The city’s oldest neighborhood, Luz, is a captivating place to start your São Paulo short getaway. Exit the gilded archways of the late 19th-century Estação da Luz train station into lush sculpture gardens. Nearby, the neoclassical palace of Pinacoteca do Estado gives an overview of Brazilian modernist painting. From here meander south-east and join the lunchtime scrum for traditional salt cod pastel (pastries) under the stained glass archways of the Municipal Market.
Nearest metro Estação da Luz
A short walk south, past the imposing São Bento monastery, is Praça da Sé – the bustling palm-lined square at the city’s historical heart. Navigate the busy cobbled streets, past colonial churches and monumental office blocks, to the calmness of Anhangabaú park. Nearby Avenida Ipiranga pulsates with city life – climb its colossal Edifício Itália skyscraper for a well-deserved caipirinha at sunset.
Nearest metro São Bento
Strolling south of the Centro leads to the Japanese immigrant quarter of Liberdade where ornamental gardens and Buddhist temples await exploration. Traditional ramen house Lamen Aska, unchanged in decades, serves fresh noodles and delicate tempura prawns. After an Asian banquet head to nearby Jardins’s sophisticated bars and nightclubs or join the Brazilian jazz aficionados at Centro’s Bar Brahma.
Nearest metro República
Begin the day with a typical São Paulo pick-me-up of pão de queijo (cheese bread) and cafezinho (espresso) at the elegant pavement cafés of Rua Oscar Freire in chic Jardins. In the east, fashionistas crowdthe exclusive designer stores before arriving at the city’s grandest boulevard, Avenida Paulista. Wind south, passing glimmering edifices, and get a contemporary art fix at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo – an audacious architectural masterpiece of concrete pillars and glass.
Nearest metro Consolação
From Avenida Paulista, buses plough the route south to Parque do Ibirapuera where locals tone their bodies on running tracks and vendors push carts selling refreshing agua de coco (chilled coconut water). Wander through renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer’s visionary futuristic exhibition halls and pop into the park’s Afro-Brazilian cultural centre for a glimpse of Brazil’s slavery past. Nearby, Hotel Unique’s otherworldly copper-plated hotel gives expansive vistas of São Paulo’s skyline from its terrace café.
Start: Avenida Paulista
Nearest metro Trianon-Masp
The leafy surroundings of Jardins offer many extravagant dining options and cosmopolitan eateries. Splurge at the contemporary gastronomic temple D.O.M. where exotic Brazilian dishes are given the French touch. For more rustic flavours, head west to bohemian Pinheiros’s informal restaurants and join the artistic crowd at intimate samba sessions before ending the night at your São Paulo hotel.
Start: Parque do Ibirapuera
Nearest bus Avenida Brasil