Published on November 22nd, 2015 | by admin
Big-Time Brazil: The 10 Most Amazing Things to See in Sao Paulo
Brazil has a lot of big cities, but São Paulo is truly supersize. One of the largest cities in the world (more than 11 million people in the city and more than 20 million in the metropolitan area), this bustling destination may be overwhelming at times, but it’s a great place for travelers who love, culture, cuisine, shopping and nightlife. São Paulo Turismo, the city’s tourism office, recently surveyed tourist information centers around the area and came up with a list of the top 10 attractions.
This gigantic metropolis is a hub for business travel and also for sophisticated leisure getaways, so whether you’re closing a deal or planning a Brazil vacation, it just might be on your itinerary at some point. So if you’re looking for things to do in São Paulo, Brazil, here are several great recommendations.
Mercado Municipal (Municipal Market)
One of the most famous streets in São Paulo, 25 de Março is the largest center of commerce of Latin America. In and around it, you can find various products at affordable prices. It all started in the 19th century, when Arab immigrants opened the first stores, but its fame took off in the 1960s. Today, the region receives about 400,000 visitors every day, and one million around holidays.
A day in the 25 de Março isn’t complete without a stop at the Mercado Municipal. The building’s stately architecture is marked by columns, domes and stained glass windows, while the market brings together vendors from every corner of the city, with a huge variety of products, spices and fruits. The cod pastel and the traditional bologna sandwich stand out among the food.
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Recently named one of the finest urban parks on the planet by the British newspaper The Guardian, Ibirapuera Park is an oasis of nature and peace in the middle of the city. In addition to the wide green area and bikeways, playgrounds, lakes, picnic space and bike rental facilities, the park is graced with architectural works of Oscar Niemeyer — Brazil’s most famous architect (check out the Top 5 Must-See Oscar Niemeyer Architecture Sites in the Americas) — and has many museums and cultural spaces such as the OCA, the Brazilian Cultures Pavillion, the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Afro-Brazil Museum.
Located in the heart of the city, the Paulista Avenue, MASP (Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand; the São Paulo Museum of Art) has a collection of about 8,000 works of art, including work by Portinari, Anita Malfatti, Picasso and Van Gogh. Another point that attracts visitors is the architecture — a modernist building designed by Lina Bo Bardi that catches the eye with its four massive pillars. Various events happen at the museum and, on Sundays, there is an antiques fair.
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Historic Center and Sé Cathedral
São Paulo’s city center has many historic sites, such as the Sé Cathedral, a neo-gothic temple that offers guided historic visits and various mass times. In its crypt, below the altar (through which the imaginary line of the Tropic of Capricorn passes), important characters of the city history are buried, such as the Cacique Tibiriçá. In front of the Cathedral is the Marco Zero, a marble monument in the shape of a hexagon with a map of the roads departing from São Paulo to other states.
Also worth including on any São Paulo city tour is Pateo do Collegio, which dates to the founding of São Paulo in 1554. The São Bento Monastery is also a must-see tourist spot, with more than 400 years of history, lovely 17th-century architecture and decoration that includes frescoes and murals, as well as a German clock.
The tourism route in São Paulo’s historic center also usually includes a stop at Altino Arantes building, known as Banespão. Inspired by the Empire State Building in New York City, this skyscraper has 35 floors, crystal chandeliers and a tower that provides 360° vision and views of the Serra do Mar, Pico do Jaraguá, buildings of the Paulista Avenue and the main buildings of the Center.
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One of the main financial and cultural centers of the city, Paulista Avenue is home to office buildings, stores and restaurants, as well as MASP (see above).
Other attractions along Paulista Avenue include Trianon Park, a lush expanse of green with dense vegetation of the Atlantic Forest; Casa das Rosas, a center of culture, poetry and art, with a beautiful garden and architecture of Ramos de Azevedo; and the Conjunto Nacional, a center that houses several shops, a cinema, some restaurants and the grand Livraria Cultura, one of the largest bookstores of the city.
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Pinacoteca do Estado
Located near the Luz Station and the Portuguese Language Museum, the Pinacoteca do Estado was the first art museum in São Paulo, and today has a collection of about 9,000 pieces (including work by Benedito Calixto, Pedro Alexandrino and José Ferraz de Almeida Jr.), in addition to temporary exhibitions, both national and international, which attract about 500,000 visitors each year. The architecture of the building, designed by Ramos de Azevedo in 1895, is also noteworthy.
Museu de Futebol (Football Museum)
Located beneath the stands of the Pacaembu Stadium, the Museu do Futebol is a must-see for fans of soccer. It displays files, photos, recordings, voice-overs, videos and information about the sport brought by Charles Miller to Brazil. The exhibit is divided into three themed areas: Emotion, History and Fun, with various interactive features. In one of the areas of the Museum the visitor can, for example, feel the stands shaking, recreating some of the adrenaline and emotion of watching a football game at the stadium.
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Next to Anhangabaú subway station is the Theatro Municipal, one of the great historic sights of the city. Construction began on this magnificent structure in 1903, designed by Cláudio Rossi and Domiziano Rossi. The inauguration, in 1911, was attended by a crowd of 20,000 people who watched the opera Hamlet, by Ambroise Thomas. The architecture was heavily influenced by the Paris Opera, with Renaissance and Baroque touches on the facade, and many decorations and works of art inside. The theater hosts music and dance schools, and there is also a restaurant inside. Visits can be scheduled for days when there is no presentation, according to dates available on the website.
Portuguese Language Museum
Famous for its innovative format, the portuguese Language Museum opened in 2006 and has become one of the most visited attractions in São Paulo. Interactive exhibits focus on the Portuguese language, and the museum also has a space dedicated to the history of Luz Station, the 1892 train station that houses the museum, whose construction was inspired by Big Ben and Westminster Abbey in London, with material brought from England.
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São Paulo is a diverse city enriched by immigration from various part of the world. The neighborhood called Liberdade is, perhaps, the most famous immigrant stronghold in the city, inhabited by the Japanese since 1912. In addition to street trading, the traditional Sunday fair also brings a lot of products and typical foods. This area offers a unique opportunity to learn about architecture and Japanese culture and language, which is visible on various signs on the street and in the conversations of residents and merchants.