#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 melting pot that pulses around-the-clock. Known for endless skyscrapers that shape the horizon from every angle. It’s a complicated city for the inexperienced traveler to master, but one that’s well worth the effort. Stick with us for some handy #innsider knowledge of things to do in São Paulo.

A Bite to Eat

São Paulo has amazing cuisine. And the vast array of nationalities living here makes it legendary among 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 9pm or 10pm and stay open until 3am.

Things to do in Sao Paolo - Torii Gate at Liberdade Avenue Sao Paulo

On the Art Run

Besides food, São Paulo has a broad cultural scene that’s popping with creativity. When it comes to street art, no neighborhood packs the same quality of work into such a compact space as the Vila Madalena district. Artists are jostling for their creative space in the craggy streets, but #Innsiders can spot the easier-to-recognize artists’ trademarks; Pato is a well-known name on the scene and his colorful long-nosed characters are visible on several walls throughout the neighborhood. 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 Orione Square in Bixiga (from 8am).

Things to do in Sao Paolo - Nossa Senhora Achiropita Church at Bixiga neighborhood.

Chopp, Caffeine and Caipirinhas

São Paulo’s social scene is high-voltage and there’s more to experience than the 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 a great atmosphere; every inch of the walls and ceiling are full of 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 mixology is still an option! Try out the trendy red and black basement bar of SubAstor for some experimental cocktails. Rua Delfina 163.

Caipirinha in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Great places to stay

Be sure to check out the colorful and comfortable hotel south of the busy city center – Park Inn by Radisson Berrini. It’s convenient to the business and financial districts and affluent areas including Vila Olimpia and Morumbi. Shopping, restaurants and nightlife are all nearby. For instance, Ohka Japanese Cuisine, or grab a tasty Greek pizza at Gioconda & Helenica Pizza à Moda Grega. And for great music, dancing and people watching, be sure to hit Tatu Bola Bar.

If you’re looking for a break from the city life and want to head to Brazil’s most prized possession, its beaches, then head to the Park Inn by Radisson Santos.  The hotel is situated just along the shores of Praia do José Menino which means you can head straight into the South American waters! Plus, the incredible view from the rooms show the beauty of Brazil and its impeccable coastline.

beach aerial view in Santos, Brazil

What are your favorite São Paulo discoveries? Share your tips on Twitter @parkinn to help others when planning a visit!