“Sao Paulo Attractions & Things to do in the city of Sao Paulo”
Areas of Sao Paulo
The city of Sao Paulo consists of a variety of metropolitan areas. Below is a list of some of the main areas in the city of Sao Paulo that are worth a visit.
Click on an area of Sao Paulo below to see its attractions or simply scroll down below.
Exploring Central Sao Paulo
Sao Paulo has grown immensely since its founding in 1554. Hidden away in its original central core are a variety of interesting sights of the city’s colonial past.
Many of the sights and interesting attractions are located in the downtown area of Sao Paulo, which is called central Sao Paulo.
The best way to see most of central Sao Paulo is doing a walking tour, which is a great way of seeing the center without the frustration of public transportation, you can visit many historical buildings, restaurants, bars and pubs.
The Central Zone of Sao Paulo (Zona Central de São Paulo) or downtown Sao Paulo
includes the following neighborhoods and districts: Sé & Anhangabau (Centro), Republica, Luz & Bom Retiro, Bela Vista & Bixiga (Italian neighborhood), and Liberdade (Japanese neighborhood).
Sé & Anhangabau district
The Sé district is known as “Centro”, it is the Historic Center of Sao Paulo and is the geographical center of the city, it was here that the city was founded in 1554.
Sao Paulo has grown immensely since its founding and hidden away in its original central core are a variety of interesting sights of the city’s colonial past.
The best way of getting to this area is by the Sao Paulo Metro subway. The area is served by the Line 1 – Blue at the Se & Sao Bento station and the Line 3 – Red at Pedro II & Anhangabau stations. Or just by getting off at the Sé station, which is at the intersection of the Red and Blue line. See the Sao Paulo metro map
Things to Do & See in the Sé district – Sao Paulo Attractions
A good place to start in the Sé district is the historic plaza known as Praca da Sé, which is basically the geographical center of the city.
Praca da Sé (Cathedral Square)
This public space is considered the center of the city. The square was the location of many historic events in Sao Paulo’s history. The site has fountains, sculptures, and the beautiful Cathedral de Se is located off of the plaza. There are some historical buildings near the square.
Catedral da Sé – Catedral Metropolitana de Sao Paulo
Located just off of Praca da Se in front of the Se metro station. This cathedral is of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sao Paulo and is the city’s main cathedral that began construction in 1913 and was completed in the 1950s. The cathedral can hold up to 8,000 people and along with the usual saints and angels, the interior is decorated with sculpted Brazilian produce such as coffee branches, exotic fruits, and native animals. There is also a crypt that has the tombs of all bishops and archbishops of Sao Paulo.
Caixa Cultural – Edificio Sé
Located on the north side of Praca da Se is the Caixa Cultural, which is housed in the building known as Edificio Se, an art deco style building that was built in the 1930s. The building was once the former headquarters of Caixa Economica Federal Bank. It is now a cultural center featuring art galleries and host events like music shows, theater, dance, lectures and a variety of other cultural events.
Solar da Marquesa dos Santos
Next to Praca da Se is the pinkish colonial building known as Solar da Marquesa dos Santos. This 18th century mansion is one of the last remaining in Sao Paulo. The place was once the former residence of Domitila de Castro do Canto, who was the mistress of Emperor Dom Pedro I. Today, the building features a small museum.
Casa da Imagem (House of Image)
Located next door to the Solar da Marquesa dos Santos is another historic mansion. This old mansion now houses one of the cities newest museums, Casa da Imagem. Created in 2011, this museum features a collection of 710,000 photographs, related to the city of Sao Paulo, and a digital database of 120,000 images.
Pateo do Collegio – Museu Padre Anchieta
This place is located just off of Praca de Se. This is the site where two priests built their mission school and where the birth of the city began in 1554. The Museu Padre Anchieta is located there that has some interesting 16th & 17th century relics, such as maps, documents colonial paintings, altarpieces, sculpture, and other items.
Largo Sao Francisco
Located just a few blocks west of Praca da Se is a smaller plaza known as Largo Sao Francisco. Next to this plaza are some important colonial and religious architecture of the city of Sao Paulo. The Igreja Sao Francisco de Assis and Igreja Chagas do Serafico Pai Sao Francisco are few of the city’s remaining colonial buildings. Also, the Law school known as Faculdade de Direito da Universidade Sao Paulo is located here.
Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil
This building was built over 100 years ago and is the former building of the Bank of Brazil. It has now become a cultural center that has art exhibits and dance and theater productions. There is also a movie theater there. It is located off of Rua Alvares Penteado 112.
BM&F Bovespa Bolsa de Valores – Brazilian Stock Exchange
Located north of Praca de Se on the street of R. Quinze de Novembro, 275 is the Sao Paulo stock exchange. The exchange offers free guided tours to anyone interested in knowing the workings of the Brazil Stock Market. Visitors can watch 3-D institutional videos, lectures and simulations of trades carried out by a brokerage, and also learn the history of the Exchange.
Edificio Altino Arantes (Altino Arantes Building)
Also known as Edificio Banespa (Banespa Building), this white 36-story building, 161 meters (529 ft) tall, is Brazil’s version of the Empire State Building. It offer panoramic views of central Sao Paulo from the roof top and is the3rd tallest in the city of Sao Paulo.
Edificio Martinelli (Martinelli Building)
This is the city’s first skyscraper that was built in the late 1920s. The 130 meter high, 30-story Martinelli building offers great views from the top and is free. It is located on Av. Sao Joao 35, just west of the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange and a few blocks south of the Sao Bento metro station.
Mosteiro de Sao Bento (Monastery of St. Benedict)
The monastery is located next to the Sao Bento Metro subway station and Largo Sao Bento. This facility has a church, college and a monastery where monks live and pray. The monastery was visited by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Brazil in 2007.
Mercado Municipal de Sao Paulo (Municipal Market of Sao Paulo)
This market fist opened in 1933 and is set in a unique looking building with beautiful stained glass windows. The market is a nice experience for tourist where you can find a variety of items being sold: fruits, vegetables, spices, meat, poultry, seafood, pirated CDs and DVDs, and knockoffs of high-end designer goods. There is also a line of restaurants that overlooks the market below and offer a variety of food from simple snacks to home-cooked style meals. The market is located on Rua da Cantareira, 306, near Rua 25 de Marco and Parque Dom Pedro.
Igreja de Santo Antonio (Church of St. Anthony)
Located next to Praca do Patriarca, this church is considered the oldest remaining church of the city. This old colonial church was believed to founded in 1592 and the interior of the church has baroque carvings, gold covered altars and paintings dating from the seventeenth century.
Vale do Anhangabau (Anhangabau Valley)
Tucked away among the skyscrapers of downtown Sao Paulo is this public space that has walking paths, fountains, works of art, sculptures and nicely designed landscape of trees and plants. It is surrounded by skyscrapers and views of historical buildings such as Martenelli, Postal Palace, Banespa, and the the Municipal Theater.
Edificio Mirante do Vale (Lookout Valley Building)
This skyscraper is currently the tallest building in the city and in Brazil. Although the building is the tallest in the city, it is not the highest. Edificio Altino Arantes and Edificio Italia are located in higher areas of the city. The Edificio Mirante do Vale is located at a lower point of the city in a valley, however the building also offers spectacular views over the city.
Viaduto do Cha (Tea Viaduct or Tea Overpass)
Located at the Vale do Anhangabau is an overpass or bridge that connects Rua Direita (old downtown) with Rua do Cha, now Rua Barao de Itapetininga (new downtown). It first opened in 1892 and it originally had a metal structure with wooden floors but was later replaced and made of reinforced concrete and twice as wide. The bridge is featured on many of city’s main postcards and often serves as a backdrop on different television programs and movies.
This Italian-style building was built in the early 1900s. It has a theater, called Teatro da Memoria, which hosts a variety of activities such as performing arts plays, dances, conferences & more. The building also has another space dedicated to exhibitions and a gallery. It is located near to the Metro subway Anhangabau station on Line 3 – Red.
Bordering the Sé & Anhahgabau district to northwest is the Republica district.
During the late 1800s, the Republica area was once a very elite residential neighborhood with many mansions built by coffee-plantation owners. However, most of these owners soon moved a short distance to the west, to the next neighborhood over, in the new and more upscale Higienopolis district.
Just about all of these mansions have been torn down and today, the area is still nice, but has more of a commercial characteristic to the area, with a variety of tall buildings, restaurants and shops.
The streets between Praca da Republica and Largo do Arouche there are clubs, movie theaters, restaurants and bars that are poplular among residents and are also popular gay hangouts.
The best way of getting to this area is by the Sao Paulo Metro subway. The area can be reached by taking the Line 3 – Red or Line 4 – Yellow
and getting off at the Republica station. See the Sao Paulo metro map
Things to do & see – Attractions
Teatro Municipal (Municipal Theater)
Sao Paulo’s municipal theater that dates back to 1911 and was designed in the style of the Paris Opera House. It is regarded as one of the landmarks of the city because of its architecture and historical importance. It hosts operas, orchestras, and ballets. The city’s official ballet company, Bale da Ciadade performs here. It is located next to Praca Ramos de Azevedo.
This shopping mall is housed in a historic building building from the 1920s and has a variety of shops and a food court. It is located along the Viaduto do Cha bridge, next to the Valley of Anhangabau and the Municipal Theater of Sao Paulo.
Largo da Memoria
This small square is located next to the Anhangabau Metro subway station. The square has a monument called Obelisco do Piques and it is the oldest monument of the city, built in 1814 by Vicente Gomes Pereira. The monument is carved in stone granite and was restored in 2005.
Galeria do Rock (Gallery of Rock)
This shopping center has over 400 shops that are mostly related to rock and other musical styles. You can find CDs, videos, vintage records, posters and shirts. There are also piercing and tattoo parlors, hairdressers, shoe stores and more. Many famous musicians have visited this mall such as: Kurt Cobain, Bruce Dickinson, and others.
This small plaza is located a block north of the Galeria do Rock. In the center of the plaza is the church known as Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosario dos Homens Pretos, it is considered the oldest African-Brazilian institution active in the city of Sao Paulo. The church was built by African-Brazilian Catholics in 1906.
Praca da Republica (Republic Square)
This square turns into an open-air market on Sundays, that sell a variety of art & craft items such as: souvenirs, jewelry, t-shirts, brazilian musical instruments, paintings & variety of other items. It is also a great place to get some food. The area north of the square is a popular nightime gay hangout.
Edificio Italia (Italy Building)
This 165 meter tall, 46-story skyscraper building is the 2nd tallest building in Sao Paulo. It was built between 1960 & 1965 and was named Italia in honor of the Italian immigrants who helped build the city. There is a rooftop observation deck, open for tourists and also top-floor restaurant that offers some great views over Sao Paulo. It is located just southeast of Praca da Republica along Ave. Ipiranga.
Edificio Copan (Copan Building)
Located a few blocks southwest of Edificio Italia along Ave. Ipiranga, is Edificio Copan. This building is 115-meters tall, 35-story residential building and is known for its S-shaped architecture that was designed by Oscar Niemeyer. The ground floor has a small shopping center with around 70 shops & the upper floors are residential dwellings with over 2,000 residents.
This bar is an attraction itself. This large bar featurs live music of Brazilian Pop Music (MPB), samba, rock, jazz, country & more. You can also get some typical Brazilian food and drinks.
The bar has been open since the 1940s and is located on the corner of Avenida Ipiranga and Avenida Sao Joao, about a block northeast of of Praca da Republica.
Biblioteca Mario de Andrade (Mario de Andrade Library)
Established in 1925, this is the largest public library in the city of Sao Paulo and is regarded as one of the landmarks of the city with its Art Deco design. It is located at Rua da Consolacao, 94 – next to the plaza known as Praca Dom Jose Gaspar.
Luz & Bom Retiro
Located in downtown Sao Paulo and just north of the Se district is the Luz & Bom Retiro neighborhoods.
In the early to mid-1900s, the Luz & Bom Retiro area was where many immigrants arrived at the city’s main railway station, Estacao da Luz, where they came by train after they arrived in Brazil at the port of Santos.
The area received a large amount of Italian, European Jews, Syrian, Lebanese, and Greek immigrants, who settled in the area, however most of them eventually settled to more affluent neighborhoods throughout Sao Paulo.
The area fell into despair in the late 1900s, with prostitution and drugs. But, over the last decade the area has been revitalized led by city & state government officials who are trying to turn the area into a first-rate cultural center.
Today, Bom Retiro, the adjoining neighborhood to the north of Luz, is made up of a large number of Korean and Bolivian immigrants and has become more of a commercial & industrial area known for its shops, selling cheap clothes and fabric. The most popular is the street known as Rua Jose Paulino, where you’ll find a variety of shops selling the latest Spring/Summer fashion collection of women’s clothing.
Estacao da Luz (Luz Railway Station)
One of the most notable landmarks of this area is Estaco da Luz, a grand, brick train station. This old train station was built in 1901 and now serves as a station for the Metro subway of Line 1 – Blue
and Line 4 – Yellow of the Sao Paulo Metro subway. There is a long tunnel linking it to the Luz metro station. The station is also part of the metropolitan rail system ran by the CPTM. The building also houses the Museu da Lingua Portuguesa.
Museu da Lingua Portuguesa (Museum of the Portuguese Language)
With just a basic understanding of Portuguese, you’ll most likely enjoy the Museum of the Portuguese Language. The museum has virtual exhibits which feature a mixture of art, technology and interactivity. It consists of exhibitions with hands-on activities, videos, sounds and images about Portuguese language. It is located inside the Estacao da Luz train station.
Pinacoteca do Estado
This is Sao Paulo’s oldest art museum, which has been around since 1905. The art museum features a collection of around 8,000 works, most of them representing Brazilian painters and sculptors of the 19th & 20th century. The museum also has temporary exihibitions of both national and international artists. The museum is located next to Estacao da Luz & Parque da Luz.
Jardim da Luz – Parque da Luz (Garden of Light)
This public park is located next to Estacao da Luz (train station), Museum of the Portuguese Language and the Pinacoteca do Estado (art museum). The park is a nice place to sit & relax and enjoy the a green area of trees, plants, water fountains and sculptures throughout the park.
Museu de Arte Sacra de Sao Paulo (Museum of Sacred Art)
Located a few blocks north of Jardim da Luz, along Ave. Tiradentes is the Museu de Arte Sacra. This museum has around 4,000 pieces of religious art work. The museum is housed in the Mosteiro da Luz, a monastery built in the late 1700s, which still functions as a monastery on the upper levels where nuns live.
Sala Sao Paulo & Julio Prestes Station
The Sala Sao Paulo occupies the former Grand Hall of the historic railway station Julio Prestes and is home to the State Symphony Orchestra of Sao Paulo. Located on Praca Julio Prestes, a few blocks west of Jardim da Luz plaza and Estacao da Luz.
This art gallery is an extension of the nearby art gallery, Pinacoteca do Estado de Sao Paulo, which also administrates both art galleries and a ticket purchase of one of the art galleries gives you access to both. It is located near to the Luz Station and the Sala Sao Paulo.
Museu da Energia de Sao Paulo (Energy Museum of Sao Paulo)
Located a few blocks northwest of Julio Prestes station, along Alameda Cleveland, is the Museu de Energia. This museum opened in 2005 and features exhibits on the history of energy technology development and its impacts, with topics on energy in Sao Paulo. It is a museum for all ages and some exhibits are in different languages. Open Tues-Sat from 10am-5pm.
Rua Jose Paulino
This is a popular street in the Bom Retiro district of Sao Paulo for shopping. The street is well-known for its many shops selling fashionable clothing at low prices. You’ll find about 400 stores stretched along this street with a variety of shops selling the latest fashion collection at cheap prices.
Bela Vista – Bixiga
Just southwest of the Se district between the old city center & Avenida Paulista is the Bela Vista district. This area is where a large amount of Spaniard, German, English, French, Belgian, and Italian immigrants settled.
Located within the Bela Vista area is the neighborhood known as Bixiga. The Bixiga neighborhood was formed by Italian immigrants and is often refered to as “Little Italy”, with Itailian style buildings, narrow streets and the area has a variety of Italian eateries and restaurants.
The area has a lively nightlife, dotted with bars & restaurants and Avenida Paulista is nearby. It also has many cultural attractions such as museums and several performing arts theaters, which are excellent places to see Broadway-type shows. Bela Vista is also home to Vai-Vai Samba School, the oldest & most popular Samba school in Sao Paulo.
The area served by the Sao Paulo Metro subway. The area can be reached by taking the Line 2 – Green and in the future it will also be covered by Line 6 – Orange. See the Sao Paulo metro map
Things to do & see – Attractions
Avenida Paulista (Paulista Avenue)
Paulista Avenue is a major thoroughfare and the most important avenues in the city of Sao Paulo. The avenue is the financial heart of the city, every day thousands of people come and go. On the weekends, there is another crowd searching entertainment and culture. The avenue has many interesting attractions & sights to see.
Museu Memoria do Bixiga (Memory Museum of Bixiga)
Located in the neighborhood of Bixiga at the street of Rua dos Ingleses 118. This museum documents the history of the Bixiga neighborhood, with a collection of 8,000 photographs and other items that presents the story of the Italian immigrants in the region. The museum is housed in an early twentieth century building.
Museu dos Oculos Gioconda Giannini (Museum of Eyeglasses)
Located just down the road from the Memory Musuem of Bixiga in the same neighborhood, is a museum of eyeglasses. This unique museum is a one-of-a-kind as this is the only eyeglass museum in the Americas. The museum has a collection of around 600 eyeglasses of which 200 are on display, originating in Brazil and many other countries.
Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (Art Museum of Sao Paulo)
Located along Paulista Avenue, this is one of the city’s premier museums, that consist of the finest collection art work in all of Brazil & South America. The building the museum is housed in is very unique looking and is considered a landmark of the city and a symbol of modern Brazilian architecture.
Parque Trianon (Trianon Park)
Located across the street from Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo is Parque Tenente Siqueira Campos, or more commonly known as just Parque Trianon (Trianon Park). It is one of few spots of green along Paulista Avenue that makes a great place to sit and relax for a while.
Theaters (Performing Arts Theaters)
Teatro Abril (April Theater)
If you are in the mood for some Broadway shows, head on over to Sao Paulo’s version of Broadway at the Teatro Abril. Some recent shows have been, Les Miserables (2001), Beauty and the Beast (2002), Chicago (2004), The Phantom of the Opera (2004), Miss Saigon (2008), Cats (2010) Mamma Mia! (2011), Addams Family (2012). This building was built in 1929 and was formely known as Teatro Paramount. It is located in the Bela Vista district in the city center.
Teat(r)o Oficina Uzyna Uzona, or simply known as Teatro Oficina is a theater company that is located in the Bela Vista district. The theater has been around for over 50 years, created in 1958 by a group of students from the Faculty of Law of Largo Sao Francisco in Sao Paulo. The theater is known for producing unorthodox and sometimes controversial shows.
Teatro Ruth Escobar (Ruth Escobar Theater)
This theater is named after the actress and former owner of the land where it was erected, Ruth Escobar. The theater has three auditoriums: Gil Vicente, Myriam Muniz and Sfat Dina. It also has a bar and a bookstore. Located in the Bela Vista district on Rua Ingleses, 209.
Teatro Bibi Ferreira (Bibi Ferreira Theater)
Another excellent theater to see live theatrical musicals & plays. This theater has been recently renovated and is located in the Bela Vista district on Avenida Brigadeiro Luis Antonio, 931
Teatro Brigadeiro (Brigadeiro Theater)
Another performing arts theaters that is just down the road, a block south of Teatro Bibi Ferreria is Teatro Brigadeiro. This theater is located at Avenida Brigadeiro Luis Antonio, 884.
Teatro Sergio Cardoso (Sergio Cardoso Theater)
The theater is named after Brazilian actor Sergio Cardoso and hosts a variety of different performances, which include: national and international dance & ballet shows, theatrical shows, concerts and orchestras. The theater also offers dance and choreography classes. This theater has been recently renovated and is located in the Bela Vista district on Rua Rui Barbosa, 153
Teatro Raul Cortez (Raul Cortez Theater)
This theater is named after a Brazilian actor Raul Cortez and hosts theatrical plays, events, conferences and more. It is located 5 minutes walking from the Sao Paulo Museum of Art on Rua Doutor Plinio Barreto, 285 in Bela Vista.
Teatro Maria Della Costa (Maria Della Costa Theater)
Another performing arts theaters in the Bela Vista district. This theater is named after a Brazilian actress. It is located on the street of Rua Paim, 72.
Churches – Cathedrals
Paroquia Nossa Senhora Achiropita (Parish of Our Lady Achiropita)
Located in the Bixiga neighborhood, in the Bela Vista district of the city of Sao Paulo. The church was founded by Italian immigrants in 1926. It belongs to the sector of Archdiocese of Sao Paulo,
which is an archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Brazil. The interior is decorated with the usually saints and angels and has some interesting artwork and handcrafted sculptures.
Fellowship Community Church
If you want to experience a worship service in Brazil, then visit this Christian church. This church has Sunday morning service in English at 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. & an evening service in Portuguese.
It is located on Rua Carlos Sampaio, 107 in Bela Vista.
Events & Festivals
Festa de Nossa Senhora Achiropita (Feast of Our Lady Achiropita)
Each year in August, the church of Paroquia Nossa Senhora Achiropita organizes a festival known as Festa de Nossa Senhora Achiropita, along the street in front of the church. The festival is located in the Bixiga neighborhood and celebrates the city’s Italian heritage, where you can find street stalls selling typical Italian foods like Italian pasta, pizza and fogazza. There is also live shows, with music and Italian folk dancing, raffles, food & drinks.
Shopping Patio Paulista
This modern shopping mall is loced near Avenida Paulista, in the Bela Vista district. The mall consists of more than 200 stores spread across four floors, food court, and a cinema with eleven stadium seating theaters. Address: Rua Treze de Maio, 1925-1973 – Bela Vista, Sao Paulo, 01327-001
Places to eat – Restaruants
Click Here for a list of places to eat in Bela Vista – Bixiga.
Consolacao & Higienopolis
Located at the northwest end of Avenida Paulista and to the west of the Republica district, is Consolacao. Consolacao is an upper-middle class area mostly residential with large apartment buildings and condominiums.
The area consists of the Higienopolis and Pacaembu neighborhoods. The area is home to a large Jewish community, with synagogues and Jewish schools throughout Consolacao.
Consolacao features a variety of cultural institutions, tourist attractions, local cuisine, a large shopping center (Patio Higienopolis), and the Municipal Stadium (Pacembu Stadium) with the Museu do Futebol.
The district is served by Line 2-Green of the Sao Paulo Metro and
Line 4-Yellow. (See Metro subway map).
Things to do & see – Attractions
Estadio do Pacaembu (Pacaembu Stadium) & Museu do Futebol
Pacaembu Stadium is a football (soccer) stadium located in the Pacaembu neighborhood. This stadium is where one of Brazil’s most popular football team plays their games, the Sport Club Corinthians Paulista (commonly just known as Corinthians). The stadium also houses the Museu do Futebol, which tells the history about Brazilian football (soccer).
Parque Buenos Aires
Located a few blocks east of the Pacaembu Stadium, is a park known as Parque Buenos Aires. This park has large green spaces with trees and plants, water fountains, sculptures, benches to sit, a playground, and jogging & walking paths. It is also a great spot to sit and relax and spot small birds such as sparrows, tico-ticos and parakeets in the trees.
Shopping Patio Higienopolis
This newer shopping mall has six floors and is located in the Higienopolis neighborhood. The mall features a large glass dome providing natural light and has a variety of shops, a food court and several cafes, such as a Starbucks. On the top floor is a performing arts theater (Teatro Folha), and a cinema with six movie theaters. It is located at Higienopolis Avenue, 618
Bordering Bela Vista to the south is Sao Paulo’s most famous avenues, Avenida Paulista.
Paulista Avenue dates back to 1891, and is nearly 3 km long as it stretches from the neighborhoods of Paraiso and Consolacao, while sitting between the upscale Jardim neighborhood and the traditional Italian neighborhood of Bela Vista.
Paulista Avenue (Avenida Paulista in Portuguese) is a major thoroughfare and the most important avenues in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The avenue is considered the main financial & business centers of the city with a large number of financial institutions located along it.
Paulista Avenue can easily be reached by the Metro subway, as Line 2-Green of the subway runs parallel with it. The avenue is served by stations Brigadeiro, Trianon-Masp, Consolacao (from Line 2-Green) and Paulista (from Line 4-Yellow). (See Metro subway map).
Sights along Paulista Avenue
Since Paulista Avenue is usually full of vehicles, the best way to explore the avenue is on foot. Walking on Avenida Paulista from one end to the other is a great way to see its many sights and the diversity of the crowd is an attraction itself.
On both sides of the avenue you will find skyscrapers, shops, restaurants, museums and more. Starting from the begining of Paulista Avenue at the Paraiso Metro station, is the Catedral Metropolitana Ortodoxa de Sao Paulo.
Catedral Ortodoxa de Sao Paulo (Orthodox Cathedral of Sao Paulo)
This Eastern Orthodox cathedral is located just before the start of Paulista Avenue, next to the Paraiso metro subway station, where the green & blue subway lines meet. The cathedral’s unique architecture with its golden dome is one of the landmarks of the city and the inside can be visited.
Praca Oswaldo Cruz (Oswaldo Cruz Plaza)
Located up the avenue (about a 5-10 minute walk from the Orthodox Cathedral) is Praca Oswaldo Cruz. This plaza is named after a scientist & physician, who pioneered the study of tropical diseases and experimental medicine in Brazil. On the plaza is the sculpture Indio Pescador (Indian Fisherman) by Francisco Leopoldo Silva, which portrays a native Brazilian fishing. Located nearby is Hospital Santa Catarina, considered one of the most important health institutions in the country and also Shopping Patio Paulista.
Shopping Patio Paulista
Located next to Praca Oswaldo Cruz, about a block off of Avenida Paulista, is a shopping center called Shopping Patio Paulista. This modern shopping mall consists of over 200 stores spread across four floors. It also has a food court, and a cinema with eleven stadium seating theaters. Address: Rua Treze de Maio, 1925-1973 – Bela Vista, Sao Paulo. (See Map Below)
Casa das Rosada (House of Roses)
The next interesting sight along Avenida Paulista is Casa das Rosas. This is one of the last remaining mansions from the early 20th century still standing on Avenida Paulista. It is now a cultural center for poetry & arts and hosts exhibits, plays, performances, courses and other cultural and artistic events. It has one of the largest and most beautiful rose gardens in the city.
Located a few buildings up the avenue from Casa das Rosas, is the Itau Cultural. This is a cultural institution and center that hosts a variety of activities. You can see music & dance shows, plays and much more. The building also has a museum known as Museu Herculano Pires, which is on the 9th floor of building. The museum exhibits a historic collection of over 2000 coins, medals and other items that date back to when Brazil was under Portuguese rule.
Colegio Rodrigues Alves
Located right next to the Itau Cultural is the school known as Colegio Rodrigues Alves. The school is housed in a beautiful yellow neoclassical building that dates back to 1919. It serves as an elementary and high school and is the only public school located along Avenida Paulista.
Located further up the avenue, near to the Trianon-MASP Metro subway station, is the next set of interesting sights along Paulista Avenue: Centro Cultural Fiesp, Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo and Parque Trianon.
Fiesp Cultural Center
The Fiesp Cultural Center is a cultural center that has three main spaces: an art gallery with exhibitions, a theater for performing arts & shows, and also a space for film screenings, lectures and workshops. Entry is free and only some shows and concerts require a ticket for admission.
Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (Art Museum of Sao Paulo)
Located next to the Trianon-MASP Metro station is Avenida Paulista’s most known landmark, the renowned art museum known as Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (MASP). This premier musuem is housed in a glass building that is suspended above the ground by four bright red pillars. It has one of the finest collection ofart work in all of Brazil & South America.
Parque Trianon (Trianon Park)
Located across the street from Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (MASP) is Parque Tenente Siqueira Campos, or more commonly known as just Parque Trianon (Trianon Park). It is one of few spots of green along Paulista Avenue that makes a great place to sit and relax for a while.
This 45,000-square-meter park is full of mature trees and vegetation that features native Brazilian trees & plants. Some say there are 300-year old trees in the park, which reminds you of the Atlantic tropical forest that once spread across much of the Brazilian coast.
On the weekends, there is a small arts and crafts market next to the park, where you will see a lot of vendors selling Brazilian handmade goods and a variety of other items. On the other side of the street, under the art musuem is an antique fair known as Feira de Antiguidades do MASP, which is held every Sunday.
Located further up the avenue, near the Consolacao Metro subway station is Shopping Center 3, Conjunto Nacional and the popular nightlife street Rua Augusta, which intersects Avenida Paulista.
Shopping Center 3
This shopping center has several shops, where you’ll find clothing stores, books, perfumes and much more. On the top floor is a cinema showing some of the latest movies. The center also has a food court with Brazilian, Korean, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic food and it also has a Starbucks coffee shop.
Located directly across the street from Shopping Center 3 is the Conjunto Nacional. This massive building occupies an entire block. Built in the 1950s, it is considered as a historical & architectural heritage site by the state government institution Condephaat. The building has a mix of different uses, it has a residential area, a commerical area with offices, restaurants, and a shopping area with the largest bookstore in Brazil, Livraria Cultura.
Running next to Conjunto Nacional is the street known as Rua Augusta. This street crosses Paulista Avenue and runs northeast to the city center of Sao Paulo. The area above Avenida Paulista, along Rua Augusta is known as Baixo Augusta, a popular nightlife area dotted with nightclubs, bars, pubs and restaurants.
Located southwest of the Bela Vista district and Avenida Paulista is the Jardins District. The Jardins district consists of the following neighborhoods: Jardim Paulista, Cerqueira Cesar, Jardim America, Jardim Europa, and Jardim Paulistano.
The Jardins district is an upscale area mostly residential with high-end apartment towers and is known for its high-end shopping. The main shopping street is Rua Oscar Freire and the parallel Alameda Lorena, and intersecting streets of Rua Haddock Lobo & Rua Augusta.
This area has a variety of national and international designer brand stores selling fashionable clothing, jewelry, and other luxurious items. Jardins also contains the city’s most luxury hotels and upscale restaurants. Besides shopping, the region also offers many cultural attractions such as a variety of museums.
Attractions & Sights in the Jardins district
Avenida Paulista (Paulista Avenue)
Sitting on the top edge of the Jardins district is Paulista Avenue. This famous avenue runs between the traditional Italian neighborhood of Bela Vista and the Jardins district. It is the main financial & business centers of the city making it the most important avenues in the city of Sao Paulo. Along Avenida Paulista there are many interesting attractions & sights to see.
Rua Oscar Freire
Just southwest of Avenida Paulista (about 7 blocks from Avenida Paulista, a 10-15 minute walk) is the street known as Rua Oscar Freire. Along this street are numerous upscale shops and restaurants. You’ll find a variety of stores of national & international designer brands selling expensive clothing, jewelry, and other luxurious items.
Parque Ibirapuera (Ibirapuera Park)
Ibirapuera Park is the most famous urban park in the city of Sao Paulo. The park has an immense area of green spaces with trees and plants. People usually visit this park in the early mornings or late afternoons as it has a huge area for leisure, jogging, biking and walking. The park also has a number of important museums, structures and institutions situated inside the park.
Museu de Imagem e do Som de Sao Paulo – MIS
(Museum of Image and Sound)
Located on Avenida Europa in Jardim Europa, this museum has exhibitions related to the sounds and images of Brazilian cultural. Housed in a a former mansion, it has a collection of over 350,000 items, which consists of films, videos, photographs, recordings, music albums, and other objects.
Museu Brasileiro da Escultura – MuBE (Brazilian Sculpture Museum)
Located next to the Museum of Image and Sound is this sculpture museum. Although its main focus is on sculptures, it also has paintings, photos, graffiti art, theater, cinema, music and also holds approximately 15 temporary exhibitions each year, all with free admission.
Fundacao Cultural Ema Gordon Klabin
(Ema Gordon Klabin Cultural Foundation)
This art museum sits on the corner of Avenida Europa and Rua Portugal and is located nearby to the Brazilian Sculpture Museum and the Museum of Image and Sound. It has a collection of Brazilian, European, Asian, African and Pre-Colombian art. The collection consists of paintings, sculptures, furniture, decorative arts, archaeological objects and other items.
Museu da Casa Brasileira (MCB)
Located about 1 km down the road from the Brazilian Sculpture Museum and the Museum of Image and Sound is another museum. This museum displays an interesting collection of furniture, decorative objects and other items of historic and artistic importance, which was produced in Brazil and abroad between the 17th century to the 20th century. It is housed in a former mansion and has an enormous garden and restaurant.
Sitting in the Jardins area and south of Avenida Paulista is Sao Paulo’s most famous park, Parque Ibirapuera (Ibirapuera Park).
The park is a massive 545 acres (about 2 square km) and has large green areas with trees and plants, it has jogging and bike paths, pick-up soccer & basketball games, children’s playgrounds and plenty of other things to explore. Its importance to Sao Paulo is comparable to that of Central Park to New York City.
Ibirapuera Park is a popular place among locals during the weekends and also during weekdays people come visit this park in the early mornings or late afternoons as it has a huge area for leisure, jogging, biking and walking.
Inaugurated in 1954 for the 400th anniversary of the city, the park features buildings designed by renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and landscape by designer Roberto Burle Marx. The park has a number of important structures & museums, such as the Museum of Modern Art (MAM), the Contemporary Art Museum (MAC), the Planetario (Planetarium), Auditorio Ibirapuera (Ibirapuera Auditorium), and others, which are all situated inside Ibirapuera Park.
Sights & Attractions in Parque Ibirapuera
Below is a list of sights and attractions inside Parque Ibirapuera.
MAM – Museu de Arte Moderna (Museum of Modern Art)
The Sao Paulo Museum of Modern Art has a collection of around 5,000 works of modern and contemporary Brazilian art, produced by more than one thousand artists. It has paintings, sculptures, photographs, and other pieces. Besides the permanent exhibitions, it also hosts temporary/traveling exhibitions throughout the year. It is located near Gate 3 of the park.
Jardim de Esculturas (Sculpture Garden)
Located next to the Museum of Modern Art is a sculpture garden. It features landscaping by renowned Brazilian landscape architect Burle Marx, and brings together 30 works by Brazilian artists of the 20th century.
Oca – Pavilhao Gov. Lucas Nogueira Garcez
The Lucas Nogueira Garcez Pavilion, popularly known as Oca, is used for temporary exhibitions and events. This white domed-shaped structure was designed by renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer in the 1950s. It once housed the Air Force Museum of Sao Paulo and the Folklore Museum, it is now used for events & large exhibitions.
Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion & Bienal de Sao Paulo
This pavilion is nearby to the Museum of Modern Art. It hosts several renowned events throughout the year, such as the Sao Paulo Fashion Week, Bienal Internacional de Arte de Sao Paulo, Biennale of Arts and Architecture and among many others. The building also used to house the Museum of Contemporary Art.
MAC – Museu de Arte Contemporanea (Museum of Contemporary Art)
The Museu de Arte Contemporanea has a collection of around 10,000 works of conceptual and contemporary art. It holds works by Pablo Picasso and other famous artists. The collection consists of paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, and more. It also hosts temporary/traveling exhibitions throughout the year.
Another one of Oscar Niemeyer’s designs, this uniquely designed auditorium was built in 2002 and hosts concerts and other events such as when it hosted the 2008 Latin Grammy Awards. It also has a space for cultural activities and a music school. Located near Gate 3 of Ibirapuera Park.
Ginasio do Ibirapuera (Ibirapuera Gymnasium)
Officially known as Ginasio Estadual Geraldo Jose de Almeida, this indoor sporting arena was built in the 1950s and holds up to 11,000 people. It hosts concerts and a variety of sporting events such as: basketball, volleyball, boxing, and others. In the past it has hosted the Pan-American Games, notable basketball events and a Metallica concert. It is located next to the park and was recently renovated in 2010.
Pavilhao Japones (Japanese Pavilion)
This structure was built jointly by the Japanese government and the Japanese-Brazilian community and donated to the city of Sao Paulo in 1954, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Sao Paulo. It has an exhibition hall with Japanese art, a tea room and a Japanese garden with plants and ornamental trees, there is also a pond full of carp that can be fed.
Museu Afro Brazil (Afro-Brazilian-Museum)
Opened in 2004, this museum is dedicated to African-Brazilians and covers topics such as religion, art, culture, history, African diaspora and slavery, and African influences in Brazilian society. The museum has a collection of around 5,000 works and artifacts related to African-Brazilians, which consists of paintings, sculptures, photographs, documents and many other objects, produced between the 15th century and today.
Officially called Planetario Professor Aristoteles Orsini (Professor Aristotle Orsini Planetarium), this planetarium theater was recently renovated with modern equipment and features a StarMaster Zeiss projector. It can seat 280 people and has presentations every weekend on astronomy and sessions last around 50 minutes.
The Lake at Ibirapuera Park
The park’s three interconnected ponds, which forms a sort of lake, occupies 15,700 square meters.
Here you can sit & relax and spot birds enjoying the water or take a walk over the arch bridge. The lake also has a large fountain that was installed for the celebration of Sao Paulo’s 450th anniversary in 2004. The lake is especially spectacular during Christmas time when everything is decorated with lights.
Obelisco de Sao Paulo (Obelisk of Sao Paulo)
Also known as Obelisco do Ibirapuera, this is the tallest monument in the city of Sao Paulo, with a height of 72 meters (236 feet). This monument is a symbol of the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932 and honors those who died in it. The obelisk is a project of the Italo-Brazilian sculptor Galileo Ugo Emendabili, and
is made of pure travertine marble. The construction of the monument was started in 1947 and completed in 1970.
Liberdade & The Aclimacao neighborhood
Just east of Bela Vista and south of the Se district, is the Liberdade district. This area is home to the city’s large Japanese community and it is considered to have the largest Japanese population outside of Japan in the world. The district also has a large population of Chinese and Koreans that have immigrated to the area.
The area is an interesting place to explore, where many of the streets are decorated with red lanterns and are lined with Japanese restaurants & shops as well as other Asian shops and eateries. The most popular is along the street known as Rua Galvao Bueno and the intersecting streets, where there is a variety of Japanese and Asian restaurants & shops.
On weekends there is an interesting market, known as Feira Oriental da Liberdade at Praca da Liberdade, where Asian food, crafts, souvenirs and other items are sold. This event attracts many people from other parts of the city and gets quite busy.
The area is served by the Sao Paulo Metro subway at the Liberdade Station, which is located at Praca da Liberdade. You can easily reach the area by taking the Line 1 – Blue of the Metro subway and then simply getting off at the at the Liberdade Station. See the Sao Paulo metro map
Things to do & see – Attractions
Praca da Liberdade
This is the neighborhood’s main plaza and also the location of the Liberdade Metro subway station. The square turns into an open-air market on the weekends, known as Feira Oriental da Liberdade, which sells a variety of Japanese & Asian foods, arts and crafts.
Rua Galvao Bueno
Next to Praca da Liberdade is the street known as Rua Galvao Bueno. Along this street and its intersecting streets are mostly Japanese and other Asian restaurants as well as shops. A huge red Japanese Torii arches high over the street as it marks the entry to the beginning of the street and serves as a sort of greeting to visitors of the street.
Casa de Portugal de Sao Paulo
Long before the Japanese immigrated to the Liberdade district, the neighborhood consisted of mostly Portuguse settlers. This building is a heritage center for the Portuguese in Sao Paulo and hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Every Thursday it has a lunch buffet at 12:30, where visitors can come get a taste of Portuguse food and checkout this building.
Museu da Imigracao Japonesa (Museum of Japanese Immigration)
If you have an interest in the history of Japanese immigration to Brazil and how the Japanese have influenced Brazilian culture, than this a fascinating museum for you. This museum documents the arrival of the first Japanese and tells about the life of Japanese immigrants in Brazil.
This Buddhist temple was built in the 1990s. Visitors are welcome to look around the building and attend ceremonies (don’t forget to take off your shoes). It is located on the same street, just a few building east of the Museum of Japanese Immigration, at Rua Sao Joaquim, 285.
Aclimacao neighborhood & Parque da Aclimacao
Located in the southern part of the Liberdade district is the upper middle-class neighborhood known as Aclimaco. This neighborhood is home to a large Korean community with many Korean restaurants, businesses and churches. Its main attraction is the pleasant park known as Parque da Aclimacao.
Ipiranga and Southeast zone of Sao Paulo
The southeastern part of the city of Sao Paulo features a variety of attractions and interesting sites. Here you will find the Sao Paulo Aquarium, Sao Paulo Zoo, the Botanical Gardens, the State Park, Independence Park, Paulista Museum and many other sites located in a variety of neighborhoods.
Located in the southeastern part of the city is the Ipiranga district. It received its name from the Ipiranga stream, which cuts through the area. Ipiranga is a Tupi-Guarani indigenous word, meaning “Red River” which is due to the muddy waters of the creek.
Ipiranga is a historical area, it was here were Emperor Pedro I proclaimed Brazilian independence from Portugal in 1822 on the banks of the Ipiranga stream.
The area is served by the stations Tamanduatei, Santos-Imigrantes, Alto do Ipiranga, Sacoma from Line 2-Green of the Sao Paulo Metro and Ipiranga station from Line 6-Orange. (See Metro subway map).
Things to do & see – Attractions
Aquario de Sao Paulo (Sao Paulo Aquarium)
The Sao Paulo Aquarium is the largest aquarium in Brazil and in all of South America. Established in 2006, it has more than 3,000 animals from approximately 300 species. It has fish of the Amazon and ocean water fish such as sharks, rays and eels. The aquarium displays not only marine creatures, but there are also reptiles, birds, mammals and dinosaur replicas.
Parque da Independencia (Independence Park)
This park is the location of where Emperor Pedro I proclaimed Brazilian independence from Portugal in 1822 on the banks of the Ipiranga stream. Parque da Independencia features a variety of interesting attractions: Museu Paulista, french-style gardens, the Monument to Independence, Casa do Grito and the Ipiranga stream running through the park.
Museu Paulista (Paulista Museum)
The Paulista Museum, (also known as Museu do Ipiranga) is a Brazilian history museum located in Parque da Independencia. The museum has a large collection of over 125,000 pieces related to Brazilian history and the independence of Brazil. It exhibits works of art, furniture, and objects of historical significance.
Museu Zoologia (Zoo Museum)
Located next to Parque da Independencia is the USP Museu Zoologia. The museum houses a large collection of preserved animals. It has specimens of fish, reptiles, birds, mammals, insects
and more. The museum is part of the University of Sao Paulo (USP) and provides courses to those studying zoology, taxonomy, systematics, evolution and biogeography areas. It is located at Avenida Nazare, 481 (south of Parque da Independencia).
Parque Estadual Fontes do Ipiranga (Ipiranga State Park)
Located in the southeastern part of the city of Sao Paulo, next to the Agua Funda neighborhood, is the state park known as Parque Estadual Fontes do Ipiranga.
This state park covers an area of over 526 hectares and features trees and vegetation of the Atlantic Forest that once covered much of the Brazilian coast.
Running through the State Park is Avenida Miguel Estefano, which gives visitors access to the variety of attractions located within the park. Inside the State Park you will find the Sao Paulo Zoo, Botanical Garden of Sao Paulo, CienTec Park, and other attractions.
Zoologico de Sao Paulo (Sao Paulo Zoo)
The Sao Paulo Zoo is the largest zoo in Brazil. Much of the zoo is covered by original trees and plants of the Atlantic Rainforest that once covered the Brazilian coast. It has around 3,200 animals, with 102 species of mammals, 216 species of birds, 95 species of reptiles, 15 species of amphibians and 16 species of invertebrates
Jardim Botanico de Sao Paulo (Botanical Garden of Sao Paulo)
Located next to the zoo in the state park known as Parque Estadual das Fontes do Ipiranga (PEFI) is the Botanical Garden of Sao Paulo. Here you’ll find trails where you can experience nature and to see a variety of plants and wildlife, such as monkeys, sloths, toucans and a variety of other birds. It also has greenhouses, a botanical museum, lakes, and a variety of gardens.
Parque CienTec (CienTec Park) – Science and Technology Park
Short for Parque de Ciencia e Tecnologia (Science and Technology Park), Parque CienTec is also located in the state park, next to the Sao Paulo Zoo. It is a science museum that features science experiments & demonstrations and exhibitions on physics, science, technology and environment. Part of the University of Sao Paulo (USP), it is also the location of the Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmosphere Science Institute.