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Top 10 cultural things to do in São Paulo

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Groundbreaking art, sensational museums and timeless music venues – book a São Paulo hotel and be inspired by this guide to the top 10 cultural things to do in São Paulo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 

Africa meets Brazil in Ibirapuera park

Brazil’s rich African heritage explodes into life in a riot of color 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 

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 

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