As my first post at Globonaut, I would like to introduce you to my hometown: São Paulo. Located in the southeast of Brazil, it is the largest city in the Americas, with almost 12 million people (that’s more people than most countries around the world have!). I no longer live there, so maybe this post is going to make me a little home sick. In any case, here are the best 5 reasons to visit São Paulo:
São Paulo has many great museums for all kinds of taste, from modern and contemporary art to the Football Museum.
Certainly the MASP is the city’s best art museum. It holds the finest collection of Western art in Latin America and hosts fantastic temporary exhibitions from all over the world. Its building, designed by the modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi, is one of the most important architectural marks in the city. It held the largest free space in the world by the time it was built (1968).
Pinacoteca do Estado
Another great museum in São Paulo is the Pinacoteca do Estado. It houses a huge collection of Brazilian art and a nice collection of 19th century French sculptures. The museum’s building is also a landmark: an unfinished eclectic building in exposed masonry structure, with a contemporary intervention by Paulo Mendes da Rocha.
#4. Public Spaces
São Paulo is passing through great transformation concerning the uses of its public spaces. The city was long considered an enemy of pedestrians, always giving preference to cars. However, in recent years this situation started to change. The parks and squares have gained new life thanks to some city development programs. Many investments were also made in alternative kinds of transportation, like the bike paths. On Sundays, some important avenues such as Paulista Avenue and the famous Minhocão are closed to cars and become pedestrian areas with a rich mix of uses.
Other great use of the city’s public spaces are the outdoor markets, where you can find basically anything from rare antiques until popular street food. The best ones for findings are at the Benedito Calixto’s Square on Saturdays and Bixiga’s market at Dom Orione’s on Sundays.
#3. Skyline views
Like any other great metropolis, in São Paulo you can find great places to see the city from above. From the tallest skyscrapers such as Banespão, Martinelli and Itália buildings, you can have great views from the city centre. But my favorite view is certainly from the MAC USP‘s rooftop, where you can see the whole Ibirapuera Park and the most beautiful skyline at sunset.
If you like to eat something different everyday, São Paulo is definitely the right city for you. It is the second biggest city in the world in number of restaurants, where you can find anything from a traditional Brazilian barbecue until the most exotic Thai food. There are plenty of trendy restaurants and bars to find out every day and, if you wish, you don’t ever need to repeat any of them. But personally, I think that the best of São Paulo’s gastronomy are found in the streets. You shouldn’t leave the city without trying a pastel at a street market and the best Japanese guiosa in town, at Liberdade’s outdoor market.
#1. Great mix of cultures
For those who really love to travel, I guess the best reason for visiting São Paulo is its multi-ethnic character. Besides the great amount of food from all over the world, you can also meet people and traditions from everywhere. The city’s varied population is due to the many waves of immigrants that began in 1870, with lots of Europeans coming to work at the coffee farms in the countryside. Later, the city also received lots of Japanese, Lebanese and many other immigrants from all over the world. As a result, the city has a great mix of cultures and many traditional neighborhoods that are worth visiting, like the Japanese quarter of Liberdade, the Jewish Bom Retiro, the italian Bixiga, and much more.