Like New York, London and Paris, São Paulo is one of the world’s great cities – cosmopolitan, sophisticated, and sprawling. Its population of 20 plus million in the metropolitan area tops that of New York. Brazil’s artistic and business capital boasts more than 70 museums, 70 shopping centers, 15,000 bars and 12,500 restaurants serving 50 kinds of cuisine and an energetic gallery scene. In Sao Paulo’s historic center you will find one of the city’s most beautiful art museums, the Brazil-centric Pinacoteca, housed in the old building of Arts and Crafts and designed at the end of the 19th Century by Ramos de Azevedo. MASP, The Art Museum of São Paulo is another must see for art lovers, the museum possesses Latin America’s most comprehensive collection of Western art in the Southern Hemisphere.
In design and construction MASP is unique for its shape and structure: a main body resting on four lateral pillars with a free span of 74 meters. This free area became one of the most famous meeting points in São Paulo (“let’s meet under the MASP”), and on Sundays it hosts the most famousantiques fairin town. Besides the formal museums and galleries, there is a thriving underground culture in São Paulo, which is evident in the outpouring of vibrant and colorful street art practically everywhere you look, Brazilianstreet art stands out by virtue of the incredible abundance of styles and techniques it encompasses.
A visit to São Paulo is incomplete without a visit to Ibirapuera Park often compared to New York’s Central Park, with over 400 acres of manicured lawns and ponds it is one of the largest urban public spaces in the world. Designed in 1955 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the foundation of São Paulo, Ibirapuera Park contains a Planetarium, the Museum of Modern Art and Ibirapuera Auditorium; all designed by Oscar Niemeyer—considered one of the fathers of modern architecture.
Fashion is really at its creative vanguard in São Paulo, so shopping should be on everyone’s itinerary. From fashion forward Oscar Freire Street to Daslu—known as the ultimate luxury one-stop shopping spot— São Paulo boasts an endless variety of shopping options to suit every taste, style and budget. After a day of galleries, museums, and shopping, São Paulo’s best restaurants rival any global culinary capital and will not disappoint even the most discerning gourmand. Many say that a visit to Alex Atala’s D.O.M. Restaurant is a gastronomic experience of a lifetime. Located in the best neighborhood of São Paulo – Jardins,it was rated the 7th Best Restaurant in the world by S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants and holds Acqua Panna Best Restaurant in South America. Chef Atala is famous for transforming Amazonian ingredients using French and Italian techniques. After dinner head to one of the hip clubs on Rua Augusta, such as Studio SP for dancing, or for something more traditional—Terraço Italia, a clubby bar with unbeatable panoramic views of the city, on top of the Edifiçio Itália, one of the many landmark skyscrapers in downtown São Paulo.