How can I describe Sao Paulo in
In a hurry between two flights, with nothing planned, we took a relaxed approach and tried to make the best of our forced stay in Sao Paulo. If you want to find out more about that, read Prepare for the unexpected in Brazil.
We managed to cover a little bit of everything in our 2 days in Sao Paulo:
One of the most important avenues in Sau Paulo, it stretches for 2.8 km and is the headquarter of a large number of financial and cultural institutions. Located between the Centre, the old city and the West, the modern city, is a perfect blend between the old and modern, with historical architecture coexisting with skyscrapers. Crowded day and night, with shopping galleries, restaurants, banks, pubs, cafes, institutions, theatres and cultural centres, catering for all budgets.
The Art Museum
Located on Avenida Paulista, is a symbol of modern Brazilian architecture. The glass and concrete structure is elevated above the ground by four large beams, giving a floating illusion. The gallery displays a collection of works ranging from the Renaissance to Contemporary Modern. For approximately 4USD a ticket, you can experience Brazilian Art at its best.
Opened in 1954, covers 1.6 million m2 area, has been elected as one of the 10 best urban parks in the world. Housing 4 museums, is also great outdoor heaven for running, cycling and skateboarding. Over 10 million people visit the park each year, with a whopping 130,000 people visiting on Sundays. There are plenty of small kiosks and stands that sell a range of on-the-go snacks and drinks such as beers, water, soft drinks, and fresh coconuts. The park is open weekdays from 5 a.m. to midnight and 24 hours a day over the weekend.
Ayrton Senna’s grave visit
If you are a Formula 1 fan, you can’t visit Sao Paulo without going to Morumbi Cemetery to pay your tribute to Ayrton Senna. I was a huge fan of Ayrton, and as a teenager at his death, a part of me died with him. I promised myself I will get to his grave one day, doesn’t matter what. 22 years later, I found myself in front of a modest plaque, with the most flowers, flags and mementoes around it. A common cemetery, in a quiet and understated place. It was a unique moment, the inscription on the plaque translates with ‘’nothing can separate me from the love of God’’. Rest in peace Ayrton!
One of the wealthiest districts in Sao Paulo takes its name from the magnificent parks in the area, such as Jardim Paulista, Jardim America, Jardim Paulistano and Jardim Europa. A chic and trendy district, you will find several museums, a myriad of upmarket shops and some of the city’s finest restaurants here. A bustling nightlife, Jardins over 200 bars.
Rua Oscar Freire
Oscar Freire Street, in Jardins, is the 8th most luxurious street in the world and second in the Americas behind 5th Avenue in New York. A 2.6 km tree-lined street, hosts the biggest international brands alongside top-notch Brazilian fashion, sophisticated food shops and restaurants. Fashionista or not, this is a place that you need to visit in Sao Paulo.
I know I want to go back, and I definitely want to go there with my best friends in a shopping spree. The shopping compares with Italy, London or any other big city. From super cheap to designer brands, you can experience it all. I was impressed by local fashion the most, the quality, the design and the price. From leather shoes and handbags to t-shirts and dresses, for female or males, they have it all. Spending the previous 10 days in Rio de Janeiro and Costa Verde, where all you can buy are beachwear, Sao Paulo was a shopping paradise. Mall after mall, boutiques, designer shops, street vendors, you can easily spend a week just shopping. Shop until you drop at its best!
The food is simply delicious. You need to try breakfast at the local padoca, a large bakery which serves as a market, convenience store, restaurant, café and bar. The majority are open 24 hours and I can promise you; food is mouth-watering. It has the best restaurants in the country, with all cuisines under the sun, from Congolese to Chinese and Portuguese to Palestinian.
There is no point to say accommodation is proportional to the size of the city. Being a huge city, you need to move around anyway, therefore something like Jardins will have an incredible nightlife and will be safe for tourists. I would recommend to explore day time and spend evenings in safe neighbourhoods.
Use public transport for Avenida Paulista and Jardins, and taxis for everything else. You can negotiate the price and they can be reasonably cheap. Be aware of pickpocketing, as you should be everywhere in South America.
We ended up seeing a fraction of this cosmopolitan city. More impressive than we were expecting, with colourful and provoking street art, three football clubs and four stadiums, superb museums, and a temperate climate, Sao Paulo needs to be added up to your Brazilian experience.