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Best things to do in Sao Paulo

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Where in the world: South America  /  Brazil  /  State of Sao Paulo  /  Sao Paulo

Top 15 things to do in Sao Paulo

1. Parque Ibirapuera

Home to various museums and monuments, Parque Ibirapuera is one of the city’s most important recreational and cultural areas. This green area features sprawling areas designated for picnicking, jogging, cycling, and walking. The park’s importance to the city, locals claim, is comparable to that of Central Park to the residents of New York City. One of Latin America’s largest urban parks, the site opened in 1954 to mark the 400th anniversary of the city. Many of the park’s buildings were designed by famed architect Oscar Niemeyer, while the landscaped green zones were planned by agronomist Otávio Agusto de Teixeira Mendes. The park is home to the Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, and the iconic Obelisk of Sao Paolo, symbol of Brazil’s Constitutional Revolution.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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2. Pinacoteca do Estado de Sao Paulo

Innovative and inspiring Pinacoteca do Estado de Sao Paulo, renowned for its thought-provoking exhibits, is located in the heart of the city. Established in 1911 (1905), this is the oldest art museum in the state, housed in a 1900 building that was originally designed to accommodate the city’s Lyceum of Arts and Crafts. Today, the museum is one of Brazil’s most important cultural institutions, featuring a large collection of Brazilian art. Visit the site to explore the displays featuring some of the most iconic Brazilian Modernist works. Don’t miss the galleries devoted to European artists, and the displays featuring some of the most iconic Brazilian Modernist works. Check online for a list of upcoming special events and temporary exhibitions. Arrange to visit Pinacoteca do Estado de Sao Paulo and other attractions in Sao Paulo using our Sao Paulo travel itinerary maker.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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3. Paulista Avenue

Experience the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the city by walking through Paulista Avenue, a 3 km (2 mi) thoroughfare notable for headquartering a large number of financial and cultural institutions. This important city avenue houses an extensive shopping area, as well as Latin America’s most comprehensive fine art museum, the Sao Paulo Museum of Art. Located in one of the highest parts of the city, the avenue is clustered with radio and TV stations, and is served by numerous subway and bus lines. Once a popular residential neighborhood, the avenue is flanked by lavishly ornate mansions, former homes of the city’s most powerful coffee barons. Bumper-to-bumper traffic is frequent in this area even outside peak hours, so avoid visiting by car or taxi.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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4. Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo Assis Chateaubriand - MASP

Housing an impressive collection of over 8,000 works, Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo Assis Chateaubriand - MASP ranks among the largest and most comprehensive museums of Western art in Latin America. The collection features European paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings, and decorative arts. The French and Italian schools form the main body of the collection, followed by Spanish, Portuguese, Flemish, Dutch, English, and German masters. The museum also keeps a large collection of Brazilian, African, Asian, and North American art. The main body of the building, supported by two lateral beams standing over 74 m (243 ft) of freestanding space, is considered a landmark of the city and a major symbol of modern Brazilian architecture. Check the museum’s official website for a detailed list of upcoming exhibitions and other cultural events.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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5. Mercado Municipal de São Paulo

Discover the culinary culture of Brazil at the covered Mercado Municipal de São Paulo, a sprawling food market located in an iconic building noted for its stained glass windows and a series of massive domes. You can browse hundreds of the bustling market’s stalls on your own, or as part of a private tour with an informative local guide. The market offers visitors a chance to experience the city’s vibrant atmosphere, and provides insight into Brazil’s fascinating mixture of cultures and cuisines. The market specializes in fresh produce and a wide range of dried good, with numerous stalls selling gourmet delicacies and quick snacks, such as mortadella sandwiches, meat-stuffed pastries, and fried fish.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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6. Room Escape Games

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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7. Museu da Lingua Portuguesa

One of only a few museums in the whole world dedicated to a single language, Museu da Lingua Portuguesa is located in the renovated Estacao da Luz railway station. The busy station was chosen to house the museum because it was precisely here that many non-Portuguese speaking European and Asian immigrants got acquainted with the language for the very first time. Wander around the old station to have a look at its iconic Romanesque red-brick arches and iron pillars. Use the museum’s displays to gain a better understanding of the Portuguese language’s origins, history, and evolution over time. Though the museum’s exhibits are all in Portuguese, foreign visitors can still pick up the rhythm and flow of the language through videos, recitations, and interactive presentations.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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8. Liberdade

Instead of Chinatown, in Sao Paulo there’s Japantown, locally called Liberdade. This part of town is the world’s largest Japanese community outside of Japan. The district includes a significant population of Chinese and Koreans, and features numerous Asian shops, markets, bars, and restaurants. The area is also noted for housing the Museum of Japanese Immigration in Brazil, narrating the story of the first Japanese settlers who came to work on the region’s sprawling coffee plantations. Be sure to stop by the iconic entrance into the district, which offers a convenient photo opportunity with its tall red torii, a Japanese arch usually marking entrances into Shinto temples.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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9. Museu do Futebol

Learn all about the "Beautiful Game" at Museu do Futebol, located below the bleachers of the city’s iconic Pacaembu Stadium. The museum’s interactive exhibits, designed to narrate the history of Brazilian football in an easy-to-follow way, attract both die-hard fans and casual visitors, who may be discovering Brazil’s favorite sport for the very first time. Explore hundreds of photographs and memorabilia of unquestionably the most successful national team in the sport’s history, and find out who Brazil’s 25 greatest-ever players are and how they were chosen. This modern museum uses holographic displays, touch-screen information panels, and a wide range of other media to highlight the national team’s memorable matches, coaches, and trophies.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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10. Mosteiro De Sao Bento

Mosteiro de São Bento (in English: St Benedict's Monastery) is a church located in São Paulo, Brazil. Established on 14 July 1598, the current church was built between 1910 and 1914.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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12. São Paulo Cathedral

The São Paulo See Metropolitan Cathedral --"See" and "cathedra" mean "seat" and therefore the ecclesiastical authority of a bishop or archbishop is the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of São Paulo, Brazil. the Metropolitan Archbishop of the archdiocese was Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer. Its construction, in Neo-Gothic style, began in 1913 and ended four decades later. It was ready for its dedication on the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the then humble villa of São Paulo by Chief or Cacique Tibiriçá and the Jesuit priests Manuel da Nóbrega and José de Anchieta. Despite having a Renaissance-styled dome, the São Paulo Metropolitan Cathedral is considered by some to be the 4th largest neo-gothic cathedral in the world.
The history of the Cathedral of São Paulo goes back in time to 1589, when it was decided that a main church would be built in the small village of São Paulo. This church, located on the site of the present cathedral, was only finished around 1616. São Paulo became seat of a diocese in 1745, and the old church was demolished and substituted by a new one, built in Baroque style, which was finished around 1764. This modest church would be the Cathedral of São Paulo until 1911, when it was demolished.
The present cathedral was built under Duarte Leopoldo e Silva, the first archbishop of São Paulo. Construction began in 1913 on the site of the demolished colonial cathedral following the project of German architect Maximilian Emil Hehl, who designed a Neo-Gothic structure. Work proceeded slowly and the inauguration of the new Cathedral happened only in 1954, with the towers still unfinished, but in time for the celebration of São Paulo's Fourth Centenary. The towers would only be completed in 1967.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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13. Sao Paulo Brazil Temple

The São Paulo Brazil Temple (formerly the São Paulo Temple) is the 19th constructed and 17th operating temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Located in the Brazilian city of São Paulo, it was the first LDS temple built in South America, and also the first temple to use the single story, single spire design. The spire is 101 feet (31 m) tall.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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14. The Julio Prestes Cultural Center - Sala Sao Paulo

Julio Prestes Cultural Center

The Julio Prestes Cultural Center - Sala Sao Paulo, located in an old train station, is noted for housing the famous Sala Sao Paulo, home of the Sao Paulo State Symphonic Orchestra. The venue features nearly 1,500 seats and is used for regular symphonic and chamber music performances. The site’s state-of-the-art design is often compared to that of the Boston Symphony Hall and Vienna’s Musikverein. The train station building was restored and renovated in the 1990s, as part of an important downtown revitalization project. The station’s large hall was chosen as the main performance space because like the finest 19th century concert halls, it resembles a shoebox, considered an optimal design for such venues. Check the center’s official website for an updated list of concerts and other special events.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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15. Jardins District

Often described as Brazil’s version of Rodeo Drive, Jardins District is an affluent part of the city featuring hundreds of bars, restaurants, and shops. Most of the world’s luxury brands have found their Brazilian home here, including Cartier, Chanel Dior, Armani, Gucci, Hermes, and Prada, to name just a few. Widely regarded as the city’s finest shopping mall, the Iguatemi is located within this district, in an area locals call Jardim Paulistano. Spend the day browsing dozens of stores located in this vibrant neighborhood, or make arrangements to meet up with friends and family at one of its many trendy eateries. Be sure to explore the districts cultural attractions, which include the Sao Paulo Museum of Image and Sound and the Brazilian Museum of Sculpture.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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