What to see in Brazil
Tourist attractions São Paulo
The largest Portuguese-speaking city on earth, São Paulo is also the most populous urban centre in Brazil. Although it might not possess the title of ‘capital’, São Paulo is a major economic and financial hub. Sometimes overshadowed by the party reputation of Rio or the beach vibes of Salvador, São Paulo is actually a fascinating place to explore. Characterised by a towering cityscape of skyscrapers, the city is home to a diverse population of around 20 million Paulistanos.
If you travel to São Paulo, the sheer size of the city can seem intimidating at first, and the truth is that it would take a lifetime to experience everything this mammoth metropolis has to offer. Try to see this as a positive thing, as no matter your interests, São Paulo has something for everyone.
Party-loving travellers can dance the night away and make the most of the city’s world-famous nightlife and underground bars. Culture-loving visitors will be spoilt for choice thanks to São Paulo’s overwhelming collection of museums, galleries and experimental theatres. Furthermore, there are restaurants to suit every taste and budget, representing cuisines from all over the world, a product of the diverse population of the city.
In a city that never sleeps, if you ever feel the need to get away from it all, São Paulo’s public parks are among the largest and most beautiful in the country. It’s in these green spaces that you’ll experience the laid-back side of a city better known for its work-hard, play-hard mentality.
If you visit São Paulo, navigating the city might seem daunting, but the public transit system is perfect for whisking you around the city. The Metro is the obvious choice for visitors and buses might also be helpful, although avoid these during rush hour, otherwise, you could find yourself stuck in a traffic jam! Alternatively, 500-kilometres of cycle lanes are dotted throughout São Paulo; great for exploring the city’s parks.
Well-connected to the rest of Brazil and South America, this concrete jungle is sure to surprise you with its pockets of immense beauty, its innovative atmosphere and rich portrayal of urban life.
Orientating yourself in this vast city can be a little challenging, but the best place to begin a tour of São Paulo is on Avenida Paulista, one of the main thoroughfares in the heart of the historic part of the city. Running from northeast to southwest, this avenue is 2.8 kilometres long and crosses many different neighbourhoods, such as Paraiso, Bela Vista and Jardim Paulista. From this artery of the city, you’re close to some of São Paulo’s most important sights such as Ibirapuera Park, one of the most popular hangout spots in the city, and the monumental São Paulo Cathedral.
One of the best places to visit in São Paulo for art lovers is the Pinacoteca de São Paulo, one of the most important art museums in Brazil, and the Museum of Art, home to an enormous collection including works by renowned artists.
To appreciate the diverse architecture of São Paulo, be sure to visit the Municipal Theatre, a lavish early 20th-century building, as well as the much more modern Edificio Copan, a modernist, wave-shaped high rise. Visitors are permitted to climb to the top floor to enjoy spectacular views of the city from the roof! Edificio Copan is actually the largest residential building in the county and is home to 1150 apartments. Of course, a trip to São Paulo would be incomplete without contemplating the famous Octavio Frias de Oliveira bridge. Spanning the Pinheiros River, the bridge opened in 2008, connecting Marginal Pinheiros to Jornalista Roberto Marinho Avenue in the southern part of the city.
Finally, one of the best things to do in São Paulo to experience local life is to visit the Mercado Municipal. Dating back to the 1930s, this covered market is a must-see where you can shop for tropical fruits, local products and sample an array of delicious São Pauloan delicacies.
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