Rio de Janeiro is known for its beaches, mountains, carnival, samba and football. But the city is much more diverse and full of attractions, as we have shown here on the blog a few times.

As a result of being Brazil’s capital city for many years, and the place where several important historical events took place, the city has a long heritage of cultural attractions, and a wide array of museums to explore.

Few people know, but Rio is considered to be the city with the highest percentage of museums by inhabitants, in the country!

So here at El Misti Hostels, we have prepared a list of the most unmissable museums in Rio. We’ll probably need to make another list because the city has so many amazing museums, but we have to start somewhere, right? So take a read and enjoy the tips!

1 – Museu do Amanhã

The Museum of tomorrow, since it was opened, has been a blockbuster. Located in the refurbished Rio de Janeiro Port Zone, the museum has fixed exhibitions, but most of the collection is digitalized.

Great for thinking about the impact of natural change and how technological advances will impact our future.

Where: Praça Mauá, 1 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro.

When: From Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm.

2 – Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR)

The Rio Art Museum is also located in the Port Zone, very close to the Museum of tomorrow. The museum’s mission is to think about the city’s history, conflicts, contradictions, challenges, and social expectations. In short, it is an amazing mix of past and present.

Where: Mauá Square, 5 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro.

When: From Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

Tip: Free admission on Tuesdays.


3 – Museu Nacional

The National Museum is the oldest scientific institution in Brazil and one of the largest museums of natural history and anthropology in the Americas. Located in Quinta da Boa Vista, the former residence of the Royal Family, it is an unmissable tour full of history and biology.

Where: Quinta da Boa Vista – São Cristóvão, Rio de Janeiro.

When: From Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

Tip: On the second Sunday of each month admission is free.

4 – Museu de Astronomia e Ciências Afins (MAST)

The Astronomy Museum is where the old National Observatory was located, close to the São Cristóvão Fair. It is a public institution dedicated to the study and dissemination of the country’s history of science and technology, museology and science education.

Where: Rua Gen. Bruce, 586 – Imperial São Cristóvão, Rio de Janeiro.

When: From Tuesdays to Fridays (9am to 5pm) and Saturdays (2pm to 7pm).

Tip: Admission is always free!

5 – Museu Histórico Nacional

The National Historical Museum, created in 1922, is one of the most important museums in Brazil, bringing together a collection of more than 287,000 items, such as the largest collection of numismatics (i.e. banknotes, coins) in Latin America.

Where: Praça Marechal Âncora, s/n – Centro.

When: From Tuesdays to Fridays (10am to 530pm) and Saturdays and Sundays (1pm to 5pm).

Tip: Sunday entry is always free!


6 – Museu Nacional de Belas Artes (MNBA)

The National Museum of Fine Arts has galleries that tell the history of fine arts in Brazil from its inception to contemporary times. Therefore, it is the institution that concentrates on, and has the largest and most complete collection of, Brazilian art of the nineteenth century.

Where: Avenida Rio Branco, 199 – Centro

When: From Tuesdays to Fridays (10am to 5pm), Saturday and Sunday (1pm to 5pm).

Tip: Sunday entry is always free!

7 – Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB)

The Bank of Brazil cultural center is the most visited cultural center in Brazil, and is also the 20th most visited in the world. Cultural and artistic, the place holds exhibitions, plays, concerts, film shows and workshops.

Where: Rua Primeiro de Março, Centro.

When: From Wednesday to Monday, 9am to 9pm.

Tip: Admission is always free!

8 – Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM)


The construction of the Museum of Modern Art in Rio represents a landmark of the architecture and landscape design of Roberto Burle Marx. Therefore, with more than 15 thousand works, its collection is very special.

It features mainly sculptures and paintings by internationally renowned artists, as well as including art from a remarkable group of Latin American artists.

Where: Avenida Infante Dom Henrique, 85 – Parque do Flamengo.

When: From Tuesdays to Fridays (12pm to 6pm), Saturdays, Sundays and holidays (11am to 6pm).

Tip: The box office always closes at 17:30.

9 – Casa França-Brasil

The House of France is undeniably the first record of neoclassical style in Rio de Janeiro, a trend that would become popular, giving the city marked by its colonial houses a more cosmopolitan tone, in European fashion. Later, in the 1980s, it became the cultural center it is today.

Where: Rua Visconde de Itaboraí, 78 – Centro.

When: From Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 8pm.

Tip: Free admission!

10 – Palácio do Catete/Museu da República

The Republic Museum is housed in the Catete Palace, built between 1858 and 1867. Visitors can visit the palace gardens, an artificial lake, a waterfall, a cave and also sculptures. In addition, objects from the presidents of Brazil, works of art and furniture are also part of the Museum’s collection.

Where: Rua do Catete 153 – Glória.

When: Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 5pm, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 11am to 6pm

Tip: Park open daily and free admission