Here Are Some of the Best Things To Do in São Paulo

Brazil’s largest city is famous for its restaurants, but the architecture and parks can offer great experiences for tourists and business travelers

With the end of the restrictions imposed by the second wave of Covid-19 cases, São Paulo is once again receiving more and more tourists, who are looking for traditional programs, such as the visit to the Masp, as well as new attractions, such as the 42nd floor viewpoint.
November 27, 2021 | 05:00 AM
Reading time: 7 min.

São Paulo, Brazil — The tourism industry installed in the country’s largest capital should close November with growth for the 7th consecutive month, after the second wave of Covid-19, according to sector entities. São Paulo was busy again in this fourth quarter, with long lines to enter museums, bars, restaurants, theaters and clubs. New attractions in the leisure and entertainment business were launched, as well as public spaces, such as Parque Augusta, in the central region.

Faria Lima Avenue, Brazil's financial epicenter in southern São Paulo, receives a new addition to its landscape: the 20-meter long metal whale, finally unveiled after months of suspense with fences around it.dfd

Go beyond: What It’s Like to Visit São Paulo Now

The IMAT-SP (São Paulo Monthly Index of Tourism Activity, acronyms in poruguese) for the month of October will be published in early December. Industry representatives believe that the maintenance of the positive trend of recent months is due to the vacations, dates of intense frequency of visitors to the city, and to the special events of the period, such as the São Paulo International Film Festival, last month, and the Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix, last weekend.

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“In October, the Sabor de São Paulo, a gastronomic festival held at the Clube Hípico Santo Amaro, had an audience above expectations and a great evaluation, despite the rain on some days,” evaluated the Observatório do Turismo bulletin for November.

Transports and hotels

In September, the IMAT-SP registered the fifth consecutive high, influenced by the Brazilian Independence Day. The indicator is from the Tourism Council (CT) of FecomercioSP (São Paulo State Federation of Commerce of Goods, Services and Tourism), carried out in partnership with SPTuris (São Paulo Turismo), a tourism and events company of the city of São Paulo, linked to the Municipal Government Secretariat of the State of São Paulo.

A 20-meter-long metal whale will become the new attraction on Avenida Faria Lima, in the recently inaugurated building B32, Facebook's new headquarters in Brazil, at the intersection with Rua Leopoldo Couto de Magalhães,  
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The indicator is composed of five variables that have equal weightings for the creation of the index. Passenger movements at Congonhas and Guarulhos airports are analyzed, as well as passengers at bus stations, the average hotel occupancy rate in the city, revenues from the tourism sector in the capital and the stock of employment in activities exclusive to tourism. The index is based on the number 100, used as a comparison reference in January 2020.

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In September, the numerical index stood at 64.7 (4.7% higher than in August). In relation to the same period in 2020, there was a growth of 48.2%. All variables analyzed by the indicator showed an increase, especially passenger movement at bus stations (high of 9.1% in the monthly comparison, and 44% in the annual comparison). Due to the readjustment of air fares, there is a movement to substitute air transportation by bus, between neighboring states. Bus terminals received 782 thousand people during the month, the highest figure since January.

The Parque do Povo, in Chácara Itaim, is one of the main public spaces in the south zone to exercise, rest and enjoy sunny days with friends and family.dfd

SPTuris’ November Tourism Observatory bulletin confirmed the trend captured by IMAT-SP, but made the caveat of the worsening economic environment. “São Paulo’s tourism economy has been recovering slowly, but steadily. Certainly, until the summer, this growth will be maintained, although for next year the scenario is still very uncertain, with high inflation, high interest rates and a possible recession,” analyzes the publication, also highlighting the potential of events such as Oktoberfest São Paulo and the 1st International Expo Black Consciousness Day, which mark the resumption of face-to-face activities with strength in the city.

With visitors returning to the “terra da garoa” (“land of the drizzle”), here’s the question on tourists’ minds: what’s new in Brazil’s most populous city? Bloomberg Línea consulted SPTuris, which said it had no information on the new attractions. The Municipal Secretariat of Economic Development, Labor and Tourism highlighted itineraries such as the Sampa Sky, the New Vale do Anhangabaú, the Rita Lee Exhibition at MIS-SP and the Espaço Priceless (Priceless Space) on the rooftop of the Alexandre Mackenzie building. To complete the list, Bloomberg Linea has visited other well-known places in the city since July.

See the city’s top attractions

The B32 whale in Faria Lima, in Itaim, south zone of Sao Paulo, refers to the preservation of the environment, a social demand that has been strengthened in the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic.dfd

#1 Whale at Faria Lima

São Paulo is going through a phase of new animal sculptures. If in B3, in the historic center, there is a golden fiberglass bull, hollow, with a hard plastic feel, in the south zone, on Faria Lima Avenue, there is a 20-meter-long metal whale in B32, the recently inaugurated building, the new Facebook headquarters in Brazil, at the intersection with Leopoldo Couto Magalhães Street. “Whales dive 3,000 meters deep, just as we humans dive inside ourselves in search of meaning, exploring our subconscious. Almost extinguished by predatory hunting, they have become a symbol of respect for nature, environmental preservation and self-improvement,” explains the text of Teatro B32, the capital’s new theater, which bills itself as “the first gala hall in Latin America.”

Augusta Park offers lawns for those who prefer to sunbathe and read a book, as well as a dog park and trails, in an area close to Roosevelt Square and the independent theater circuit.dfd

#2 Parque Augusta

Inaugurated at the beginning of November, it is a 24,000 m² recreational area in the central neighborhood of Consolação, occupying part of the block between Augusta, Caio Prado and Marquês de Paranaguá streets. The construction companies Cyrela and Setin were planning to erect buildings, but a movement of neighbors made the municipal government negotiate an agreement and preserve the green area. It has become the new beach for São Paulo residents, with lawns for relaxing, a hammock area, a dog park and trails

Formerly the tallest building in Latin America, the Mirante do Vale offers a view of the Anhangabaú region from the 42nd floor through glass windows that extend outside the facade. dfd

#3 Sampa Sky

The 150-meter-high, glass-floored observation deck (42nd floor) was inaugurated in August, overlooking the Santa Ifigênia viaduct in the Anhangabaú Valley, and is located on the 42nd floor of the Mirante do Vale (Valley Viewpoint) building, a building that used to be the tallest in the São Paulo capital, but has recently been surpassed by a new development in Tatuapé. The new lookout attracts digital influencers interested in producing Instagrammable images of the historic center

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Flags of Anhangabaú, a spot for skaters, skateboarders and street artists, portrayed masked people at the reopening of the space with an exhibition in tribute to health professionalsdfd

#4 Novo Vale do Anhangabaú

It reopened in July, with interventions such as large-format panels with portraits of leading Covid-19 professionals, as well as illustrations of people wearing masks on banners, hanging from lampposts. Exhibition totems are scattered throughout the Valley. Theater groups perform at this traditional venue for skaters and skateboarders, especially on weekends.

On the rooftop of the Alexandre Mackenzie building in Viaduto do Chá, a gastronomic complex was inaugurated, combining the view of the Municipal Theater and the appreciation of Brazilian cuisine.dfd

#5 Espaço Priceless

This is a gastronomic complex focused on Brazilian cuisine, inaugurated in October in the 1929 Alexandre Mackenzie building, on the rooftop of the Shopping Light, in the historic center, neighboring the Anhangabaú Valley. It has a restaurant, a bar, a space for artistic interventions, a café and a rooftop overlooking the Municipal Theater and the emblematic Martinelli Building, once the tallest skyscraper in Latin America

Jurassic Park opens four-story dining complex for geek culture fans, backed by U.S. studiodfd

#6 Jurassic Park

The Jurassic Park gastronomic complex opened its doors in September in Itaim Bibi, with the support of Universal Studios. Occupying an area of 2,000 m², on four floors, the space brings together three restaurants, including the official hamburger of the movie, as well as a collectibles store, attracting especially geeks who are fans of the classic science fiction movie Jurassic Park, a box office phenomenon in 1993, directed by award-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg

"The most complete translation" of São Paulo, singer and composer Rita Lee gets exhibition at MIS until February next yeardfd

#7 Rita Lee no MIS

Rita Lee’s exhibition opened at MIS-SP (Museu da Imagem e do Som) in September and will be on display until February 20, 2022. The historic exhibition featured original material selected by the artist herself and by João Lee, her son and curator of the show. The exhibition illustrates the career and life of Rita, whom singer Caetano Veloso called “the most complete translation” of São Paulo in “Sampa”. She is one of Brazil’s most pluralistic artists

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The Torre Faria Lima Plaza, in Largo da Batata, renews the landscape as a location point in the region, marked by the presence of skaters, cyclists and bohemian public.dfd

#8 Largo da Batata

In Pinheiros, the capital’s oldest neighborhood, Largo da Batata became an open-air urban art gallery in October, with a festival that piled up containers transformed by graffiti, in an area that is revalued around the Faria Lima square, a boldly designed commercial tower. The bike path that runs from north to south along Avenida Faria Lima reveals the different landscapes of the country’s main financial corridor. For bohemians, one spot is the small Guaicuí street, with its lively bars mainly from Thursday to Sunday, on the outskirts of Largo

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Reopened, the Sesc Paulista observation deck offers a 17th floor view of one of Brazil's most famous avenuesdfd

#9 Mirante da Paulista

The Sesc Paulista observation deck reopened in October, with a new look, on the 17th floor, where there is a cafeteria and observation deck with a famous view of Paulista Avenue, which includes the work of muralist Eduardo Kobra in homage to the famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who designed Brasilia and signed modernist creations of São Paulo such as the Copan Building, the Marquesa and the Ibirapuera Auditorium, the Memorial of Latin America, among other projects

On Avenida das Nações Unidas, the towers of the Parque da Cidade complex reflect the new landscape being built for the post-pandemic frontline area in the southern part of the citydfd

#10 Torres da Marginal Pinheiros

Towards the southern zone of the São Paulo capital, the Marginal Pinheiros expresses a wall of modern buildings and towers, some of which continue to rise at an accelerated pace. On Avenida das Nações Unidas, for example, the towers of Parque da Cidade, near the Morumbi station, in Chácara Santo Antônio, show the architectural innovations of this privileged area of the capital in terms of services for the high purchasing power public.

The city of São Paulo accelerates growth in the tourism sector and presents new landscapes and urban attractionsdfd