#Innsider’s guide to São Paulo
São Paulo’s beauty lies in its people and vibrant cultures. Sampa – as the city is known – is the third largest metropolis on earth and its diverse population of over 20 million makes for a vibrant cultural melting pot that pulses around-the-clock. Known for endless skyscrapers that shape the horizon from every angle, it’s a difficult city for the inexperienced traveller to master, but one that’s well worth the sweat. Unfazed? Stick with us for some handy #innsider knowledge.
A Bite to Eat
São Paulo is known for its cuisine and the vast array of nationalities living here make it legendary amongst foodies – after all it’s home to the largest community of people of Japanese descent outside Japan and the largest population of Italian descendants outside Italy. Restaurants here offer approximately 52 cuisines across more than 12,500 smart bistros, gourmet restaurants and fast food joints.
Top-notch restaurants can be found all over the city, but for the best Japanese food head to the Liberdade district and Bela Vista for the best Italian. Paulistanos (as the locals are called) eat late. It’s not uncommon for restaurants to begin serving at 9 or 10pm and stay open until 3am.
On the Art Run
Besides food, Sao Paulo has a broad cultural scene that’s popping with creativity. When it comes to street art, no neighbourhood packs the same quality of work into such a compact space as Sampa’s Vila Madalena district. Artists are jostling for their creative space in the craggy streets, but #Innsiders can spot the easier-to-recognise artists’ trademarks; Pato is a well-known name on the scene and his colourful long-nosed characters are visible on several walls throughout the neighbourhood. Spot one in front of the entrance to Beco do Aprendiz. See more of his work here: https://www.facebook.com/pato.patologico
If the antiques game is more your bag, weekends in São Paulo bring out all things vintage and antique. Take a wander through the chilled open-air market at Benedito Calixto Square in Pinheiros on a Saturday afternoon (2.30-6.30pm) or check out the Sunday morning market at Dom Orine Square in Bixiga (from 8am).
Chopp, Caffeine and Caipirinhas
Sampa’s social scene is high-voltage and there’s much more to experience than the slushing ice and lime of a traditional caipirinha; over 15,000 bars make up its raucous 24/7 clubbing scene. As well as being hot on the art scene, Vila Madalena is the city’s most established nightlife destination and Rua Aspicuelta along with surrounding streets are packed with great bars and alternative nightclubs.
São Cristovão is a bar with one hell of an atmosphere; practically every inch of the walls and ceiling is plastered with football-themed memorabilia, providing a free history lesson of the beloved Brazilian game. Sip some excellent ‘chopp’ (draft beer) and try the ‘carne de panela’. Rua Aspicuelta 53.
For a little calm in this heady scene, check out the gourmet beer tasting menus at Melograno. If you’re lucky, you can even grab a table in the garden out back. Rua Aspicuelta 436.
Brazil may be beer-mad, but if mixology is more your thing, try out the trendy red and black basement bar of SubAstor for some experimental cocktails. Rua Delfina 163.
A place to stay
Our Park Inn by Radisson Ibirapuera São Paulo Hotel is situated in the heart of the city in upscale Moema. The hotel is just blocks away from the popular Ibirapuera Park and is also conveniently near Guarulhos International Airport.
What are your favourite São Paulo discoveries? Share your #innsider tips on Twitter @parkinn to help others when planning a visit!