Feira de São Cristóvão recreates a traditional market of people from Brazil’s northeast,
São Cristóvão is one of the premier spots to be on a Friday night in Rio
de Janeiro. It looks as if it is a stadium but it is actually one enormous building
filled with restaurants, shops and a stage with live music! Everything is inexpensive
and the food is delicious, but the best part of the night is the live music. The
most amazing bands play traditional Brazilian music while everyone dances in front
of the stage.
Standing outside of São Cristóvão was a group of students who originally thought
the building looked like a soccer stadium.
The fair was held in an enormous pavilion and the interior consisted
mainly of restaurants, shops and vendors. Each restaurant had its own business gimmick;
some were Italian restaurants, while others had a Brazilian gaucho theme, with their
employees forced to wear outdated hats. After dining at one of the steakhouses,
our group went to the main stage where a samba band was playing. Many people were
dancing in front of the stage. There were children playing a game of tag within
the dance crowds. The women in our group were asked by locals to join them in a
samba dance; when the locals realized that the women didn’t know how to do the samba,
they were friendly and gave lessons. Overall, São Cristóvão had a festive mood in
the air. During the entire night it appeared that we were the only group of tourists;
because of this the experience gave me some insight into how typical Brazilians
would spend their time.
São Cristóvão was a neat little fair that was inside of an arena. There were several
small souvenir shops and an array of restaurants that offered food from many cultures.
São Cristóvão also had a live band that was simply amazing. Most of their music
was Brazilian, of course, but right before our group left for the night the band
played covers of “Genie in a Bottle” and “Umbrella,” which seemed like a farewell
to their new American fans.
Upon first glance São Cristóvão could be mistaken for a sports stadium, but once
you walk in it is a shopper’s paradise, with rows of vendors selling everything
from slabs of meat to mixed drinks and musical instruments. Do not worry if you
spend too much time there since it is a host to over 20 restaurants and has a live
performance at each end. Appropriate for all ages.