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3 days in Sao Paulo

Print this guide Created by Ernest White II
3 days in Sao Paulo
Get to know Brazil's underrated culture capital and financial powerhouse, from its funky underground scene to the stellar views atop its signature skyscraper.
Good for: Groups, Seniors, Individuals
Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
14 ratings 14 ratings
Day 1
Mercado Municipal de Sao Paulo
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Mercado Municipal de Sao Paulo

Housed in a stunning example of eclectic industrial architecture, the Mercado Municipal de São Paulo — nicknamed the Mercadão — has thousands of food items on offer, literally from soup to nuts. Lush tropical and temperate fruits from every season, choice cuts of meats and fish, and hearty prepared foods,such as the renowned and enormous mortadella (bologna) sandwich, complete the... More

Housed in a stunning example of eclectic industrial architecture, the Mercado Municipal de São Paulo — nicknamed the Mercadão — has thousands of food items on offer, literally from soup to nuts. Lush tropical and temperate fruits from every season, choice cuts of meats and fish, and hearty prepared foods,such as the renowned and enormous mortadella (bologna) sandwich, complete the market's catalog of wares, all for sale in a boisterous, welcoming atmosphere. The surrounding area can be a bit sketchy, but the sights and flavors more than make up for the journey downtown. Less

Fee: No      Duration of visit: 2-3 hours
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Museum Of The Portuguese Language
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Museum Of The Portuguese Language

One of the few museums in the world dedicated to a language, the Museu da Língua Portuguesa (Museum of the Portuguese Language) exposes speakers and nonspeakers alike to the sinuous, fluid sounds of Brazil's beautiful mother tongue. Even though the exhibits and installations are all in Portuguese, newcomers to the language can pick up its rhythm and flow through videos, recitations and... More

One of the few museums in the world dedicated to a language, the Museu da Língua Portuguesa (Museum of the Portuguese Language) exposes speakers and nonspeakers alike to the sinuous, fluid sounds of Brazil's beautiful mother tongue. Even though the exhibits and installations are all in Portuguese, newcomers to the language can pick up its rhythm and flow through videos, recitations and interactive presentations designed to facilitate communication across linguistic barriers, highlighting the multicultural nuances the language has acquired over the centuries, as well as its European origins. Less

Fee: Yes      Duration of visit: 2-3 hours
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Italian Building
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Italian Building

For jaw-dropping views of one of the planet's most sprawling cities, the Edifício Itália is practically peerless. Situated in a bustling, if worn-down corner of downtown São Paulo, the 46-story office tower is capped by the Terraço Itália restaurant and bar. Adequate, expensive food and almost-campy white-glove service aside, you'll never see a sunset as memorable. Free access to... More

For jaw-dropping views of one of the planet's most sprawling cities, the Edifício Itália is practically peerless. Situated in a bustling, if worn-down corner of downtown São Paulo, the 46-story office tower is capped by the Terraço Itália restaurant and bar. Adequate, expensive food and almost-campy white-glove service aside, you'll never see a sunset as memorable. Free access to observation deck Monday-Friday 3-4 p.m. Less

Fee: Yes      Duration of visit: 1-2 hours
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Augusta Street
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Augusta Street

The hippest strip in town, Rua Augusta — especially the gritty but happening stretch north of Avenida Paulista — buzzes with hole-in-the-wall bars, nightclubs thumping from midnight til noon, corner luncheonettes, ethnic eateries, funky clothing stores, rockin' music venues and more than a few grungy strip clubs that are holding on against the tide of gentrification. Rua Augusta pulses... More

The hippest strip in town, Rua Augusta — especially the gritty but happening stretch north of Avenida Paulista — buzzes with hole-in-the-wall bars, nightclubs thumping from midnight til noon, corner luncheonettes, ethnic eateries, funky clothing stores, rockin' music venues and more than a few grungy strip clubs that are holding on against the tide of gentrification. Rua Augusta pulses as the main artery of São Paulo's nightlife scene, and you'll find a carnivalesque atmosphere almost every night of the week. Less

Fee: No      Duration of visit: More than 3 hours
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Day 2
Ibirapuera Park
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Ibirapuera Park

The emerald heart of an oftentimes gray city, São Paulo's Parque do Ibirapuera offers respite from the urban madness among cool, shady trees and mentally-stimulating structures. Running trails, bike paths, and yoga and capoeira sessions let locals and visitors alike keep fit, while a clutch of museums and galleries — such as the museums of Modern and Contemporary Art, all designed by... More

The emerald heart of an oftentimes gray city, São Paulo's Parque do Ibirapuera offers respite from the urban madness among cool, shady trees and mentally-stimulating structures. Running trails, bike paths, and yoga and capoeira sessions let locals and visitors alike keep fit, while a clutch of museums and galleries — such as the museums of Modern and Contemporary Art, all designed by master Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer — gives the brain a good workout. The impressive Museu Afro Brasil and fiery Auditório Ibirapuera are two of the park's treasures. Less

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Afro Brazil Museum
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Afro Brazil Museum

Packed with more than 3,000 artifacts from Brazil's five-century history, the Museu Afro Brasil relates how Brazil's history is inextricably tied to the experience of African slaves and their descendants through culture and traditions that have come to define the country. In fact, there are so many statues, photographs, illustrations, masks, dolls, clothes, documents, paintings... More

Packed with more than 3,000 artifacts from Brazil's five-century history, the Museu Afro Brasil relates how Brazil's history is inextricably tied to the experience of African slaves and their descendants through culture and traditions that have come to define the country. In fact, there are so many statues, photographs, illustrations, masks, dolls, clothes, documents, paintings, furniture, pieces of plantation equipment, installations and mementos, it's almost impossible to take in the whole place in one go. The printed information is almost exclusively in Portuguese, but the museum provides English-speaking guides, and the back stories behind every single object are at once harrowing and hopeful. Hands down, one of the best museums in Latin America. Less

Fee: No      Duration of visit: More than 3 hours
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Museu De Arte De Sao Paulo Assis Chateaubriand
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Museu De Arte De Sao Paulo Assis Chateaubriand

Elevated over a concrete platform used for concerts and a weekly crafts fair, the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (São Paulo Art Museum, abbreviated MASP) is itself a work of art; the building is an imposing Modernist box suspended under two bright red concrete supports. Featuring classical European names such as Gauguin, Goya and Gainsborough, the museum also holds one of the largest... More

Elevated over a concrete platform used for concerts and a weekly crafts fair, the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (São Paulo Art Museum, abbreviated MASP) is itself a work of art; the building is an imposing Modernist box suspended under two bright red concrete supports. Featuring classical European names such as Gauguin, Goya and Gainsborough, the museum also holds one of the largest collections of Brazilian and other Latin American artists on the continent. Less

Fee: Yes      Duration of visit: 2-3 hours
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Liberdade District
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Liberdade District

Liberdade District is known as the largest redoubt of the Japanese community in the city, which brings together the largest Japanese community in the... more »

Fee: No      Duration of visit: 2-3 hours
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Day 3
Football Museum
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Football Museum

The Football Museum is a history museum which has been working to preserve and to distribute a holding of reference collections and memory indicators when it comes to a social phenomenon. Thus, as a mission, the Museum aims to investigate and to introduce football in its multiple aspects such as the importance on the cultural expression in Brazilian history in the XX and XXI century... More

The Football Museum is a history museum which has been working to preserve and to distribute a holding of reference collections and memory indicators when it comes to a social phenomenon. Thus, as a mission, the Museum aims to investigate and to introduce football in its multiple aspects such as the importance on the cultural expression in Brazilian history in the XX and XXI century. Then, the attitudes the Museum aims to reflect, is to actually evaluate football journey in the country and its culture implications besides culture and Brazilian society, enlightening the sport's role in the identity construction and also the imagining one. Less

Fee: Yes      Duration of visit: 1-2 hours
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Culture Shock Gallery
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Culture Shock Gallery

Step into this street art haven and you're in for a “choque cultural” (literally, culture shock). Graffiti, posters, stencils and skateboard designs all turn respectable at this new school art gallery, housed near the quasi-bohemian enclave of Vila Madalena. Among the many offerings are works by up-and-coming local artists that encompass the multifaceted, multi-ethnic origins of... More

Step into this street art haven and you're in for a “choque cultural” (literally, culture shock). Graffiti, posters, stencils and skateboard designs all turn respectable at this new school art gallery, housed near the quasi-bohemian enclave of Vila Madalena. Among the many offerings are works by up-and-coming local artists that encompass the multifaceted, multi-ethnic origins of Brazilian culture and São Paulo street life. Tue-Sat 12pm-7pm Less

Fee: No      Duration of visit: 1-2 hours
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Instituto Tomie Ohtake
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Instituto Tomie Ohtake

Topped by a purple-and-burgundy-striped conversation piece of a skyscraper at the north pole of Faria Lima, the cultural center named after a renowned Japanese-Brazilian artist (whose son designed the building) features a rotating schedule of visual art exhibitions, including award-winning photography, avant-garde sculptures, and even decorative cachaça bottle labels. The institute is... More

Topped by a purple-and-burgundy-striped conversation piece of a skyscraper at the north pole of Faria Lima, the cultural center named after a renowned Japanese-Brazilian artist (whose son designed the building) features a rotating schedule of visual art exhibitions, including award-winning photography, avant-garde sculptures, and even decorative cachaça bottle labels. The institute is, quite simply, one of the city's best art venues. Less

Fee: No      Duration of visit: 2-3 hours
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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.