In 1984, the government decided to give Rio Carnival its new home in the Sambadrome (Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí, map). Today, some of the most famous events of Rio Carnival are ticketed events.
There are different types of Sambadrome tickets that are available for purchase. Grandstand tickets are general admissions tickets that are available on a first-come, first-served basis and are not allocated ahead of time. Frisas are open air box seats located along the samba runway. Camarotes are luxury boxes situated between the frisas and the grandstands.
Sector 9 is the tourist sector which are the same as grandstand tickets, with the difference being that they are allocated so people have assigned seats. The cheapest sectors are 12 and 13.
Tickets can be bought in advance through international brokers, or through local travel agents in Rio de Janeiro. ‘Purchase of a ticket’ normally means purchase of a voucher which is then exchangeable for the ticket close to the date.
As the parade is taking place in the Sambadrome and the balls are being held in the Copacabana Palace (map) and beach, many carnival participants are at other locations. Street festivals are very common during carnival and are highly populated by the locals. Anyone is allowed to participate in the street festivals.
While the biggest street party takes place right outside the Sambadrome, the largest organized street dance is typically found on Cinelândia Square (map) in Rio’s Centro.
The most famous dance is carnival samba, a Brazilian dance with African influences. The samba remains a popular dance not only in carnival but in the ghettos outside of the main cities. The samba that is found in Rio is Battucanada, referring to the dance and music being based on percussion instruments. It “is born of a rhythmic necessity that it allows you to sing, to dance, and to parade at the same time.” This is why the batucada style is found in most all of Rio’s street carnivals.