São Paulo is the largest city in South America and one of the world's most populous metropolises. Resting on the Piratininga plateau and surrounded by several large rivers fanning out into the interior of the country, São Paulo boasts a rich architectural tradition with many iconic buildings such as the 1929 Martinelli skyscraper and the curvy Edifício Copan designed by modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer. Brazil’s vibrant financial center is home to numerous cultural institutions, museums and galleries, and a wealth of other interesting things to see and do for the whole family. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
Mercadão Municipal is a large market-based in a beautiful building with spectacular stained-glass panels that sell everything from farm-fresh fruits and vegetables to organic meats, fresh seafood, cheeses, herbs, and spices. Spread over 12,600 square meters, the market opened in 1933 as the city's first grocery market and now has over 300 stalls selling fresh and handmade produce and several restaurants and bars selling local cuisine and drinks. Mercadão Municipal is open seven days a week and is exceptionally busy on the weekends.
Mercado Municipal, Rua Cantareira 306, Centro, São Paulo, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-33-26-66-64
2.Catedral da Se
Catedral da Sé is a magnificent neo-Gothic cathedral and one of the five largest neo-Gothic temples in the world. Built in 1913 on the site of an earlier cathedral, the church took over 50 years to complete being interrupted by two world wars. Also known as Catedral Metropolitana and Catedral da Sé de São Paulo, Catedral da Sé features a striking façade with statues of Old Testament prophets and Christ's disciples, a huge Renaissance-style dome, towering spires, and stunning stained-glass windows. Visitors can explore the cathedral on guided tours, which include visiting the crypt below the altar to see the tomb of indigenous leader Tibiriçá and other marble sculptures.
Catedral da Sé, Praça da Sé, Sé, São Paulo, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-31-07-68-32
3.Parque do Ibirapuera (Ibirapuera Park)
Parque do Ibirapuera (Ibirapuera Park) is an immense green space in the heart of the city with a variety of attractions and activities, ranging from walking trails, lakes, playgrounds, museums, monuments, and manicured gardens. Designed and laid-out by landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, Ibirapuera Park has several notable attractions such as the Auditório Ibirapuera, a modern music hall designed by Oscar Niemeyer; the Bandeiras Monument by Brazilian sculptor Victor Brecheret; the Museu da Aeronáutica e do Folclore; the Museu Afro-Brasil; and the Folk Art Museum.
Av. Pedro Álvares Cabral - Vila Mariana, São Paulo - SP, 04094-050, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-55-74-50-45
4.Sao Paulo Museum of Art (MASP)
© Aleksandar Todorovic/stock.adobe.com
The São Paulo Museum of Art, known locally as MASP, features one of the most comprehensive collections of western art in Latin America. The museum is housed in a designer building that is an artwork in itself. Designed in the Modernist style by Brazilian-Italian architect Lina Bo Bardi, the building’s main concrete structure is suspended by four red pillars, creating a 250-foot free zone beneath the museum. Opened in 1968, the museum showcases artworks by Impressionists and modern masters like Picasso, Renoir, Miró, Matisse, and Van Gogh, as well as 73 works of bronze sculpture by Degas. The museum also focuses on modern art from the mid-20th century onwards and contemporary Brazilian artists like Di Cavalcanti and Portinari and hosts a variety of educational programs, symposiums, art classes, and music and dance performances.
Av. Paulista, 1578 - Bela Vista, São Paulo - SP, 01310-200, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-31-49-59-59
5.Pinacoteca do Estado - Pinacoteca de Sao Paulo
The Pinacoteca do Estado or Pinacoteca de São Paulo is the oldest museum in São Paulo and showcases the works of Brazilian artists. Opened in 1905, the museum is housed in the beautifully restored Liceu de Artes e Ofícios that was designed and built in 1895 by the Ramos de Azevedo Architectural Office and later refurbished by architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha. The Pinacoteca houses a collection of over 10,000 artworks, including drawings, paintings, and sculptures from the 1800s to the present, and hosts about 30 exhibitions per year.
2 Praça da Luz, Luz, São Paulo, 01120-010, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-33-24-10-00
6.Sala Sao Paulo (Julio Prestes Cultural Center)
The Sala São Paulo is a concert hall in the Júlio Prestes Cultural Center in the old north-central section of the city. The Júlio Prestes Cultural Center is based in what used to be the Júlio Prestes Train Station, a city station that was built in 1926 for trains transporting coffee to the port of Santos. The station was transformed into a cultural center in 1999 to house the Sala São Paulo as it has the perfect horseshoe shape for acoustics. Sala São Paulo is home to the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo (OSESP) and can seat an audience of 1,500 people with 22 balconies and a 78-foot high ceiling.
Praça Júlio Prestes, 16 - Campos Elíseos, São Paulo - SP, 01218-020, Brazil
7.Galeria do Rock
Galeria do Rock is a shopping mall between Rua 24 de Maio, 62, and Largo do Paissandu (Avenida São João). Built in 1963 and named as the Shopping Center Grandes Galerias, the shopping mall has 450 shopping facilities, including tattoo studios and many music-related stores selling records and rock and hip-hop apparel. Galeria do Rock also acts as a musical performance venue and a gathering place for subcultures and tribes in the city.
Av. São João, 439 - República, São Paulo - SP, 01035-000, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-33-31-15-30
© Instituto Butantan
The Instituto Butantan is one of the largest biomedical research centers in the world. Founded in 1901 and located in Butantã, in the western part of the city, the biologic research center produces more than 80% of serums and vaccines consumed in Brazil and is considered one of the major scientific centers in the world. The research center has four museums – the Biological Museum, the Microbiology Museum, Museum of Public Health, and the Historical Museum, and visitors can explore each museum on guided tours.
Av. Vital Brasil, 1500 - Butantã, São Paulo - SP, 05503-900, Brazil
9.Instituto Tomie Ohtake
© Instituto Tomie Ohtake
Instituto Tomie Ohtake is a cultural institute founded by Ruy Ohtake to honor his Japanese-born mother and naturalized Brazilian artist Tomie Ohtake. Born in Japan in 1913, Tomie Ohtake is one of São Paulo’s most illustrious painters and is considered one of the leading exponents of Informal Abstractionism. Spread over 80,000 square feet, the institute has several gallery spaces featuring changing exhibits of works by mainly local artists and highlighting new national and international trends in art and architecture, literature and design, music, and cinema. The Grand Hall houses the Gaudi bookshop, which offers a comprehensive selection of art-related books.
Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima, 201 - (entrada pela R. Coropes, 88) - Pinheiros, São Paulo - SP, 05426-100, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-22-45-19-00
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10.Mosteiro de Sao Bento
Mosteiro de São Bento is a Benedictine monastery dating back to 1598 and one of the city’s oldest and most important churches. The church has an austere neo-Gothic façade that was built in the early 1900s along with beautifully painted interiors featuring 17th-century statues of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica carved by Agostinho de Jesus, spectacular stained-glass windows, and a crucifix dating to back to 1777. The monastery houses an active brotherhood that holds daily masses with Gregorian chanting and an in-house monastery bakery that sells freshly baked bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries, and jams made by the monks from ancient recipes.
Largo de São Bento, s/nº - Centro Histórico de São Paulo, São Paulo - SP, 01029-010, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-33-28-87-99
11.Memorial da America Latina (Latin America Memorial)
© Memorial da America Latina (Latin America Memorial)
The Memorial da America Latina (Latin America Memorial) is an immense cultural, political, and leisure complex designed by world-renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer. Spread over 6.5 acres, the complex features curving buildings and numerous sculptures that were designed by Niemeyer to celebrates Latin America's rise to freedom. The rounded exterior walls of the buildings create large spaces for the public to enjoy and where colorful celebrations and special events are frequently held.
Av. Auro Soares de Moura Andrade, 664 - Barra Funda, São Paulo - SP, 01156-001, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-38-23-46-00
Located in Ibirapuera Park, OCA is a 33,000square-foot exhibition space designed by famed architect Oscar Niemeyer. Formerly home to the Aeronautics Museum of São Paulo and the Museum of Folklore, today, the center hosts large exhibitions throughout the year. Officially known as the Lucas Nogueira Garcez Pavilion, the building is called OCA due to its unusual shape, which is similar to typical indigenous housing. The space has an auditorium with 129 seats and is used for a variety of functions and events, year-round.
Av. Pedro Álvares Cabral, S/n - Portão 2 - Vila Mariana, São Paulo - SP, 04094-050, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-50-82-17-77
13.Beco do Batman (Batman Alley)
São Paulo’s Beco do Batman (Batman Alley) is an area of the city that is famous for its ever-changing graffiti and street art. Based in the neighborhood of Vila Madalena where Rua Gonçalo Afonso and Rua Medeiros de Albuquerque meet, Beco do Batman was born with a simple picture of the DC Comics superhero Batman and has grown into one of the city’s top tourist attractions. Today, every inch of wall space and some sidewalks are covered with graffiti created by well-known street artists from Brazil and around the world. The cubist-influenced and psychedelic and designs are ever-changing and are now continually renovated and cared for by local community members.
R. Medeiros de Albuquerque, 82-154 - Jardim das Bandeiras, São Paulo - SP, 05436-060, Brazil
14.Praça Benedito Calixto (Calixto Flea Market)
Praça Benedito Calixto is a fantastic open-air market held in the Benedito Calixto square that sells a wealth of antique, arts and crafts, handicrafts, vintage clothing, and more. Open all day, every Saturday, the market is especially well-known for its unusual antiques and vintage items, but also sells many handmade goods like leather bags and shoes, colorful woven clothing, baskets, jewelry, and home décor items. The center of the market has several foods and drink stalls, selling typical Brazilian street food, dried fruits, and coconut water, and live chorinho music begins in the early afternoon, filling the square with people dancing.
Praça Benedito Calixto, São Paulo
© Casa da Photo/stock.adobe.com
Edificio Martinelli or the Martinelli Building is a 30-floor building in the heart of São Paulo and was Brazil’s first skyscraper in Brazil. Built in 1922 and completed in 1934, the iconic structure is based on the block between São Bento, Líbero Badaró and Avenida São João and is one of the city’s top tourist attractions, offering breathtaking panoramic views from the lookout at the top. The original plans for the building only had 25 floors before Italian millionaire Giuseppe Martinelli, creator of the building, added another five levels onto the roof.
R. São Bento, 405 - Centro Histórico de São Paulo, São Paulo - SP, 01011-100, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-31-04-24-77
16.Theatro Municipal (Municipal Theater)
São Paulo's Theatro Municipal (Municipal Theater) is an important center for the performing arts that hosts an array of performances from music concerts to dancing shows. Designed by architect Ramos de Azevedo and built between 1903 and 1911, the building is modeled after the elegant Palais Garnier opera house with an eclectic mix of Art Nouveau and Italian Renaissance elements. The Theatro Municipal is home to the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, the City Ballet of São Paulo, and the Coral Lírico (Lyric Choir).
Theatro Municipal,Praça Ramos de Azevedo, República, São Paulo, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-30-53-21-00
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17.Museu do Futebol (Football Museum)
© Museu do Futebol (Football Museum)
The Museu do Futebol (Football Museum) was opened in 2008 and celebrates the history of football throughout Brazil. The museum features several rooms of different exhibits showcasing the game of football, also known as soccer, the history of the game, and the best players throughout history. Exhibits consist of posters, pennants, buttons, football paraphernalia, photographs, and video clips of the players, and the Body Game Room allows visitors to discover the speed of their kick by striking a penalty.
Museu do Futebol, Praça Charles Miller, Pacaembu, São Paulo, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-36-64-38-48
18.Templo de Salomão (Temple of Salomon)
The Templo de Salomão (Temple of Salomon) is a Universal Church of the Kingdom of God inspired by the biblical temple of the same name, which can be found in Jerusalem. Conceived by Bishop Macedo, the massive church is a work of monumental architecture standing 180 feet tall with 36 rooms, including a children's Bible school, radio and television studios, and a museum about the original temple. An acoustically-sound auditorium for up to 500 people is lined with thousands of LED light bulbs to create a ‘starry sky.’
Av. Celso Garcia, 605 - Brás, São Paulo - SP, 03015-000, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-35-73-35-35
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19.Parque Villa Lobos (Villa-Lobos State Park)
Parque Villa Lobos (Villa-Lobos State Park) is a state park next to the Pinheiros River that has a wealth of native trees and plants. Named after composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, the park was regenerated after falling into disrepair and is now home to over 37,000 trees and a wide variety of other fauna and flora. The park has an open-air stage where concerts and events are held throughout the year, including music and dance performances.
2001 Avenida Professor Fonseca Rodrigues, Alto de Pinheiros, São Paulo, 05461-010, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-26-83-63-02
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© Terraço Itália
Based on the 41st floor of the Edifício Itália (also known as Circolo Italiano di San Paolo), Terraço Itália is an elegant restaurant with spectacular panoramic views of the city. The upscale, candlelit Italian restaurant’s menu features traditional Italian fare cooked from old-country recipes with such as antipasti plates of crispy bruschetta, fresh seafood, prime meats, and organic cheeses, and delectable, handmade pasta. Black-clad waiters wield plates of house-made tagliatelle and tortellini, sides of grilled-to-perfection vegetables, and hearty meat entrées, while the desserts are to die for. Terraço Itália also has an impressive award-winning wine selection, craft beers, and signature cocktails.
Av. Ipiranga, 344 - 41º andar - República, São Paulo - SP, 01046-010, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-21-89-29-29
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Chalézinho is a cozy, intimate restaurant tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds that serves traditional Swiss fondue, and other delicious fare. The restaurant has a warm and welcoming atmosphere with elegant décor, and the menu features a variety of fondues with Swiss cheeses such as Emmental, neuchâtel, and gruyere, along with meat and vegetables. The cuisine is accompanied by a range of casual and fine globally-inspired wines, craft beers and brews, and a selection of fine spirits.
Rua Itapimirum, 11 - Morumbi, São Paulo - SP, 05716-090, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-35-01-93-22
22.La Nonna di Lucca
© La Nonna di Lucca
La Nonna di Lucca is a casual Italian restaurant serving delicious traditional dishes in a cozy setting. Age-old Italian tradition and innovative design come together to create an elegantly relaxed environment in which guests can enjoy an extensive selection of traditional Italian food and wine, ranging from seasonal antipasti platters; house-made pasta and wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas to entrées of grilled meat and ocean-fresh seafood. The open, airy dining room features an incredible array of ceiling art and offers a comfortable, relaxed ambiance in which to dine. A lively bar serves an impressive collection of notable wine labels from around the world, specialty cocktails, craft beers, and imported spirits and Italian grappas.
R. Gaivota, 689 - Moema, São Paulo - SP, 04522-031, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-50-51-61-93
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© Andrey Armyagov/stock.adobe.com
Carlos Pizza is an intimate Vila Madalena pizzeria is a family-friendly restaurant specializing in authentic wood-fired Neapolitan pizza and rustic Italian cuisine. Offering an authentic Italian experience, Carlos Pizza uses fresh, farm-to-table Brazilian ingredients sourced from small producers to create a variety of delicious Italian cuisine from hand-tossed pizza and house-made pasta dishes to fresh garden salads and hearty entrées. The pizzeria specializes in traditional Neapolitan pizza made with handmade dough, fresh herbs, and toppings, and cooked to perfection. The wine list features fine wines from various regions in Italy, as well as Prosecco for a touch of fizz.
Rua Harmonia, 501 - Sumarezinho, São Paulo - SP, 05435-000, Brazil, Phone: +55-11-38-13-20-17
23 Best Things to Do in Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Mercadao Municipal, Photo: chutima/stock.adobe.com
- Catedral da Se, Photo: willbrasil21/stock.adobe.com
- Parque do Ibirapuera (Ibirapuera Park), Photo: f11photo/stock.adobe.com
- Sao Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), Photo: Aleksandar Todorovic/stock.adobe.com
- Pinacoteca do Estado - Pinacoteca de Sao Paulo, Photo: Cifotart/stock.adobe.com
- Sala Sao Paulo (Julio Prestes Cultural Center), Photo: AlfRibeiro/stock.adobe.com
- Galeria do Rock, Photo: leungchopan/stock.adobe.com
- Instituto Butantan, Photo: Instituto Butantan
- Instituto Tomie Ohtake, Photo: Instituto Tomie Ohtake
- Mosteiro de Sao Bento, Photo: wtondossantos/stock.adobe.com
- Memorial da America Latina (Latin America Memorial), Photo: Memorial da America Latina (Latin America Memorial)
- OCA, Photo: eugpng/stock.adobe.com
- Beco do Batman (Batman Alley), Photo: willbrasil21/stock.adobe.com
- Praça Benedito Calixto (Calixto Flea Market), Photo: denis/stock.adobe.com
- Edificio Martinelli, Photo: Casa da Photo/stock.adobe.com
- Theatro Municipal (Municipal Theater), Photo: diegograndi/stock.adobe.com
- Museu do Futebol (Football Museum), Photo: Museu do Futebol (Football Museum)
- Templo de Salomão (Temple of Salomon), Photo: Cifotart/stock.adobe.com
- Parque Villa Lobos (Villa-Lobos State Park), Photo: Caio/stock.adobe.com
- Terraço Italia, Photo: Terraço Itália
- Chalezinho, Photo: Chalézinho
- La Nonna di Lucca, Photo: La Nonna di Lucca
- Carlos Pizza, Photo: Andrey Armyagov/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: f11photo/stock.adobe.com