São Paulo, Brazil’s monster. The financial disctrict of Brazil, Skyscaper wonderland. Incredibly ugly (some say) and incredibly interesting. What can you do in a city that it so big you can easily get lost in?
1. HANG OUT AT IBIRAPUERA PARK!
Well, yeah. I was exaggerating. São Paulo might be concrete heaven, but there are some green spots you can hang out at.
Ibirapuera Park, for example. IBIRA..what?
I-BI-RA-PU-ERA, don’t give up on that one- took me a while to pronounce it properly as well, haha.
The park is open from 5am until midnight every day and guarded by security. A lot of Paulistas (= people from SãoPaulo) come here to do sports, ride bikes, skateboard or just hang out on the meadows to read books or drink some beers. There are a lot of street vendors with ice-cold coconut water, sweets and ice-ream. On the weekend it’s a bit more crowded and you will find a lot of artists, guitar players and entertainers that make you smile. Make sure to pack a few Real you can chip in their hats when you’re around.
Around Christmas some trees in the park are covered in tiny led lights, which makes you feel like being inside Christmas wonderland (the warm one).
2. EXPLORE ROOFTOPS!
A must-do in São Paulo is to explore rooftops. And actually… in a place that is loaded with huuuuge skyscrapers, not doing so would just be as stupid as going to Italy and not eat a pizza or go to the Caribbean and not head to the beach … you get my point.
Alright, as you can’t just walk into any building and take an elevator up to the roof, some of the following options you have are listed here:
MAC USP is a museum in São Paulo, close to Ibirapuera Park (we’re getting better at this word, huh?). You can take an elevator to the 8th floor and enjoy a spectacular view above the city. They have recently built a café up there as well, where you can sip a beer and enjoy the view. Well you won’t see much inside the café, but the rooftop outside is worth it. It’s best to go right before sunset as you will see the sun setting behind a beautiful skyline.
And yay there is more to see from a bird’s perspective. Head to São Paulo’s nicest rooftop bars and enjoy the skyline below you. This one is actually pretty nice, because the walls are made out of glass and you can see the city sitting on a sofa whilst you sip on your fancy cocktail. Or sip on a not so fancy beer.
There will be a lot of business people around, but don’t feel like you have to dress up. Most people are generally so caught up with their own stuff they won’t even realise you are wearing sneakers.
The bar is located in the residential area of Jardins on the roof of “Hotel Unique”. I offers a unique panoramic view of São Paulo, a sunken pool (you are not allowed to jump in *pffff) and some pretty good cocktails.
A bar located on the 41st floor that almost makes you feel like a fancy astronaut. You will need to wear nice clothes here, but you don’t care, because this place is rather expensive anyways. I haven’t made it there yet, but I’m planning to take my parents and my uncle in case they make it to Brazil (*coughs … *more coughing … *coughcoughcough) anytime soon. Click here to see some pictures of the place and book your reservation.
3. FIND THE FINE ART!
São Paulo is the place to explore all kinds of art. From artsy neighbourhoods like Vila Mariana that is covered in graffiti or various museums to choose from, I can guarantee you won’t be bored.
M U S E U M S
There are just so so many museums in São Paulo, it’s hard to choose from. You could write a full article on museums here, but I am just not in the mood for that today and this is why I focus on two only. But luckily the internet is an endless place and there are people who have done that, so just click here if you want to get an overview of museums in São Paulo.
Close to Ibirapuera Park this museum offers various kinds of modern art on 7 floors. I sometimes walk in there when I’m bored. It’s really quiet and besides some sleeping security not much happens in here. If you want to enjoy art and not socially interact you will love this place. Though the elevators are really tiny and this can get awkward.
This place is amazing. I mean just look at those pillars. The entry is a bit expensive (80-120 Real), but on Tuesdays it’s free, so make sure to go there on a Tuesday and enjoy the art inside.
BECO DO BATMAN
Uh yeah! This one’s my favourite and it is changing every month! Beco do Batman (Batman Alley) in São Paulo is a rather small street with walls covered in Street Art. As I find a to of really good graffiti is also found in the dodgy downtown tunnels, this one is tourist accessible. There are new artists spray painting their beautiful minds on the walls. Make sure to take your camera and catch a few pictures.
If you are lucky you’ll find this dude there on the weekend. He blows up bubbles all day and does a great job!
Batman Alley is rather small as you can see in the following picture. You definitely won’t get lost there. Don’t plan in too much time as you can easily walk through the place in 5 minutes. I would highly recommend to take some time though. Get a beer, sit down on the street somewhere and enjoy the scenery.
If you walk up the hill towards Raw Burger bar there are more graffitis in the parking lots. On the right side (close to a furniture store is one with wings)
I have SO SO many pictures of that place I will definitely write an extra article about that here soon.
4. DRINK A FUCKING COLD BEER!
Close to Beco do Batman you’ll find the RAW Burger BarAdresse: R. Aspicuelta, 176 – Vila Madalena, São Paulo – SP, 05433-010. Get a cold beer and have a burger that will make you drool for weeks. Homemade dips, bacon in your Bloody Mary and an entertaining menu to choose from will make your heart happy.
5. P A R T Y !
When in São Paulo there is no way to get around the parties. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday until Sunday there is always some place to go. The city does not sleep and so shouldn’t you. There are plenty of options to choose from. You can either sit on one of the countless bars on the streets and enjoy a tiny little beer in a glass made for dwarfs (ridiculously tiny for a German I have to say) or you head to a bigger party.
Nice artsy areas to choose a bar (any bar) are Pinheiros and Vila Madalena. Just get a cab or an Uber and walk around the streets until you find a place that makes you happy.
If you like electronic music and some techno with a good bass D.Edge is the place to go. Before you go make sure to write an email with your name on it. You’ll be signed up on the guest list and save some money then.
No one cares if you skip the party, just get your email out before 11pm and you’re set. Note: No one will be there before 1am. The place is a little bit expensive though. Even for European standards the word choice “a little bit” might be a little bit understated. Entry fees vary between 40 and 70 Real and then you have a minimum amount you have to pay to drink.
It’s actually smart to pay 150 Reals at the beginning, which will save you some money once you’re inside. I remember choosing the gin for my drink and ended up paying around 15€ for my drink. The drinks are strong though – trust me, you don’t need that much of those to make you dance.
D.Edge has several floors and a rooftop meant to smoke cigarettes or those other green things some people might enjoy. The bathrooms are up there as well and look like a tiny space ship. Hahaha trust me, once you see it you’ll know what I am talking about.
The music is good, the people tend to be a bit superficial. You can actually be the rudest idiot there, some people will still flock around you to bathe themselves in your Europeanness. Avoid those by dancing with your arms. Or find some actually nice people in underground parties.
The parties that happen downtown are mostly free and the music is amazing. Actually any electro party that happens downtown guarantees good music, if you’re into techno with a good baseline. You can find the events on Facebook, just click on “Events” and choose the darkest looking one. A good one not to miss out on is “Mamba Negra”. It happens once a month on different locations.
Sao Paulo’s Race Track, also called “Autodrómo José Carlos Pace” is a great area for festivals. Lollapalooza or Electric Zoo are just two of the most famous ones here in São Paulo. Make sure to get your tickets early and enter an area that makes you feel like you were on a festival.
The only bad thing about that is that you cannot sleep anywhere in the area. If the festival happens to be three days long you’ll need to get an AirbnB somewhere close. (It’s about 40-60 minutes away from the city centre)
They just seem to happen out of nowhere. At least this is how I experience those. “Lets go to a street party” someone says and then …
…wait what? How the heck can that one be that huge? I’m pretty sure you’d get heaps of noise complaints in Germany, but here no-one cares and it’s a good thing!
CASA DE CALDEIRA
Every sunday this pretty awesome party happens in Case de Caldeira. It starts at 3pm. Make sure to be there at 4pm latest to get in. The queues can be pretty long after that. When you’re inside make sure to buy a lot of drink vouchers as you might end up standing in line for over 20 minutes.
6. VISIT AVENIDA PAULISTA ON A SUNDAY!
Avenida Paulista in São Paulo is about 3 kilometres long. A lot of financial and cultural institutions are located here. It does not get boring strolling along this one. And guess what? The whole road is blocked every Sunday. You can basically walk, bike or skateboard directly on the street. At the same time there are so many food stands to choose from, people playing music, free concerts and a lot of art you can look at, this experience will stick in your mind like chewing gum on ya shoe.
Make sure to take a camera and plan in at least 2-3 hours to walk around, grab some drinks and then just sit somewhere on the street to enjoy the whole scenery. I am actually heading there in about 1 hour from now 😉
The road is closed early in the morning until 6pm.
Once you’re there, the bar Mirante 9 de Julio is a must visit. I sometimes just hang out at the stairs and watch the cars pass by. It’s a petty nice spot and not that crowded with tourists yet.
RUA CARLOS COMENALE, S/N
SÃO PAULO, BRASIL
7. WATCH A SUNSET!
Sunsets above skylines. Beautiful. What can I say, though I would always always prefer to be somewhere in nature than in a huge crowded city, those sunsets got me and I mean, just look at this:
If you want to hang out on a hilly meadow whilst overlooking Sao Paulo, you should make sure to head to SUNSET SQUARERua Desembargador Ferreira Franca s/n | Pinheiros, Sao Paulo, State of Sao Paulo 05446-050, Brazil. There’s a reason this place has earned its name.
8. RIDE THOUGH A MALL IN STYLE
YEAH, definitely! Get yourself in a mall and ride through it on your animal of choice. Be serious and try not to laugh, park it outside Guess or Gucci and ride along whilst you look at the shop windows.
9. GET SOME RED POPCORN
Get some delicious red Pipoca. You can find it anywhere on the street. It’s Popcorn glazed in some red sugary stuff and will make you addicted.
10. VISIT A MARKET
Once you start having a bad conscience about eating too much Pipoca, head to a market and stock up on some tasty fruit. Even if you do not buy anything people will let you try all kinds of things.
This is just a small selection of things to do in Sao Paulo. The city has so much more to offer. Make sure to come and visit Sao Paulo – a rather friendly monster and enjoy all of the activities it offers.
Feel free to ask questions in the comment section.