About São Paulo
São Paulo, the southern hemisphere's largest city by population, is becoming one of Brazil's top destinations for leisure as well as business. A cosmopolitan, culture-rich city in Brazil's subtropical southeast, its wide squares and avenues are home to impressive architecture, stunning museums and Latin America's best shopping scene. Stroll down Avenida Paulista to see Paulistanos at play, savour the peace in Catedral de Sé, step into Asia in Liberdade neighbourhood, or escape to Parque Ibirapuera, São Paulo's green lung. Whatever your travel plans, a world of experiences, tastes, colours and sounds awaits.
Kids love the Museu da Imagem e do Som (www.mis-sp.org.br) in Jardim Europa, dedicated to music and cinema. Another top family attraction is the Museu do Futebol (www.museudofutebol.org.br) in Pacaembu stadium, packed with interactive exhibits about Brazil's 'beautiful game'. For a laidback tour of the city on a Sunday, hire a bicycle and pedal down the new Ciclofaixa Butantã, passing Parque Villa-Lobos (www.ambiente.sp.gov.br/parquevillalobos).
Perhaps due to a large Italian population, Paulistanos love pizza – although why they eat it with a knife and fork is anybody's guess. Look out for Bráz (www.brazpizzaria.com.br). For authentic Brazilian cuisine, take a trip to FrangÓ (www.frangobar.com.br) in Freguesia do Ó. Locals come not just for the wide range of beers but for the delicious snacks, from coxinhas (chicken and cheese croquettes) to torresmo (crispy pork). If you're in São Paulo during Restaurant Week (www.restaurantweek.com.br/sp), you'll find some of the city's best restaurants offering special menus at bargain prices.
Visit the rooftop Skye Bar for fabulous views over São Paulo and innovative twists on Brazilian drinks, like the quintessential caipirinha cocktail with Japanese sake rather than cachaça (sugar cane liqueur). Some of São Paulo's best nightlife is in Vila Olímpia neighbourhood. Stop by Bar do Arnesto (www.bardoarnesto.com.br) before moving on to Na Mata Café (www.namata.com.br) for live music. Or seek out quirky Ludus (www.ludusluderia.com.br) in Bixiga, where you can play board games over a drink. Nightlife in São Paulo starts late – usually after midnight.
The best way to experience São Paulo's local culture is to browse the Mercado Municipal (www.mercadomunicipal.com.br), or central market. Look out for typical Brazilian fruits such as jaboticaba, and try a pastel de feira (thin sweet pastry) and caldo de cana (sugar cane juice). The leafy streets of Jardins are lined with luxury shops, including Havaianas (www.havaianas.com), Brazil's famous flip flop brand. If you're hankering after a mall, you have over 50 to choose from. Shopping Cidade Jardim (www.shoppingcidadejardim.com) has over 120 shops, a spa and cinema.
São Paulo's packed events calendar reflect its vibrant multiculturalism. Festa da Achiropita (www.achiropita.org.br/festa-da-padroeira/a-festa) celebrates São Paulo's Italian population, while spring's Festa do Imigrante (www.museudaimigracao.org.br/festadoimigrante), held at the Museu da Imigração, is packed with food stands and cultural performances from São Paulo's many ethnic minorities. But there's no better way to celebrate São Paulo's cosmopolitan vibe than New Year's Eve on Avenida Paulista – in the company of over a million other revellers in this sprawling, vibrant city on the rise.