This famous Rio beach neighbourhood was just a small fishing village until a new highway changed the face of it sometime in the 1900s. The Copacabana Palace Hotel first opened its doors in 1923, and since then the area mushroomed with Neoclassical and Art Nouveau skyscrapers, penthouses and apartments. Visitors still flock, as they have always done, to the glamorous Palace Hotel, which is the place to be seen. Sometimes the visit is only to have tea or a meal at the famed Cipriani restaurant. The beach itself has white sand and calm water and is festooned with kiosks. It is a popular spot for beach sports like soccer and volleyball, and a good place to sunbathe. Copacabana beach is particularly popular on New Year's Day. According to tradition, visitors dress in white and congregate here to celebrate in their droves, with more than 2 million crowding the beach.