4 Fun Things to Do in São Paulo

June 7, 2013
4 Fun Things to Do in São Paulo

foreign-correspondent badge final

Although little of the colonial architecture remains in São Paulo, Brazil, and a plethora of rectangular buildings have taken their place, giving rise to the “concrete jungle” image, the city’s charm is sprinkled throughout various bairros or neighborhoods. As the largest city in South America, there are many sites to see and things to do in São Paulo:

4 Fun Things to Do in São Paulo

1. Jardins

My favorite São Paulo neighborhood, Jardins, is chock full of wonderful boutiques and restaurants. As I wandered around Oscar Freire Avenue, the heart of the shopping district, akin to Los Angeles’s Rodeo Drive, I got a taste of Brazilian fashion. The area is muito chique or quite chic—one of the most important phrases I learned in Portuguese class last semester. Among the great restaurants in this bairros was Chez Lorena, known for its charming ambiance and delicious food. For dessert, gelato at one of the many stores such as Bacio di Latte is a must!

2. Pinacoteca

Referred to as MASP by locals, the Museu de Arte de São Paulo houses one of the largest collections of European Art in Latin America. While this museum is widely recognized as the city’s main artistic attraction, the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo is well worth a visit! Located on the Praça de Luz, the Pinacoteca tells the story of Brazil and State of São Paulo from the Colonial Era up through the end of the República Velha, or First Republic (1930s). The collection features artwork created by both Brazilian artists and foreigners who painted their impressions of Brazil. After visiting the Pinacoteca, hungry museum-goers can stop at the nearby Mercado municipal. Also known as the Mercadão for its large size, Paulistas rave about the market and the Sanduíche da Mortadella.

3. Parque Iberapuera

To the south of Jardins Paulista is another one of São Paulo’s highlights: the Parque Iberapuera. Situated at the bottom of one of the city’s many hills, the park’s green oasis helps counter the prevalent concrete. The park has a few lakes and also has a few museums and the planetarium. Paulistas, as Sao Paulo residents are known, gather in the park to walk, run and even bike—taking advantage of nature and the absence of São Paulo traffic

4. Museu do Futebol

Since Brazil hosted the 2014 World Cup, and proudly holds the most championship titles of any country, a visit to the Museu de Futebol at the Paulo Machado Estadio Municipal in São Paulo is a must for any sports enthusiast. The museum recounts how an Englishman brought soccer to Brazil in the late 19th century and the game became a national pastime in the 20th century. Even as a competitive swimmer, who is not a major soccer aficionado and can’t readily explain the offside rule, seeing the field, watching clips of important moments in previous games, and even scoring a goal myself were so invigorating that even I got excited about soccer!

All in all, the Paulistas I met were warm and friendly. As the business and intellectual capital of Brazil, I was impressed how many Paulistas had studied and lived abroad. Not only did they sympathize as I struggled with my beginners Portuguese, they also shared their own experiences. As I traversed both the angular and green corners of São Paulo, the pace of Latin American city life began to feel familiar once again. Without too much difficulty, my week in São Paulo allowed me to almost slip back into the Buenos Aires state of mind and was a perfect transition to Brazil. Até logo, or see you later, São Paulo and on to Rio and on to Rio de Janeiro!


Top photo by Unsplash. 

About Melanie Kaplan

Melanie Kaplan, a graduate of Wellesley College, has lived in Argentina and Brazil.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *