135 hotels in this place
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, with a city population of about 11 million and almost 20 million in its metropolitan region. It is the capital of the Southeastern state of São Paulo, and also a beehive of activity that offers a jovial nightlife and an intense cultural experience. São Paulo is one of the richest cities in the southern hemisphere, though the inequality between the classes typically observed in Brazil is blatant. Historically attractive to immigrants as well as (somewhat later) Brazilians from other states, it's one of the most diverse cities in the world. São Paulo, or Sampa as it is also often called, is also probably one of the most underrated cities tourism-wise, often overshadowed by other places in the Brazilian sun & beach circuit such as Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. It is in fact a great city to explore, with its own idiosyncrasies, the exquisite way of living of its inhabitants, not to mention the world-class restaurants and diverse regional and international cuisine available to all tastes. If there is a major attraction to this city, it is the excellent quality of its restaurants and the variety of cultural activities on display. Just south of the city, lies the Parque Estadual Serra do Mar , a mountain range covered by exuberant rainforest that faces the coast and provides various ecotourism options. (less...) (more...)
No rooms are available for given criteria.
Filter the result
- 5 star hotel
- 4 star hotel
- 3 star hotel
- 2 star hotel
- 1 star hotel
- over 100 hotels
- 50-100 hotels
- 20-50 hotels
- 5-20 hotels
- below 5 hotels
Points of Interest
- Business object
- Civic property
- Golf course
- Green space
- Historic site
- Interesting place
- Sports facility
Points of Interest in Sao Paulo
Avenida Paulista (Paulista Avenue) is one of São Paulo's most popular postcards, as it is the pride of Paulistanos. It is one of the largest business centers, and probably the largest cultural region in the city. Its architectural contrast reflects the fact that the avenue is located between the "old" and "new" parts of the city.
The avenue and its surroundings, such as Rua Augusta, Alameda Santos and Rua Oscar Freire, contain numerous shop galleries, art galleries, theatres, movie theaters, pubs, hotel, coffee shops, bookstores, and gourmet restaurants. Gay nightlife is intense on Consolacao and Haddock Lobo Streets.
São Paulo's Historic Center met a period of degradation, but it is gradually recovering with recent projects and investments. Even through it still has some problems, it is an area to not be missed due to its historical and cultural value for the city. Here you can find many constructions and landmarks from glorious moments of São Paulo's history, ridiculously crowded commercial areas, and a multitude of theatres and cultural activities.
Rio Pinheiros river area
The Pinheiros river crosses the West of São Paulo in North-South direction, and although heavily polluted, the river and its shores are among the most beautiful and interesting areas of the city. The East shore is filled with skyscrapers that compose the business centers of Brooklin Novo and Vila Olímpia, and contains the longest cycleway of the city, as well as one of the most vibrant nightlife areas. The West shore is home to University of São Paulo and exhibits a stereotypical portrait of São Paulo's social inequality, contrasting luxurious apartments and mansions with low class suburbs and favelas. In the middle of the river, stands the magnificent Ponte Octavio Frias, more known as Ponte Estaiada. The Line 9-Emerald train line runs alongside the river, making all spots quite easy to reach.
Although São Paulo is commonly associated with gray, concrete, and lack of green space, the Atlantic rainforest still covers large portions of the city and even of the municipality. These green areas are constantly under threat by irregular occupation, so the government has turned many of them into into public parks in order to better protect them.
Parks in the city can be divided into three types:
- Leisure parks are those with plenty of recreational, sport and cultural facilities, but do not contain considerable amounts of original vegetation. Parque do Ibirapuera (see São Paulo/South Central) is certainly the most famous park of this type in the city, hosting various museums, monuments, and cultural activities;
- Ecotourism parks are those which are mostly covered by the Atlantic rainforest and other natural ecossystems, and contain limited recreational facilities. They are suited for those seeking an adventure. These include Parque Estadual da Cantareira (see São Paulo/Northeast and Guarulhos), APA Capivari-Monos (see São Paulo/Far South) and Parque Estadual do Jaraguá (see São Paulo/Northwest).
- Mixed parks are a mix between the two above types: they have both leisure facilities and preserved nature areas. They are a nice option if you think that nature is best enjoyed with the company of other people, or if you want to do something more relaxing and less adventurous. These include Parque do Carmo, Parque Ecológico do Tietê (see São Paulo/Far East) and Horto Florestal (see São Paulo/Northeast).
Check the individual district listings for a more comprehensive list of parks and more detailed information.
Museums and cultural centers
As the art center of the country, São Paulo offers innumerous museums and cultural centers. Two museums to not be missed, due to their size, architecture, and historical importance, are Museu do Ipiranga (Southeast) and Memorial da América Latina (West).
Appreciators of art should also check Museu de Arte de São Paulo (Paulista), Pinacoteca do Estado (Downtown), Instituto Tomio Ohtake, Museu de Arte Contemporânea (West) and Museu de Arte Moderna (South Central).
Check each district section of this guide for a comprehensive list of museums.
São Paulo is a beautiful city seen from above, so spare some time to go to one of the few points where you'll be able to see how far this city extends to, specially at sunset.
- Banespa Tower, Rua João Brícola, 24, Centro. São Bento Metrô station, ☎ +55(11) 3249-7180. M-F, 10AM-5PM. The observation deck is on the 34th floor, 160 m above ground. For many decades, it used to be the highest building in town. There is a small museum on the top of the building." Make sure and bring ID (passport) because it is required for entrance. Free entrance.
- Restaurant Skye, Hotel Unique, Avenida Brigadeiro Luiz Antônio, 4700. On the rooftop of posh Hotel Unique, Skye serves excellent fusion food under the supervision of chef Emmanuel Bassoleil. Good for night views of the area around Ibirapuera Park. Free entrance.
- São Paulo Jockey Club, Av. Lineu de Paula Machado, 1263. There are two bars and a couple of posh restaurants with a great view of the River Pinheiros, especially around 6PM, when you can go straight from work or a busy day walking about to watch the sun set above town. Free entrance.
About Sao Paulo
Native American Chief Tibiriçá and the Jesuit priests José de Anchieta and Manuel de Nóbrega founded the village of São Paulo de Piratininga on 25 January 1554—Feast of the Conversion of Paul the Apostle. Along with their entourage, the priests established a mission named Colégio de São Paulo de Piratininga aimed at converting the Tupi-Guarani native Brazilians to the Catholic religion. São Paulo's first church was constructed in 1616, and it was located where today is the Páteo do Colégio (metrô: Sé or São Bento station).
São Paulo officially became a city in 1711. In the 19th century, it experienced a flourishing economic prosperity, brought about chiefly through coffee exports, which were shipped abroad from the port of neighbouring city Santos. After 1881, waves of immigrants from Italy, Japan, and other European and Middle Eastern countries, such as Syria and Lebanon immigrated to São Paulo State due to the coffee production boom. Enslavement of Africans was coming to an end, due to British pressure, as the British Empire wished to introduce its machinery and industrialized products to Brazil. The government was also concerned with the fact that the population of black people was greater than that of whites, and, in an effort to "bleach the race," gave incentives to European nationals of countries such as Italy, Germany, Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland, Portugal, and Spain to immigrate. Thus, after Emancipation, with the influx of European labor and failure on the part of the racist system to include African-Brazilians, black people became increasing unemployed and discriminated against. By the beginning of the 20th century, the coffee cycle had already plummeted due to, among other factors, a sharp decline in international coffee prices and competition from other nations. The local entrepreneurs then started investing in the industrial development of São Paulo, attracting new contingents of overseas immigrants to the city. Many of those entrepreneurs had Italian, Portuguese, German, and Syro-Lebanese Christian descent such as the Matarazzo, Diniz, and Maluf.
However, due to competition with many other Brazilian cities, which sometimes offer tax advantages for companies to build manufacturing plants in situ, São Paulo's main economic activities have gradually left its industrial profile in favour of the services industry over the late 20th century. The city is nowadays home to a large number of local and international banking offices, law firms, multinational companies, advertising firms and consumer services.
Many major international and Brazilian companies have offices in São Paulo, and the Bovespa stock exchange index (Ibovespa) is considered one of the most important Latin American market indices abroad. After merging with the BM&F (Futures Markets Exchange), Bovespa (São Paulo Stock Exchange) has become the third largest exchange in the world (Folha de S. Paulo newspaper 2008).
Theaters and concert halls
The two most important concert and opera houses of the city are Theatro Municipal and Sala São Paulo (see São Paulo/Historic Center). São Paulo has a great number of theaters, most of which feature plays in Portuguese. The British Cultural Centre, Goethe Institute, Instituto Cervantes and Alliance Française occasionally have plays in English, German, Spanish and French, respectively; check individual District listings.
Ciclofaixa de Lazer
The Ciclofaixa de Lazer (Leisure Cycling Lane) compromises dozens of kilometers of interconnected cycling lanes, in the central, south and west areas of the city, that are available on Sundays and some holidays, between 7AM-4PM. It interconnects most places of interest of the city - Downtown, Avenida Paulista, Parque do Ibirapuera, University of São Paulo, the Pinheiros river business centers and the Guarapiranga reservoir, although certainly not using the shortest paths. Bicycle borrowing and renting is available at Parque das Bicicletas (in Parque do Ibirapuera) and at Praça do Ciclista (at Avenida Paulista), but try to get a bicycle in advance if possible.
Since the cycling route is family-oriented, signaling and safety standards are high. The route is stricly intended for recreational, not sportive cycling, so set your speed accordingly in the presence of other cyclists. A full map of the route, as well as other useful information, are available here.
Fun for the family
Both adults and kids are ensured to have fun by seeing the animals in the São Paulo Zoo and in the São Paulo Aquarium (see São Paulo/Southeast). São Paulo also has educative spaces aimed both at adults and children, including Catavento Cultural (see São Paulo/Downtown) and Espaço Ciência (see São Paulo/West). Finally, Mundo da Xuxa (see São Paulo/South Central) is a theme park only for the small ones.
Football is an inherent part of Brazilian culture, and São Paulo is no exception, being home of four football teams that generally run in the 1st division: Corinthians, São Paulo, Palmeiras and Portuguesa. The four large football stadiums in the city are Morumbi, Parque Antarctica (see São Paulo/West), Pacaembu (see São Paulo/Historic Center) and Canindé (see São Paulo/Southeast). A new stadium is being constructed in the São Paulo/Far East region, and it will host the opening of the FIFA World Cup 2014. A word of warning, however: although most matches are safe and fun events, games between the biggest local rivals (Corinthians, São Paulo, Palmeiras and, to a smaller extent, Santos) have had episodes of violence flaring up (the majority of cases, such incidents happening outside of the stadium), due to a minority of violent fans (ultras). Going to such games can be a risky proposition. Portuguesa games are safe, have few supporters, are very peaceful and curious (meets the Portuguese community in the city).
- São Paulo Historical City Tour is a panoramic tour for those keen to have an introduction to the history, culture, and the lifestyle of the biggest city in the Southern Hemisphere. The city tour takes about 3 hours, during which the visitor will pass by places in São Paulo's Old Centre and get familiar with attractions such as the Cathedral of Sé, Pátio do Colégio (short stop at the square, the site where the city was founded), Monastery of São Bento, the Banespa Building (São Paulo’s answer to the Empire State Building), the Martinelli Building (the first skyscraper in South America), Viaduto do Chá (Tea Viaduct), the Municipal Theater, Sala São Paulo concert hall, Estaçao da Luz train station and the Municipal Market.
- TurisMetrô. Offer a variety of city tours every weekend. These are mostly walking tours but with some use of the metro. The tour is free of charge, but you will need to take some cash with you to buy metro tickets during the tour as necessary. The tours start at the TurisMetrô desk in Sé metro station at 9am and 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays; you will need to arrive half an hour earlier to sign up. The desk is inside the ticket turnstiles, so if you arrive by metro don't exit the station past the turnstiles while looking for the desk or you'll have to pay for an extra ticket to get back in. If you are already around the station, you will have to pay for a ticket to gain access to the desk, although you can use it to make the first journey of the tour so it's not wasted. The guides speak English.
According to the São Paulo Convention & Visitors Bureau, São Paulo hosts 90,000 events a year, from meetings and conferences to sports and cultural events. Information in English and Spanish about the events happening in the city can be found on . Events tied to a particular region are listed in the individual district sections. The following events are considered important to the city as a whole:
- São Paulo Carnival, Avenida Olavo Fontoura, 1209, Santana (at the Sambódromo from Parque Anhembi, near Armenia and Tiete stations), ☎ 11 6226-0510. If you're in São Paulo during the annual Carnival, a national bank holiday between the end of February and March. This is where the typical Carnival parade takes place, with dancers dressed up in costumes and musicians play samba songs on the top of fancy cars. If you can afford it, get tickets closest to the "pista" (standing area, close to the parade itself). This will give you a premium view of the parade, and the possibility of comfortably sitting down on benches. Waiters pass to and fro selling chocolate, chips, beer, soft drinks and booze. Another option is to visit one of the various samba school in town, where you can see the rehearsal concerts of musicians and dancers. You can even have the opportunity to join the parade at the time of Carnival holidays by acquiring the costume from a samba school and getting in touch with the people organising the event in one of the schools. However, São Paulo is not a traditional Carnaval destination for Brazilians, like Rio. The city will usually be less crowded on Carnaval then usual, as Paulistanos leave for the Paulista Coast or other states.
- Gay Pride Parade, Avenida Paulista. Every year, during Corpus Christi holidays (usually between May and June), around 3 million people take part in the largest Gay Pride parade in the world. It takes place on a Sunday, and Avenida Paulista is the spot to head to. Floats bustling with electronic music parade from MASP to República, while every type imaginable marches along. The drinks are plenty and the rave party feel keeps the paraders dancing way pass sunset.
- Virada Cultural (Downtown). Virada Cultural is a round-the-clock cultural marathon that takes place in various parts of the Historic Center (Downtown), happening yearly around April–May. It is a free event that gathers an audience of several million of people circulating during a 24-hour, non-stop cultural party. Exceptionally, the metro and train work uninterruptedly during the event. During the 2012 edition, there were about 1,300 shows and 15 km of streets were occupied. Free.
- Brazilian Grand Prix, Autódromo José Carlos Pace (Far South). s a Formula One championship race which occurs at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in Interlagos. The Interlagos circuit has created some of the most exciting and memorable races in recent Formula One history, and is regarded as one of the most challenging and exciting circuits on the F1 calendar. Along with Spa-Francorchamps, it is rare in that the circuit in its modern form is one of the few with a lengthy history in the sport not considered to have lost much of its mystique or challenge in its adaptation for the modern, much more safety-conscious era of 21st century Formula One.
São Paulo is home to a superb diversity of restaurants and cuisines, where you can enjoy typical dishes from literally all over the world. The price range is as wide as the diversity of the restaurants in the city, from cheap snacks and meals in simple and cozy restaurants and food tents in popular markets, to the hugely expensive high end cuisine and internationally recognized restaurants, such as D.O.M, which was (in 2012) elected the 4th best restaurant in the World and the best in South America by The World's 50 Best Restaurants.
The city is also home to a vast array of Brazilian and international fast-food chains, offering varying options ranging from burgers, to sushi and kebab. The fast-food chain Habib's, which originated in São Paulo, is the favorite of lower class Paulistanos due to its cheap "Arab-Brazilian" snacks.
In São Paulo, the ever-present beans-and-rice accompaniment typically involves brown beans instead of black beans, as in Rio. Another typical food in São Paulo is the Virado à Paulista, which consists of rice, tutu de feijão (a paste of beans and manioc flour; sometimes made of corn flour, in order to be drier than the manioc flour one), kale sautéed with garlic (couve) and pork chops, typically bisteca. It is usually accompanied by pork rinds, bits of sausage, a fried egg and a fried banana.
One dish that claims its local character is the bauru sandwich, allegedly created by a druken student from the University of São Paulo's law school at the Ponto Chic restaurant after a long night out. It consists of four types of melted cheese and sliced roastbeef, and it still endures as one ubiquitous snack in padarias (Brazilian-style eateries).
Japanese restaurants of the rodizio style are found pretty much everywhere, but mainly in the past decade, São Paulo became world famous for its excellent Japan-like and fusion restaurants, including ramen and udon shops and exquisite sushi and sashimi sets, which sometimes even come at a reasonable price. Many of these types of restaurants can be found down rua Tomaz Gonzaga in Liberdade, where connaisseurs of good food have already found their way in. On weekends, these restaurants can be packed, so arrive early to avoid queues.
Another typical type of restaurant in São Paulo are the world-famous churrascarias, where an enormous range of meats and cuts comes to your table by the stick; they also offer a range of sides and salads. In those places, you can eat as much as you want, paying a single fee whose price range may vary from R$45 to R$115. This system is called rodízio, and it has been very successful in the city, spreading to other types of cuisine like Italian, where you can find the rodízio de pizza and Japanese, with the rodízio de sushi.
The cuisine of São Paulo shows the influence of European, Middle Eastern and Asian immigrants. The majority of immigrants in São Paulo arrived from Italy, and other European countries like Portugal, Spain and Germany. There are also large numbers of Asian and Middle Eastern immigrants from Japan, Lebanon and many other countries. Therefore, it is possible to find a wide array of cuisines in the city of São Paulo. Pizza is a particularly popular dish, which can be found with an endless range of toppings, and paulistas will swear their city has the best pizza in the country, if not in the world.
When eating out, a tip of 10 percent on the value of the bill is usually included. Some restaurants don't include this service charge (when you may come across the message "Serviço não incluso" at the end of the bill), but unless the staff are upsettingly rude, do pay the standard 10 percent tip as it is usually part of their wages.
You will have no trouble finding bars in São Paulo, where you can enjoy an ice cold beer, a shot of cachaça or a caipirinha - or anything else for that matter. A chopp (a 300 ml glass of draught beer) will set you back between R$3 and R$10 (in extreme cases), depending on the bar, but anything around R$4, R$5 is fine. Vila Madalena and Itaim have a very high concentration of bars, and are great spots for an all-nighter. For specific suggestions of bars, check the district section.
This city has an unbelievably rich and diverse night life, and is able to provide entertainment for all tastes, from traditional samba-rock live music to electro-pop night clubs, raves and even some fetish clubs. It is worth planning at least one night out while you're in town. On the other hand, São Paulo's nightlife can be quite expensive; most clubs charge an entrance fee. Usually, entrance hovers around R$25, but they can be over R$250 (US$145) in some upscale places.
The main areas for nightlife in the city are Vila Olímpia, Vila Madalena, and Barra Funda (West), Moema (South Central), Tatuapé and Mooca (Southeast), and Santana (Northeast). The Downtown has recently also experimented an impressive revival of nightlife. Be sure to check the individual District listings.
Visit  or buy one of the paper editions to have the latest clubbing updates.
You can find practically anything in São Paulo. Imported goods can be expensive, but look out for Brazilian-made bargains in all categories. Spend some time in one of the many "shoppings" (as Brazilians call the shopping malls) and also look out for areas with shops catering for specific interests.
Remember that street shops usually operate 10AM-6PM, including Saturdays (when they close earlier), but are closed on Sundays. The countless shopping malls operate M-Sa 10AM-10PM and Su 10AM-8PM.
Central shopping areas
The area between Avenida Ipiranga and Parque Dom Pedro II (Downtown) is the closest to what São Paulo has from a "central shopping area", with various pedestrianized and non-pedestrianized shopping streets. The exceptionally crowded Rua 25 de Março, with its diverse range of bargains, is perhaps the most famous commercial street of the area.
Avenida Paulista and Rua Augusta (Paulista) form a smooth transition between the popular commerce of Downtown and the affluent commerce of Rua Oscar Freire (West).
São Paulo has also many specialized shopping areas, such as Rua Teodoro Sampaio (West) for furniture and musical instruments, Rua José Paulino (Downtown) and Brás neighborhood (Southeast) for bargain and wholesale clothing, Liberdade neighbourhood (Downtown) for cosmetics and Asian products, and Rua Santa Ifigênia (Downtown) for electronic equipment.
Paulistanos, especially those with higher income, have an indoor shopping culture. The fear of criminality, traffic and São Paulo's unpredictable weather are strong factors to this. Shopping malls in São Paulo are not only centers of "shopping" but also leisure areas, typically offering spaces for kids, cinemas, food courts, and sometimes even theatres, expositions, and sport areas. Many shopping malls in São Paulo also offer miscellaneous services such as banks, laundry, repairs, and sometimes even police stations and doctors.
The selection of shops of a mall depends on the type of public predominant in the surroundings: at shopping malls located at working-class neighborhoods, it is easier to find bargain department stores, while shopping malls in wealthy areas may be the only way to have access to exclusive designer stores. Check the individual district listings for a comprehensive list of shopping malls in the city.
Some shopping malls that deserve special mention are Morumbi/Market Place (South Central - with more than 600 shops and dozens of restaurants), Eldorado (West - with an immense food court), Iguatemi (West - the oldest shopping mall of São Paulo, with very upscale profile), JK Iguatemi (West - the newest shopping mall for the wealthy Paulistanos), Cidade Jardim (West - famous for its internal gardens), Aricanduva (Far East - the city's largest and most famous working class shopping mall), and Frei Caneca (Downtown - the favorite of the LGBT public).
Suburban shopping areas
Far from Downtown, there are many suburban shopping areas. The busiest of them is probably the area around Largo 13 de Maio (South Central), the "central shopping area" of the former city of Santo Amaro, now part of São Paulo.
There are also the open markets (feiras livres) and municipal markets (where you can buy fresh and cheaper fruit, vegetables and meat), supermarkets and atacados (a type of supermarket where you pay less if buy at least a certain quantity, very convenient for families).
Most of these local commerce centers are not listed in this guide, but they are of extreme importance in the daily life of Paulistanos.
São Paulo has the highest living cost in the Americas, and it's the 10th most expensive city in the world, according to the Mercer Worldwide Cost of Living 2011 Survey. However, it should be remarked that such rankings are based on averages, which hardly describe a city as huge and with so many contrasts as São Paulo.
It is absolutely possible to enjoy the city's attractions while spending a moderate amount of cash in both accommodations and food. For example, a set meal, drinks included, in a reasonably good place is around R$43. Ask locals for tips how to make the best out of your money if you're on a tight budget.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article São Paulo on Wikivoyage.