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São Paulo, Brazil


Forged from a melting pot of nationalities, cultures, beliefs, philosophies and ideals, São Paulo is truly cosmopolitan by vocation and choice. It’s Italian, German, Jewish, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese, French, African, Arab, Spanish, Latino, Brazilian and Paulistano. These and so many other facets are reflected in the architecture of the buildings, the streets, the refined tastes of the city’s culinary delights and in the styles and mannerisms of a people who never stop as they boldly create the city’s history, day after day.

The grandeur of São Paulo is demonstrated in many ways. Besides being the largest city in the southern hemisphere and the world’s 7th largest metropolitan area, the city houses Latin America’s largest number of hotel and health care facilities, and is also Brazil’s cultural centre. It is considered one of the world’s dining capitals, is recognized worldwide as a leading destination for major events, trade fairs and expositions, and is home to the country’s finest academic centres and research institutes.

São Paulo is one of few places where the past and present are seamlessly interwoven. The city has witnessed events from Brazilian Independence to political and cultural revolutions and pro-democracy protests. It is also home to hundreds of cinemas, museums, theatres, cultural heritage sites, parks, performance halls, amusement and theme parks, restaurants, bars, hotels, event spaces, street fairs, shopping centres and specialized retail districts.

Each year about ten million visitors come to do business, go shopping or simply enjoy the city’s world class culture. Here, they experience an around-the-clock metropolis and a lifestyle that mixes work and pleasure like they were two sides of the same coin. Capital city of a state the size of the United Kingdom, with a population similar to Spain’s, and generating almost half of Brazil’s economic output, São Paulo has become Brazil’s foremost tourism destination.

Below you will find some more specific information about this beautiful city.

Art is the essence of São Paulo: it is impossible to separate one from the other. The city’s 88 museums bear witness to the city’s status as a world art capital. São Paulo is home to masterpieces of painting, sculpture, photography and all other areas of visual arts. Don’t miss the Modern Art Museum (MAM), designed by famed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, the Pinacoteca do Estado Art Gallery, housed in a building designed by Ramos de Azevedo, the Ipiranga Museum, the Sacred Art Museum, the Lasar Segall Museum, the Maria Luiza and Oscar Americano Foundation, the Image and Sound Museum (MIS) and of course the world famous São Paulo Art Museum (MASP). São Paulo also hosts numerous music, dance and theatre performances, in addition to the International Arts Biennial and film festivals. 
The lines of São Paulo’s buildings are a mixture of architectural trends from key periods in Brazilian history, from colonial-style houses and churches built before the 19th century to the art deco and art nouveau French influence of the early 20th century, from 1920s skyscrapers to the modernist style of the 1930s and post-modernism. Today, mirrored skyscrapers with futuristic characteristics predominate. Some of the city’s best known architectural gems are the Sacred Art Museum, with its classic colonial style, the French influenced Júlio Prestes Station and Viaduto do Chá or Tea Viaduct, the modernist São Paulo Art Museum and the Oca Exhibit Hall in Ibirapuera Park, the high tech buildings in the Berrini and Vila Olímpia districts, as well as the landmark Copam and Banespa buildings.

What is the essence and identity of a Paulistano? The answer lies in the history of every local resident who helps make São Paulo Latin America’s most vibrant city. When mass immigration to Brazil began in the 19th and early 20th centuries, people from 70 countries settled in São Paulo in search of opportunity, and were met with open arms. Today São Paulo is the third largest Italian city in the world, the largest Japanese city outside Japan, the third largest Lebanese city outside Lebanon, the largest Portuguese city outside Portugal and the largest Spanish city outside of Spain. The mixing of races, ethnic groups and cultures has moulded and transformed the city’s cultural, social and economic life. São Paulo locals have long been known for giving a warm welcome, so it’s easy to understand why visitors are always keen to return.
This giant metropolis has plenty of green space for residents and visitors alike. Its 52 parks include the world’s largest urban forest, Cantareira Park, whose 8,000 hectares offer incomparable views of the city. You can also visit Jaguará Park, whose namesake peak, at 1,135 meters, is the highest in the metropolitan area, as well as Serra do Mar State Park (and the Curucutu Visitor Centre), Tietê Ecological Park and Guarapiranga Park. São Paulo is also home to some of Brazil’s finest urban neighbourhoods, many of which house beautiful park lands and green areas. The most popular of these is Ibirapuera Park, which was built to commemorate the city’s 400th anniversary, and is famous for its Obelisk, lake and fountains, and the Monument to the Pioneering Immigrants, while Aclimação, Carmo, Juventude and Villa-Lobos are among the many parks which make up the city’s green belt.
The birthplace of Brazilian industrialization, São Paulo is Latin America’s business capital. Not surprisingly, the typical image of a Paulistano local is an executive with briefcase in hand, and usually in a hurry. The city attracts the biggest and most important international trade fairs and congresses, as well as large-scale cultural and sporting events. It’s also known for its ideally located, well equipped events centres, an extensive number of hotels and restaurants (serving cuisine from more than 50 countries), its efficient urban transit system, highly advanced communications technology and experienced professionals. Every year São Paulo hosts 90,000 events – almost 250 per day, generating over US$4 billion and more than 10 million visitors.
You’ll find almost every imaginable amateur and professional sport played in São Paulo. From track and field to basketball, from swimming to volleyball, from rowing to tennis, from skateboarding to golf, from horseback riding to cricket, there’s no restriction on age, social status, religious beliefs or physical condition. São Paulo is all-inclusive. Each day thousands of athletes keep in shape by exercising at the many public parks, fitness centres, gyms and playing fields dotted around the city. São Paulo also hosts some of the world’s most important sporting events, including the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the São Silvestre Marathon. And of course, the city is a Mecca of soccer, being home to some of the most famous and successful clubs on the planet. 

Day or night, São Paulo is magic. Sample some of Brazil’s famous cold draft beer at any of the city’s hundreds of nightclubs and discos and indulge yourself in an incredible variety of great music, including Brazilian-flavoured pop, rock, jazz, reggae, samba, country and electro, as well as live shows by the world’s biggest names in music. On top of that we’ve got all manner of live theatre, stand-up comedy, classical concerts, ballet and the latest Broadway productions. For kids of all ages São Paulo has five amusement and theme parks: Mundo da Xuxa, Parque da Mônica, Playcenter, Ski Mountain Park and Wet ’n Wild just outside the city. To have fun while learning visit the Zoo and take the Zoo Safari, as well as the Science Station and our 88 museums. For even more entertainment we’ve got a wide range of professional and amateur sporting events, aerial city tours, plus world class go kart facilities, bowling alleys, skating rinks, video arcades and pool halls.

How many places on Earth are home to restaurants serving cuisine from almost every culture there is? In this global gastronomy capital, visitors can enjoy German, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Australian, Scandinavian, Egyptian, Arab, Jewish, Moroccan, Lebanese, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Greek, Vietnamese, Mexican and Argentinean restaurants, among many others. Not to mention the many styles of Brazilian cuisine including dishes from the south, Minas Gerais state, the Northeast and coastal regions. In São Paulo visitors never feel far from home. With so many flavours, aromas and sensations you can have a different dish every day of the year. To sample São Paulo’s fine food, visit the glamorous restaurants in the Jardins district, the upbeat cantinas in Bela Vista and even the friendly eateries at the Public Market. After “welcome” the first words visitors often hear when arriving in São Paulo are “Bon appétit!”
In this giant metropolis you can purchase almost anything, from antiques to the most modern technology, from casual wear to the leading designer brands, from street fair handicrafts to artistic masterpieces displayed in the most sophisticated galleries in the Americas, from economy cars to dream machines like Ferraris or Porsches, from French escargot to authentic Portuguese olives. São Paulo also offers some of the world’s finest window shopping. During the holiday season, retailers really put on a show, transforming shops and malls into veritable tourist attractions, complete with colourful decorations and cultural activities. With all this to choose from, it’s almost impossible to return home empty handed.