Big, numbered, concrete buildings/structures are along the samba run-way within the Sambodromo. The odd-numbered ones are all on the one side and the even-numbered on the other.
Most sectors (3, 4, 5, 7 and 11) have grand stand seats and have boxes in front.
Sector 1 also has grand stand seats. It is in the area where the schools organize themselves for the Parade, but has poor viewpoints. Tickets for this sector are not sold but are given out by the schools.
Sector 2 has covered suites on 3 floors (A, B and C-being on the top). Grand Stand Sector 4 has restricted views (you would not see the paraders from their starting point). It has great atmosphere however with great acoustics, as it is right in front of the drummer's niche.
The boxes in front Sector 4 however offer excellent views of the whole Parade, as Sector 2 does not block its viewpoint from this area. Sector 6 and 13 have grand stand seats which are very cheap due to the fact that the view is poor from this far behind. There are also private numbered chairs in front of these sectors.
Sector 9 is the tourist sector which means that tickets for them are mainly sold abroad and are priced significantly higher. In this sector all seats are numbered. You might feel t quite isolated from the Brazilians and the "party" there.
There are two types of Sambodromo seats: grand stand seats and numbered seats (in open or covered boxes/suites and on numbered chairs).
Grand Stand seats
Grand stand seats (bleachers or "arquibancadas") are on big concrete steps. There are no allocated seats within the sectors (with the exception of sector 9). You may choose how high you want your viewpoint. You can also move at any time to another part/level of your sector. To watch the Parade from a higher position will give a better idea of the schools as a group, and more perspective of the whole Parade. Moving closer, you can appreciate more of the costume details and the paraders' samba. Most people stand up to dance, and here being so close to thousands of Brazilians, you will really experience what carnival actually means to them.
The price difference between these sectors reflects what the market thinks about the views from that particular section of the Parading Avenue. The most expensive seats are around the halfway mark of the runway and just a bit towards the end of the avenue.
The best options are Sector 7, 11 or 5.
Box/Suite tickets are for numbered seats within the allocated box/suite in a particular sector. There are two types - covered suites and open front-boxes. Covered suites are the most excusive Sambodromo tickets offering the best views and the most comfort.
The best ones are the suites in sector 2, on 3 floors (A, B and C-being the top floor). They hold 12 people. There are more covered boxes in between sector 3, 5, 7 and 9, holding 24 spectators in A boxes and 20 in B boxes.
Front boxes (called "frisas") have 6 numbered chairs and a small coffee table (no windows to fight for). They are along the Avenue right on the samba run-way, in front of the sectors 3, 4, 5, 7, 9 and 11.
The Drummers' niche
The drummers of every school stop, perform and play in the drummers' niche (between Sector 9 and 11) where the atmosphere is the most heated and intense. The front boxes in front of Sector 4 are located just opposite, offering the best acoustics and full view of their performance. Sector 11 also offers great acoustics and hot atmosphere.