Planning Your Time

A walk along Avenida Paulista is a good way to ease gently in to São Paulo while still soaking up the big-city atmosphere. A long, prominent ridge topped with huge TV and radio antennae, Paulista is a handy geographical reference: you can stroll down into chic, leafy Jardins from here, or grab a cab and head the other way into revitalizing Centro. On Paulista itself, the boxlike MASP art museum has to be seen to be believed, while the little park just opposite, Trianon, is a beautiful scrap of native forest. Centro is where much of the city's remaining historic architecture can be found—don't miss a trip to the foodie-heaven market, the Mercado Municipal, and close to Praça da República, the view from the top of towering Edificio Itália is truly spectacular.

Parque do Ibirapuera is a great favorite with paulistanos, especially on weekends, when a stroll in the park is a chance to see locals of all stripes taking their leisure; while a day spent sauntering around Vila Madalena is a pleasant, undemanding way to see another side to the city. The neighborhood is packed with boutiques, cafés, restaurants and bars—but beware the steep hills. Don't miss Beco do Batman, a copiously graffitied pair of alleyways. Finish up at one of the many lovely restaurants here, or in neighboring Pinheiros.

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