The best time to visit Sao Paulo is in the spring from September to November. This shoulder season has warm days and cool nights, few crowds, and a host of events for all kinds of interests, like the Sao Paulo International Film Festival, Restaurant Week, and Brazil’s F1 Grand Prix. Plus, you can score some hotel and flight deals during these months. For those that want to head to the nearby beaches and experience Carnival, though, summer is the time to come, albeit with heavy rains.
Sao Paulo has two peak seasons: the holiday season from a week before Christmas until Carnival ends and the winter months of July and August. Plane tickets and hotel prices will be highest from December to March, with the rates spiking during Carnival. Although pricey, it’s one of the most fun times to be in the city.
Brazilians take their holidays seriously. Expect some services and businesses to be closed or operating at limited hours during Christmas and New Year’s (sometimes for as long as one to two weeks).
Sao Paulo has a humid subtropical climate with pleasant weather year-round, lots of rain, and little variation between seasons. Known as Terra da Garoa (Land of Drizzle), rainfall serves as one of the main distinguishing factors between seasons. Summer is the wettest, and streets can flood. However, this season still has plenty of sunshine and warm temps (61.1 to 79.2 degrees F), making it the best season for going to nearby beaches.
The shoulder seasons of spring and fall boast slightly cooler temps (55 to 76.1 degrees F for spring and 53.1 to 77.2 degrees F for fall), with plenty of sunshine and daylight hours. For the least muggy weather and driest season, go in winter.
Popular Events and Festivals
By far the largest festival of the year is Carnival. Paulistanos let loose before the solemn days of Lent via drinking, dancing, and singing at massive parades of battling samba schools and sequined and feather-adorned dancers. For the largest party, head to the Sambadrome.
Sampa has a strong art scene, and many of its events are based around showcasing that. The Sao Paulo Art Biennial, the second oldest biennial in the world, takes over Ibirapuera Park every two years in April to exhibit international artwork, while the Virada Cultural is a 24-hour celebration of culture through concerts, movies, plays, art exhibits, and dances, filling cultural spaces, streets, and even libraries.
This is the wettest month with 9.4 inches of rain. Thankfully, January also has some of the longest days of the year (13.4 hours of daylight per day) and an average temperature of 70.7 degrees F, meaning there’s still plenty of good weather despite the showers.
Events to check out:
- Check out the largest New Year's party in town, Reveillon, a free event on Avenida Paulista where DJs spin, people dance in the streets, and fireworks burst at midnight.
- The Aniversário da Cidade de Sao Paulo on January 25 celebrates the founding of the city with concerts and art exhibits in different venues.
The hottest month of the year, February’s temperatures range from the high 70s F to the low 60s F. Summer rains continue, causing massive traffic jams. Expect high hotel rates during the week of Carnival.
Event to check out: Carnival, the most popular of all Brazilian holidays occurs this month or next, depending on the year. Feathers, glitter, and rival samba crews meet at the Sambadrome for dancing and live music parades for two days, as block parties take over the city.
Days grow a little shorter (12.2 hours of daylight per day) and temps a bit cooler (60.8 to 77.2 degrees F), as the humidity picks up to 80 percent. Hotel prices drop as well, and the rain lets up slightly.
Event to check out: The two week fall installation of Sao Paulo Restaurant Week begins this month and carries into April. Enjoy special menus at over 200 of Sao Paulo’s best restaurants for surprisingly affordable prices.
The humidity continues at 80 percent, but the rains begin to ease to only 2.9 inches. The average temperature drops to a cool 65.3 degrees F. The city buzzes with tourists in town for festivals and Easter holidays, but hotel room rates remain fairly low. Many shops and services operate at a lower capacity, especially during Semana Santa (Holy Week).
Events to check out:
- The fifth largest fashion event in the world and Latin America’s biggest fashion show, Sao Paulo Fashion Week happens twice a year with the first installment in March or April.
- The international art fair SP-Arte showcases 160 art exhibits from 13 different countries. Drawing 35,000 visitors to Sao Paulo, it is one of the largest art fairs in the world.
Plan for warm days with a high of 70.7 degrees F and cool nights, with a low of 53.1 degrees F. The humidity lowers, the rains stay the same as April, and the days shorten even more.
Event to check out: Don’t miss Virada Cultural, a free 24-hour party throughout the city and the largest festival of its kind in the world.
Winter begins, and temperatures drop, ranging from 50.5 to 69.4 degrees F. The dry season starts with only 2 inches of rain falling throughout the month. Hotel prices begin to rise as tourists flock to the city for the cool, dry weather.
Events to check out:
- Paulista Avenue hosts the largest gay pride parade in the world, Parada do Orgulho LGBT, with 3 million attendees dancing atop floats and in the streets as glitter and confetti fill the air with rainbow colors.
- Festa Junia celebrates the end of the harvest season and various Catholic saints with folkloric dancing and traditional Brazilian food.
The coldest month of the year arrives with an average temperature of 59.7 degrees F. Hotels should be booked far in advance as schools close for all of July, making it a popular time for domestic travel. The flip side? You can score great flight deals this month.
Event to check out: Celebrate the city’s Italian immigrant heritage at the Rua Fernandes Silva during the Sao Vito Festival with Italian food, dancing, and music honoring Saint Vito.
Low precipitation, slightly longer days, and only slightly warmer weather make most of August a cool, but enjoyable time to visit. The verãozinho (little summer), a bout of hot and dry weather, blasts into town part of this month, driving temperatures into the 80s F.
Event to check out: Vila Madalena holds the Feira de Artes da Vila Madalena, where artisans sell their crafts on its graffiti-lined streets.
Spring arrives with a slight increase in rain. Days begin to get longer and heat up with temperatures reaching into the low 70s F, tempting residents to head for nearby beaches.
Event to check out: The second installment of Sao Paulo Restaurant Week begins this month and stretches into October.
The weather mirrors that of September, only with more rain, longer days, and slightly higher temperatures, sometimes reaching into the mid-70s F.
Event to check out: Brazil’s largest film festival, the Sao Paulo International Film Festival spans two weeks, during which 20 venues screen 350 movies ranging from blockbusters, retrospectives, and foreign-language films, and of course, premiers.
Nearby beaches begin to warm up, but aren’t crowded yet. Rainfall is moderate with 5.7 inches falling for the whole month, and the temperature ranges from 59.4 to 76.1 degrees F.
Event to check out: The Brazilian F1 Grand Prix comes to the Autódromo José Carlos Pace to race around the Interlagos track for a host of raucous fans.
High season begins a week before Christmas and lasts until the end of Carnival. Summer starts, with temps ranging form 61.1 to 77 degrees F. Daylight extends to 13.6 hours a day.
Event to check out: Ibirapuera Park twinkles with a giant Christmas tree and light show on the fountain during Natal Iluminado (Enlightened Christmas).