To a lot of people, Sao Paolo is known as South America’s concrete jungle. The title seems to fit right because after all, it’s the largest city in South America with an estimated population of 20 Million people. When I first landed here, I felt a tad bit overwhelmed; the city felt like a giant to me, and everywhere I looked, all I could see were flats and sky scrappers; that is until I had slept off my tiredness and started to explore!! I won’t lie, I didn’t know where to begin, but my wonderful friends gave up there time and were willing to show me around. While I had a vague idea of what I wanted to see, they had plans of the best places to see (and eat lol) and they just made my experience so much better.
There’s so much to do and see in this city; here are my recommendations
1. Paulista Avenue
This is like the symbol of Sao paulo. While I haven’t been to New York yet, I’ts been said that Paulista Avenue gives the feel of New York. There’s an endless array of boutiques, shops, restaurants, gallerias, street artists and so much more.
2. Sao Paulo cathedral (Catedral da Se)
It’s gigantic, it’s breathtakingly beautiful both on the outside and inside and it’s believed to be the largest cathedral in South America. Designed by the German Architect Maximilian Emil Hehl, this neo-gothic place of worship is open to visitors daily. As soon as I stepped inside, it gave me that ‘wow’ factor because of how beautiful it is!
Translated as freedom in English, Liberdade is Sao Paulo’s Japanese neighborhood. Outside of Japan, this place has the largest number of Japanese ancestry; There’s an artistic vibe to this part of the city and you will for sure be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing Japanese food around here. There’s an estimated 1.5 million Japanese – Brazilians.
4. Luz Station/ Luz square (Estacao da Luz/ Jardim da luz)
Luz station is one of the landmarks of the city because of its beautiful architecture and historical importance. Outside of the station, is Luz square, which is an absolutely beautiful park, with fountains, lots of trees and statues. The station used to house the Museum of Portuguese language, before it caught fire.
Across from the road is Pinacoteca museum, Sao Paulo’s oldest art museum. The museum features a collection of at least 7,000 works.
Talking of Museums, one not to miss is the Sao Paulo art museum. Located on Paulista Avenue, MASP is internationally recognised for it’s collection of European art. Besides the wonderful art work in here, the architecture of the museum itself is something to behold. Its literally a concrete glass structure, whose main body is supported by two lateral beams over a 74 metres (243 ft) freestanding space, considered a landmark of the city and a main symbol of modern Brazilian architecture.
6. Talking of both Museums and architecture, I cannot fail to mention the man who is perhaps my favorite architect; Oscar Niemeyer. His very exceptional work can be seen everywhere in this country and in many other cities around the world. He is considered to be one of the key figures in the development of modern architecture. Here are a few of the outstanding buildings you can see in Sao Paulo and beyond.
7. Mercado Municipal (Municipal Market of Sao Paulo)
Located downtown Sao Paulo in a gorgeous historical building, this market has such an amazing and expansive variety of fruit, veg, cheese and everything else you can imagine! Its best to walk around before buying, also you can pretty much sample most of the fruit. There’s a variety of cafes on both the bottom floor and the mezanin to grab a bite. I went there with my friend Talita and we made a lunch date of it, such a good experience!
8. The food!!!
One place you must visit is a churascara, an actual steak house. Nothing else compares. Also, you must sample the national desert called Brigadeiro! While you walk around in the Sao Paulo heat, find you an acai bowl, you will sure be grateful you listened to me haha. I think the food deserves its own post!
9. The monument of the Bandeiras
To the entrance of Ibirapuera park is this large sculpture which pays tribute to the bandeirantes. This is one of the most important monuments in the city and is now a part of the city’s landscape.