Rio de Janeiro Sambadrome
The Electrifying Sambadrome – Official Home of Rio Carnival
With thirty thousand participants doing the samba along the half mile runway, and a space large enough to accommodate over 90,000 spectators, the Sambadrome is undoubtedly the biggest stage on earth. The stadium was specially designed for the Samba Parade at the Rio Carnival with a number of independent sectors with box seats and grandstands on both sides of the parade runway. For varied reasons, the stadium is every carnival designer’s favorite, who keep the Sambadrome in mind when creating their theme for the Carnival. The atmosphere at the Sambadrome on Carnival nights is truly electrifying. The stadium is well lit up with special effects, while the resounding cheers of the spectators and the pulsating rhythms of the samba beats can be heard for miles around.
The Heart of Samba
The Sambadrome is located at Avenida Presidente Vargas, near Praça Quinze and continues to the end of Rua Frei Caneca. The area was formerly known as Marquês de Sapucaí Street. At the end of the parade runway where participants gather after their parade is Praça da Apoteose (Apotheosis Square). The Sambadrome is located in the middle of Rio, just a few minutes away from the South Zone and downtown. The subway and bus lines provide easy, quick and cheap transportation to the area.
Amenities at the Sambadrome
Such an intense atmosphere is bound to make everyone hungry and thirsty, which is why the Sambadrome is well equipped with snack bars, food courts, restaurants, ice-cream stands, and more. There are adequate restrooms in each sector. Don’t forget to visit the souvenir shops to take home a few memories of the Carnival. Dining at the Sambadrome is exclusively fast food. For a more healthy meal, plan on taking your own sandwiches and fruit. There are several items not allowed in the Sambadrome including bottles, polystyrene, glasses and fireworks.
Safety Comes First
The Sambadrome is safer than most places around the world due to a large presence of security personnel all around the stadium. Each person is allowed only two plastic containers and two items of food. There are plenty of restaurants at the stadium, so no one falls short of food and drink. Ambulance and medical personnel are on site in case anyone needs medical care. Feel free to take pictures and record the action, as the interior of the Sambadrome is quite safe. However be sure to put your camera and recording devices away in a purse or backpack before leaving the Sambadrome.
Tips From The Locals
Many of the residents will bring pillows, mattresses and cushions to sit and rest on as the parades can go on for hours. Those who have a lot of stamina will usually remain standing throughout the extravaganza dancing and singing all through the night. Do not use an umbrella if it rains, as it will obstruct the view for others in the audience. Instead bring raincoats or purchase rain gear from one of the vendors outside the stadium as most of the locals do.
Be sure to dress as comfortably as possible. Casual dress is expected for events like the Carnival. Wear light clothing as it can get very hot, even at night. If you have tickets in the boxes you might want to dress fashionably like the celebrities and other spectators do.