As a born and raised “paulistana” my first post could not be about anywhere else but the South American city that never sleeps.
So many cultures in one place
What almost no travelers know is that many immigrants settled in the city in the beggining of the century (my family included), so that makes me (and a lot of other people) the third generation of born and raised adults from São Paulo. I say that because if you are thinking about coming to São Paulo for any reason you might feel very curious and wonder why you see so many people from different skin color, hair, eyes etc. I come from an Italian and Arabian family, so you can imagine how extensive the cultural difference is, and how it can be seen during a simple walk around town.
When I host friends at my place for a couple of days I like to show them a bit of I do in town, so on this post I will write about things that I like to do and explore at weekends! But… there are A LOT of other things to do and see. One post wouldn’t be enough to cover all sites.
Japan Inside São Paulo
That said it also explains why in a city so big (the largest city of South America) it is possible to go to “Bairro da Liberdade” (Liberdade Neighborhood), any day of the week and feel like being in Japan. There you will see elderly people speaking only Japanese, and speaking Portuguese only when necessary. Menus at the restaurants are also in Japanese, and there are also the traditional Karaokes Clubs (that are so traditional in Tokyo) to go to in the evening until dawn. You can also explore strictly Japanese Literature (magazines, manga, books), ornaments, spices, food, clothes. Also a part of the neighborhood architecture follows the traditional Japanese pattern, when you walk down the streets you may feel like stepping into a small Japanese city. It is NOTHING like a random Chinatown neighborhood, and It is definitely worth the visit!
Understanding the Cultural Differences
Still talking about the city cultural history a great place to visit any day of the week and understanding the cultural variety from São Paulo would be the “Museu da Imigração do Estado de Sao Paulo” (The immigration Museum from the State of São Paulo). Quoting the landing page from the website “the museum gives you the opportunity to think about and understand the migratory process of thousands of people who helped the build the history of Sao Paulo”. Mind that opening and closing times are available on their site here: Link to the museum website
Brazilian people are indeed famous for their kindness and rhythm
When don’t have the beaches from Rio nor the Girl of Ipanema but we have music! And live music! Everywhere! Every weekend there are concerts happening around town. Some of them are free and some of them charge a small entry fee. Is is possible to sit on the street and listen to some jazz followed by live music every Sunday in a cool and trendy place called “Amazém da Cidade”, located in the neighborhood of Vila Madalena. It is an old warehouse where you can eat, drink and buy clothes from really small business (not the big brands), some of them are even handmade. Most of the food sold there is homemade. (Some families bring their children and pets and leave before the live music starts inside the warehouse at 5 PM. Before that, at 2 PM, bands (every Sunday there are different activities) it is possible to sit outside and watch a a jazz group a blues quartet, or even new band! Have a drink or grab something to eat and check out the different activities available. You can always check their events in advance on their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/ArmazemDaCidade/?fref=ts
You can always samba your blues away…
You can go avery Saturday afternoon to “Traço de União” to see a traditional “Roda de Samba”. The “sambistas” usually sit in a circle (each one of them with their instruments) and people dance, sing and drink like there is no tomorrow! You can also have lunch there, you should try to arrive around noon and order the traditional Brazilian dish: the “Feijoada”.
You can check the vibe of “Traço” and feel the rhythm from a youtube video posted last year: Fundo de Quintal Band at Traço de União – 2015 from a youtube video posted last year:
In fact a massive number of restaurants in town serve Feijoada on Saturdays afternoon. Remember: if you don’t eat pork – I don’t! – there is no need to worry; you can order the “Feijoada Light”. Same dish but without pork.
- Caipirinhas, anyone?
But if are only up for a nice Caipirinha and a calmer place you should try Bar da Onça “Onça Bar” Besides the great food and drinks it is right next to a famous landmark from São Paulo, The “Edifício Copan” (The Copan Building).
When in “SP”…
Every Sunday that it is possible to take a stroll at “Avenida Paulista” (Paulista Avenue). Avenida Paulista) is considered the most important avenue in the city. The most important financial and businesses centers are there. There are also offices, banks, government offices; so you can imagine the importance of the place and how chaotic it is during the week with a massive numbers of cars, buses and pedestrians going home after work. Since last year the avenue is closed every Sunday to host families and friends spending time there, cycling their bikes, skateboarding, jogging or just hanging out.
Another place in Avenida Paulista that any book lover should go is the “Livraria Cultura” bookstore. Located at the “Conjunto Nacional” building, Paulista Avenue 2.037. There are tittles in many languages available and books from all sectors as well. Besides that, the architecture itself (wooden panels and staircases) are worth the visit. The official Bookstore website is here: http://www.livrariacultura.com.br
There are so many more things to do in São Paulo, it all depends on how much time you have, how old you are and what you like to do. I think that even for people who lives in the city, it takes a lot of time to visit and do everything the city has to offer… It is possible to visit the city as many times you wish and never go to the same place twice if you know the right places! Hope to see you here soon!