São Paulo is the largest city in Latin America and therefore can leave any visitor feeling a bit overwhelmed. However, this megalopolis has plenty to offer the traveler. Here are some of the city's best-known attractions.
Ibirapuera Park is the city's largest park and an immense urban green space that includes several museums, including the Museu Afro-Brasil and the Modern Art Museum. The park's entrance is marked by this huge sculpture called Monumento as Bandeiras (The Monument to the Flags), which commemorates the multi-ethnic pioneers who settled Brazil.
Oca at Ibirapuera Park
Oca is one of the several buildings that make up an interesting architectural complex in Ibirapuera Park, the city's largest green space. One of the 20th century's best-known architects, Oscar Niemeyer, designed the buildings in the 1950s, including the dome-shaped Oca, which houses exhibitions on its three floors. Other highlights nearby are the Planetarium and Biennale buildings.
This historic building, beautifully decorated with stained glass and architectural details on the exterior, houses the city's grandest food market. Step inside the Municipal Market for every kind of fruit one can imagine, homemade sweets, dried fruits, and nuts, salami, and cheese on the first floor before proceeding upstairs for one of the city's famous mortadella sandwiches.
Street Art in São Paulo
São Paulo is one of the world's best cities for street art, thanks to an innovative group of dedicated artists who continue to refine the art. Try Beco de Batman for the city's largest concentration of street art murals, or look for the work of artists wherever you go, like this mural on the side of the Modern Art Museum in Ibirapuera Park. It is a commissioned work of Os Gemeos, a duo of twin brothers who are two of the best street artists around.
Museu de Futbol
Museu de Futbol, or the Soccer Museum, is housed in one of the city's most important soccer stadiums, Estadio Pacaembu. Though the museum does not have English translations, much of the displays are visual, and any soccer fan will appreciate the memorabilia, photos, and videos of soccer history. Visitors can also have a good look inside a real Brazilian soccer stadium--after all, this is Brazil, so a stadium is an important landmark in the city.
Edificio Italia is a tall building in the center of the city with a must-visit terrace restaurant and bar where you can enjoy a caipiroska or other Brazilian cocktail with an outstanding view of the city.
Museu de Arte de São Paulo
Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) sits on one of the city's grandest boulevards, Avenida Paulista. The modern style of its architecture does not match the art housed inside; this museum has perhaps the finest collection of western art in South America. Its permanent collection includes works by many European masters, such as Rembrandt, Velazquez, and Monet, but its temporary exhibitions explore various genres and are always high quality.
Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo
The Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo is one of the city's finest art museums. Inside visitors will find a large collection of Brazilian paintings which collectively display the history of this country. The museum also houses a nice collection of French sculpture. Downstairs is a lovely cafe with typical Brazilian food and snack options, and outside is a small sculpture garden and European style park in Parque da Luz.