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Sao Paulo is the industrial and financial capital of Brazil, but it is also gaining status as a hot spot for the privileged crowd. The city has a population of 18 million, many whom are of Italian, Japanese and Lebanese descent, although, much of its culture still comes from the rest of Brazil, including its infamous sister city, Rio de Janeiro. Though not as well known, Sao Paulo is the biggest city in South America. There is no shortage of elite services offered here and dining choices are an ethnic smorgasbord, many unsurpassed worldwide. Sao Paulo is 2500 feet above sea level, but only 45 miles from the coast. This makes for a pretty spectacular drive to the beach. Paulistos have a unique style, setting them apart from the people of other major cities of the world and making it understandable why air traffic to this city has tripled in the last few years. Should you go, you will leave with a fresh understanding of what South America has to offer.
Parque do Ibirapuera
Avenida Pedro Álvares Cabral
Tel. +55 (0) 11.745.055
Take a break from the city’s intense urban landscape in Ibirapuera Park, a combination of New York’s Central Park and its Museum Mile. A nice place to people-watch on weekends, you can rent a bicycle or sip coffee at one of the various cafés, including Cafe Museu de Arte Moderna. The ponds near the planetarium (which is currently undergoing renovation) are attractive and a row of geysers rise and fall like pistons, starring in a sound-and-light show on Saturday and Sunday nights at 8pm. Visit the new Ibirapuera Auditorium, designed 50 years ago by Oscar Niemeyer but only recently inaugurated.
Theatro Municipal Praça Ramos de Azevedo
Tel. +55 (0) 11.222.8698
The traditional venue for classical concerts, the impossibly grand Theatro Municipal is also the home of the São Paulo City Ballet. A cultural landmark in Sao Paulo, the Theatro has maintained its popularity through the years.
Museum of Art Sao Paulo
Av. Paulista 1578
Tel. +55 (0) 13.251.5644
For an afternoon dose of creativity, head to the most important museum in Brazil. Since it’s opening in 1968, this building has housed several European masters. The structure itself is quite a spectacle, with the main part of the building being supported by four colossal, red pillars.
Pinacoteca do Estado
Praça da Luz, 2
Tel. +55 (0) 11.3324.1000
If you want more Brazilian art, head inside this gorgeously restored museum that features some of the country's best artists.
Museum of Japanese Immigration
Rua de Sao Joaquim 381 (Liberdade)
Tel. +55 (0) 11.09.9565
About 1.5 million Paulistanos are of Japanese decent, and this museum chronicles how they got here in the late 19th century. History buffs won’t want to miss this.
Jockey Club de Sao Paulo
Avenida Lineu de Paula Machado 599 (Jardim)
Tel. +55 (0) 11.21.618.371
An elegant and tasteful establishment, the Jockey Club is the ideal place to escape the chaos of the city and place bets on horses. Dine at one of three exclusive restaurants: Mercearia, The Canter, and Charlo. Don’t forget to bring a lucky charm or an eye for a good horse.
Fundação María Luisa e Oscar Americano,
Avenida Morumbi, 4077
Tel. +55 (0) 3742.0077
A 1950 house museum surrounded by a lush tropical garden with 25,000 trees.
Galeria Fortes Vilaça
Rua Fradique Coutinho, 1500
Tel. +55 (0) 3032.7066
Gallery that shows contemporary work by Brazilians as well as Americans.
Rua Fradique Coutinho, 1360
Tel. +55 (0) 3031-6007
Gallery devoted to established and up-and-coming artists from Brazil.
Rua Cantareira, 306
Tel. +55 (0) 228-0339
A public food hall that resembles a United Nations bazaar. The 135,000-square-foot space is packed with fresh fish, ripe cheese and strange fruits.
Sala São Paulo
Praça Júlio Prestes
Tel. +55 (0) 3337-5414
It is a venue for symphonic and chamber presentations, and has been designed according to the most up-to-date international standards, comparable to the Boston Symphonic Hall, Musikvereinssaal in Vienna and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Largo de Sao Bento
This stately and very well know monastary church really brings in the crowd for the Sunday 10AM mass. It's not that everyone is relegious so much as they are lovers of the Gregorian chants that accompany the mass
Praça da Luz
A palm-lined garden where bands play sertanejo music (Brazilian country tunes) from a gazebo-like bandstand.
Rua Haddock Lobo, 1498
Not as glamorous as it once was, it is still one of the top restaurants in town. Affluent locals pack into this Classic Brazilian barbeque house where beef is the speciality. Your sirloin is grilled tableside and with its delicious salads and appetizers plus a comfortable environment, it is considered São Paulo's one of the best steakhouses.
Avenida Brigadeiro Faria Lima, 2954
Tel. + (55).11.3078.9488
Hailed as the most beautiful restaurant in the city, Figueira (fig tree) Rubaiyat is built around a magnificent old fig tree. The menu specializes in a la carte meats; most of the beef, chicken, and other meats served at Rubaiyat are homegrown at the owners' fazenda (cattle ranch), ensuring that the quality is always top-notch. The wine list has an excellent selection of obscure and fantastic Brazilian wines as well as a worldwide range of the usual suspects.
Praça Vila Boim 73
Tel. +55 (0) 11.3666.9633
For a quick and fantastic lunch or a great burger head to the Yellow Giraffe. Go Brazilian with the beirute, lending a unique twist to the ordinary cheeseburger by serving it with a pita rather than a bun. This is an adorable little place to enjoy a fantastic selection of salads and sandwiches.
Rua Barao de Capanema 549
Tel. +55 (0) 11.3088.0761
Alex Atala is the preeminent chef of Brazil. This restaurant pulls celebrities and well-heeled couples to its hushed, upscale dining space. Expect Brazilian ingredients with a French twist.
Rua Oscar Freire 913
Tel. +55 (0) 11.3084.1500
Winner of the 2006 Wallpaper magazine design award for Best Restaurant Concept, ladies could become addicted here. After ordering from the international menu (gazpacho and roasted figs with salad, perhaps?), one can choose from a selection of designer fashion collections to view between courses. Vintage furnishings in the restaurant are also for sale. Fashion and fare in one irresistibly chic place.
Rua Vittorio Fasano 88
Tel. +55 (0) 11.4148.8020
The Fasano family has long been known for warm hospitality and mouthwatering Italian cuisine. Located in the hotel of the same name, on a private street, the majestic square space is done up in warm wood and light brown suede. When you call for reservations, ask if they’ll have live jazz that night.
Shundi & Tomodachi
Rua Doutor Mário Ferraz 402
Tel. +55 (0) 11.3078.6852
Satisfy that craving for sushi in an indoor garden surrounded by fountains and greenery. Along with your favorites, try the baby octopus with curry or the mini wraps with salmon and eel.
Praça Vila Boim 49
Tel. +55 (0) 11.3826.695
With industrial décor and a terrific pizza selection, Piola is considered the most fashionable place to grab a pie. Over 30 pizza combinations to choose from and dozens of fresh ingredients, including Brie and smoked salmon ensure there is something for even the pickiest eaters.
Rua Dr. Melo Alves, 150
Tel. +55 (0) 3063-6091
This bar is popular with artists, poets and academics
Take a cab to ritzy Rua Oscar Freire, with cafes and high-end shops like Calvin Klein and La Perla sharing pricey real estate with Brazilian brands like Cris Barros and Osklen. The whole street was renovated last year
Rua Oscar Freire 645
Started in 1989 by Oscar Metsavaht this well known Brazilian has become world renowned in the fashion world with a eye towards leisure and sport clothes. His shops have grown to over 40 with outlets in New York, Milan and Rome just to name a few. This shop is the flagship store.
Rua Domingos Leme 284
Tel. +55 (0) 11.3842.3785
This shopping emporium is the most glamorous in all of South America. Everything from fashion’s top designers to stylish cuisines and cocktails is offered here. Yes, Daslu has it all: you can even purchase a small helicopter here to shuttle you around this ever-expanding capital city. The structure, which is set in a landscaped park, is an architectural destination in itself. The top floor terrace has two gardens; most impressive, however, are the two function rooms that can be converted into cinemas, theatres, catwalks or concert halls at the touch of a button. Add to this the great views and the most knowledgeable, helpful and attractive sales staff anywhere and you can see why we love Sao Paulo.
Galeria Ouro Fino (Jardins)
Rua Augusta 2690
This cool cluster of shops is where the latest runway fashions from the city’s exploding design scene come from. Also check out one of many music shops here: Techno Records and Rhythm Records are the best.
Avenida Roque Petroni Junior 1089
Tel. +55 (0) 11.5181.2251
Tucked away in Morumbi Mall, this small boutique is a welcome change. Go there for sequined shoes, sparkly tops and beaded bikinis you won’t find elsewhere. You’ll certainly be the envy of all your friends when you return home.
Liberdade Flea Market
If boutique shopping in Sao Paulo has lost its fun, visit the Liberdade Square for some hand made crafts. Hand-dyed silk scarves, wooden spoons and more can be found in this mostly Japanese part of town. Open Sundays 10 am to 7 pm.
Rua Oscar Freire 913
São paulo SP01426-001
Tel. +55 21 30841500
This hidden gem is paolista chic embedded in a Rio beach ---a stunning 4 story wood/stone/concrete interior space with a beautiful spiral staircase leading up and down to a sand floored cafe. Caters to the upscale beautiful people of the area. Here you will find a decent selection of tokyo denim and cutting edge brazil, cd's, art-books, odd gadgets. It's just like Paris' Colette, basically --- right down to the iPod listening stations. Very, very luxe.
Rua Oscar Freire, 1105
Tel. +55 3088.7370
Exquisitely cut dresses and blouses by the Jil Sander of Brazil.
Excellent travel site for English speakers planning a trip to Brazil, one can find a variety of information, including weather, a forum and English speaking service providers within Sao Paulo.
Fun site to peruse, featuring interesting facts, virtual tours of the city and a wealth of information on galleries, sporting events and cultural happenings.
Brazil's international monthly magazine online.
324 Rua Guaicurus (Lapa)
Tel. +55 (0) 11.3872.9966
With one of the largest thriving gay and lesbian communities, Sao Paulo is a great place to find the hottest alternative lifestyle clubs around. This enormous nightclub rivals any in the world with thumping techno beats and different themes every night.
Rua Pequetita, 189
Tel. +55 (0) 11.3044.1613
A luxe place to drink and dance with the beautiful people of Sao Paulo. Top DJs and live entertainment can be found here on any given night.
Avenida Brigadeiro Luís Antônio, 4700
Tel. +55 (0) 11.3055.4700
On top of the very modern Unique Hotel, the Skye bar and restaurant is where you might spot artists and actors among the trendy and fabulous. Or just sit back and enjoy the magnificent view of Ibirapuera Park. The bar has an open-air deck and a snazzy red swimming pool. As for music, a resident DJ spins nothing but the hottest around.
Rua Mario Feraz, 423
Tel. +55 (0) 11.3078 - 3130
In a city filled with so many options for nightlife, Azucar has done it right. The décor looks to have been dreamt up by a gothic Tommy Bahama and the wildly fun Latin music will make you want to put down your mojioto and shake your bonbon.
Av. São João, 677
Tel. +55 (0) 11.3333.0855
When established in 1949, the bar was a meeting place for socialites, philosophers, politicians and the like. The décor has maintained its integrity, with authentic pieces and accents, including the original piano that has remained with the bar. These days, the political discussions have been replaced with some of the best live music in Sao Paulo, most notably on Thursday and Sunday.
Rua Augusta, 765
Tel. +55 11.3231.3705
Gay disco that stays open well past daybreak.
Rua Frei Caneca, 916
Tel. 55 11.3159.8889
A cavelike, labyrinthine nightclub with a rocking, male-dominated floor.
Rua Bela Cintra, 461
Tel. 55 11.2628.8707
Looks like a hip spot right out of Manhattan’s meatpacking district. Here the difference is both subtle (passion fruit juice in the margaritas) and obvious (the lesbian couple making out next to the gay couple making out next to the straight couple).