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Things to do in São Paulo

The attractions in São Paulo are scattered around town, but it never takes long to hail a taxi. Previously rundown Luz has been reinvented as a cultural hub, with the Pinacoteca do Estado at the centre. There's more art at the São Paulo Art Museum on the edge of Bela Vista, while the centre is home to many of the city's historical sights, such as the São Bento Monastery.

São Bento Monastery, São Paulo. © Alexandre Diniz/SPTuris

Museums and Galleries

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  1. 1. Pinacoteca do Estado - Museums and Galleries

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    Pinacoteca do Estado, São Paulo. Photo by Nelson Kon, courtesy of Pinacoteca do Estado

    The Pinacoteca do Estado is located at the heart of the city's cultural renovation zone in the Luz neighbourhood. The attractively lit art gallery has a collection of 19th- and 20th-century Brazilian art on display and a terrace café.Show this on map

    Cost

    Combined ticket for Pinacoteca & Estação Pinacoteca: R$6; free on Sat

    Opening hours

    Tue-Sun 10am-6pm

    Address

    2, Praça da Luz, São Paulo

    Telephone

    +55 (0) 11 3324 1000

    Transport

    Metro Luz

    Website

    Pinacoteca do Estado Website

  2. 2. Museu Afro Brazil - Museums & Galleries

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    Dedicated to showing the cultural achievements of Africans in Brazil, both those brought as slaves and their descendants, this museum is thankfully neither boring nor earnest nor prone to guilt-inducing lectures. Instead, what's on offer is a celebration of the art and accomplishments of the African diaspora. Displays show short biographies of writers or painters or politicians who were black, including lots of their artwork and artifacts. Displays are gorgeous, particularly the art and photography, and the museum has wonderful natural light. Even the website is good. Allow an hour.

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    Cost

    Free admission

    Opening hours

    Tues-Sun 10am-5pm

    Address

    Av. Pedro Alvares Cabral, s/n, Ibirapuera Park, Sao Paulo, Brazil

    Telephone

    11/3320-8900

    Website

  3. 3. São Paulo Art Museum - Museums and Galleries

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    São Paulo Art Museum, São Paulo. © Wanderley Celestino/SPTuris

    Located in a landmark Modernist building perched on concrete stilts, the São Paulo Art Museum in Bela Vista has 19th-century Brazilian paintings and European masters from the last five centuries. Every Sunday there's an antiques fair next door.Show this on map

    Cost

    R$15; concessions R$7; children & Tue free

    Opening hours

    Tue-Sun 11am-6pm (Thu until 8pm)

    Address

    1578, Avenida Paulista, São Paulo 01310-200

    Telephone

    +55 (0) 11 3251 5644

    Transport

    Trianon/Masp metro

    Website

    São Paulo Art Museum (MASP) Website

Attractions

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  1. 4. Metropolitan Cathedral - Attractions

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    Metropolitan Cathedral, São Paulo. Courtesy of www.brasilviagem.com

    São Paulo's Metropolitan Cathedral is a major landmark in a quiet square of the city centre. The city's largest cathedral, it has a capacity for 8000 people. Highlights include its stained-glass windows and tropical-influenced details such as carved coffee beans.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    Mon-Fri 8am-7pm; Sat 8am-5pm; Sun 8am-1pm & 3pm-6pm

    Address

    Praça da Sé, São Paulo 01238-908

    Telephone

    +55 (0) 11 3107 6832

    Transport

    Sé metro

    Website

    Metropolitan Cathedral Website

  2. 5. São Paulo Zoo - Attractions

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    São Paulo Zoo, São Paulo. © Wanderley Celestino/SPTuris

    Located in the suburb of Congonhas, São Paulo Zoo is one of the world's largest, with over 3000 animals, including many native to Brazil. In the same park, there are botanical gardens and pretty Atlantic rainforest trails.Show this on map

    Cost

    R$14; children R$4

    Opening hours

    Tue-Sun 9am-5pm

    Address

    4241, Avenida Miguel Stéfano, Água Funda, São Paulo 04301-905

    Telephone

    +55 (0) 11 5073 0811

    Transport

    Jabaquara metro

    Website

    São Paulo Zoo Website

  3. 6. Ibirapuera Park - Attractions

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    Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo. © Jefferson Pancieri/SP Turis

    Ibirapuera Park in Vila Mariana is São Paulo's principal city park with boating lakes and jogging trails. There are also art museums and a planetarium here, designed by renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer.Show this on map

    Opening hours

    Daily 5am-12am

    Address

    Avenida Pedro Alvares Cabral, Vila Mariana, São Paulo

    Telephone

    +55 (0) 11 5574 5177

    Transport

    Paraiso metro

    Website

    Ibirapuera Park Website

Special things to do

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  1. 7. São Bento Monastery - Special things to do

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    São Bento Monastery, São Paulo. © Alexandre Diniz/SPTuris

    Located in the centre, next to the financial district, São Bento Monastery is attached to a church originally dating back to the 16th century. A Benedictine monastery, the monks sing a Gregorian chant here at daybreak.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free

    Opening hours

    Church: Mon-Wed & Fri 6am-6.30pm; Thu 6am-8am & 2pm-6.30pm; Sat & Sun 6am-12pm & 4pm-6.30pm; Gregorian chant: Mon-Fri 7am; Sat 6am; Sun 10am

    Address

    Largo de São Bento, São Paulo 01029-010

    Telephone

    +55 (0) 11 3328 8799

    Transport

    São Bento metro

    Website

    São Bento Monastery Website

  2. 8. Playcenter - Special things to do

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    Playcenter, São Paulo. Photo by Flavio Moraes, courtesy of Playcenter

    The star attraction of the large Playcenter amusement park in Barra Funda is the terrifying Boomerang rollercoaster, which speeds along at 75km an hour. Other attractions include the popular Viking Boat and the Castle of Horrors.Show this on map

    Cost

    R$39.90 (unlimited rides on most attractions)

    Opening hours

    Sat-Sun 11am-7pm

    Address

    20, Rua José Gomes Falcão, São Paulo Barra Funda

    Telephone

    +55 (0) 11 2244 7529

    Transport

    Metro: Barra Funda

    Website

    Playcenter Website

  3. 9. Altino Arantes Building - Special things to do

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    Altino Arantes building, São Paulo. © Jefferson Pancieri/SPTuris

    The Altino Arantes building, at the heart of São Paulo's central financial district, is a skyscraper owned by the bank Banespa and modelled on New York's Empire State Building. Take the elevator to the top for a view across the city.Show this on map

    Cost

    Free but take photo ID

    Opening hours

    Mon-Fri 10am-5pm

    Address

    24, Rua João Bricola, São Paulo

    Telephone

    +55 (0) 11 3249 7180

    Transport

    São Bento metro

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