44 hotels in this place
Belo Horizonte is Brazil's third-largest city and the capital of the state of Minas Gerais. With its orderly grid plan and tree-lined avenues, it's a pleasant metropolis. For travelers, it's a good stopping point on the way to the beautiful colonial towns such as Ouro Preto and Tiradentes.
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Points of Interest in Belo Horizonte
Note that a lot of places including museums, the parque municipal and the Mangueira park are closed on Mondays.
- Pampulha - This 1940's neighborhood has some of the highlights of Brazil modern architecture, including the São Francisco de Assis Church, designed by the famous architect Oscar Niemeyer (designer of the United Nations building in NYC and also Brasilia, Brazil's capital) . The building is not shocking by itself, until you realize it was meant to be a church. Not surprisingly, the Catholic Church refused to consecrate it for more than one decade. Next to the church, there's the Parque Guanabara, an amusement park that is small, but worth visiting. In Pampulha lies the world-famous Iate Tenis Clube, founded along with the Pampulha Architectural Complex designed by Oscar Niemeyer. Invitations to the club can be bought at the place (they are free if you know someone affiliated to the club).
- Mineirão Stadium - This is one of the largest and newly renewed stadiums in which the FIFA Federation Coup (2013) and FIFA World Cup (2014) will have their games played on. Worth seeing. It is located at Pampulha neighborhood.
- Mangabeiras Park - This is an amazing place for nature lovers, a place where the Cerrado mixes with the Atlantic Forest, this is a great visit for children and family.
- Praça da Liberdade - A beautiful palm tree-lined square, sidelined by interesting buildings from the 19th century, including the seat of the State Government, and a curvaceous (yes, you can use this word to describe an Oscar Niemeyer building) edifice from the 60s. Also museums and a Planetarium (you can get tickets for free)
- Museum of Arts and Crafts, ☎ (31) 3248-8600, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Praça Rui Barbosa, Centro. . Tue, Thu, Fri noon to 7PM. Wed, noon to 9PM. Sat, Sun, 11AM to 5PM. Groups: daily, from 9AM-noon. The Museu de Artes e Ofícios is installed in the 19th Century buildings of the former Central Train Station. Its collection shows the richness of Brazilian popular work and professions before the country's industrialization. Admission: R$4. Saturday - free.
- Alta Vila Tower - Located in the district of Nova Lima, (Belo Horizonte city Metro area), this tower offers a spectacular view of Belo Horizonte and its surrounding mountains. On the main floor is the Hard Rock Cafe - Belo Horizonte.
- Parque Municipal - An oasis of green right in the centre of downtown. Based on French parks, it has small lagoons where you can rent a boat or feed the ducks. It has the Casa Maluca (Crazy House), the Casa dos Pneus and a small amusement park - three places where children always like to play.
- Museu de Ciencias Naturais - Take the Metro to the Gameleira station, go NW to the PUC campus, and turn right. Diverse mollusks, whales, and Brazilian forest animals. A new exhibit is under construction. Admission: R$3.
- Museu Histórico Abílio Barreto, Av Prudente de Morais, 135. Cidade Jardim Neighborhood - (0xx)31 3342-1268 - This museum is dedicated to the history of the city and was created in the only standing farmhouse from the old Curral d'El Rey, farmland replaced by the new planned city.
About Belo Horizonte
Founded in 1897, Belo Horizonte (or simply "BH" (beh-ah-GAH) to locals) is a little over a century old. With a metropolitan population reaching more than 5 million (edging out Salvador), it was built as a planned city to take the place of Ouro Preto as the state's capital. Its layout features square sections delineated by broad avenues, intersected diagonally by smaller streets.
The city lies in the center of the Minas Gerais state, and was intended to bring together the many parts of this very diverse state.
For a good sample of traditional mineira food, here are some options:
- Dona Lucinha II, Rua Sergipe, 811, ☎ (31) 3261-5930, e-mail: email@example.com. . Mon-Fri 12PM-3PM and 8PM-midnight. Sat 12PM-5PM and 8PM-midnight. Sun 12PM-5PM. R$19-27.
- Restaurante Xapuri, Rua Mandacaru, 260. Pampulha, near the Pampulha Lake and the City Zoo, the restaurant is open Tue-Thu from 11AM to 11PM, Fri-Sat from 11AM to 2AM and Sunday and holidays from 11AM to 6PM. It has live music from Wed-Sun (and Holidays)
For great Brazilian food, here are some options:
- Porcão, Avenida Raja Gabaglia, 2985. Cep:30350-540, Tel: (31) 3293-8604. One of the most famous restaurants in BH is the steakhouse chain Porcão. Considered to have the best meat in BH, it is also one of the most expensive in town. Some nights there are live performances by some of the more well-known performers in BH.
- Fogo de chão, Rua Sergipe, 1208, ☎ (31) 3227-2730. Savassi. It's a restaurant chain similar to Porcão. Both offer the traditional Brazilian barbecue. They are a must go to any tourist who isn't familiar with the Brazilian way to prepare and serve meat. Fogo de chão started in Porto Alegre (Brazil) and now has subsidiaries in many other Brazilian cities and even in the United States.
For great international food, here are some options:
- Hard Rock Cafe Belo Horizonte, ☎ (31)3011-9511. Rua Senador Milton Campos - AltaVila Center Class -. Live music Friday and Saturday nights.
- Applebee's Restaurant. Located at BH Shopping, the restaurant has a casual feel with an American Menu.
If your food tastes lean toward brown rice and tofu, try Bem Natural. This is both a snack bar with tuna and chicken sandwiches on whole wheat, and a por quilo buffet with stuffed tomatoes, vegetarian feijoada, and brown rice. There are four locations in BH:
- Av. Afonso Pena 941, Centro, (31) 3224-1385.
- Augusto de Lima 1652, Barro Preto, (31) 3295-2325.
- Bernardo Guimarães 166, Funcionários, (31) 3284-6680.
- Tomé de Souza 947, Savassi, (31) 3261-5676, open weekends and holidays too.
- Beware: Brazilian law regulates that you can't drive if you have more than 0.2g/l of alcohol in your blood. It used to be 0.6g/l, and the new law is commonly referred to as the "dry law". If you drink, take extra care if you're going to drive through big avenues or through places crowded with bars. If you ever get caught by an officer while drinking and driving, treat the policeman with respect and calmly refuse to take the breathalyzer test—you are not obligated to generate evidence against yourself. You are going to be charged anyway, but they will only have the testimony of the officer(s). Of course, the safest thing to do if you drink is not to drive afterwards. There are usually plenty of taxis in front of popular bars during peak hours.
- People from BH are famous for their love of bars. The central Savassi neighborhood has dozens of bars. Also, at São Lucas neighborhood, on Contorno Avenue, you will find "Sociedad Pub", one of the best Pubs in town (Contorno Av., n.3849). The city is widely known (although without any confirmation) as the city with most bars per capita in the world. Some clubs that charge a cover are overrated and expensive. The outdoor bar scene is the authentic Brazilian experience. Good places to look for a bar:
- Avenida Prudente de Morais
- Rua Marília de Dirceu (follow it while it becomes Rua Curitiba and then Rua São Paulo—yeah, that's how streets work in Belo Horizonte)
- Rua Pium-í crossing with Rua Passatempo
- Avenida Fleming (only if you are in the Pampulha region)
- You may know it only as an ingredient in vitamin pills, but here you can get fresh acerola puree in orange juice squeezed before your eyes. This is called a vitamina with good reason. The fruit is perishable and is stored on ice. Other fruits prepared the same way are abacaxi (pineapple), açaí, banana, and mamão (papaya).
- Although Savassi is the place to go on Friday and Saturday nights, Trevo Five Place (close to the Hard Rock Cafe) is a great spot on Thursday nights. The dancing is great however the environment is not for the cautious.
- The state of Minas Gerais is famous for their cachaça. The price stars from R$1,00 to R$50,00 and above, for some high-end brands. It is the main ingredient of the famous "Caipirinha" cocktail, but Brazilians enjoy drinking it pure as well.
- Another great drink is a sweet tasting wine-like substance called pronounced "catuaba".
- If your looking for some dancing and clubbing visit naSala . For sure the best nightlife in town. Expect to meet beautiful people.
- Rei Do Pastel, Savassi. Rei Do Pasetel is a small little corner bar located in the centre of Savassi. It has cheap shots, cheap food and always has something interesting going on, a great place for backpackers
- BH Shopping. BH's oldest and largest shopping malls, with shops, a food court, movie theatre and games. It's in the Belvedere area and close to Nova Lima road.
- Shopping Del Rey. Another of BH's oldest and largest shopping malls, with shops, food court, movie theatre and games.
- Minas Shopping. Among the largest shopping malls, with shops, a food court, movie theatre and games. Metrô station nearby.
- Diamond Mall. A very refined (and usually expensive) shopping center.
- Pátio Savassi. Also very refined (and usually expensive) shopping center, in the heart of Savassi.
- Mercado Central, Av. Augusto de Lima and R. Curitiba. A traditional market founded in 1929 where you can find tofu, whole grains, cheese, meat, herbs, traditional foods, religious articles, fruit, live birds, pots, souvenirs and lots of other stuff. It's one the most visited places in the city.
- Hippie Fair, Av. Afonso Pena in front of the Municipal Park. Opens every Sunday, from 8AM to 2PM. This artesian fair is one of the largest in the country and offers everything from crafts to jewelry, furniture to souvenir, clothing to food. Receives from up to 100,000 people every Sunday. Definitively worth the visit.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Belo Horizonte on Wikivoyage.