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Attractions and things to do in São Paulo

São Paulo Museum of Art

Avenida Paulista

One of São Paulo's most expensive areas and greatest symbol of its economic power is Avenida Paulista; a must-visit when in the city. Containing numerous financial, cultural and entertainment centres along its 2.8 kilometre stretch, Avenida Paulista is where to go to spend an entire day or even days enjoying a series of interesting attractions from museums, art galleries, architectural brilliance, and parks not forgetting its extensive shopping galleries, flea markets, restaurants, pubs, cafés, cinemas, and theatres. One of the most prestigious attractions found in this cosmopolitan part of São Paulo is the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP – Museu de Arte de São Paulo) among other significant landmarks dotted around both the "Old" Avenida Paulista and the "New" Avenida Paulista distinguished by constructions made before or after 1953 and the building of the Conjunto Nacional – a historical structure which marked the period when Avenida Paulista underwent a transformation from a residential to a commercial area. Stroll the streets or take a bicycle tour and discover how the theme of the streets vary from luxurious to bohemian as you make your way from one region to another.


Ibirapuera Park

First open to the public in 1954, Ibirapuera Park in São Paulo is the second biggest park in the city but is considered its most major urban park attracting not only Brazilians but tourists from outside the country also. Many times compared with New York City's Central Park or Mexico City's Chapultepec Park, Ibirapuera Park is a scenic landmark that invites its visitors to spend some leisure time within its grounds as well as offering numerous facilities to keep anyone from children to adults entertained during an entire day. This notable complex, much like other famous cities across Brazil, features many inspiring buildings designed by the acclaimed Oscar Niemeyer himself. These include the Grand Marquise where the Modern Art Museum (MAM) is located; the Cicillo Matarazzo Pavilion where the Museum of Contemporary Art and the University of São Paulo are found; the Oca where you'll find the Air Force Museum and Folklore Museum; the Planetarium and Municipal Astrophysics School; the Ibirapuera Auditorium; the Monumento às Bandeiras (Flags Monument); the Ibirapuera Gymnasium; the Obelisk of São Paulo; and a statue of the Portuguese navigator and founder of Brazil known as Pedro Alvares Cabral. This well-kept park which covers an area of 2 square kilometres is one of the largest parks in Latin America and contains a beautiful lake, an abundance of green landscapes and most importantly offers respite from the urban frenzy of São Paulo.

 

Historic Center of São Paulo

Downtown São Paulo is a flourishing area of historical buildings, and an energetic commercial and cultural part of the city. Composing the Historic Center are the districts of Sé and República with Bom Retiro, Cambuci, Consolação, Santa Cecília, Bela Vista and Liberdade surrounding the centre meaning there is plenty to get around and see. Architecturally speaking, the Historic Center is known for its impressive early-modern buildings such as the S-shaped Copan as well as its notable baroque and neoclassical constructions comparable to those found in important cities across the globe; in particular Paris, Vienna and Buenos Aires. When touring the center, add landmarks from plazas to cathedrals, museums and stations to your list some places of which date back to the 17th Century. Some of the most vital attractions of the Historic Center of São Paulo include Praça da Sé, Vale do Anhangabaú, Largo São Francisco, Largo da Memória, Largo São Bento, Praça da República and Jardim da Luz. Also, don't miss the tremendous historical buildings of Palácio das Indústrias, Estação Luz, Edifício Banespa, Edifício Itália, Palácio dos Correios; Palácio da Justiça de São Paulo, Estação Julio Prestes, or Solar da Marquesa, Catedral da Sé, and Capela dos Aflitos.

 

São Paulo Museum of Art

Located in "New" Paulista Avenue, a prominent zone of São Paulo as well as Brazil, is the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP). This extraordinary art museum is easily recognisable given its distinct architectural style - a highly modern concrete and glass structure supported by two lateral beams over a 74 metre freestanding space. Inaugurated in 1968, the MASP is one of Brazil's major cultural centres and is acknowledged worldwide for its European art designated the finest of its kind in Latin America. Displayed are also many pieces of Brazilian art, sculptures, prints and drawings; and even African and Asian art. Altogether, some 8000 pieces plus exhibitions and the largest library in the country constitute the MASP.

 

Municipal Theatre

The grand edifice of São Paulo's Municipal Theatre is one of the city's most prestigious landmarks not only for its importance historically but also in terms of its antique architecture. During its early years at the beginning of the 20th century, the Municipal Theatre marked São Paulo's significance in theatre but was also considered the best venue ever to watch theatre presentations and operas with its outstanding acoustics. Today, this well-respected monument houses the São Paulo Municipal Symphonic Orchestra, the Coral Lírico and the City Ballet of São Paulo and has for decades attracted the Brazilian bourgeoisie and lovers of theatre from across the globe.

 

The Pinacoteca - Visual Arts Museum of the State of São Paulo

The Pinacoteca, found in downtown São Paulo, holds the status as one of Brazil's most important art museums in addition to being one of the country's most dynamic cultural institutions. Located within an early 20th century building in Jardim da Luz, there is no art museum in São Paulo as old as this one displaying a vast range of collections notably Brazilian art, paintings, sculptures including symbolic Brazilian Modernist Artworks. You are also invited to appreciate European collections of paintings, sculptures and decorative art from 19th century artists. This really is a wonderful attraction for the avid lover of art and historic museums.

 

The Museum of Football

If there is one thing we all know about Brazil, even if it's the only thing we do know, is that love for "The Beautiful Game" plays an enormous role in the lives of all Brazilians. If you are a footie fan, making a stop at the Museum of Football, located under the Paulo Machado de Carvalho Municipal Stadium opposite Charles Miller Square, will certainly not disappoint. Discover the history of Brazilian football from its iconic players to its clubs, associations, supporters, rules and facts. This is an ultimate opportunity to check out everything you would want to know about the sport that helped create Brazil's identity and culture. Pay a visit!

 

Julio Prestes Cultural Center – Sala São Paulo

What once began as a train station is today an exquisite concert hall - the Julio Prestes Cultural Center also known as Sala São Paulo in the old north central part of São Paulo city is a wonderful venue ideal for those passionate about classical music and opera where live concerts are destined to take you on a musical journey. Beautiful on the outside and breathtaking on the inside, the Sala São Paulo seats up to 1498 people and hosts the São Paulo State Symphonic Orchestra (OSESP). The grandeur of Sala São Paulo is many times comparable with the Boston Symphony Hall, Musikverein in Vienna and the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam. On store within the Center is a café, restaurant and souvenir shop so you can take a bit of musical magic home with you in the form of CDs, DVDs, books and gifts.

 

Arena de São Paulo Football Stadium

Set to host six of the 2014 FIFA World Cup matches, including the opening match and one semi-final, the Arena de São Paulo, currently under construction, is planned to seat up to 65,000 spectators. Previously called Arena Corinthians and located in the Itaquera region, once completed, the stadium will be the fifth-largest on the top tier of the Brazilian League and the eleventh-largest in Brazil.

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