If you are a city girl or boy, São Paulo is the place for you. Many times compared with New York City, São Paulo is an urban megametropolis with no other city like it in all of Latin America. Sampa, as the city is also known among Brazilians, is the country's biggest and richest city. It's an educational as well as commercial and financial nucleus attracting millions of immigrants extending from all ethnic groups in search of a great place to live as well as work. Its exciting nightlife, world-class restaurants and lively social scene are the icing on the cake meaning that after a hard day in the office, there are plenty of places to go to or things to do to help unwind. This goes for visitors to the city just the same.
Big events also help to keep the city alive all year round ranging from religious to cultural, sports or just good old Brazilian fun. Carnival, which is celebrated in various parts of Brazil is also a big part of São Paulo's calender and the most colourful event of the year which is very hard to miss when in the city. The São Paulo Art Biennial, the second oldest art biennial in the world; the 24 hour non-stop Virada Cultural event inspired by Nuit Blanche in Paris; the São Paulo Fashion Week; the Gay Pride Parade; and the Brazilian Grand Prix are just some of the biggest events of the year attracting millions of visitors at a time. One of its biggest events, however, will be the 2014 FIFA World Cup which the city will be a host of.
Travelers to this trendy and booming part of Brazil which is situated in the southeast, half way between Curitiba and Rio de Janeiro states, can spend weeks simply touring the city. Once a slow-growing, nothing-special kind of place with very little worth visiting, São Paulo only began to mark its presence in the mid-20th century. Today you can choose from luxurious streets and avenues to museums, parks, zoos, churches, theatres, and cultural centres. Some of the top landmarks of the city include the prominent streets of Avenida Paulista and Rua Oscar Freire; the São Paulo Museum of Art; Ibirapuera Park; the Sé Cathedral; the São Paulo Municipal Theatre; Sala São Paulo; plus the entire downtown area of the city that although appears to have been neglected contains plenty of must-see pieces of architecture and historical landmarks. The Bom Retiro district is also no exception and filled with some of the most beautiful gems of São Paulo.
Evermore appealing to tourists, São Paulo, many times overshadowed by sun-glazed cities like Rio and Salvador, stands out above the rest for its importance in the fashion world and its high-rising skyscrapers which stamp its place in the modern world. Despite its blatant wealth, the gap between rich and poor is more than obvious as shanty towns, or favelas, continue to crowd many parts of the city.
São Paulo, in all of its diversity and sassiness, is a metropolis to be absorbed and experienced. Besides ticking off must-see attractions, get a feel for the lifestyle, the upbeat social scene, and mingle with the Paulistanos – a name given to the people of the city. Enjoy sophisticated lounges, bars and hotels which have exploded in number in recent years and be part of a city that attracts high-class Brazilians and boasts the title as one of Brazil's most electrifying destinations.