Hot tips for São Paulo
This is where you can hear the beat of South America’s commercial heart. The constant stream of business travelers to São Paolo is not just happenchance. But it’s wrong to dismiss this pulsating mega-city as a boring financial center. There’s a lot worth seeing in this underestimated metropolis. Here’s some insider information.
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São Paulo: financial centre with a lot of green space
Exciting, noisy, jumping, creative and multicultural – São Paulo often comes across like a Latin-American version of New York. And there are many similarities, for example, a burgeoning population and skyscrapers at every corner. Many people regard the Avenida Paulista as Sao Paulo’s answer to 5th Avenue. It is the city’s main cultural and financial artery and is well supplied with shopping malls that draw in the tourists and visitors from out of town. It is also the site of the Museu de Arte de São Paulo.
São Paulo has a number of good, relatively reasonably priced hotels. But, if you’re looking for something a bit out of the ordinary, and more expensive as well, the Unique Hotel is the place to go. The name says it all. For example, the architecture: the building on the edge of the city’s well-known Ibirapuera Park looks like the copper-covered hull of a giant dry-docked ship. During the day the spectacular roof terrace is ideal for sunbathing and the inviting purple water of the pool is there any time you want to cool off. Evenings it’s a great place for open-air parties.
Avenida Brigadeiro Luís Antônio 4700, Tel. +55-11/30 55 47 10,
It’s São Paulo’s Central Park and the city’s most popular meeting place. Stretching over just under 500 acres, it has spacious grassy areas and a multitude of different trees and flowers, plus pavilions and fountains. The Museum of Modern Art (Museu de Arte Moderna or MAM) and the São Paulo University’s Museum of Contemporary Art (Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo) are also located there. The Bienal de São Paulo and the São Paulo Fashion Week are regularly held in the park’s Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion.
Skyscrapers, markets and artists’ quarter
The Altino Arantes Building:
The city has an impressive skyline made up of more than 5000 skyscrapers, many of which have public viewing platforms offering breathtaking panoramic views. One of the most well-known is the 528 ft. high Altino Arantes Building, a.k.a. the Banespa Tower. Completed in 1947, it remained the city’s highest building for two decades. On a clear day, visitors to the viewing platform on the 35th floor can enjoy a panorama of the city up to a distance of 25 miles.
Rua João Brícola 24, Tel.: +55-11/32 49 71 80; open Mon – Fri 10am – 5pm; entrance free, but access only allowed to visitors presenting a valid passport.
The Mercado Municipal Paulistano, a.k.a. the Mercadão to the local inhabitants or paulistanos, is a place where big volumes are handled. An estimated 350 tons of food are sold here daily. The neo-Classic market building was renovated and enlarged in 2004, since when the services offered include snack bars and restaurants where visitors can sample a wide range of traditional Brazilian delicacies, plus typical dishes from the cuisine of immigrant groups like Italians and Japanese.
Rua da Cantareira 306, Tel.: +55-11/33 26 66 64; open Mon – Sat 6am – 6 pm, Sundays 6am – 4pm;
Get to see the really hip side of the city. This is the Vila Madalena district where São Paolo’s creative class hangs out in the many bars and cafés. Artists, writers and actors feel at home in Vila Madá – and their presence is now making it very popular with the Rich and Beautiful. Favorite spots to enjoy the scene are the bars on the Rua Aspicuelta, and a visit to the antique and flea market on the Praça Benedito Calixto can also be recommended.
Photos: Koppen/Bilderberg, getty images (5)