Sao Paulo
© Shutterstock

A City Trip to São Paulo Is Never a Bad Idea

Brazil's largest city attracts foodies and culture-hungry visitors with its extensive offerings. São Paulo is particularly well suited for a varied city break.

December 9, 2022

São Paulo is considered the New York of South America: it's an exciting metropolis, vibrant, creative, surprising and extremely diverse; with modern architecture and a creative food scene you just have to get a taste of.

Sao Paulo

Culture lovers get their money's worth at the Theatro Municipal de São Paulo. © Leonid Andronov

The locals call their megacity São Paulo "Sampa" - a metropolis as pulsating as New York, with a seemingly endless skyline, architectural masterpieces and many green oases in between. For a long time, tourists who wanted to visit Brazil were drawn primarily to Rio de Janeiro, directly on the coast. Far fewer people found their way to São Paulo's urban jungle with a population of 21 million, which is dominated by skyscrapers and is a manifestation of modernity. Only in the center are still a few historic buildings, such as the Theatro Municipal or the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil in Art Deco style, as well as the striking white cathedral.


The cathedral is definitely worth a visit. © iStock

The megacity also shows its original charm in the Mercado Municipal, a covered market hall where there are many restaurants and bars. In general, São Paulo is a food paradise, with street markets offering extremely low prices and fine-dining temples like the elegant "D.O.M.," which is considered one of the best restaurants in South America. For a drink, head to the chic "Riviera Bar," which was an important meeting place for the intellectual scene in the 1960s and 1970s. The bright glass tiles and the curved bar create a special atmosphere.

Hotel Fasano Bar

The bar at Hotel Fasano is where many guests enjoy a nightcap after an exciting day in the city. © provided

But São Paulo is also a city of museums. The Pinacoteca is a striking historic brick building, with added modern elements. The collection opens up a new world; one is amazed by the fantastic paintings by Brazilian painters of whom one did not even know the names before. But the Museu de Arte (MASP) is also a treasure trove - with works by Raphael, Giovanni Bellini and Vincent van Gogh. The paintings are housed in a massive structure that floats on red steel beams. And then there's the Ponte Octávio Frias de Oliveira, a masterpiece of structural engineering. At night, the sophisticated bridge is lit up with thousands of LED lights and shines in all shades of color. Fitting to the cool diva attitude of the city.

The Financial District, Museu de Arte Sao Paulo and Ponte Octávio Frias de Oliviera are just a few of the must-sees in São Paulo. © Getty Images, Provided

This article appeared in the Falstaff TRAVEL issue Fall 2022.

Scroll to Top