont, spectators are required to sport smarter garms, and definitely no shorts or sandals, but the secondary entrance, complete with Turff Bar for drinking and betting in glorious harmony, is considerably more casual. Grab a table at the top of the grandstand and order a bucket of beer, a steak sandwich and have a flutter. A fine way to spend a grey afternoon.
- read more about the Jockey Club
Barra da Tijuca. R$32-$40
When the Barra Design Mall opened up a VIP cinema room it knew that the Barra crowd would buzz around its luxurious, exclusive facilities. For those a little further out of the neighbourhood, it still makes for a good destination if you don’t mind taking up most of the day. Imagine your local multiplex given a first-class upgrade, complete with waitresses and lounge chairs, only the screen is as big as the side of a house. The mall also counts on some decent restaurants and Rio fashion outles like Reserva and Farm for a pre- or post-flick shop.
- read more about VIP cinema
Engenhão (and Maracanã tour)
Engenho Novo. R$30-$60
With the Maracanã closed for a major facelift until at least the middle of 2013, football fans have to travel a little further out into the ‘burbs for their fix of the national sport. The stadium was built for the Pan-American Games in 2007 then adopted by Botafogo, who have been joined by the temporarily homeless Fluminense and Flamengo, meaning that the home games come thick and fast with at least two a week on the schedule. The Sunday afternoon games start at 4pm, so if the beach is out of bounds, head to the Maracanã for a tour in the morning and a look around the work-in-progress host of the 2014 World Cup final, grab lunch in Aconchego Carioca, and head onward from there.
- read more about Engenhão
Ipanema. From R$98
If outdoor relaxation is off the menu, head indoors to a spa for a few hours of pure pampering instead. The little yellow house in Ipanema by the name Viver Zen Spa will get the tightest of muscles loosened up with a half-day ‘longevity’ package that covers body and head massages, reflexology and a mud wrap (R$520), or go for the three-hour hot stones and mud wrap combination (R$435) – by the time you emerge there could be a full-blown monsoon underway and it will get treated with the disdaninful, blissed-out shrug of the shoulders that it deserves.
- read more about Viver Zen Spa