Nightlife and entertainment are an inextricable part of Rio de Janeiro; Rio has many faces and different types of animation though. Copacabana is one of the most popular places to have fun, especially at night. But there are other places you can consider: Ipanema, Barra, etc..
Here are some hints:
Rio Copacabana nightlife and fun
As a residential area, Copacabana is formed by a little more than a hundred streets, lodging nearly 300.000 people, a number that on an ordinary weekend can very well triplicate. Copacabana is a permanent tourist attraction due to its always animated beach, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and all of the adjacent areas.
Nightlife in Copacabana
Avenida Atlantica (the avenue next to the beach) is an immense conglomerate of lively cafes, stores, restaurants and hotels.
At its northern extreme, at the division with Leme beach, stands the internationally famous Rio de Janeiro red light district. Hundreds of nightclubs and bars, discos and clubs are lined up at the beach; to the east you can find the heterosexual spots and to the west the homosexual ones.
Rio Ipanema nightlife
Ipanema has been, in the near past, Rio's hippy and intellectual center. Less crowded than Copacabana, Ipanema has a charm of its own and a certain romantic appeal. It offers wide opportunities for entertainment and many restaurants, discos and bars.
Rio Barra da Tijuca nightlife and entertainment
Barra da Tijuca (or simply Barra) is a few miles away from Rio's centre and the most distant beach zone. Barra is a kind of sleeping beauty at weekdays, though very lively at night, at Sernambetiva Avenue. If you wish for a good time and a pleasant nightlife, try this avenue. You will find a massive selection of restaurants and fast food outlets for all tastes, nightclubs and other fun spots, ranking among the most fashionable and crowded places of Rio.
The streets surrounding Rio's beaches, particularly Copacabana, form one immense store. There, you can buy leather clothes, paintings, artifacts, t-shirts, cotton hammocks and other products either with a Brazilian touch or where Brazil is particularly competitive. For jewellery, try Ipanema stores. They are the best of Brazil and are famous worldwide.
If you want to visit malls, you will find some big ones in Copacabana (Casino Atlantico) or near Copacabana, at Botafofo quarter (Rio-Sul) or in Sao Conrado zone (Sao Conrado Fashion Mall). Barra da Tijuca (at Rio's extreme south) also has a gigantic mall: the Barra Shopping.
In Rio, you will find French, Portuguese, Italian, Japanese and many other national cuisines, besides the Brazilian ones, including dishes like the typical feijoada and churrasco (grilled meat), seafood or the cuisine of northeastern Brazil. There are thousands of restaurants in Rio, mainly near the beaches and in the streets next to them, some designed for intimate meals, others with large communal tables where everybody socialize as if they were old friends. Not knowing your partners table is irrelevant. Cariocas love to make acquaintances and new friends, and you will feel yourself rapidly integrated, with the help of some Portuguese words and expressions.