Spiritual creativity at Museu de Arte Sacra
Step inside the hallowed confines of an 18th-century monastery at the Museu de Arte Sacra. Centuries-old religious art, clay sculptures and colonial artefacts adorn the vast halls of this ornate museum dedicated to all things sacred.
676 Avenida Tiradentes, Luz Museu de Arte Sacra Website
Orchestral magic in a reborn train station
The city’s much-slauded symphonic orchestra play to standing ovations at the Sala São Paulo – a highlight of the top 10 cultural things to do in São Paulo. State-of-the-art acoustics in a renovated 1930s railway hall ensure a pitch-perfect experience.
16 Praça Júlio Prestes, Luz Sala São Paulo Website
Life-affirming painting at MASP
Contemplate the city’s most impressive art collection at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP), a colossal glass box suspended over the frenetic action of Avenida Paulista. Art-lovers can admire the works of old Spanish masters, French Impressionists and Brazilian Surrealists.
1578 Avenida Paulista, Jardins MASP Website
Samba maestros in the historic centre
Bar Brahma, a long-time haunt of Brazil’s best samba artists, brings together lovers of music for nights of sweet guitar playing. Black and white photos of old São Paulo line the wood-panelled walls while yellow-coated waiters keep the drinks flowing.
677 Avenida São João, República Bar Brahma Website
Tracing Brazil’s bloody history in Museu do Ipiranga
Traverse manicured French gardens to the steps of the resplendent Renaissance-style Ipiranga museum. Sumptuous rooms, filled with brass weaponry and other remnants of Brazil’s violent past, sketch the history of this proud nation. Panoramic views over the city cap the experience.
Parque da Independência, Ipiranga Museu do Ipiranga Website
Origami classes and Japanese crafts in Liberdade
Book a São Paulo hotel and celebrate the city’s 100 years of Japanese immigration at the monumental Bunkyo cultural centre. Curious onlookers watch the intricate tea ceremonies and traditional flower arranging classes at this authentic corner of Japanese arts and crafts.
381 Rua São Joaquim, Liberdade Bunkyo Cultural Centre Website
Luz’s modernist art extravaganza
The stars of Brazilian modernist portraiture are on display at São Paulo’s neoclassical masterpiece, the Pinacoteca do Estado museum. Weave between the palace’s giant pillars and marvel at the exposed brickwork of this architectural gem.
Praça da Luz, Luz Pinacoteca do Estado Website
Africa meets Brazil in Ibirapuera park
Brazil’s rich African heritage explodes into life in a riot of colour at the Museu Afro Brasil. Rejoice in Afro-Brazilian culture and be enlightened by finely carved mahogany masks, vibrant landscape painting and handsome photographic prints.
Rua Pedro Álvares Cabral, Parque Ibirapuera Museu Afro Brasil Website
Spellbinding opera at the Teatro Municipal
Flanked by towering palm trees on a colonial plaza, the grandiose Teatro Municipal houses the best musical performers from São Paulo and around the world. Marble staircases, gold chandeliers and classical statues add to the charm of this European-style opera house.
Praça Ramos de Azevedo, Centro Teatro Municipal Website
Pinheiros’ underground art haven
Bohemians flock to Pinheiros’ centre for urban art at the Choque Cultural. Take in tattoo art, skateboard design and graffiti creations at this hip townhouse turned contemporary gallery.
997 Rua João Moura, Pinheiros Choque Cultural Website