There are so many things to experience in São Paulo that you will probably need two or three visits to cover its most popular tourist sights. Keep in mind that due to its mammoth size, transfers can take up most of the priceless time of your tours. This means that you should plan your visit not to miss any of the 10 activities that we are suggesting so that you will get the best out of your stay in Latin America’s largest city.
Sao Paulo Museum of Art
The MASP is one of the most important museums in the southern hemisphere and gathers an art collection of approximately 8,000 works from a wide array of artists such as famous Brazilian artists . Here, you can also find world artwork such as Picasso’s and Van Gogh’s. The building, an attraction itself, is a grandiose concrete structure suspended by four red-pillars and creating an open, 74-meter-large space underneath.
MASP, Avenida Paulista 1578, Bela Vista, São Paulo, Brazil, +55 11 3251 5644
Inspired by L’Opéra de Paris, the Municipal Theater is a familiar image in São Paulo’s post cards. Built back in 1903, it has undergone many restauration works which have modernized its facilities while keeping its XIX-century glamour intact. The show-offer is very wide, and it includes performances by various music and dance schools. People interested in paying a visit are welcome as long as there are no shows playing, so we recommend checking show times before stopping by. Or better yet, everyone is always welcome to buy a ticket and enjoy a performance!
Theatro Municipal, Praça Ramos de Azevedo, República, São Paulo, Brazil, +55 11 3053 2100
Paulista Avenue is one of the main financial and cultural hubs in the capital, one of the greatest sights attracting thousands of visitors and tourists on a daily basis. Not only is it home to a myriad of shops and restaurants, but it is also home to the most famous museum in São Paulo, the above-mentioned MASP. Lots of movie theaters and large bookstores are also found on this popular street.
AV. Paulista, São Paulo – SP, Brazil
The building that currently hosts ‘Pinacoteca do Estado’ (State Art Gallery) was the first museum of art in São Paulo. Its founding goes back to the late XIX century, when it was built to host the Liceu de Artes e Ofícios de São Paulo (São Paulo’s School of Arts and Crafts). Just a look at the structure will make the visit worth it. Brick walls and a large two-floor foyer at the center of the museum set the perfect stage for visitors to enjoy artwork under natural light.
Pinacoteca, Praça da Luz, 2, Luz, São Paulo, Brazil, +55 11 3324 1000
Beco do Batman
Before the trend of using graffiti to “decorate” buildings and street fences arrived in Brazil, Beco do Batman already existed in São Paulo. This narrow alley in Vila Madalena owes its name to one of the first drawings made on its walls. Every year, this sight lures thousands of tourists who come to visit the most artistic neighborhood in São Paulo. El Beco do Batman (Batman Alley) was one of the first open-air museums dedicated to the birth of graffiti in this huge Latin American metropolis. We recommend taking a stroll to the alley instead of driving there, as visitors’ cars tend to cause traffic jams. If you drive there, you will probably want to stop and take some photos at the street art, thus contributing to the traffic chaos.
Gonçalo Afonso – Vila Madalena, São Paulo, 03178-200, Brazil
Villa Lobos Park
Although much smaller and less known than Ibirapuera Park, its big brother, Villa Lobos offers one of the greenest areas in the city. Bank holidays are a good time to rent a bike and admire the native flora, since on these special dates the affluence of public is lower than on regular days. If you pass by ‘Isla Musical’, an open-air stage surrounded by concrete theater stands, you may be lucky enough to run into a band or an artist playing their music.
Parque Villa Lobos, Avenida Profesor Fonseca Rodrigues 2001, Alto de Pinheiros, Brazil.
This museum is quite an experience, even for those who do not consider themselves to be soccer fans. Photos, videos and many other curiosities will take visitors through the history of this sport. After knowing the secrets of the world’s most widespread sport, you will end up feeling like Pelé. Use the body-games room to shoot a penalty and discover the speed of your kick.
Museu do Futebol, Praça Charles Miller, Pacaembu, São Paulo, Brazil, +55 11 3664 3848
Feira da Liberdade
On weekends, go to Liberdade to admire and purchase delicate and exclusive Japanese crafts at this neighborhood’s street market. The stands not only sell souvenirs, but also typical food from Asian countries. In the middle of the morning, this street market is usually packed with tourists and Liberdade’s dwellers alike. It is worth a visit!
Av. da Liberdade, 365, Sé, São Paulo, Brazil
Sé (São Paulo’s Cathedral)
This cathedral is one of the five largest neogothic temples of the world. Its facade is considered to be the very heart of São Paulo. In its crypt, beneath the altar, crossed by the imaginary line of the Tropic of Capricorn, is the tomb of indigenous leader Tibiriçá. Guided tours of the church are available.
Catedral da Sé, Praça da Sé, Sé, São Paulo, Brazil, +55 11 3107 6832
Baloney sandwich at the municipal market
One of the most popular sights in downtown is the São Paulo Municipal Market. Mercadão, its real name, has 12,600 square meters and gathers vendors from every corner of the city who come to sell all sorts of culinary products ranging from fruits to spices or salted cod. Would you like to go for a typical treat? Try the famous baloney sandwich, made with one thousand layers of mortadella.
Municipal Market, Rua Cantareira 306, Centro, São Paulo, Brazil