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Selarón’s Steps

Climb this urban staircase to experience one of Rio’s largest and most useful public art projects, a series of mosaics created singlehandedly by a much-loved Rio personality.

Rio is rich in public art, but none is as loved and used as Selarón Steps (Escadaria Selarón). During the 1990s, local artist Jorge Selarón transformed this once average urban utility into a technicolor stairway of brightly colored tile mosaics. Walk up the flights of steps, admiring tiles from throughout the world and appreciate the monumental scale of this eccentric artists life’s work.

The Chilean-born Selarón moved to Rio in 1983 after a life of travel. In 1990, he decided to decorate the unsightly staircase outside of his house. Using stray pieces of ceramic tile, he turned the whole 250 stairs into a huge mosaic. As he worked, his art gained popularity, eventually achieving world fame in music videos by music stars like Snoop Dogg. Until the day of his death in 2013, Selarón could still be found working on the steps wearing his signature red hat.

Selarón Steps are an intricate masterwork. Start from the bottom of the steps and walk up. On the front of each step is a unique mosaic consisting mostly of blue and yellow tiles. On either side of the staircase, Selarón has arranged a wide array of bright-red tiles. Climb all the way to the top of the steps to see a mosaic of the Brazilian flag.

Throughout his mosaics, Selarón has placed original artworks and tiles donated by visitors from throughout the world. See which tiles you can recognize; Diana, Princess of Wales, Barack Obama and the state of Georgia are just a few of the commemorative tiles featured on the steps. More than 2,000 tiles from over 60 countries can be found on Selarón Steps. Study Selarón’s paintings, which often feature his signature subject, a pregnant woman.

Selarón Steps straddle the neighborhoods of Lapa and Santa Teresa, both of which are situated in the southeastern part of downtown Rio de Janeiro. Parking in the area can be difficult, so it is best to reach the stairs by public transportation. Bus stops surround the area and the metro stop at Cinelândia lies just to the north.

Popular Activities at Selaron Steps

It's worth giving yourself heaps of time at Selaron Steps. Here are the most popular activities:

If you're looking for even more options, check out our Rio de Janeiro things to do page.


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See all 2,143 Properties near Selaron Steps
Hotel Atlantico Business Centro ¥4,087
Hotel Atlantico Business Centro

Hotel Atlantico Business Centro

Rua Senador Dantas, 25, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Centro, this hotel is steps from Guanabara Bay and National Library (Biblioteca Nacional). Arcos da Lapa and Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro are also within 10 minutes. Cinelandia Station is only a 4-minute walk and Carioca Station is 7 minutes.

    Américas Granada Hotel ¥4,917
    Américas Granada Hotel

    Américas Granada Hotel

    Avenida Gomes Freire, 530 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
       
      3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Lapa, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Arcos da Lapa and Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro. National Library (Biblioteca Nacional) and Museum of Modern Art are also within 1 mi (2 km). Carioca Station is 13 minutes by foot and Presidente Vargas Station is 13 minutes.

      Hotel Atlântico Prime ¥4,331
      Hotel Atlântico Prime

      Hotel Atlântico Prime

      Rua do Resende 87, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Lapa, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Praca da Cruz Vermelha, Arcos da Lapa, and Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro. National Library (Biblioteca Nacional) and Museum of Modern Art are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cinelandia Station is 16 minutes by foot and Presidente Vargas Station is 16 minutes.

        ibis Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont ¥4,147
        ibis Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont

        ibis Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont

        Rua Marechal Camara 280 Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Centro, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Guanabara Bay and National Library (Biblioteca Nacional). Museum of Modern Art and Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cinelandia Station is 9 minutes by foot and Carioca Station is 13 minutes.

          Vila Galé Rio de Janeiro ¥8,777
          Vila Galé Rio de Janeiro

          Vila Galé Rio de Janeiro

          Rua do Riachuelo,124, Centro do Rio de Janeiro - Lapa, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Lapa, this hotel is 0.4 mi (0.7 km) from Arcos da Lapa and 1.9 mi (3.1 km) from AquaRio. Maracana Stadium is 3.6 mi (5.8 km) away. Cinelandia Station is 15 minutes by foot and Gloria Station is 17 minutes.

            Casa Nova Hotel ¥4,919
            Casa Nova Hotel

            Casa Nova Hotel

            Rua do Riachuelo,105, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Lapa, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Guanabara Bay, Arcos da Lapa, and Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro. National Library (Biblioteca Nacional) and Museum of Modern Art are also within 1 mi (2 km). Cinelandia Station is 14 minutes by foot and Gloria Station is 16 minutes.

              Selina Lapa Rio de Janeiro ¥4,049
              Selina Lapa Rio de Janeiro

              Selina Lapa Rio de Janeiro

              Rua Visc. de Maranguape, 9 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro
                 
                2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Lapa, this hotel is steps from Guanabara Bay and Arcos da Lapa. Catedral de Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro and National Library (Biblioteca Nacional) are also within 10 minutes. Cinelandia Station is 8 minutes by foot and Gloria Station is 9 minutes.

                OYO 130 Villa Rica ¥2,342
                OYO 130 Villa Rica

                OYO 130 Villa Rica

                Rua Conde de Lages 2, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ
                   
                  2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Centro, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Selaron Steps and Paris Square. Arcos da Lapa and Passeio Publico are also within 10 minutes. Gloria Station is 6 minutes by foot and Cinelandia Station is 11 minutes.