Cultural Guide to São Paulo, BrazilPlanning a trip to Brazil and considering spending a couple of days in São Paulo? Here is our little guide with some non-exhausting tips on how to enjoy the best of the city. With a very cosmopolitan environment, São Paulo offers options for food and entertainment that suit all tastes and wallets. As it is not exactly easy for first-time visitors to walk around one of the ten largest cities in the world and find the best addresses, we prepared a small list with insider’s tips on art places and restaurants.ART IN SAO PAOLOAny visit to São Paulo must include its biggest symbol: Avenida Paulista. The avenue features shops, restaurants and the most important museum in Latin America: MASP (Sao Paulo Museum of Art). At MASP you can find an important selection of Brazilian and European Art, including works of Renoir, Gauguin, Botticelli, Matisse, Monet, Degas, Picasso, Velázquez, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, among others. The building of the museum itself, projected by Lina Bo Bardi, is considered a symbol of modernism in Brazil, as a huge structure of concrete and glass is supported only in its top and sideways by two lateral beams, leaving 74 meters of freestanding space.
MASP – Picture Credits: Mário Rodrigues/VEJA
We also suggest that you check the calendar of the Brazilian Museum of Art – FAAP. The place always holds nice expositions, such as the one on “OsGemeos”, world-famous Brazilian street artists, and, more recently, an interactive exhibition on Hermès. Other great museums to visit are “Museu do Ipiranga”, “Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo” and “Museu da América Latina”.
Brazilian Museum of Art – FAAP – “OsGemeos” – Picture Credits: Lost Art
For architecture fans, the city has some important Niemeyer’s works, including a “must go” spot: the “Ibirapuera Park”. While Niemeyer was responsible for the buildings, Burle Marx developed the landscaping. Both architects collaborated with Le Corbusier in several other projects. Visit the “Oca” and the “Auditório do Ibirapuera”. It is also the perfect place for some jogging or a bike ride!
If you are an urban art fan, you will find a lot of pleasure walking around “Vila Madalena”, a trendy neighborhood with a vibrant community of artists and bohemians. Nice places to see are “Beco do Aprendiz”, “Beco do Batman” and the panel of Studio Kobra on the sidewall of “Igreja do Calvário”.
“Beco do Aprendiz” – Picture Credits: Eduardo Vessoni
São Paulo is a city of immigrants and you can find good options of almost every type of cuisine. The city has the largest Italian community living outside Italy, as well as the biggest Japanese community outside Japan. And that says a lot about what you can expect. For good Italian meals go for Famiglia Mancini, TappoTrattoria or Tatini Restaurante. For the perfect Italian gelato, we recommend Bacio di Latte. If you are looking for trending Japanese restaurants, we suggest Nakka, Jam – Japanese Food, Arts & Music (both addresses), Mori Sushi Ohta and Osaka. Best burgers in town are Z-Deli, Butcher’s Market, Bar. and St. Louis. If you are missing France, some good options are Ici Brasserie, Le Jazz Brasserie, La Casserole and Le Vin Bistro. For those with a food allergy or those that prefer to eat healthy, nice gluten-free and lactose-free places are Lilóri and Maíz.
JAM – Japanese Food, Arts & Music – Picture Credits: Tadeu Brunelli
But if you really want to try typical Brazilian food, we have some special advice:
For the very typical dish “feijoada” (a stew of beans with pork and other meats), go to Restaurante do Bolinha or Bar do Juarez. Brazilians love to eat feijoada with their number one drink: “caipirinha”(a traditional cocktail made with “cachaça”, fruit slices – usually lemon -, sugar and ice). For smoother options, ask for vodka or sake instead of “cachaça”. Almost every bar/club and restaurant in São Paulo serves “caipirinhas”.
Restaurante do Bolinha – Picture Credits: Paulo Pampolin/Hype/Folhapress
For the famous “rodízios” (a typical “all you can eat” type of restaurant where the price of the meal include everything but drinks and dessert) in “churrascarias” (the Brazilian version of barbecue with lots and lots of food), we suggest Fogo de Chão or Rodeo.
“Fogo de Chão” – Picture Credits: Daniel Ozana/Folhapress
For contemporary versions of Brazilian Food, you might like Maní (one star Michelin), Tordesilhas and O.M (two stars Michelin).
You can also find in every bar in town, as well as some outdoor markets and bakeries, cheap Brazilian food such as “Pastel”, “Coxinha”,“Bolinha de Queijo” and “Pão de Queijo”. Please try some!
We hope you enjoyed our little guide! If you have other tips, leave them on the comments bellow!