Metrô São Cristovão
The Sambódromo Marquês de Sapucaí (to give it its full title) has been home to the self-proclaimed 'greatest party on earth' - Rio Carnival - since it was built in 1984. Designed by the architect Oscar Niemeyer, its iconic arches at the finishing line also form the Praça Apoteose, co-opted for some of the biggest live music events in the city outside of the Maracanã including artists ranging from Pink Floyd and Guns n' Roses to Madonna and Robbie Williams.
The top-flight of the samba schools parade along the 700-metre length on the Sunday and Monday nights of Carnival, with the Champions Parade on the following Saturday offering the top six-placed schools the chance to shake their feathers once more for their adoring fans in what is one of the biggest, most colourful and beautiful displays of quintessential Brazilian showing off you will ever find.
The stadium will also play a major role in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, hosting both the archery and the final stretch of the marathon.
Getting there: The sambódromo isn't awash with public transport options, and the nearest Metrô station, Praça Onze, is closed during the main parade. Avenida Presidente Vargas station is the best bet, also offering a taster of what is to come as the huge, parked floats line up along the avenue. Most buses that go through Santa Barbara Tunnel will also work, just ask the driver for Sambódromo and get off at the first opportunity after the tunnel, or take an inexpensive taxi.
15 Feb 2013.