Sao Paulo Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia
Articles,  Blog

Sao Paulo Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia

São Paulo, in southeast Brazil, is the most populous city in the
Southern Hemisphere, and one of the biggest on the planet. This once modest missionary outpost has grown out to become the country’s economical and cultural powerhouse. Welcome to the fascinating city of São Paulo. This is the city… fondly known as Sampa These are the locals …. who call themselves Paulistanos. And this is what brings out their passion: strong coffee… named cafezinho, soccer… which they call futebol and of course: … carnival. São Paulo may not have Rio’s famous beaches, but it makes up for it in culture. In this energetic and creative city, you can enjoy the cool escape of nearly a
hundred museums and taste flavors from all over the world in some twenty-thousand cafés and restaurants. Because São Paulo is so incomprehensibly big, it helps to start at the very beginning of
its history. The botanical gardens in Parque do Estado
near the airport, preserves some of the Atlantic Rainforest that covered much of the Brazilian coast. The landscape was transformed when the
Portuguese arrived, on a mission to convert the native Amerindians
to the catholic faith. Stand on the very spot where the city was
founded by Portuguese Jesuits in 1554 at the Pátio do Colégio in the old city
center. The location of their main church, the Praça da Sé, now houses the neo-gothic Metropolitan Cathedral
with its Renaissance dome, which was modeled on that of the Cathedral
of Florence in Italy. In the 17th-century, São Paulo grew exponentially when a gold rush attracted miners to the region. Next came African slaves, who were imported to work in the sugar cane
and coffee plantations. The 19th century brought more Europeans and the Japanese followed in the 20th century. The resulting melting pot of cultures is the pulsing engine that now drives
Brazil’s economy. The city’s oldest district, Centro, has been home to Latin America’s
largest Stock Exchange since 1890. While just across the street is the richly decorated lobby of the former
state bank’s headquarters, the Altino Arantes Building. Three miles to the south, Avenida Paulista was built on the wealth of
the first coffee barons. As the country’s financial artery and one
of the city’s main thoroughfares, the boulevard pulses with the energy of about
one and a half million pedestrians per day. Apart from investing in its financial economy, São Paulo also has a policy of boosting its
creative economy, making the city one of Brazil’s most exciting
cultural hubs. The Avenida Paulista is home to the gravity-defying
São Paulo Museum of Art. Inside, view paintings by acclaimed
European masters, such as Van Gogh, Raphael and Picasso, as well as Brazil’s own leading artists. This remarkable museum belongs to the people and it was the wish of the architect that her modernist design would “return the same amount of public space
that it borrowed”, leaving the square underneath open for public
enjoyment. Finance and creativity go hand in hand at
the Banco do Brazil, a historic financial institution that hosts one of the city’s most prominent
Cultural Centers. In a city that sees more than a million cars crisscrossing hundreds of miles of interconnected
highways each and every day, the pedestrianized Viaduto Santa Ifigenia is a breath of fresh air. This art nouveau viaduct links the Old Center
to the New Center. Tour the nearby century-old Municipal Theatre, a Beaux Arts building dedicated to ballet, opera and other stage shows. The ornate theatre was inspired by the famous
opera house Palais Garnier in Paris. Find more cultural attractions to the north, in the Jardim da Luz district. The historic Júlio Prestes Train Station has been transformed into an esteemed and
elegant Cultural Center. While touring the grand halls of this monumental
building, don’t miss the Sala São Paulo, a massive wood-panelled concert hall with
an adjustable ceiling. The resulting acoustics are said to rival those of the famous concert halls of
Vienna and Berlin. Nearby is the oldest art museum in São Paulo, the Pinacoteca do Estado. Take your time here, because in this beautifully renovated school
of arts and crafts you can admire nearly 9,000 pieces, including many priceless Brazilian collections. There is no better place to experience Brazil’s
culinary culture than the nearby Mercado Municipal with its delicious displays of home-grown
fruits, cheeses, meats and other local specialties. Find a table on the mezzanine level, to look down on the hustle and bustle and admire the richly decorated windows of
this impressive market hall. An eye-catching building of a completely different
kind is the Ibirapuera Auditorium, designed by Brazil’s prolific architect, Oscar Niemeyer. It’s part of Ibirapuera Park in the south
of the city. While in the park, visit the Museum of Modern Art and the Afro Brazil Museum or simply join the locals in the city’s
favorite playground. São Paulo wouldn’t be a Brazilian city if it didn’t have an arena devoted to the
nation’s biggest sports heroes. In the Pacaembu Stadium, soccer legends such as Pelé, Ronaldo, Romario and Ronaldinho are on show in the
highly interactive exhibits of its Football Museum. A short drive to the west of the stadium is
Vila Madalena. Shop for unique souvenirs in one of the
colorful stores, or have lunch with the locals. The neighborhood is as famous for its little
shops and art galleries as for its marvellous street art. Some of these artists have since made a name
for themselves on a world stage. Having risen above its humble beginnings as a missionary outpost in an uncharted land, Sampa is not only Brazil’s economic powerhouse, but also the guardian of its priceless,
intangible assets. It’s a city of culture, creativity, hospitality
and art. São Paulo today rides a wave of positive energy into the future and is truly a destination that is much greater than the sum of its parts.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *