What to see in Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo Attractions

On the surface, Sao Paulo can't begin to compete with the spectacular sights of Rio de Janeiro, but underneath the grey, concrete exterior beats the heart of a vibrant cultural and artistic metropolis. In a word, Sao Paulo's attractions are its people.

Sao Paulo is the cultural capital of Brazil, with a vibrant artistic community that takes the form of art galleries and museums scattered around the city. Clustered in neighbourhoods like Jardins, Cerqueira César, and Bela Vista, you'll find both local and international talent at places like the Luisa Strina Gallery, Arte 57 Escritorio de Arte, Choque Cultural Gallery, and the Museu da Tatuagem (Museum of Tattooing).

Sao Paulo is the home of Brazil's famous combination of dance and martial art: capoeira. There are several capoeira schools for tourists wanting to give it a try, including the Salão De Festas or Academia Spah.

The city also has some notable green spaces, including the manicured Botanical Gardens, the Sao Paulo Zoo, and the miniature rainforest in the Parque Siqueira Campos. The Praça da República in the city centre is surprisingly green as well, with lagoons, a fountain, and a bandstand.

One particularly beautiful area of Sao Paulo is the Parque do Ibirapuera, a major park near the centre of the city with many points of interest, including a planetarium, Japanese pavilion, gymnasium, the Obelisk of Sao Paulo, and the Cicillo Matarazzo Pavilion, which houses the Museum of Contemporary Art and is the site of large events like the São Paulo Art Biennial and São Paulo Fashion Week. The park is home to many museums, including the Air Force Museum, Folklore Museum, and Modern Art Museum.

Sao Paulo is home to a number of other interesting museums, including those dedicated to immigrants, the African Diaspora, the Japanese community, revolutionary heroes, and Brazilian language and literature.

Sao Paulo has many interesting buildings for architecture enthusiasts, including whimsical Victorian mansions in Bela Vista, and modern skyscrapers like the curving Edifício Copan, the colourful Instituto Tomie Ohtake, the Victorian train station Estação da Luz, and the Baroque cathedral Igreja de São Francisco de Assis. The Italia and Banespa buildings offer panoramic views of Sao Paulo from their viewing decks.

Most attractions in Sao Paulo are easy to get to through a combination of walking and taking the metro. Pickpockets and muggings are common, but visitors are generally safe in well-populated areas during the day.

Football Museum

Even for non-football fans, São Paulo's Museu do Futebol (Football Museum) is a must-see tourist attraction. The…

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