The annual carnival in Rio is by far the biggest carnival celebration around the world
a rambunctious series of parades and parties held 40 days before Easter, just before Lent begins. It’s also one of the most important events in Brazilian culture. Preparations for the Rio Carnival go on for months before the event, and iff you’re lucky enough to be in Rio during Carnival, you can expect spectacular parades put on by the city’s samba schools, along with street parties, live Brazilian music and plenty more.
Designed by famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, the Sambadrome is Rio’s ‘stadium of samba’. Basically, it’s a permanent parade route lined with concrete spectator stands which can seat around 70,000 people. Each year during Carnival, the Sambadrome is the setting for extravagant parades put on by Rio’s numerous samba schools. Stretching along for 700m (or almost half a mile), the Sambadrome is located along a stretch of Avenida Marquês de Sapucaí between Avenida Presidente Vargas and Rua Frei Caneca. You need to have a ticket to check out the parades at the Sambadrome during carnival; keep in mind that ticket prices vary depending on the location of the seats in the stands.
Every day during Carnival you’ll find a parade taking place at the Sambadrome, with various different samba schools taking part in the parades each day. There’s a pecking order to the performances, with the top twelve schools marching on the Sunday, February 16th and Monday, March 17th next year. The parades, which are also a competition between all the different schools, begin each night at 9pm, continuing into the wee hours of the morning. Each samba school has between 70 and 80 minutes to make their way along the parade route.