1. The big parade, or Desfile das Ecolas de Samba.
Yes, it’s traditional. Yes, it’s beautiful. But it’s also exhausting, I’ll tell you that. For those of us fortunate enough to call Rio home, it’s something you have to do once and then never again. Those who go every year usually live in one of the communities that houses a samba school (They are a part of the carnival all year round) or if you’re famous and extremely VIP. Because there are four ways to enjoy the parade: the first (and let’s get it out of the way quickly because you don’t want to do that) is watching from the bleachers, which are just big concrete steps with no designated seats and very little infrastructure in terms of food and drink.