Updated on Feb.23, 2012
If you're in Rio de Janeiro on a Saturday, find out if it's the day for Samba da Ouvidor, a samba get-together held in front of Livraria Folha Seca, a bookstore in Historic Downtown Rio, on alternating Saturdays.
The spontaneity of this roda de samba is ideal for travelers looking for a break from mega productions and interested in spending some time with locals, listening to the best samba as interpreted by a group of young musicians with a passion for rhythm. Samba da Ouvidor is all about classics - no feathers and glitter.
While you're at it, enjoy one of the most traditional streets in historic Central Rio. Famous for selling lots of books about samba and soccer, Livraria Folha Seca, one of several bookshops in the area, is worth a visit in itself.
Rio Minho (at Ouvidor 10), one of Rio's best seafood restaurants, is the birthplace of Sopa Leão Veloso, Brazil's version of bouillabaisse; check out the awesome sweets at Confeitaria Manon (opened in 1942, at Ouvidor 187/189 ).
Walk a little further and you'll find Casual Retrô (Rua do Rosário 24), which, like Antigamente, has good cooking by chef Santos in a vintage setting.
If you speak Portuguese, take the opportunity to enjoy the great soccer, Brazilian music and Rio de Janeiro history titles available at Folha Seca (a few biingual editions might be available).
Alternating Saturdays of each month at about 4 p.m. (however, dates and times vary; check the Samba da Ouvidor blog or call Livraria Folhas Secas first).
Livraria Folha Seca
Rua do Ouvidor 37
Samba da Ouvidor Blog: sambadaouvidor.blogspot.com