Sao Paulo Travel Guide

Attractions

Avenida Paulista

Avenida Paulista (Paulista Avenue) is one of São Paulo's most popular postcards, as it is the pride of Paulistanos. It is one of the largest business centers, and probably the largest cultural region in the city. Its architectural contrast reflects the fact that the avenue is located between the "old" and "new" parts of the city.

The avenue and its surroundings, such as Rua Augusta, Alameda Santos and Rua Oscar Freire, contain numerous shop galleries, art galleries, theatres, movie theaters, pubs, hotel, coffee shops, bookstores, and gourmet restaurants. Gay nightlife is intense on Consolacao and Haddock Lobo Streets.

Historic center

São Paulo's Historic Center met a period of degradation, but it is gradually recovering with recent projects and investments. Even through it still has some problems, it is an area to not be missed due to its historical and cultural value for the city. Here you can find many constructions and landmarks from glorious moments of São Paulo's history, ridiculously crowded commercial areas, and a multitude of theatres and cultural activities.

Rio Pinheiros river area

The Pinheiros river crosses the West of São Paulo in North-South direction, and although heavily polluted, the river and its shores are among the most beautiful and interesting areas of the city. The East shore is filled with skyscrapers that compose the business centers of Brooklin Novo and Vila Olímpia, and contains the longest cycleway of the city, as well as one of the most vibrant nightlife areas. The West shore is home to University of São Paulo and exhibits a stereotypical portrait of São Paulo's social inequality, contrasting luxurious apartments and mansions with low class suburbs and favelas. In the middle of the river, stands the magnificent Ponte Octavio Frias, more known as Ponte Estaiada. The Line 9-Emerald train line runs alongside the river, making all spots quite easy to reach.

Parks

Although São Paulo is commonly associated with gray, concrete, and lack of green space, the Atlantic rainforest still covers large portions of the city and even of the municipality. These green areas are constantly under threat by irregular occupation, so the government has turned many of them into into public parks in order to better protect them.

Parks in the city can be divided into three types:

Leisure parks are those with plenty of recreational, sport and cultural facilities, but do not contain considerable amounts of original vegetation. Parque do Ibirapuera (see São Paulo/South Central) is certainly the most famous park of this type in the city, hosting various museums, monuments, and cultural activities;
Ecotourism parks are those which are mostly covered by the Atlantic rainforest and other natural ecossystems, and contain limited recreational facilities. They are suited for those seeking an adventure. These include Parque Estadual da Cantareira (see São Paulo/Northeast and Guarulhos), APA Capivari-Monos (see São Paulo/Far South) and Parque Estadual do Jaraguá (see São Paulo/Northwest).
Mixed parks are a mix between the two above types: they have both leisure facilities and preserved nature areas. They are a nice option if you think that nature is best enjoyed with the company of other people, or if you want to do something more relaxing and less adventurous. These include Parque do Carmo, Parque Ecológico do Tietê (see São Paulo/Far East) and Horto Florestal (see São Paulo/Northeast).

Check the individual district listings for a more comprehensive list of parks and more detailed information.

Museums and cultural centers

As the art center of the country, São Paulo offers innumerous museums and cultural centers.

Two museums to not be missed, due to their size, architecture, and historical importance, are Museu do Ipiranga (Southeast) and Memorial da América Latina (West).

Appreciators of art should also check Museu de Arte de São Paulo (Paulista), Pinacoteca do Estado (Downtown), Instituto Tomio Ohtake, Museu de Arte Contemporânea (West) and Museu de Arte Moderna (South Central).

Check each district section of this guide for a comprehensive list of museums.

Panoramic views

São Paulo is a beautiful city seen from above, so spare some time to go to one of the few points where you'll be able to see how far this city extends to, specially at sunset.

Banespa TowerRua Joo Brcola, 24, Centro. So Bento Metr stationPhone: +55(11) 3249-7180Hours: M-F, 10AM-5PMPrice: Free entranceThe observation deck is on the 34th floor, 160 m above ground. For many decades, it used to be the highest building in town. There is a small museum on the top of the building." Make sure and bring ID (passport) because it is required for entrance.
Restaurant Skye, Hotel UniqueAvenida Brigadeiro Luiz Antnio, 4700Price: Free entranceOn the rooftop of posh Hotel Unique, Skye serves excellent fusion food under the supervision of chef Emmanuel Bassoleil. Good for night views of the area around Ibirapuera Park.
So Paulo Jockey ClubAv. Lineu de Paula Machado, 1263Price: Free entranceThere are two bars and a couple of posh restaurants with a great view of the River Pinheiros, especially around 6PM, when you can go straight from work or a busy day walking about to watch the sun set above town.

source: Wikivoyage

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