En Route to Corcovado

Cafe do Lage, which sits in the central courtyard of the School of Visual Arts, is one of the most tranquil places in Rio, surrounded by lush parkland and the Atlantic rainforest. It's also the starting point of the two-hour hike up Corcovado, the majestic peak topped by the iconic Art Deco statue of Christ the Redeemer—if you're so inclined. The building itself is a beauty, a turn-of-the-century mansion constructed by shipping magnate Henrique Lage for his opera-singing wife, Gabriela Bezanzoni. The menu is mostly sandwiches and pastas—all perfectly fine but not really the main attraction. The reason to come is for the atmosphere, which takes a decidedly livelier turn when the school's students stage impromptu classical and jazz concerts. At 414 Rua Jardim Botânico; 55-21/2538-1091.