The Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí (Passarela Professor Darcy Ribeiro or Sambódromo in Portuguese) or simply Sambadrome is a purpose-built parade area in downtown Rio de Janeiro, where samba schools parade competitively each year during the Carnival. The Venue attract 90 thousand Brazilians and foreign tourists each night of the Special Group Carnival Parade.

The Sambadrome was designed by the Greatest Brazilian Architect Oscar Niemeyer and built in 1984. It consists of 700m stretch of the Marquês de Sapucaí Street converted into a permanent parade ground with bleachers built on either side and Its capacity is for 90,000 spectators. The complex includes an area located at the end of the parade route, the Praça da Apoteose (Apotheosis Square), where the bleachers are set further back (Sectors 12 and 13) from the parade area, creating a square where revelers gather as they end their parade. Both Sectors 12 and 13 are also called the Popular Sectors, and tickets are sold for less than US$10.

Outside the Carnival season, Apotheosis Square is occasionally used as a major concert venue in Rio de Janeiro. Artists who have performed in Apotheosis Square of the Sambadrome include Eric Clapton, Supertramp, the Black Eyed Peas, Pearl Jam, Elton John, Coldplay, Whitney Houston, Avril Lavigne, Britney Spears, Iron Maiden, Radiohead, the Jonas Brothers, Nirvana, Janet Jackson, Bon Jovi, David Bowie and the Rolling Stones.

Starting in December, the samba schools begin holding technical rehearsals at the Sambadrome, leading up to Carnival. These rehearsals are open and no entrance fees are charged to the public.

2012 Renovation

In preparations for the Olympics, a nearby Brahma Beer old factory was demolished and extra bleachers were built on the Even Sectors (New Sectors 2, 4, 6, and 8) , increasing spectator capacity by around 18,000 seats, in accordance with Niemeyer’s original project of having the Sambadrome complex with a symmetrical design. The reopening occurred on February 7, 2012 and architect Oscar Niemeyer attended to the ceremony.

For the 2016 Summer Olympics, the venue will host archery and the athletics marathon event, and for the 2016 Summer Paralympics, the venue will host archery.

Seating Options

Grandstands – Concrete Steps Bleachers located throughout the Sambadrome that offers gorgeous panoramic views of the Parade.

Frisas (Front Boxes) – These seats are located on the ground level, right in front of the Grandstands, and it consists of separate boxes those seats 6 people. Frisas are divided in 4 Rows, A, B, C and D. There is no panoramic view from the Frisas but you will feel like you are inside the parade, especially from Row A.

Allocated Chairs – These are affordable numbered chairs located by the end of the parade, on Sectors 12 and 13.

Camarotes (Skyboxes) – Located from Sectors 2 to 11, these Private suites offer all-inclusive services from Private Transfers to catering, with open bar and dinner included.


Tips on Grandstand Sectors

Sectors 3, 8 and 10 – Have the best views and acoustic of the Drummers Playing Areas.

Sectors 2, 4 and 5 – Located by the beginning of the Parade. The advantage of being in these Sectors is that you will not have to wait long in between Samba Groups.

Sectors 6 and 7 – Located in the middle of the Parade. Most beautiful panoramic pictures are taken from these Sectors.

Sector 9 – Touristic Sector with numbered seats and expensive prices. DoBrazilRight does not recommend “Grandstand” Sector 9 for a few reasons. Please note these remarks are for Sector 9 Grandstand, not the Open Front Boxes.

  • It´s Expensive and you might be able to get an Open Front Box Seat paying just a little extra. 

  • Governor’s Sky Box blocks the view and the sound of the drummers that were supposed to be playing next to Sector 9.
  • Since tickets are numbered, you may end up getting a bad seat location and unfortunately, nobody has control over that.

Sector 11 – If you arrive very early not later than 7pm in order to seat right by the edge, overlooking the Drummers, Sector 11 is a great option, otherwise Sectors 8 and 10 will be much better options, and you’ll be right across the Drummers with no need to arrive that early.

Drummers Playing Areas 

There are 2 Drummers Playing Areas in the Sambadrome.

First one is located right next Sector 2. Drummers enter the first playing area 15 minutes before each parade starts (warm up) and keep playing there until approximate 30 minutes of each parade, when they leave towards the Second Paying area, between Sectors 9 and 11. Each Group has 82 minutes to parade.

Being across the Drummers Area is much better acoustically speaking than being next to them. Therefore, Sectors 3, 8 and 10 will offer you a better Drummers Experience of the parade than any other Sector.

Picture below was taken from Sector 10. You can see clearly how close it is from the Drummers Playing Area and how the Governor´s SkyBox completely blocks the view from Sector 9.

View from setor 10
Click to Enlarge

This Second Picture below was taken from Sector 8 and shows the Drummers Playing Area between the Governor´s box and Sector 11.

View from Sector 8
Click to Enlarge


Click Here for the Sambadrome Street View by Google

How to get to the Sambadrome

Remember to arrive early in order to get a good spot. Since 2015, Parade is starting at 9:30pm and if you can arrive by 8pm, not later than 8:30pm will definitely make a big difference.

Even Sectors
– Praça XI (Square 11) Station, leave at least 45 minutes prior than if you were taking a taxi.

Taxis – A ride from the South Zone Beaches (Flamengo, Botafogo, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon) should not cost more than R$40-R$50 Reais.

Odd Sectors
– A ride from the South Zone Beaches (Flamengo, Botafogo, Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon) should not cost more than R$40-R$50 Reais.

Round Trip Private Shuttle Transfers – R$359 per person (click here to purchase) – Sambadrome Shuttle Transfers available for all Sectors, except “Grandstand” Sectors 12 and 13.  Sectors 12 and 13 Front Boxes  Transfers are available, Return Buses leave the Sambadrome all night long at the end of each Group Parade, from the Tourist Buses Parking Lot located inside the venue. 

Return Taxis

For the return, only two Private Radio Taxi Companies are allowed to enter the Sambadrome Area and these companies are Coopertramo for the odd sectors and Coopatur for the even sectors. Taxis will be parked at the exit of Sectors 2 and 4 and at the exit of Sectors 9 and 11. It is very easy going from one sector to another inside the Sambadrome, with no need to leave the venue.

These return rides cost a little extra, around R$150, but it is very convenient and safe, since you do not even need to leave the Sambadrome in order to catch your transportation back to the Hotel.

What should be taken to the Sambadrome

Picture and Video Cameras of any type and do not worry about the flash!
Foods and Drinks are definitely allowed, although drinks should all be replaced in Plastic Bottles.
Even though you will not be seated for most of the time, a little cushion is definitely a plus!
Glass bottles and firecrackers are not permitted in the venue.

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