Historical Rio includes the areas of Centro and Lapa, plus the uphill neighborhood of Santa Teresa. Downtown Rio is divided into many areas, using parks and landmarks as reference. The best lodging options are clustered near the spots where you find most of the action.
There are many lovely museums and wonderful cultural centers Downtown. Historical chuches, the first public park in Rio, the iconic Theatro Municipal. The tram line to Santa Teresa is operational again. The renovated Praça Mauá, with a plaza overlooking the bay surrounded by two new museums, is the new darling.
Window-shopping in Centro is always fun - there is an open mall named Saara with discounted specialty shops. Night life is a forté. Lapa keeps up to its bohemian tradition, with lively cafés and samba halls. Circo Voador and Fundição Progresso are home to big parties, live music shows and specials. There's another hub centered around Rua Sacadura Cabral.
The lodging scene is diverse. The only Relais & Chateaux in Rio is in Santa Teresa. Vila Galé is based on this lovely renovated historical building. There are great business hotels, and good options in the three and two-star range. Find your personal favorites! These areas are served by the subway system, so you have quick transportation to Flamengo and the beaches.