On this post I will highlight the places we visited and the best things to see and best things to do in São Paulo, Day 1.
A BIT ABOUT SÃO PAULO
São Paulo, known as “Selva de Pedra” (Stone Forest) due to the number of high-rise buildings in the city.
It is the capital of the state of São Paulo and the most populated city in Brazil. Also it is the largest economy in Latin America having a national and international influence on cultural, economic, and political aspects.
São Paulo was founded in 1554 and was first called “São Paulo dos Campos de Piratininga”.
Located in the countryside, and separated from the coast (about 70 miles away) by the “Serra do Mar” (Sea Mountains). It was established as the capital in 1683 by Luis Álvares de Castro and developed from there to what it is today throughout the years.
São Paulo today is a multicultural city having received immigrants from the whole world. Immigrants spread to many parts of Brazil, but many decided to put down roots in São Paulo.
Italians chose São Paulo as their new home and the Italian community is the greatest from all the others in the city. Other immigrants that also chose São Paulo as their home are the Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, Africans and Arabs, but there is a bit of all nationalities rooted in there.
I was born in São Paulo capital from Spanish descendants, and lived in the capital until I was about 6 years old. My family then decided to move to the coast and that was where I grew up.
Although São Paulo is very close to the coast, where we were living, we rarely used to go to São Paulo. We would only go to visit relatives, or to a special doctor or to buy something that we could not find in our own town.
So, although São Paulo was familiar to me, I never really visited many places there as a tourist. After moving to the UK in most of the visits we made to Brazil, we tended to stay in the coast or to travel to other parts of the country.
So, this time, we took the opportunity to visit a few places in São Paulo and spent three days there exploring what the city has to offer.
We booked a flat for two nights in Itaim Bibi; a very well-located neighbourhood in São Paulo.
The flat was charming and full of character with all the comforts of home from home. It had a car parking space and was just perfect for our stay. It was booked via Airbnb and the link is HERE.
VISITING SÃO PAULO
On the first day, we arrived in São Paulo on a Monday morning and started our explorations by going to the “Museu do Ipiranga”, one of the most important attractions of São Paulo.
The museum was closed for many years for refurbishment, and it reopened the doors to the public again in 2022. However, we were unable to get inside because the museum closes on Mondays.
The museum houses an extensive collection of art, furniture and documents relating to the Imperial era. The most famous painting being the “Independência ou Morte” (Independence or Death) by Pedro Américo.
“Museu do Ipiranga” was built near the place where on September 7th, 1822, Dom Pedro I proclaimed the independence of Brazil, as portrayed in the painting by Pedro Américo.
The building was designed by the Italian architect Tommaso Bezzi and is similar in design to the Palace of Versailles.
We limited our visit to the gardens and walked all the way through the “Parque da Independência”, stopping at the “Casa do Grito” (House of the Shout), and “Cripta Imperial” (Imperial Crypt). Both also closed on Mondays.
We were able to see the “Monumento à Independência” (Monument of the Independence), which sits proudly in the middle of the gardens.
This monument is built of granite with bronze statues representing important historic events of Brazil. Below the monument we can find the “Cripta Imperial”, the crypt where the Empress Leopoldina, D. Pedro I, and D. Amélia de Leuchtenberg are buried.
The “Casa do Grito” is supposed to mark the location where Dom Pedro (soon to become the first Emperor of Brazil), supposedly shouted “Independência ou Morte” as a rallying call for independence from Portugal.
The house is listed and today it is a museum with various expositions related to the city of São Paulo.
The complex of the Ipiranga Museum (the gardens, the park, and monument) is a nice place to visit, and if you include a visit to the museum itself, you can easily spend the whole day there.
As we were unable to visit the museum because it was closed, we headed to “Avenida Paulista” and had lunch in a restaurant in one of the shopping centres there.
We walked along Avenida Paulista passing in front of “MASP” (Museu de Arte de São Paulo, also closed on Mondays) and admired the skyscrapers that line this avenue.
Avenida Paulista is known as the spine of São Paulo and houses all financial institutions and headquarters of large companies, as well as many other commercial buildings.
In the past the avenue was populated with large mansions belonging to rich coffee plantation owners, but sadly most of the houses were demolished to make space for the high-rise buildings.
After exploring Avenida Paulista, we went to the flat to check in and to prepare ourselves to go for dinner at “Manioca” restaurant at 7 pm. “Manioca is a famous restaurant in the Shopping Center Iguatemi, on the Jardins neighbourhood.
We agreed to meet a friend that used to live in the UK but now lives in New Zealand, and who was also in Brazil on holidays visiting her family.
We had a fabulous dinner in the company of our friend, that we hadn’t seen in a long time, and the food at “Manioca” was simply sensational.
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR VISIT
Below you will find a list of what to visit, where to stay and where to eat in São Paulo, Day 1. I classified each place as follows:
BOLD – Visited, tried and recommended
NOT BOLD – Not visited or tried, but planning to visit or try and heard very good reviews
*** – Excellent
** – Good
* – OK
£££ – Expensive
££ – Fair and affordable
£ – Cheap
WHAT TO SEE IN SÃO PAULO DAY 1
1 – Museu do Ipiranga – ***
2 – Parque da Independência – ***
3 – Casa do Grito
4 – Cripta Imperial
5 – Monumento a Independência – ***
6 – Avenida Paulista – ***
7 – MASP – Museu de Artee de São Paulo
WHERE TO STAY IN SÃO PAULO
1 – Itaim Bibi Flat – *** – ££
2 – Pullman São Paulo Ibirapuera – 5* – *** – £££
3 – Transamerica Executive Faria Lima – 4* – £££
4 – Golden Tower Express Berrini – 3* – ££
WHERE TO EAT IN SÃO PAULO
1 – Manioca – *** – £££
2 – Evvai – £££
3 – Restaurante “A Figueira” Rubaiyat – £££
4 – Consulado Mineiro – ££
If you tried any of my recommendations above, please send me a message and tell me about your experience good or bad, so I can update the list accordingly. Thanks!
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