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São Paulo Travel Guide

  • Photo: Thiago Leite/shutterstock

Plan Your São Paulo Vacation

A sprawling, high-rise megacity, São Paulo might not have Rio's beaches and sultry good looks, but for urban explorers, it's a thoroughly rewarding destination. Blessed with its own unique charisma and a kind, courteous population, charmingly unused to tourists, it's brimming with culture and boasts some of the most varied options for eating out on the continent. The incessant urban landscape in

this 20-million-strong metropolis won't be to everyone's taste, but for most visitors, one taste of São Paulo will leave them wanting more.

São Paulo is Brazil's main financial hub and its most cosmopolitan city, with top-rate nightlife and restaurants and impressive cultural and arts scenes. Most of the wealthiest people in Brazil live here—and the rest of them drop by at least once a year to shop for clothes, shoes, accessories, luxury items, and anything else money can buy. Paulistanos (São Paulo inhabitants) work hard and spend a lot, and there's no escaping the many shopping and eating temptations.

Despite—or because of—these qualities, many tourists, Brazilian and foreigners alike, avoid visiting the city. Too noisy, too polluted, too crowded, they say, and they have a point. São Paulo is hardly a beautiful city with nothing as scenic as Rio's hills and beaches. But for travelers who love big cities and prefer nights on the town to days on the sand, São Paulo is the right place to go. It's fast-paced and there's a lot to do. So even as the sea of high-rise buildings obstructs your view of the horizon, you'll see there's much to explore here.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Shop Till You Drop Shop along with Brazil's rich and famous in the Jardins or Itaim areas, or at one of the city's many fashion malls.
  2. Food, Glorious Food Adventurous eating is a sport in São Paulo. The 12,500 restaurants here serve dozens of different cuisines, from across Brazil and beyond.
  3. Art Attack Some of the finest galleries on the continent make up São Paulo's buzzing art scene.
  4. Hopping Nightlife Bars of all shapes, styles, and sizes beckon the thirsty traveler—quench your thirst with a cold beer or strong caipirinha.
  5. The Beautiful Game Futebol, or soccer, is truly "the beautiful game" in Brazil. São Paulo, with no fewer than three major teams, is a great place to feel the passion.

When To Go

When to Go

Cultural events—film and music festivals, and fashion and art exhibits—usually take place between April and December. In South American summer...

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