Admire colorful folk art, stock up on Brazilian clothing and souvenirs, and savor some of Rio’s original fast food at one of the world’s largest open-air markets.
Every Sunday, when most of Rio de Janeiro’s shops are closed, the Hippie Fair (Feira de Arte de Ipanema) opens for business. Featuring over 700 stalls spread across an entire city block, this weekly market is the best place in Rio to buy souvenirs, crafts and affordable handmade goods. Bargain hard with the good-natured vendors then follow your nose to one of the market’s eastern corners for cheap Brazilian street food.
The Hippie Fair has taken place on Praça General Osório every Sunday since 1968. In that year, Hugo Bidet started selling paintings on the square, only to be joined by his countercultural friends. Over the years, the fair has developed into one of the largest open-air markets in the world.
Browse the wide variety of handmade goods on display throughout the fair. Vibrant glassware, jewelry made from semiprecious stones and well-crafted leather goods are all plentiful. Try on a Brazilian scarf, which doubles as a beach towel when you unfold it, then follow your ears to one of the many stands that sell traditional tambourines, drums and caxixi, a type of percussion instrument. True to its roots, the market still features the works of Rio’s artists who offer bright canvases depicting favela and carnival scenes.
Follow your nose to the eastern side of the fair to sample some original Brazilian fast food. Try an acarajé, a wrap made of deep-fried peas filled with shrimp and spicy sauce. Wash it down with milk straight from a coconut; these are on sale throughout the market. For dessert, try some coconut candy or have a slice of coconut cake.
When purchasing goods at the Hippie Fair, feel free to negotiate with the vendor in order to get a lower price. It is common for buyers to bargain the price down to two-thirds of the asking price. While not all the vendors speak much English, most will know enough to bargain with you.
Located one block north of Ipanema Beach, the Hippie Fair is easily accessible on foot from anywhere in the Ipanema district or via metro from the city center. The market is open every Sunday from the morning through the early evening.