Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP)
The first thing you’ll notice about the São Paulo Museum of Art is its headquarters, which serves as one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. Soaring almost 250 feet in the air, it is held in place by two large, bright red beams. Once inside, you’ll be amazed by its collection of European art, which is known internationally as the finest in the entire southern hemisphere.
Museu de Arte Contemporanea (MAC)
The Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, located in Rio de Janeiro, is a drive from São Paulo but it’s worth every mile. The museum itself is shaped like a saucer (some say like a UFO) and sits on a cliff that slopes down to a beach. A reflecting pool surrounds the base of this magnificent structure, which serves as one of the more significant landmarks of the city.
Museu da Imagem e do Som (MIS)
The São Paulo Museum of Image and Sound offers more than 350,000 films, videos, records, photographs and works of graphic design. The museum is also responsible for the transcripts of many oral histories, as well as a research center for an artist-in-residence program.
Pinacoteca do Estado
The Pinacoteca de Estado is the oldest art museum in São Paulo, having been founded in 1905. It boasts an impressive collection of Brazilian art, and families report that it’s very kid friendly, even offering a treasure hunt for the younger patrons on Saturday mornings.
Parque do Ibirapuera
This verdant park begs you to take a stroll through its more than 500 acres of hiking and jogging trails and open spaces. There’s a large lake and plenty of spots to sit and watch the skateboarders and people out enjoying the beautiful weather. If you’re in the mood for a little sightseeing, the park hosts several museums, a planetarium, and even a gymnasium.
Theatro Municipal de São Paulo
In 1922, this theater made history as the venue of the Week of Modern Art, which revolutionized the arts in Brazil. It now serves as the home of the symphonic orchestra, the ballet, and the lyric choir. The building itself is a work of art, and if you happen to catch a show, you’ll be pleased by the caliber of the acoustics as well the performances.
Planetário do Ibirapuera Ibirapuera Planetarium
The planetarium is ideally located on the grounds of the famous Parque do Ibirapuera, which means it’s the perfect spot to visit after enjoying a picnic in the park. One of the highlights is a show about the current night sky; this is of particular enjoyment because one can’t usually see the night sky due to the bright city lights in São Paulo!
Rua Oscar Freire Oscar Freire Street
If you’re looking to shop, this street is calling your name (and your wallet). The beautiful tree-lined street is home to the ultimate in luxury shopping, including Armani, Versace and Louis Vouitton. When you need to refuel, some of the city’s most expensive restaurants are tucked in among the shops.
São Paulo Aquarium
The largest aquarium in South America, the São Paulo Aquarium immerses visitors in the Brazilian forest, an oceanarium, Dinosaur Valley and a trip through the Amazon jungle. Occasionally you’ll find a live mermaid swimming in a tank, which thrills any children in attendance (adults are pretty mesmerized, too)!
São Bento Monastery
This 16th-century monastery is a place to find mass (often said in Latin) and to hear monks reciting the Gregorian chant, but it’s also home to a famous bakery that sells delectable treats to passers by. It gets busy on Sundays, but is well worth your time if you’re looking for something a little different.