São Paulo...it is a matter of love and hate, in my case, I adore São Paulo and of course I do not hate the city...some of my guests land in São Paulo and sometimes they spend the night, or they want to visit the city for one or two days, also if you are in a business trip you will be in São Paulo because it is simply the finantial capital of Brazil. If you are looking for nature, well, it is not a place for you, we are talking about the most populated city in Latin America, just Mexico city has more people than São Paulo and believe me, the city of Mexico is way more interesting. But a visit to São Paulo will teach you a lot about Brazilian Culture, you will be updated about everything which is going on in the country.
The city can be fascinating of you choose to see an art exihibitions...if you can understand portuguese, all the best threatre plays start there, if you like interesting graffiti (I mean real street art) you find there but you should be a deep researcher to find some of their street art. Right now you can see the best graffiti in the World in a great art event in the main park of the city called IBIRAPUERA.
I must tell you NEVER BOOK YOUR FLIGHT where you will land in Guarulhos and take any plane from Congonhas Airport...NEVER!!! That means that you will cross the city and traffic in São Paulo is by far one of the worst traffic in the World. And if you use Guarulhos airport. And if once you are in São Paulo and need to go to this airport, just leave your hotel or apartment with 6 hours in advance. I am not joking, I am super serious! Best way to hang out in the city will be METRO during the day and evening, and TAXIS at night (always after 11:00 pm), and talking about METRO, I agree, the system is perfect and one of the best that I have ever used. The São Paulo metro really works specially if you need the YELLOW LINE, for more info, just go to their website which is METRO SÃO PAULO
Back in 1901, Luz Station was open for the public, it is a big hub in São Paulo where you can connect the metro with the suburban train. Great iron contruction with a lot of english influence. It is one of my favorite places in the heart of old São Paulo, from there you can visit the amazing PORTUGUESE LANGUAGE MUSEUM which you do not need to understand or speak portuguese to realize how fantastic this so diverse language is, you will learn about native tribes that have been presented in Brazil way before the first portuguese that colonized our country, you will see some of the greatest photos and art made by brazilian artists, lots to see there and I highly recommend.
In the surroundings of Estação da Luz you can play with arts, charges made by some of our best artists that could show our real situation with great humor. Another change to see the best of Brazil's art, São Paulo has one of the most important art museums in the country called PINACOTECA. Also located in front of Luz Station, two interesting places so easy to find.
São Paulo has several amazing hotels, b&bs, hostels, renting apartments, specially in the neighborhood that we love to stay which is Avenida Paulista Area, all the facilities are there, and I am sure in these hotels breakfasts are fantastic, but we never miss a chance to go to a wonderful local bakery called BELLA PAULISTA, I am sure you also want to go there, so here is their address:
Rua Haddock Lobo, 354 - Cerqueira Cesar (close to Paulista Avenue around Consolação Area)
When you think about São Paulo...the first things that comes to your mind is food...just like every enormous metropole in the World, São Paulo has absolutely marvelous eating options, I prefer referring to those eating options like GASTRONOMY. And São Paulo has very traditional restaurants such as O GATO QUE RI, specialized in Brazilian Food. I am a cat person so I could never be in a better place, the name of this restaurant in english is THE SMILING CAT, simple and delicious like that, I highly recommend this one, you can find O GATO QUE RI at Largo do Aroucha, super traditional district in the old part of São Paulo and the address of this discovery is Largo do Arouche, 37 - Republica Area
When you are in São Paulo, never miss visiting the italian neighborhood of Bixiga...this is where Italia and Brazil meet, pasta with Samba and Feijoada with Tarantella, many italian cantinas there...some of the oldest and I am talking about 90 years old restaurants packed with history and the best pasta ever. São Paulo had a massive italian immigration...and the best place to go is C QUE SABE, that means YOU KNOW. hahahah :)))))
Here is the address:
Rua Rui Barbosa, 192 - Bela Vista
I know there are more to do in São Paulo, it is a huge city, any visit in São Paulo can be fun, though it is not one of the most beautiful cities in Brazil but it is worthy going there if you have the chance. More places that I recommend you to see would be CONJUNTO NACIONAL in Paulista Avenue, it is a big mall of many amazing book stores, the green Ibirapuera Park and so many other places!
I can also make São Paulo easier for you, if you write to me in advance, I am a tour guide there as well.
RAFAEL TORRES LOPES
Tour Guide and Travel Planner