If a city says it’s the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, it had better be able to back up the claim with a cultural and dining scene just as big and bold. My friends, São Paulo does just that. In fact, if you find yourself in the booming mecca of 11 million residents for a couple of days, getting to every art exhibition or trying each caipirinha would be impossible. However, we have some highlights that will allow you to slice the metropolis to manageable size.
Brazil is recognized worldwide for its architectural ingenuity, so making your way to beloved Ibirapuera Park to see some of famed architect Oscar Niemeyer’s structural masterpieces is essential for Day 1. But so too is making the short subway ride up to Mercado Municipal, a traditional farmers market that packs as many colors and flavors as it possibly can under its roof. Not far from Mercado’s humongous mortadella (bologna) sandwiches sits Pinacoteca, a well-maintained gallery where you can feast on works from greats like landscape artist Antonio Parreiras. Though your feet might be weary, your stomach will thank you for closing out the evening with a fine steak under the majestic fig tree at A Figueira Rubaiyat.
Start Day 2 in São Paulo by taking a taxi to Bella Paulista bakery. Locals crowd into the place at all hours to get pastries, eggs and fruit. We suggest you follow suit. If you’re in the city on a Sunday, you’ll want to walk off breakfast at Bixiga Flea Market. There, you’ll find odd antiques, clothes and that perfect little knickknack you promised your co-worker. After all the bargain-hunting (or more art appreciating at the stylish Zipper Galeria, which features up-and-coming artists), you’ll find Maní to be a great answer for dinner. It offers a fun, energetic take on contemporary Brazilian cuisine, but you’ll want to call ahead to secure your table. Afterward, head to the high-end Vila Olimpia neighborhood for clubbing, drinking and winding down an eventful 48 hours in São Paulo.
Photo Courtesy of iStock Brasil