São Paulo

Things to do in São Paulo

In a city where the skyscrapers seems to stretch on for miles, just exploring the best of the architecture is one of the top things to do in São Paulo —and your hotel concierge can help hook you up with any number of guided tours. There are plenty of cool things to do in São Paulo. The Jardins (especially on Rua Oscar Freire and Alameda Lorena) is where you’ll find the more upscale boutiques, while Centro is where you can browse market stalls of leather, textiles and crafts. A great place to start, near the Mariana metro stop, is the Casa de Vila, which offers Brazilian handicrafts from a beautiful 1929 mansion. São Paulo is a hotbed for contemporary art galleries, such as relative newcomer Raquel Arnaud, focusing on Brazilian artists, or Galeria Vermelho, which tends to show more international talent. To see truly up-and-coming work, walk down the Beco do Batman (Rua Gonçalo Afonso) in the Vila Madalena district— a colorful, graffiti-lined alley that changes continually as street artists add new works.

If you love nightlife, your list of what to do in São Paulo should start with a generous dose of the local coffee. The evening really kicks off at about 10 around here, at lounges such as Suite Savalas (have an amaretto-infused Corleone) or Emporio Sagarana, where you can partake in a refreshing glass of sugar-cane-based cachaça. For a hot dance club after midnight, check out Casa 92, which feels like the home of a very well connected friend.

The cozy, tiled Original elevates draft beer to high science. The brew (small-bubbled Brahma) rests in iceberg-cold tanks for at least two days to settle the head.

Before strutting Brazil’s 4,603 miles of soft sands, stop here to load up your iPod with bossa nova, samba, axé, and forró—any Chill: Brazil compilation will do. (Just don’t take anything with an apple on it to theft-prone beaches in Rio or Recife.)

Here, Japanese karepan (curry buns) are sold alongside Brazilian palmito cakes and eggy breads laced with Portuguese sausage.

Brazilian DJ's spin all night at this local hot spot.

A typical airport bookstore with a limited selection of English paperbacks and a lot of people flipping through Caras, one of Brazil’s best-known gossip rags.

Fresh batches of pão de queijo - irresistibly chewy, buttery bread made with cassava flour - are baked daily at the pocket-size bakery.

In the evening, "urban bossa" and other live music entertains an energetic crowd .

This Sao Paulo-based boutique travel agency specializes in custom luxury itineraries from Bahia to the Amazon. Robert Betenson is an invaluable local resource for everything from locating the perfect pousada in Fortaleza to gallery hopping in Caruaru and finding secret beaches in Natal.

This small artistic shop features a rotating selection of colorful wearable art and kitschy home wares, preserved in resin.