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This guide will help you explore some of the must-see places that you won't necessarily find in the Sao Paulo guidebooks. Follow my recommendations and enjoy a taste of what it's like to be a local in this fast-paced city!

Good for
  • History enthusiast
  • Art and design lover
  • Nightlife lover
  • Outdoors explorer
  • Food lover
  • Budget traveller
  • Hidden gem seeker

10 Places

6 City Tips

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10 Places

Parque da Juventude

Center of Culture and Leisure SESC Pompeia

Concerts, Theatres

Salve Jorge

Restaurants

Butantan Institute

Zoos

Memorial da Resistencia of Sao Paulo

Speciality Museums

Sunset Square

Landmarks/ Points of Interest

Caos

Bar/ Clubs

Parque Buenos Aires

Ludus

Restaurants

Sao Paulo Cultural Centre

Concerts, Theatres

Lais G's City Tips

  • Taxis are easy to find in the city center. Carry cash as many don't take credit cards.
  • The subway is a great way to avoid the traffic. Be aware that it gets very crowded during rush hours, when people are going to work (9am) and heading home (6pm).
  • Buy a "Bilhete Unico" card for use on subway and buses. It gives discounts when combining services and allows you to ride up to 4 buses in a 3-hour period for a single fare.
  • Restaurants will usually add the tip to your bill automatically (normally 10%).
  • Most night clubs and bars will ask for an ID before letting you in. Legal drinking age in Brazil is 18.
  • Be aware of pickpockets while using public transportation and in crowded places.
  • Save
    Parque da Juventude
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    Lais G Says:

    This place was the site of former jail complex Carandiru and inspired the book 'Carandiru Station' by Drauzio Varella, which was later adapted as the movie 'Carandiru' directed by Hector Babenco. The penitentiary was demolished in 2002 and today, this large park and a library stand in its place. The park is divided into three sections: Sports Park, Central Park (green area) and Institutional Park (where the library and free internet access points are located).

    Good for
    • Peace and quiet seeker
    • Must see
    • Budget traveller
    • Everyone
    • History enthusiast
    • Adventure seeker
    • Hidden gem seeker
    • Outdoors explorer
    Tips
    • The park is very close to Carandiru subway station.
    • There are several free concerts held in the park each year. Check their Facebook page (in Portuguese) for more information.
    • If you are a history enthusiast, it's possible to visit the well-preserved remains of the prison walls and former cells.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #44 of 246 activities in Sao Paulo
    • Parque da Juventude 13/12/2014
    • Caminhadas ... 08/12/2014
    • Parque da Juventude
    Address:
    Av. Cruzeiro do Sul, 2630
    Carandiru
    Sao Paulo 02030-100
    Brazil
    Phone:
    +55(11)2251 2706
    Other:
  • Save
    Center of Culture and Leisure SESC Pompeia
    Concerts, Theatres
    See more photos
    Lais G Says:

    Once a drum factory, this building was remodeled as a cultural center by architect Lina Bo Bardi. The interestingly-shaped venue, which maintains much of its original structure, hosts a wide selection of concerts, plays and exhibitions throughout the year, and is also a nice setting to pause for a coffee or to read a good book.

    Good for
    • Peace and quiet seeker
    • Budget traveller
    • Everyone
    • History enthusiast
    • Hidden gem seeker
    • Art and design lover
    Tips
    • For most concerts it's necessary to buy tickets in advance. Check the website for details of upcoming events.
    • They have a great cafe and you can enjoy your food and drinks outside if the weather is nice.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #23 of 298 attractions in Sao Paulo
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • The best SESC unit in SP 21/10/2014
    • If I were you I would visit this place! 06/08/2014
    • Center of Culture and Leisure SESC Pompeia
    Address:
    Rua Clelia, 93
    Pompéia
    Sao Paulo 05042-000
    Brazil
    Phone:
    11 3871 7700
    Hours:
    Sun
    8:00 - 23:00
    Tue - Sat
    8:00 - 3:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Salve Jorge
    Restaurants
    See more photos
    Lais G Says:

    If you're looking for a typical Brazilian place to have lunch or head to for happy hour drinks, this is a real hidden gem in downtown Sao Paulo. Its decoration says a lot about Brazilian culture and they have live music every Saturday.

    Good for
    • Food lover
    • Everyone
    • Trendy traveller
    • Nightlife lover
    Tips
    • It's closed on Sundays.
    • They have an "offline beer glass" to use if you want to make sure that you and your friends are talking to each other, rather than spending time on your phones.
    • On Wednesdays and Saturdays you can order the famous "feijoada," a black bean stew with beef and pork.
    • Try the very Brazilian cocktail "Caipirinha," made with the local liquor, cachaça. Many flavors are available.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #263 of 8,771 restaurants in Sao Paulo
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great feijoada! 15/11/2014
    • Great place for taking in Vila Madalena 15/01/2014
    • Salve Jorge
    Address:
    Praca Antonio Prado, 33
    Se
    Sao Paulo 01010-010
    Brazil
    Phone:
    (11) 3107 0123
    Hours:
    Tue - Fri
    17:00 - 7:00
    Sat - Sun
    12:00 - 7:00
  • Save
    Butantan Institute
    Zoos
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    Lais G Says:

    Butantan Institute is a renowned biomedical research center located in a large outdoor park near Sao Paulo's University campus. There are three museums open to visitors and a serpentarium, where you can see a variety of live snakes. It's a great place to take children and to watch animals like lizards, spiders and scorpions doing their thing.

    Good for
    • Must see
    • Budget traveller
    • Everyone
    • Trendy traveller
    • History enthusiast
    • Adventure seeker
    • Outdoors explorer
    Tips
    • On Thursdays, they have a special program where visitors can touch the snakes at the serpentarium. Note that it might be canceled if weather conditions are not good.
    • It's free for children up to 7 years old and seniors over 60.
    • Open Tuesday through Saturday.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #56 of 298 attractions in Sao Paulo
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Interesting and well worth a visit 26/10/2014
    • Snakes in Sao Paulo 14/10/2014
    • Butantan Institute
    Address:
    Av. Vital Brasil 1500
    Sao Paulo 05503
    Brazil
    Phone:
    (011) 3726-7222
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    9:00 - 22:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Memorial da Resistencia of Sao Paulo
    Speciality Museums
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    Lais G Says:

    This memorial is dedicated to preserving the memories of resistance and political repression during the military dictatorship (1964-1985) in Brazil. It is located at the former offices of the Department of Social and Political Order of Sao Paulo State, which was a strong police force at that time. Visitors can enter the cells where political prisoners (including many famous Brazilian writers, singers and politicians) were detained, and get more information about what happened in the country during that period.

    Good for
    • Peace and quiet seeker
    • Budget traveller
    • Friends
    • Solo
    • History enthusiast
    • Senior
    • Couples
    • Art and design lover
    Tips
    • Free admission.
    • It's open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10am to 6pm.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #46 of 298 attractions in Sao Paulo
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Good for understanding the history of Brazil 24/07/2014
    • emotional visit 28/02/2014
    • Memorial da Resistencia of Sao Paulo
    Address:
    Largo General Osorio, 66
    Luz
    Sao Paulo 01213-010
    Brazil
    Phone:
    +55 (11) 3335-4990
    Other:
  • Save
    Sunset Square
    Landmarks/ Points of Interest
    See more photos
    Lais G Says:

    This is the perfect place to watch the sunset or even just to appreciate Sao Paulo's skyline during the day. The view is so impressive, in fact, that visitors usually applaud when the sun starts to set! On the weekends, you'll find plenty of locals picnicking, reading, walking their dogs or playing the guitar here.

    Good for
    • Peace and quiet seeker
    • Budget traveller
    • Everyone
    • Hidden gem seeker
    • Outdoors explorer
    Tips
    • Bring a blanket or a towel to sit on if you plan to stay long.
    • There is no subway station close by, but it's possible to take a bus (701A-10) and then walk a few blocks (around 15 minutes). Another option is taking a taxi.
    • Don't forget to wear insect repellent, especially during summer.
    • The place is commonly known as "Praça do Por do Sol," but the official name is "Praça Cel. Custódio Fernandes Pinheiros."
    • It's not recommended to stay much longer after it gets dark and there aren't many other people around.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #95 of 298 attractions in Sao Paulo
    • Nice spot, need more infrastructure 17/09/2014
    • Nice sunset view 07/09/2014
    • Sunset Square
    Address:
    Rua Desembargador Ferreira Franca, s/n
    Pinheiros
    Sao Paulo 05458-000
    Brazil
    Other:
  • Save
    Caos
    Bar/ Clubs
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    Lais G Says:

    This is a small antiques store in Augusta Street (a busy pub area in the city), which is also a bar and dance club. Here, you can find old toys, TVs, kitchen items and even an old bicycle decorating the walls and the ceiling. A great place for happy hour drinks and to enjoy some music during the evening.

    Good for
    • Trendy traveller
    • Friends
    • Solo
    • Couples
    • Shopping enthusiast
    • Nightlife lover
    Tips
    • They usually offer free entrance Tuesday through Friday, from 7pm to 10pm.
    • Arrive early, as the space is small and it's almost impossible to get a table when it's crowded. Sometimes there is a line to get in.
    • Don't forget to bring a valid ID.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #37 of 81 nightlife in Sao Paulo
    • Uma roubada! 26/11/2014
    • Bem legal 22/11/2014
    • Caos
    Address:
    Rua Augusta 584
    Sao Paulo
    Brazil
    Phone:
    01131205951
    Hours:
    Sun
    13:00 - 1:00
    Mon - Fri
    12:00 - 0:30
    Tue - Wed
    20:30 - 7:00
    Thu
    20:30 - 8:00
    Fri
    20:30 - 9:00
    Sat
    12:00 - 0:00
    21:00 - 9:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Parque Buenos Aires
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    Lais G Says:

    If you are looking for a small park where you can mingle with local residents taking their children to play or walking their dogs, this is the perfect spot. Located in the fancy Higienopolis neighborhood, it makes for a handy getaway from the urban chaos.

    Good for
    • Peace and quiet seeker
    • Budget traveller
    • Everyone
    • Hidden gem seeker
    • Outdoors explorer
    Tips
    • Open daily from 6am to 7pm.
    • Alcoholic beverages are not allowed in this park.
    • There is a supermarket nearby (Pão de Açúcar at Avenida Angelica) if you would like to grab snacks for the park.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #101 of 298 attractions in Sao Paulo
    • Fantastic 01/08/2014
    • Pra ir com os Cachorros 09/12/2014
    • Parque Buenos Aires
    Address:
    Avenida Angelica
    Higienopolis
    Sao Paulo
    Brazil
    Phone:
    +55(11) 3666-8032
    Other:
  • Save
    Ludus
    Restaurants
    Lais G Says:

    The perfect bar and restaurant for game lovers. Here, you can enjoy a meal and/or some drinks while you play board games from their extensive international collection, which includes games in different languages and options for all ages. Waiters and game instructors wear different colors of shirts so you know whom to approach depending on what you intend to order (food or fun).

    Good for
    • Food lover
    • Trendy traveller
    • Friends
    • Senior
    • Couples
    • Family
    Tips
    • If you don't know how to play a game, the instructors will be happy to help you.
    • Don't forget to bring ID to enter. Children are allowed but they must also have a valid ID.
    • They charge a fee per person to enter the bar, which includes access to all the games. The earlier you arrive, the more you will be able to play!
    • The entrance is free from Monday through Friday if you have lunch there, but no game instructors are available.
    • If you plan to stay until the bar closes (3am on weekends), be prepared for the line at the cashier to check out.
    • Book a table in advance and/or arrive early. It gets really crowded on weekends.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #779 of 8,771 restaurants in Sao Paulo
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Let's have fun! 07/12/2014
    • Unexpected and Fun restaurant 02/08/2014
    • Ludus
    Address:
    Rua Treze de Maio, 972
    Sao Paulo
    Brazil
    Phone:
    11 3253-8452
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 - 4:00
    Mon - Tue
    11:00 - 20:00
    Wed - Thu
    12:00 - 5:00
    Fri
    11:00 - 20:00
    Fri - Sat
    18:00 - 8:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Sao Paulo Cultural Centre
    Concerts, Theatres
    See more photos
    Lais G Says:

    This cultural center offers a peaceful environment for reading, meetings, working and relaxing. The library has a large collection of books, magazines and newspapers to browse and their events calendar includes a selection of concerts, plays, movies and exhibitions.

    Good for
    • Peace and quiet seeker
    • Budget traveller
    • Everyone
    • Art and design lover
    Tips
    • Don't miss the roof garden.
    • For a snack, head to "Ponto Chic" restaurant a couple blocks away and order their traditional "bauru," a sandwich with roast beef, cheese and tomatoes.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #26 of 298 attractions in Sao Paulo
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice, but very poorly maintained 24/10/2014
    • very good program 29/09/2014
    • Sao Paulo Cultural Centre
    Address:
    Rua Vergueiro, 1000
    Paraíso
    Sao Paulo 01504-000
    Brazil
    Phone:
    (11) 3397-4002
    Other:
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