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This showcase of Brazilian contemporary art stands along the waterfront in Flamengo Park, right next to Santos Dumont Airport. Designed by Affonso Eduardo Reidy in 1952, the concrete behemoth is surprisingly pleasant thanks to the slender tilted pillars that elevate the rectangular building off the ground, creating large open spaces and interesting angles. 

The Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro embraces vanguard experimentation and cutting-edge projects, beautifully displayed in the spacious rectangular galleries bathed in light. An imposing concrete spiral staircase leads to the museum's permanent exhibition of Brazilian art from the 1920s and temporary exhibitions of domestic and international art.  After a visit, enjoy a walk through the gardens designed by Roberto Burle Marx, Brazil’s most famous landscape architect. To really appreciate the garden, go to the first floor of the museum for an overhead view of the lines and patterns created by the t owering palm trees, colored grasses and shrubs and plants from northeastern Brazil. 

For an elegant lunch, head to restaurant Laguiole, on the first floor. This clean modern dining room with gorgeous views of the bay serves up fine French cuisine prepared by Ricardo Lapeyre, son of famous French chef Claude Lapeyre. During the weekend you might want to check out one of MAM's very trendy club nights with international DJs.