It’s incredible how there are some people that still believe that Brazil is a big jungle.
Let me tell you sir/ma’am: Actually Sao Paulo is the biggest and most populous city in the country and ranked 12th largest worldwide.
This amazing metropolis is and forever will be the best city in the world for me. Unfortunately it’s not the safest, honestly though like any other big city, but go to the right places and you’ll find out that it’s one of the best big cities to explore.
I feel so proud talking about the city that I was born and raised that, believe it or not, it’s hard to keep neutral. That’s why, when I visited last time (February this year), I decided to explore like a tourist, something that I haven’t done in a long time. But it felt so right and I had such a great time. Plus I could show my husband the other parts of the city since every time we go we ended up staying with my family for the most part and go for crazy night outs with friends. I thought, this time, we deserved a touristy time.
Talking about the crazy nights out, one thing to expect in Sao Paulo it’s that everything is later: Dinner, Club, etc. Or even lasts longer like 5/6 am (Brazilians like to party). It’s actually socially normal to be late for meeting up with friends. I guess we just don’t like to be the first one to show up or we just like to take our time. lol Just kidding, it’s also considering the big traffic that Sao Paulo holds, it just became acceptable to be late.
Let’s not forget about the friendly and warm people. Everywhere you go, even if they don’t speak your language, they’ll try to help you somehow. (I’m not just talking about myself as a Brazilian, I’m talking about in general). And not just that, but in their way, they’ll try to speak your language, learn words, interact. We are definitely a people that needs to be studied by NASA. Lol
Now the fun part…
When to go:
Sao Paulo has a nice weather all year round, even when it’s cold theres plenty to do and honestly, depends on what you consider cold. There’s definitely not infrastructure for winter, but the beauty is: the winter is not really cold. Summertime on the other hand, can get pretty hot so I suggest around February – April / September – November. Remember though, February/March is carnival season (depending on the year the month changes) so prices could increase drastically.
What to do:
– Avenue Paulista
For this one I totally suggest walking. Sorry for the non walkers.. you can do it by car, but the experience is completely different. Plus, good luck with the traffic! And for the ones that don’t mind the walk… Avenue Paulista is pretty big: wear comfy shoes, but make sure to look online for what you actually want to see (I suggest starting around Avenue Consolacao and go from there) pick a few things and go for it, not sure if you’re going to want to walk the whole thing.
– Sesc Paulista – Observatory
This place is relatively new, they didn’t have before I left and have one of the best views from the Avenue Paulista, is literally breathtaking, highly recommend.
– MASP – Museu de arte moderna
This one is self explanatory: Modern Art museum, its a postal card from the city, really good one if you’re into museums and art.
– Patio do Colegio
This one is historical involved with the beginning of the city, a must!
– Municipal Theatre of Sao Paulo
Besides the amazing architecture this landmark has also historical value.
Its now the house of the the Municipal Symphonic Orchestra, Lyric Choir and the City Ballet of Sao Paulo. It’s open to public in specific dates, check online to make sure about the schedule if you plan to visit.
– Praca da Se
This is the central point of the city, here is the start of all the roads passing through Sao Paulo are counted. A beautiful and very historical square.
The cathedral behind me it’s called Se’s Cathedral
– Parque do Ibirapuera / Ibirapuera Park This one could just sound like a park but to me and most of the Paulistanos (how a person born in Sao Paulo is called) it’s not… it’s much more than that. People go there for running, biking, yoga, walk their dogs, picnics, appreciate the view, meet friends, literally ANYTHING!
– Shopping centers
there’s a couple of good ones in the city, like Patio Paulista, Cidade Sao Paulo, Eldorado, Higienopolis, Ibirapuera, etc.
There are plenty of options here so I’ll try to help with my favorites:
Boteco Sao Bento, Mercearia Sao Roque, Bar Veloso, Skye bar and restaurant (rooftop), and Vila Madalena has many many other bars as well.
Where to stay:
There are many many hotels and airbnbs available around the city. DO NOT book a MOTEL – differently than US, Motel in Brazil is a place that people go to sleep just for one night, if you know what I mean, so unless you want to try it out with your husband or wife (that I do recommend) don’t do it!
The area that I suggest to be easy and accessible throughout the city is around the Avenue Paulista or Parque do Ibirapuera area. There are plenty of hotels to choose from.
How to move
Ok, I wish it was different but imagine NY traffic… yeah, same or sometimes, even worse. I recommend Uber / taxi. Renting a car could be a complete disaster: you’ll waste time, you’ll get stressed out and finding parking could be a nightmare. I don’t even use my car when I’m there, so if anything besides Uber/taxi, public transportation / feet. My family’s house is near the Paulista Avenue, so very easy to go around the city from there.
What to eat/drink:
OK, as a Brazilian I could give you a huge list with many many places and million local dishes, but I’ll TRY to keep it simple:
* Pao de queijo (cheese bread)
* Coxinha (a croquet with shredded chicken)
* Feijoada (a traditional rice and beans dish that you can’t leave without trying)
* Barbecue – ok, this one there are couple different ways: a traditional at home or a steakhouse, if you have opportunity to try both, even better! but if you can’t really go to a locals house, then visit Barbacoa steakhouse, you’ll love it, I guarantee.
* Hot dog – you can find sometimes food trucks on the streets, but there’s a place called Black dog that is absolutely amazing, but anywhere you get it, expect to eat the best hot dog of your life.
* Pizza – trust me, it’s different, and best part: millions of options of flavors to choose from haha
*ANYTHING, I repeat, anything with “Catupiry” (soft cheese) it’s a MUST!
* Caipirinha traditional and other flavors (traditional made with lime and cachaca – a Brazilian rum – and Caipiroska with vodka, Sakerinha with Sake)
* Coconut (best part of Brazil is that even in the middle of the city you can find fresh coconut) – Ibirapuera park has it everywhere, some restaurants as well – Frutaria Sao Paulo is a good one.
* Natural juices, I mean come one… you’re in a tropical country, you might as well, and trust me, even in the city you’ll find it, just make sure to ask for natural and not “polpa” which is frozen fruit.
Talking about fresh fruits and food, if you have the time I highly recommend checking out the Municipal Market of Sao Paulo. It’s a historical building with stands selling rare fruits, vegetables & dairy produce and has a nice food court (make sure to get there SUPER early though).
Famous things to eat while you’re there (besides the million things they’ll offer you to try lol) it’s the Cod fish pastel and the Bologna (Mortadela) sandwich.
Sao Paulo State is a very complex destination to talk about. Thats why for now, Sao Paulo city was what I decided to write about. It’s incredible the variety of things you can find to do in this city.
As every big city, there’s a lot of culture in Sao Paulo and this last trip I ended up visiting places that I haven’t been since I was a little kid.
And you know, it was so different, I saw things with completely different eyes.
When was the last time you visited the historical places from your own country? I so recommend you to try.. I bet you, it’ll be completely different than when you went.
When I went I had only one week, so it was missing to go many other places and do much more, so next time, I’ll definitely add more.
This is just my first post about Brazil, I have so much more to tell you…
I hope you liked it and hopefully someday you’ll find your way there somehow 🙂
Safe travels and enjoy the journey!
PS.: In my heart, I’ve never left Brazil.
This post is dedicated to my family and friends that I miss very very much every single day. I love you all!
I can’t wait to be back and enjoy our Brazilsao together.
“The best journeys answer questions that in the beginning you didn’t even think to ask.”