Sao Paulo Travel Guide

Activities & Events

Theaters and concert halls

The two most important concert and opera houses of the city are Theatro Municipal and Sala São Paulo (see São Paulo/Historic Center). São Paulo has a great number of theaters, most of which feature plays in Portuguese. The British Cultural Centre, Goethe Institute, Instituto Cervantes and Alliance Française occasionally have plays in English, German, Spanish and French, respectively; check individual District listings.

Ciclofaixa de Lazer

The Ciclofaixa de Lazer (Leisure Cycling Lane) compromises dozens of kilometers of interconnected cycling lanes, in the central, south and west areas of the city, that are available on Sundays and some holidays, between 7AM-4PM. It interconnects most places of interest of the city - Downtown, Avenida Paulista, Parque do Ibirapuera, University of São Paulo, the Pinheiros river business centers and the Guarapiranga reservoir, although certainly not using the shortest paths. Bicycle borrowing and renting is available at Parque das Bicicletas (in Parque do Ibirapuera) and at Praça do Ciclista (at Avenida Paulista), but try to get a bicycle in advance if possible.

Since the cycling route is family-oriented, signaling and safety standards are high. The route is stricly intended for recreational, not sportive cycling, so set your speed accordingly in the presence of other cyclists. A full map of the route, as well as other useful information, are available here.

Fun for the family

Both adults and kids are ensured to have fun by seeing the animals in the São Paulo Zoo and in the São Paulo Aquarium (see São Paulo/Southeast). São Paulo also has educative spaces aimed both at adults and children, including Catavento Cultural (see São Paulo/Downtown) and Espaço Ciência (see São Paulo/West). Finally, Mundo da Xuxa (see São Paulo/South Central) is a theme park only for the small ones.

Watch football/soccer

Football is an inherent part of Brazilian culture, and São Paulo is no exception, being home of four football teams that generally run in the 1st division: Corinthians, São Paulo, Palmeiras and Portuguesa. The four large football stadiums in the city are Morumbi, Parque Antarctica (see São Paulo/West), Pacaembu (see São Paulo/Historic Center) and Canindé (see São Paulo/Southeast). A new stadium is being constructed in the São Paulo/Far East region, and it will host the opening of the FIFA World Cup 2014. A word of warning, however: although most matches are safe and fun events, games between the biggest local rivals (Corinthians, São Paulo, Palmeiras and, to a smaller extent, Santos) have had episodes of violence flaring up (the majority of cases, such incidents happening outside of the stadium), due to a minority of violent fans (ultras). Going to such games can be a risky proposition. Portuguesa games are safe, have few supporters, are very peaceful and curious (meets the Portuguese community in the city).

City tours
São Paulo Historical City Tour is a panoramic tour for those keen to have an introduction to the history, culture, and the lifestyle of the biggest city in the Southern Hemisphere. The city tour takes about 3 hours, during which the visitor will pass by places in São Paulo's Old Centre and get familiar with attractions such as the Cathedral of Sé, Pátio do Colégio (short stop at the square, the site where the city was founded), Monastery of São Bento, the Banespa Building (São Paulo’s answer to the Empire State Building), the Martinelli Building (the first skyscraper in South America), Viaduto do Chá (Tea Viaduct), the Municipal Theater, Sala São Paulo concert hall, Estaçao da Luz train station and the Municipal Market.
TurisMetrOffer a variety of city tours every weekend. These are mostly walking tours but with some use of the metro. The tour is free of charge, but you will need to take some cash with you to buy metro tickets during the tour as necessary. The tours start at the TurisMetr desk in S metro station at 9am and 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays; you will need to arrive half an hour earlier to sign up. The desk is inside the ticket turnstiles, so if you arrive by metro don't exit the station past the turnstiles while looking for the desk or you'll have to pay for an extra ticket to get back in. If you are already around the station, you will have to pay for a ticket to gain access to the desk, although you can use it to make the first journey of the tour so it's not wasted. The guides speak English.

According to the São Paulo Convention & Visitors Bureau, São Paulo hosts 90,000 events a year, from meetings and conferences to sports and cultural events. Information in English and Spanish about the events happening in the city can be found on . Events tied to a particular region are listed in the individual district sections. The following events are considered important to the city as a whole:

So Paulo CarnivalAvenida Olavo Fontoura, 1209, SantanaPhone: 11 6226-0510If you're in So Paulo during the annual Carnival, a national bank holiday between the end of February and March. This is where the typical Carnival parade takes place, with dancers dressed up in costumes and musicians play samba songs on the top of fancy cars. If you can afford it, get tickets closest to the "pista" (standing area, close to the parade itself). This will give you a premium view of the parade, and the possibility of comfortably sitting down on benches. Waiters pass to and fro selling chocolate, chips, beer, soft drinks and booze. Another option is to visit one of the various samba school in town, where you can see the rehearsal concerts of musicians and dancers. You can even have the opportunity to join the parade at the time of Carnival holidays by acquiring the costume from a samba school and getting in touch with the people organising the event in one of the schools. However, So Paulo is not a traditional Carnaval destination for Brazilians, like Rio. The city will usually be less crowded on Carnaval then usual, as Paulistanos leave for the Paulista Coast or other states.
Gay Pride ParadeAvenida PaulistaEvery year, during Corpus Christi holidays (usually between May and June), around 3 million people take part in the largest Gay Pride parade in the world. It takes place on a Sunday, and Avenida Paulista is the spot to head to. Floats bustling with electronic music parade from MASP to Repblica, while every type imaginable marches along. The drinks are plenty and the rave party feel keeps the paraders dancing way pass sunset.
Virada CulturalPrice: FreeVirada Cultural is a round-the-clock cultural marathon that takes place in various parts of the Historic Center (Downtown), happening yearly around AprilMay. It is a free event that gathers an audience of several million of people circulating during a 24-hour, non-stop cultural party. Exceptionally, the metro and train work uninterruptedly during the event. During the 2012 edition, there were about 1,300 shows and 15 km of streets were occupied.
Brazilian Grand PrixAutdromo Jos Carlos Paces a Formula One championship race which occurs at the Autdromo Jos Carlos Pace in Interlagos. The Interlagos circuit has created some of the most exciting and memorable races in recent Formula One history, and is regarded as one of the most challenging and exciting circuits on the F1 calendar. Along with Spa-Francorchamps, it is rare in that the circuit in its modern form is one of the few with a lengthy history in the sport not considered to have lost much of its mystique or challenge in its adaptation for the modern, much more safety-conscious era of 21st century Formula One.

source: Wikivoyage

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