7 Awesome Things to do in Sao Paulo

By Jonathan Howe October 19th, 2015 Posted in South America & Antarctica, Travel Blog, Travel Guides No comments

Sao Paulo is one of the largest and most developed cities in the world and the economic centre of Brazil and South America. With a population of 20 million and over 2500 skyscrapers, many visitors to Brazil write off Sao Paulo as a commercial centre with nothing much to offer the intrepid traveller in search of culture and experience, but there are plenty more things to do in Sao Paulo than grabbing a cappuccino and a bagel as you muscle through rush hour traffic on the way to the office. Sao Paulo is an international fusion of cultures and nationalities, with museums, galleries, theatres and cuisine from around the world. Give it a chance and find out about all the great things to do in Sao Paulo.

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1. Ibirapuera Park

Why is it one of the best things to do in Sao Paulo?

Sao Paulo’s Ibirapuera Park is London’s Hyde Park and New York’s Central Park mashed together with an extra dose of Brazilian flair and artistic elegance. Designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer and landscape architect Otávio Agusto de Teixeira Mendes for the 400th anniversary of Sao Paulo, the park is a 2 square kilometre haven of peace nestled amongst the hectic pace of the city which surrounds it on all sides. Within the safe confines on the park boundary, joggers jog, skaters skate, painters paint, cyclists cycle and scores of people pick a spot on the green grass, relaxing and recovering from the week past and preparing for the one ahead. Escaping the city streets, without leaving the city is easily one of the essential things to do in Sao Paulo.

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Awesome things to do in Sao Paulo – Ibirapuera Park (Photo Credit – Rodrigo Soldon)

2. Indulge in Luxury Cuisine at Hotel Emiliano

Why is it one of the best things to do in Sao Paulo?

Hotel Emiliano is the most stylish, chic and luxurious boutique hotel in the whole of Sao Paulo and possibly even Brazil. With its 38 rooms and 19 suites, all designed in a modern ‘zen style’ with amazing features like in-room swimming pools and sun loungers and even its heliport, for when walking or taking a cab feel a bit too standard.

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But we weren’t here to stay in one of their luxury rooms and suites – next time! We were here to enjoy one of Hotel Emiliano’s crown jewels, the Emiliano Restaurant. Despite being located indoors on the ground floor, Brazilian architect Arthur de Mattos Casas has creating a feeling of space and light which makes you believe you’re dining on a terrace on the fiftieth floor, with high ceiling, indoor tropical garden greenery on one side and a champagne and caviar bar on the other.

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The a la carte Italian menu is fresh and stylish and delicious, prepared with fresh ingredients then designed and sculpted into refined, well-balanced and appetizing dishes.

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3. Museu do Futebol (Football Museum)

Why is it one of the best things to do in Sao Paulo?

Football lovers or otherwise, put this on your list of things to do in Sao Paulo. You needn’t be a huge fan of football to enjoy Sao Paulo’s Football Museum, which is housed within the city’s art-deco Pacaembu Stadium. The Football Museum of Sao Paulo begins with a greeting from a futuristic hologram of Brazil’s greatest and most-beloved professional footballer, Pele, and then takes visitors on an interactive journey through the history of the ‘beautiful game’ and the World Cup, both at home and away.

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Awesome things to do in Sao Paulo – Football Museum (Photo Credit – Rodrigo Soldon)

4. Watch the sunset at Sunset Square

Why is it one of the best things to do in Sao Paulo?

One of the true hidden gems of Sao Paulo, Sunset Square is a small grassy area of the park which sits up on a hill in the popular and slightly bohemian Pinheiros neighborhood of Sao Paulo city. Grab some friends, a few cold beers and chill out as that glowing orange ball of the day melts over the skyscraper-studded horizon.

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Awesome things to do in Sao Paulo – Sao Paulo Sunset (Photo Credit – Diego Torres Silvestre)

5. Cathedral Metropolitana de São Paulo

Why is it one of the best things to do in Sao Paulo?

This gargantuan Gothic-style cathedral is actually a lot younger than it appears at first glance. The construction of this Neo-Gothic masterpiece only began in 1912, when the 320 year-old Cathedral of Sao Paulo was demolished to make way for the grand new symbol of religious faith. For some reason, however, the new cathedral remained uncompleted until 1967 and then suffered a period of severe decay until the year 2000, when it underwent a complete restoration. It was only then that the Sao Paulo Cathedral was finally finished to the German architect’s original designs, which were found hidden deep in the depths of the building.

The finished building is incredible – at 111 by 46 meters it can hold up to 8000 people, and more than 800 tons of the finest marble were used in its construction. It is the 4th largest gothic cathedral in the world. Whether you are religious or not, a visit to the Sao Paulo Cathedral is one of the best things to do in Sao Paulo.

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Awesome things to do in Sao Paulo – Sao Paulo Cathedral (Photo Credit – Leandro Neumann Ciuffo)

6. Caipirinha Party at Limetime Hostel

Why is it one of the best things to do in Sao Paulo?

The national cocktail of Brazil is made from Cachaça – a sugar cane based distilled liquor – mixed with plenty of smashed limes and sugar. If you want to party Brazilian style, then this is your drink! Limetime Hostel in Pinheiros neighbourhood hosts Caipirinha Wednesday every week, with free Caipirinhas for all hostel guests until 10pm. They also have one of the best hostel atmospheres of any hostel we’ve ever stayed in, with clean comfortable dorms, a full kitchen and a great rooftop to hang out, catch some rays and spend your Thursday recovering from Caipirinha Wednesday! Being in the heart of bohemian Pinheiros, the hostel is surrounded by cool bars, cafes, shops and restaurants, not to mention just a short walk from the Metro and Sunset Square! Of all the things to do in Sao Paulo, make space for a Caipirinha party!

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Awesome things to do in Sao Paulo – Limetime Hostel (Photo Credit – Limetime Hostel)

7. Skyscraper City View from Edifício Martinelli

Why is it one of the best things to do in Sao Paulo?

While there are many dozens of skyscrapers in Sao Paulo, the Edificio Martinelli is particularly special. Constructed between 1929 and 1934 to the design of Giuseppe Martinell, an Italian immigrant who became a wealthy entrepreneur. With 30 floors and 130 meters tall, it was the tallest building in South America from 1934 to 1947 and commands panoramic views of the city, with free tours every half hour!

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Awesome things to do in Sao Paulo – Edificio Martinelli (Photo Credit – Mark Hillary)

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Written by Jonathan Howe

Jon is the Old White Monkey. Born in the south of England, Jon spent much of his early childhood in Kenya and Malawi, before moving to the Lake District in North West England aged 13 where he acquired a northern accent and a love for lakes, mountains, waterfalls, black pudding and gravy! After 14 years of studying and working in various (very various!) jobs, he too felt the need to get out and see the rest of the world. He loves tropical beaches, surfing, hiking, the outdoors, yoga, adventure sports and motorbikes!

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