São Paulo

The world's top orchestras, opera and dance companies, and other troupes always include São Paulo in their South American tours. Many free concerts—with performances by either Brazilian or international artists—are presented on Sunday in Parque Ibirapuera. City-sponsored events are frequently held in Centro's Vale do Anhangabaú area or in Avenida Paulista.

The Centro Cultural São Paulo near Paraíso metro and an ample network of Serviço Social do Comércio (SESC) cultural centers feature inexpensive dance, theater, and musical performances daily. Listings of events appear in the "Veja São Paulo" insert of the newsweekly Veja. The arts sections of the dailies Folha de São Paulo and O Estado de São Paulo also have listings and reviews. Both papers publish a weekly guide on Friday. The Portuguese-language website Catraca Livre (catracalivre.com.br/brasil) is the authority on free entertainment options.

Tickets for many events are available through the Ingresso Rápido, Ingresso, and Tickets for Fun websites. Many of these venues and sites offer ticket delivery to your hotel for a surcharge.

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  • 1. Sala São Paulo

    Centro

    Despite being housed in a magnificent old train station, Sala São Paulo is one of the most modern concert halls for classical music in Latin America. It's home to the São Paulo Symphony (OSESP).

    Praça Júlio Prestes 16, São Paulo, São Paulo, 01218–020, Brazil
    11-3367–9500
  • 2. Balé da Cidade

    Bela Vista/Bixiga

    The City Ballet, São Paulo's official dance company, has performed for many years at the magnificent Theatro Municipal.

    Rua João Passaláqua 66, São Paulo, São Paulo, 01326–020, Brazil
    11-3241–3883
  • 3. Ballet Stagium

    Jardim Paulista

    The ballet performs contemporary works incorporating Brazilian pop and bossa nova music. Founded in 1971 during Brazil's period of dictatorship, the company made its name performing dances with political and social-justice themes.

    Rua Augusta 2985, São Paulo, São Paulo, 01413–100, Brazil
    11-3062--2564
  • 4. Centro Cultural São Paulo

    Paraíso

    The cultural center has temporary alternative film screenings, particularly of Brazilian titles, but also presents plays, concerts, and art exhibits. Major renovations finished in 2013 added new projection and sound equipment and saw improvements in the lighting and acoustics. Admission is free or low-price for some events.

    Rua Vergueiro 1000, São Paulo, São Paulo, 01504–000, Brazil
    11-3397–4002
  • 5. CineSESC

    Cerqueira César

    Titles already out of other theaters and independent openings show for discounted prices at CineSESC. The screen is visible from the snack bar.

    Rua Augusta 2075, São Paulo, São Paulo, 01413–000, Brazil
    11-3087–0500
  • Recommended Fodor’s Video

  • 6. Cisne Negro

    Vila Beatriz | Dance

    This esteemed contemporary dance company specializes in Brazilian contemporary dance and classic ballets. The performances are always accompanied by an orchestra.

    Rua das Tabocas 55, São Paulo, São Paulo, 05445–020, Brazil
    011-3813–4966
  • 7. Credicard Hall

    Santo Amaro

    One of the biggest theaters in São Paulo, Credicard Hall can accommodate up to 7,000 people. The venue frequently hosts concerts by famous Brazilian and international artists. Tickets can be bought by phone or online through Tickets for Fun.

    Av. das Nações Unidas 17955, São Paulo, São Paulo, 04795–100, Brazil
    11-4003–5588-Tickets for Fun
  • 8. Espaço Itaú de Cinema, Augusta

    Cerqueira César

    Brazilian, European, and other non-blockbuster films are shown at the Espaço Itaú.

    Rua Augusta 1475, São Paulo, São Paulo, 01305–100, Brazil
    11-3288–6780
  • 9. Espaço Itaú de Cinema, Frei Caneca

    Consolação | Film

    This theater shows Hollywood, European, and independent films.

    Rua Frei Caneca 569, 3rd fl., São Paulo, São Paulo, 01307–001, Brazil
    011-3472–2368
  • 10. Ingresso Rápido

    São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
  • 11. Ingresso.com

    São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
  • 12. Mocidade Alegre

    Limão

    Up to 3,000 people at a time attend rehearsals at Mocidade Alegre just before Carnival.

    Rua Samaritá 1020, São Paulo, São Paulo, 02520–300, Brazil
    11-3857–7525
  • 13. Reserva Cultural

    Jardim Paulista

    The complex contains four movie theaters, a small library, and a deck-style restaurant from which you can see—and be seen by—pedestrians on Paulista Avenue.

    Av. Paulista 900, São Paulo, São Paulo, 01310–100, Brazil
    11-3287–3529
  • 14. Rosas de Ouro

    Freguesia do O

    One of the most popular rehearsals takes place at Rosas de Ouro.

    Rua Coronel Euclides Machado 1066, São Paulo, São Paulo, 02213–000, Brazil
    11-3931–4555
  • 15. São Paulo Companhia de Dança

    Bom Retiro | Dance

    The fine state dance company performs throughout the country and tours internationally.

    Rua Três Rios 363, São Paulo, São Paulo, 01123–001, Brazil
    011-3224–1380
  • 16. SESC Pompéia

    Pompéia

    Part of a chain of cultural centers throughout the city, SESC Pompéia incorporates a former factory into its design. There are multiple performance spaces, but the choperia (beer hall) and theater host the most prominent Brazilian and international musical acts—from jazz and soul to rock and hip-hop.

    Rua Clélia 93, São Paulo, São Paulo, 05042–000, Brazil
    11-3871–7700
  • 17. Show Tickets

    São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
  • 18. Teatro Alfa

    Santo Amaro

    International musicals and ballet, as well as occasional musical performances, are held at Teatro Alfa, which seats more than a thousand people. The sound and lighting technology are top of the line. Tickets can be bought by phone and through Ingresso Rápido, then picked up a half hour before the performance.

    Rua Bento Branco de Andrade Filho 722, São Paulo, São Paulo, 04757–000, Brazil
    11-5693–4000
  • 19. Teatro da Universidade Católica (TUCA)

    Perdizes | Concerts

    The Catholic University theater hosts plays and alternative concerts.

    Rua Monte Alegre 1024, São Paulo, São Paulo, 05014–001, Brazil
    011-3670–8453
  • 20. Theatro Municipal

    Centro

    Inspired by the Paris Opéra, the Municipal Theater was built between 1903 and 1911 with art nouveau elements. Hamlet was the first play presented, and the house went on to host such luminaries as Isadora Duncan in 1916 and Anna Pavlova in 1919. Plays and operas are still staged here; local newspapers, as well as the theater's website, have schedules and information on how to get tickets. The auditorium, resplendent with gold leaf, moss-green velvet, marble, and mirrors, has 1,500 seats and is usually open only to those attending cultural events, although prearranged visits are also available. A museum dedicated to the theater's history is located close by at Praça das Artes. Call the theater to arrange a free guided tour in English.

    São Paulo, São Paulo, 01037–010, Brazil
    011-3397–0327

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