By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Flamengo is a traditional and family-friendly residential area in Zona Sul (South Zone), with lots to offer. Once an exclusive neighborhood reserved for wealthy Carioca families, now Flamengo is becoming affordable for people looking for a less expensive alternative to Copacabana, Ipanema or Leblon.
Flamengo’s expansion started during the second half of the 20th century. Businesses settled into Flamengo as it transitioned into a middle class neighborhood.
Still, a few traditional families still live in Flamengo’s most expensive streets, such as Avenida Rui Barbosa (in front of Guanabara Bay) and Avenida Oswaldo Cruz (that connects Flamengo Beach to Botafogo Cove). In Rui Barbosa, some apartments can cost over R$4 million.
Currently Flamengo offers a wide variety of retail shopping and service. Between Rua Marquês de Abrantes and Rua Senador Vergueiro, the cut-through streets, there are countless gyms, hair salons, stationary stores, supermarkets and bars.
“If I had to pick a word to describe Flamengo, it would be ‘health’. Besides the drugstores and gyms, there are many small markets selling natural products and healthy food”, says Mariana Milazzo, 23 years-old, designer, who grew up in the area.
In terms of cultural activities, residents enjoy some of the finest options of theater, visual arts and cinema without leaving the neighborhood. At Castelinho do Flamengo and futurist multimedia center Oi Futuro Flamengo, there is always something happening – for free or for a modest price.
One cannot talk about this neighborhood without mentioning Aterro do Flamengo (Flamengo’s Park), a huge exuberant green area situated in front of the Guanabara Bay. Inaugurated in 1965, Aterro do Flamengo is considered the biggest beach front urban park in the world.
On the weekends, groups of families and friends from all over the city get together at Aterro for a barbecue, exercise, a volleyball match or a nice walk.
Flamengo has some great drinking and eating spots, for the day and nighttime. Majórica is a must-go restaurant for those who enjoy Brazilian “churrasco”.
For traditional Portuguese-style food, 142 years old Café Lamas brings you back to Flamengo’s former aristocratic atmosphere. In Tacacá do Norte, get ready to taste one of the best açaí in town, according to some local experts.
In the daytime, the neighborhood is considered a calm and safe place. However, some residents complain that muggings have considerably increased in Flamengo’s streets. “Even though the region is seen as safe for many, I do not feel like going with my three year-old son for a walk the evening,” states Rosângela Fernandes, 49, Flamengo’s resident for seventeen years.
Prices in Flamengo currently stand at R$11,679 per square meter. A modest, two-bedroom apartment on Rua Marquês de Abrantes costs around R$790.000. Larger, luxury apartments at Praia do Flamengo or Avenida Ruy Barbosa can easily fetch R$4-5 million, but a two-bedroom with side view to the beach can still be found for R$850,000.
A 100 square-meter three-bedroom apartment on Rua Paissandu can be rented for R$3,600. For a 50 square-meter single room apartment on Rua Machado de Assis, the rental prices stand around R$2,600, not including condominium fees and taxes.