What to do in Recife?
Top 15 amazing places to visit there.

Recife is the capital of the state of Pernambuco, and the most important city of the Brazilian northeast. Its history started in 1537, in the captaincy of Pernambuco as an essential port point. The center grew a lot since then, at the beginning because of sugar cane exportation, and now because of its regional relevance.

What to do in Recife?

Maybe you are considering going here and checking the delights of Recife, because of its value, and for its great tourism attractions. So, what to do in Recife Brazil? If you travel to this capital, it’s an amazing option to go to Bom Jesus Street, see Boa Viagem Beach, have fun at Rua da Moeda, visit Ricardo Brennand Institute, and many more.

My name is Claudio Pereira, and I have lived in Recife for 4 years. In this post, I chose the 15 best places and things to do in the city. Take a look and enjoy it, my friend!

1. Bom Jesus Street

USA magazine Architectural Digest selected Bom Jesus Street as the third most beautiful Street in the world in 2020. So if you go to Recife, it’s worth taking a part of your time to explore it. Bom Jesus street is fascinating, and it can also offer you brilliant pictures for social media.

Photo of me walking in the Bom Jesus Street – Personal Photo Collection

This avenue is near to Marco Zero, in the Recife Antigo neighborhood, and it maintains the history of the Netherlands colonization past of the capital. Its Foundation started in 1654 during the called Netherlands period, and it was an important way to travel to Olinda. The Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue is also in this Street, and it was the first synagogue erected in the Americas.

If you want to know what to do in Recife, this is definitely a superb spot to visit!

2. Boa Viagem beach

 Boa Viagem is one of the biggest beaches in Brazil. It has an amazing beachfront with a bicycle path, many people working out, and surrounded by big buildings and skyscrapers.

This shore is a wonderful place to chill! You can enter the water but stand near to the shore, because if you pass beyond the corals, it can be dangerous, due to the shark’s presence. Likewise, remember to avoid the waterfront when the ocean is high tide.

boa viagem beach 01
Boa Viagem beach seafront – Personal Photo Collection
Boa Viagem shore – Personal Photo Collection

Boa Viagem beach is a spot that is best to stay just at the beachfront and coast, as you may have noticed. If you want to take a bath in the sea, Is better to move to Porto de Galinhas beach, which is 30 minutes away from Recife, it’s calmer, and without sharks.

3. Rua da Moeda

Rua da Moeda is near Bom Jesus Street, in the Recife Antigo Neighborhood. It’s better to come to see this place at night because It has a lot of live music, and you can also buy some food and drinks to enjoy with your partners. This street is a common meeting spot to have fun during this city night.

You can set a table to stay with your friends, listen to some Recife music, and taste some Brazilian drinks, while you eat some appetizer. And if you prefer, you can also dance and have fun!

As you can see, it’s a must-see place in Recife. If you come here, visit there! 

Rua da Moeda at the Recife’s night beginning – Photo by Thiago Pedrosa

4. Ricardo Brennand Institute

With over 19 acres (77603 m²), the Ricardo Brennand Institute is one of the most remarkable places in Recife. It has the São João Castle inside, with a lot of artworks and the biggest white gun collection of the World, most of them from Europe and Asia. The entrepreneur Ricardo Brennand idealized and invested to develop the place, which was inaugurated in 2002.

The Institute is surrounded by a preserved Atlantic Forest and has an 18,000 hectares (44,000 acres) garden with an artificial lake. This is one of the best tours to do in Recife, I promise you!

5. Francisco Brennand Atelier 

Francisco Brennand was the plastic artist cousin of Ricardo Brennand. He was an iconic Pernambuco artist, and his sculptures are famous throughout the state. His atelier has an extensive collection of his production, and you should have a look there!

Francisco recreated the place with some parts of an old factory that was located there, and it’s brilliant! If you are an art lover, and you want to know some peculiarities of the Pernambucan art production, this is an impressive place to go.

6. Galo da Madrugada

Galo da Madrugada Is the greatest Carnival block in the world by Guinness book records since 1994. It carries the culture of Pernambuco’s carnival, and it’s a symbol of the Recife city. A group of friends created this block at the end of 1977 in Recife, and since then, it grew a lot.

It’s a must-go block during the Recife’s carnival, putting over 2.000.000 people partying together every year. The block parties since the “5 Pontas Museum”, and finishes the commemoration at the “Rua do Sol”.

7. Cinco Pontas Museum — Recife City Museum

 At the beginning it was a fort created by the Netherlands people in 1630, to defend the city against invasions, and it had 5 edges, which is his name’s origin.

However, the Portuguese armies dominated the place in 1654 and captured the fort for themselves. They demolished the building and recreated it with brick to protect even more. Years later, the city grew, and it lost its function, being renewed in the 70s decade to place the City’s Museum.

Cinco Pontas Museum – Photo by Diego BIS

It’s an amazing place to go if you want to know the history of Pernambuco because it has over 250.000 images and illustrations, and a lot of antique Pernambuco’s arts. Going to this place is an impressive way to follow and appreciate the Recife city’s past.

8. Cais do Sertão Museum

In Recife Antigo neighborhood, this museum tells the history of the culture and history of the interior of Pernambuco Amazing sensory experience. You’ll know greatly this rich culture, and discover some iconic persons and music genders from this state, like Luiz Gonzaga, and the history of the Forró’s dancing rhythm.

You can also see How was the life of the people from the Pernambuco’s Sertão in the past Centuries, knowing their customs and likes.

If you go to Recife Antigo, it’s an outstanding idea to have a tour in the museum!

9. Paço do Frevo Museum

 This is an iconic Museum in Recife, and it presents the history of Frevo, one traditional dance of Pernambuco’s carnival. Frevo is recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, and it’s one symbol of Pernambuco State.

The museum is also set inside the Recife Antigo Neighborhood. Therefore, if you spend some time in this neighborhood, it is worthy to reserve a time to go into this Museum.

Paço do Frevo Museum – Personal Photo Collection

10. Botanical Garden of Recife

This Botanical Garden is one of the remaining Atlantic Forest preservation parks of the Recife city, and inside it, you will see some plants from the typical vegetation of Pernambuco.

Its catalog includes species of Cacti, Bromeliads, Orchids, Palm Trees, Medicinal Plants, Tropical Plants, and many more. The tour also includes a river, a forest with some little hikes, and it’s an amazing place to stay if you appreciate nature.

Recife Botanical Garden fountain – Personal Photo Collection
Photo of me chilling on the Recife Botanical Garden – Personal Photo Collection

It’s a haven close to the metropolis, great for singles, couples, families, and the best part: the entrance is completely for free. It’s also an attractive spot to shoot photos with nature, which can yield you some amazing portraits.

Go there and look. It’s impressive!

11. Gilberto Freyre Foundation

This Foundation was the old house of Gilberto Freyre, a novel writer, the most important sociologist from Brazil, and one of the greatest of the 20th century.

Today its foundation works with his preserved old furniture, writings, and the gardens he cultivated. It’s a superb place to go if you like vintage furniture, and you can also discover Gilberto Freyre’s importance and history. You’ll love it!

Gilberto Freyre Foundation entrance – Photo by Fabiano Rebeque/Wikipedia

12. Marco Zero

It’s a public space, near to the Recife’s port, Also in the Recife Antigo neighborhood. Marco Zero is probably the most iconic place to take pictures from Recife, and it’s also a mark of the city’s foundation.

This touristic attraction is an external space with some artisans markets surrounding it. It’s also a meeting point for young people, tourists, and sportsmen. In addiction, chances are high that you’ll see an artistic performance during your tour.

Marco Zero photography – Personal Photo Collection

Besides that, the Marco Zero is at the side of the Cais do Sertão Museum, and at the Caixa Cultural Museum. It’s also close to the Sculptures Park, Which has some Arts from Francisco Brennand, and you can access by boat tour.

Francisco Brennand’s Sculptures Park – Personal Photo Collection

As you can see is a must-go place in Recife, it’s for free, and it’s also near a lot of other attractions. Not enough, it can also give you great images for social media!

13. Pernambuco State Museum

This state museum was created in 1928 and has over 14,000 pieces of art, including some remarkable collections of archaeology, Brazilian indigenous culture, Netherlands presence, and many more.

In addition, the Pernambuco State Museum has paintings and sculptures from Brazilian artists like Cicero Dias, Burle Max, and Francisco Brennand, and a dedicated space for religious art. So, as you can see, it’s a museum for all tastes, and you can understand more about Pernambuco’s history and culture.

The museum is near to the Jaqueira neighborhood, and after a visit there, you just need to walk 10 minutes to enjoy a tour in this beautiful park.

Pernambuco State Museum – Photo by Lais Castro/Wikipedia

14. Zoo Park Dois Irmãos

This Zoo is a traditional tourism point of the city, has more than 100 years, And it’s located inside a preservation Forest. By the way, It is one of the greatest conservation nature centers of Brazil, and it’s the house of over 600 animals from the Brazilian fauna like monkeys, macaws, toucans, capybaras, boa constrictors, and many more.

The Zoo Park rescued these animals from illegal captivity and maintain them being treated until they are ready to return to nature.

This is a pleasant place to enjoy nature. The forest inside is unbelievable, and you’’ know some Brazilian animals inside a park with beautiful and native vegetation. It can be an incredible experience for you in Recife.

15. São Luiz Movie Theater

At last, but not least, the Sao Luiz movie theater is one of the most captivating architectural experiences in Recife. The Movie Theater was created in 1952, with an Art Decó architectural style, and it’s in the old part of Recife.

It holds amazing stained-glass on the walls and beautiful ornaments. Moreover, it has Dolby 7.1 and 4k video projectors, so you’ll experience the best of the vintage world in a modern projection.

This cinema shows some Brazilian and foreign movies, and it’s a good choice if you want to immerse yourself in this part of our culture in a pretty vintage place. Go there and check out!

Photo taken inside the São Luiz Movie Theater – Photo by Direitos Urbanos

Claudio Pereira


He is a brazilian writing in english, a student of Medical School, and a Photographer during the free time. His passion for photography started in 2012 . After discover it, he never stopped.

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