In Brazil São Paulo is the big, ugly monster that no one likes. Everyone says that people here only work and don’t have time for anything else. No friends, no family, no life, no love. When paulistanos (people from São Paulo) try to defend themselves they say «Existe amor em São Paulo», which means «Love exists in São Paulo». It’s a hashtag (#existeamoremsp) that’s been used 57 909 times on Instagram at the time of writing this. I want to show you guys a couple of places the this exists for sure.
I think that, at first sight, São Paulo really seems like a huge monster. There are people everywhere, cars everywhere, buildings as far as you can see, so much noise and last, but not least, LINES everywhere! It takes time to get to know the nice places and I also think that you have to give São Paulo time, time to grow on you. You need a special pair of eyes (or mentality, if you like) to see the beauty here. It’s like this quote by Confucius that I used to be obsessed with:
Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.
So we can say that São Paulo has its particular beauty and here are some places that can help you to find it:
This neighbourhood might be my favorite place in São Paulo. It’s packed with lovely cafés, restaurants, bars, shops and art galleries and the whole atmosphere is very relaxed and artsy. This is where you find the artists, the hipsters and the alternative people of the city and I think that’s part of why the atmosphere is so relaxed. I love to go there just to have a coffee and watch people (as in people watching, not stalking, haha!), but it’s also great for going out, visiting the galleries, having great food etc. It actually took me five months to go there for the first time, but after that we’ve been there many times, both because we’ve had many people visiting and because during our first visit there we were introduced to this amazing café called Coffee Lab (obrigada, Edu!). It had a huge line when we went there, so we ended up going somewhere else, but we got curious and we went back some weeks later. I’ll write a post about cool places in Vila Madalena soon, I promise!
Avenida Paulista/Paulista Avenue
Although it’s completely different from Vila Madalena it has its own charm. It’s the financial center of São Paulo, of Brazil and of South America, so it’s naturally full of huge and expensive buildings. When you stand there and see all the skyscrapers one after another you will feel very impressed and almost breathless. Especially when you look back down again and see the people living on the street. Avenida Paulista is probably one of the best places to observe the extreme social inequality that Brazil suffers from. On Sundays and other holidays the whole avenue is closed, from Rua da Consolação to Praça Oswaldo Cruz, so that people can go for a walk, work out, ride a bike, go rollerskating, skate etc. There’s also a craft market under the MASP museum on Sundays as far as I know.
Rua Oscar Freire
This is the most luxurious shopping street of São Paulo, including Brazilian designer’s stores. It’s great to go for a walk and/or window shopping and also for people watching (I love people watching, ok?). I hardly buy anything, but we usually have a coffee at the combined café and book shop called Chez Oscar. They serve real cappuccino (most places here give you Nescafé cappuccino powder with hot water) and their cookies are to die for! My boyfriend says their filter coffee is great too. Now that I’m looking at the map I can see that there are many restaurants, bars and cafés around Oscar Freire, so it’s probably good for any kind of meal you’d like. I have to discover more places there to give you some tips!
The Martinelli building
This was São Paulo’s tallest building for many, many years after it was built in 1929. It’s a little more than a 100 meters tall and you can go up to one of the last floors to have a view over the city for free! How amazing is that? I absolutely love going there because the view is breathtaking on a whole different level than anything else in this city. The fact that the city has 12 million people and the metropolitan area has about 20 is a lot easier to understand up there. The only thing you see is buildings, buildings and buildings until it’s all gone in the horizon. There’s no end to this city and that’s a different kind of beauty you can find here. At least for me it is.
The view from the Martinelli building
Even though São Paulo seems like a grey giant at first sight it’s the home of many nice parks. The most famous and biggest one is the Ibirapuera park which is about half the size of Central Park in New York. It has various lakes, museums, fountains, cafés etc. and lots of people go there to work out, spend the day with family or friends, record videos, take photos (me, me, me!), ride a bike, go rollerskating and catch pokemons. There’s also a park close to the MASP musem (Parque Trianon) in the Paulista Avenue which is very nice and we also have one close to our apartment which is called Parque da Aclimação. These are only some of the many, many parks around the city.
Until now I’ve only talked about very physical things that I find beautiful here in São Paulo. Some parts of this beauty are more abstract and subjective than others, but isn’t that what beauty should be? That said, another beautiful thing here in São Paulo is the multiculturalism. There are lots of immigrants from different parts of the world and the biggest groups are Japanese, Italians and Lebanese. They even have their own neighbourhoods! Liberdade is the Asian neighbourhood where you can have autentic food from China, Japan, Corea etc. and they have stores with Asian food, sweets, decoration, among other things. I love how we can experience so many different cultures here and how they exist side by side. Japanese food is quite different for me after almost ten months in the city with the biggest Japanese population outside Japan…
I just invented that word. Did you like it? Because of all the immigrants from all the different countries, São Paulo is a melting pot of so many delicious culinary experiences. During these last months I’ve had Thai, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, German, Italian, American, Lebanese, Arabic, Portuguese, Mexican, Australian and Peruvian food, and of course Brazilian food from different regions of the country. It’s impressive how so many cuisines have found their way here, but I’m not complaining, it’s wonderful!
I think that’s a good start, my friends. When I get to know even more places to visit, eat, drink and hang out, I’ll make a guide of São Paulo. I hope you enjoyed the post and that some of you might come to São Paulo once. It might seem scary, but it’s not! It’s great!