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 “Rio is a beauty. But São Paulo – São Paulo is a city,” said Marlene Dietrich about Brazil’s most cosmopolitan city. The city is Brazil’s cultural as well as financial powerhouse, complete with a vibrant music scene, top designer shopping and delicious fusion cuisine, not to mention museums and galleries on a par with any other world city. All this combined with the vibrant local life of Paulistanos, who will surely be easy to make friends with.

currency

Real, R$1 = 100 centavos

phone

Police: 190
Emergency: 192
Fire Brigade: 193
Tourist Police (Rua São Bento 380): +55 11 3107 5642

newspaper

Journal do Brasil
Folha de São Paulo
Estado de São Paulo
O Globo

hours

Shops are normally open Mon-Sat 9am-6pm, closed over lunch. Banks are open from Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, but usually stop changing money at 2pm. The larger shopping centres are open Mon-Sat from 10am-10pm and from 2pm-8pm on Sundays and holidays.

population

Approximately 11.8 million

info

São Paulo Tourist information
Av. São João, 473, São Paulo
Daily 9am-6pm

Sao Paulo Filipe Frazao/Shutterstock.com

The City

The third largest city in the world has 17 million people spread over an area of 30.000 square kilometres. São Paulo might be huge but it has humble beginnings. In 1554, Portuguese Jesuit priests founded a small mission on a hill close to the River Tietê, which soon became a trading post. Later, when the area around São Paulo was found to be perfect for growing coffee, the city´s future prosperity was sealed. Today São Paulo is the business and unofficial political capital of the country.

A good place to orientate yourself in São Paulo is by Avenida Paulista, lined with high rise office buildings, which divides the city centre from São Paulo´s exclusive and glamorous district, the Jardins, where you find the best hotels including Fasano and the Unique. From here, you can easily reach most parts of the city. Praça da Sé and Praça da República, the two squares divided by Vale do Anhangabaú is the old centre of São Paulo. On Rua Boa Vista, you will find the whitewashed Baroque Pátio do Colégio, the site of which dates back to the Jesuits first mission in 1554. Nearby, Triângulo is the city´s main financial district and home to São Paulo´s imposing stock exchange, the BOVESPA. A few blocks away you can find the calm of São Bento. North east is the imposing neo-gothic central market, the Mercado Municipal. South of here is the commercial district of Bela Vista, nicknamed Bixiga, and the city´s ”Little Italy” centred around Praça da Liberdade, now a centre for east Asian immigrants.

Rua Augusta slices across Avenida Paulista into the Jardins. Around Praça Franklin Roosevelt are many of the city´s best shops and restaurants. South west of the Jardins is the fashionable neighbourhood of Pinheiros, with some of the best bars and nightclubs in the city. Across the Rio Pinheiros is the vast campus of the Universidade de São Paulo. South east from here is the huge green space of Parque Ibirapuera. To the east of the centre you find the barrias, once the industrial hub of the city. Of note here is the Museu da Hospedaria. North of here across the Rio Tietê is the city´s main bus station, the Rodoviária Tietê.

View of San Paulo Filipe Frazao/Shutterstock.com

Do & See

Most of São Paulo's main attractions are located in the city centre, the area bounded by the Tietê River on the North, the Pinheiros River to the West, Avenida dos Bandeirantes on the south and Avenida Salim Farah Maluf to the East. São Paulo has something for everyone, the culture vulture, the jazz fan, the clubber, the football fanatic and the gourmand. To take in the scale of São Paulo's history visit Pátio do Colégio to see its beginnings. Then visit legendary Brazilian architect and designer of Brasilia, Oscar Niemeyer's space-age OCA museum. For a breathtaking glimpse of where São Paulo is going, you cannot beat the view from the top of the Italia Building on Avenida Ipiranga at the corner of Avenida São Luís.

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Parque do Ibirapuera

Arte Fora do Museu

Memorial da America Latina

Nicolas de Camaret

Museu Afro-Brasileiro

Monica Kaneko

Museu Arte Brasileira / FAAP

seier+seier

Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM)

Rodrigo Soldon

Pinacoteca do Estado

Lelê Breveglieri

Catedral da Sé

Rodrigo Soldon

Casa das Rosas

Patricia Figueira

Mosteiro de São Bento

Rodrigo Soldon

Pátio do Colégio / Museu Padre Anchieta

PollyDot

Parque Zoológico de São Paulo

Tales.ebner

Estádio Cícero Pompeude Toledo

gaborbasch

Pedra Grande - Big Stone Cliff

RescueWarrior

Aeromagic Balloons

Pablo Trincado

Edifício Copan

Filipe Frazao/Shutterstock.com

Museu da Língua Portuguesa

Lekies

Aquário de São Paulo

Kapa65

Instituto Butantan

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Dining

São Paulo’s best restaurants are to be found in the Jardins, Itaim Bibi, Pinheiros, and Vila Madalena, where you can sample local bahian and mineiro cuisine, as well as international fusion dishes. However, for those on a smaller budget, R$5 can get you a delicious healthy meal at side street restaurants called lanchonetes, which are more a mix between a café and a bakery. But even in top restaurants, prices rarely exceed R$100.

The best non-Brazilian cuisine tends to be Middle Eastern, Korean and Chinese. Head to Liberdade for Japanese and Cerqueira César for Middle Eastern. The Portuguese restaurants are pretty spectacular too. Lunch is the most important meal of the day in Brazil so for the more popular restaurants, it is advisable to book a table in advance, even during the weeks.

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Sarrasin

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Mocotó - Restaurante e Cachaçaria

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Era uma vez um Chalezinho

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Baby Beef Rubaiyat

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Arábia

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Capim Santo

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Veridiana

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Le Chef Rouge

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Andrade

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Due Cuochi Cucina-Itaim Bibi

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Fogo de Chão

greekfood-tamystika

A Bela Sintra

Romi

Cheiro Verde

Barista making coffee Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com

Cafés

Paulistanos are a fast-moving, dynamic bunch so there is an abundance of cafés and fast food outlets, from local Lanchonetes serving snacks and cheap meals to the inevitable MacDonalds and Subways. São Paulo does not have a big café tradition, but locals like to drink cafézinhos, small cups of strong, black coffee.

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Ponto Chic

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Frevo

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Fran's Cafe

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Bacio di Latte

Dj mixing outdoor at beach party festival with crowd of people in background - Summer nightlife view of disco club outside - Soft focus on hand - Fun, youth, entertainment and fest concept - Bild DisobeyArt/Shutterstock.com

Bars & Nightlife

The hometown of electro hipster group CSS, São Paulo's eclectic nightlife is the best in Brazil. Bela Vista has plenty of live music and draws a mixed crowd, while Vila Madalena and adjoining Pinheiros are full of trendy, bohemian-nightspots, and clubs where you can enjoy a Brahma beer and check out the scene. The Jardins offers upmarket bars for a more mature and LGBT crowd. Head to the bar at the Fasano for the best Caipirinha you are likely to taste anywhere. Itaim Bibi and Vila Oliímpia are where you will find the trendy up and coming clubs. Wednesday and Thursday nights are very popular.

For listings of what is going on check weekly Veja magazine and www.obaoba.com.br.

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All Black Irish Pub

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Empanada's

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All of Jazz

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Café Piu-Piu

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D-Edge

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Bar do Luiz Fernandes

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Empório Alto dos Pinheiros

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Karaoke Chopperia Liberdade

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Bar Veloso

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Skye Bar Hotel Unique

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Bourbon Street Music Club

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Pub Crawl São Paulo

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Capitão Barley

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Clube Caravaggio

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The Week

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Bebo Sim

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Canto da Ema

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Woods São Paulo

Credit Card, Shopping Bag, Shopping. Billion Photos / Shutterstock.com

Shopping

São Paulo’s shopping possibilities are extensive and the city offers lots of intriguing browsing. The success of São Paulo Fashion Week has drawn many top designers here but there are other delights on offer, from food markets to huge air-conditioned shopping malls. The main shopping hub is in Centro around the Praça da Republica, particularly off Avenida Iparanga and Rua 25 de Marco.

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Jardins District

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Rua 25 de Marco

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Benedito Calixto Arts Market

Arte Fora do Museu

Galeria Do Rock

Pressmaster / Shutterstock.com

Shopping JK Iguatemi

G. Clara Polydoro

Sogo Plaza Shopping

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Livraria Cultura

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Shopping Patio Higienopolis

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Rua do Arouche

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Morumbi Shopping

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Casa Santa Luzia

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Espaço Brasil Presentes e Decoração

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Daslu

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Galeria Ouro Fino

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Ponto Solidário

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Chocolat Du Jour

Brazil flag Filipe Frazao/Shutterstock.com

Tourist Information

São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport

The city is served by São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, sometimes called Cumbica, located 30 kilometres northeast of São Paulo.

Blue air-conditioned EMTU buses operate between the airport and the city centre. The buses stop at Tietê bus terminal, Praça da República, the major hotels along Avenida Paulista, Brooklin Novo, Barra Funda and Congonhas. The journey to Avenida Paulista takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. The buses leave every 30-90 minutes. A cheaper option is to take a bus to Bresser metro station (5 am-11 pm) and then take a train to the city centre. www.airportbusservice.com.br

At the airport you will also find transfer companies. You can also take a blue and white taxi.

Aeroporto Congonhas is located 14 kilometres south of Centro (a 30-minute drive) serving regional airlines.

Address: São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, São Paulo

Email:

Phone:

Website: www.gru.com.br/en

More Information:

Buses

São Paulo has an extensive public transport system. Bus services are frequent and cover the entire city, but congestion can sometimes make travelling slow. With stops clearly marked, bus routes are easy to find. There are different tickets to suit your needs. Enter at the front of the bus, and pay the cobrador (fare collector).

Address:

Email:

Phone:

Website: www.sptrans.com.br

More Information: www.emtu.sp.gov.br

Metro

São Paolo's Metrô system is clean and efficient. The Metrô runs every day from 04.40 until 00.06 and Saturdays 04.40-01.00.

Address: 1626 Augusta Street, São Paulo

Email:

Phone: +55 11 3371 7274

Website: www.metro.sp.gov.br

More Information:

Taxi

São Paulo taxis are white. You will pay a tax if the cab leaves the city, as is the case with trips to Cumbica Airport. Good radio-taxi companies usually accept credit cards, but you must call ahead and request the service. Delta takes calls in English.

Delta Rádio Táxi:

Address: Rua Carneiro da Cunha, 167, São Paulo

Email:

Phone: +55 11 5072 4499

Website:

More Information:

Post Office

The main post office, called correio, is located downtown at Praça Correiro. Yellow postal kiosks can be found throughout the city. Many can be found on Av. Paulista. The correio at the international airport of Guarulhos is open 24 hours.

Praça Correiro:

Address: Praça Correiro, São Paulo

Email:

Phone:

Website: www.correios.com.br

More Information:

Pharmacy

Pharmacies, called farmacias or drogarias, can be found throughout the city centre. Most pharmacies will deliver 24 hours a day, usually for a small surcharge. Ask your concierge for your nearest one.

Droga Raia:

Address: R Barao de Itapetinga, 99, Centro, São Paulo

Email:

Phone: +55 11 3716 3400

Website: www.drogaraia.com.br

More Information:

Telephone

Country code: +55
Area code: 11

Address:

Email:

Phone:

Website:

More Information:

Electricity

110 V, 60 Hz. Some hotels have both 110 and 220 V outlets.

Address:

Email:

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Website:

More Information: