The city of Manaus is commonly used as a gateway into the Amazon rainforest, but it’s a beautiful destination in its own right and well worth exploring. Sightseeing and shopping can be exciting adventures when visiting a Manaus plaza or one of the markets in the city. Situated near the magnificent Teatro Amazonas Historic Theatre, the open plaza is a gathering place for festivals, concerts, and arts and crafts events. The plaza has easy access to the historic opera house where you can take a guided tour of the elaborate interior festooned with marble statuary, brilliant chandeliers, and the exquisite artwork created by Italian artists on the theatre’s ceiling. Across the square from the opera house is the Artesanato da Amazonia Souvenir Shop where you will find native art and handmade crafts including jewelry, baskets, and pottery.
The Mercado Municipal (municipal market) is located on another, smaller city plaza along the Rio Negro. The Mercado Municipal building was built in 1882 and protected as a national monument. When visiting, you will experience the culture of the city, as you will be surrounded by handcrafted work by local artisans, a variety of regional products, assorted fruits and cheeses, and fresh fish from the river. Be sure to stop by one of the vendor kiosks as many offer free samples. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the market and around the outside plaza area where you’ll have excellent views of the boats making their way along the river.