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Pounding the Pavement in São Paulo

By Sheena Rossiter

You wake up to the sounds of rain, but then you look outside only to see the sun rising over this cosmopolitan monster of a city. It’s actually a nice day. What sounds like rain are really cars inching their way forward to get to work in one of São Paulo’s infamous traffic jams. But after work, everyone comes out to play—and so do you. This is São Paulo, and it’s a concrete jungle out there with plenty of adventure to be had.

São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, is all too commonly overlooked by tourists. It’s not Rio. The thought of having nearly 20 million people crammed into a gray city no where near a coastline doesn’t exactly appeal to the sense of adventure for many visitors to Brazil. However, in a city that oozes culture, São Paulo proves you don’t need to be jumping off a waterfall to experience adventure. Here’s the top five must-do cultural adventures in the city’s center.

Bar Brahma Located on São Paulo’s most famous corner, Ipiranga and São João, Bar Brahma proves to its Carioca rivals that Rio isn’t the only place to hear excellent samba. With a different genre of live music every night of the week, it’s a must for dance and music lovers. The famous landmark errs a bit on the expensive side, costing a little more than $40 to get in.

Companhia de Teatro Os Satyros After the clock strikes midnight, most cities typically go to sleep, but the experimental theater company Os Satyros is just waking up to come out and play. For anyone daring enough to take a look, Os Satyros offers late-night, racy theater for around $20.

MASP Smack dab in the middle of Avenida Paulista, the 1.73 mile–long stretch of shopping and big business, is MASP, Latin America’s largest modern art museum, boasting an extensive collection of European and national modern art. It costs only $10 to get in, but if you’re free on Tuesdays, so is MASP.

CineSesc Perfect for film buffs, CineSesc offers both the best national and foreign art-house films and documentaries. Located just off Avenida Paulista and on São Paulo’s Rua Augusta, it’s at the center of where the city’s artists flock. Tickets cost between $5 and $8.

O Pedaco da Pizza Now after a long day of pounding the pavement, you deserve something tasty, right? There is no shortage of bars, nightclubs and restaurants on Rua Augusta, and O Pedaco da Pizza offers the city’s best slice for a reasonable price. When you’re done, step outside for an adventure that doesn’t cost a thing: people watching on one of São Paulo’s most artsy streets.

Photo by Andre Deak