Essential neighborhoods: Avenida Paulista, Jardins, Consolação and Higienópolis
If you’ve got just one day for fun, it might be a wise idea to restrict your exploration to a single part of São Paulo. The city has many fascinating neighborhoods, each with its own unique characteristics. In the area around Avenida Paulista, Jardins, Consolação and Higienópolis, there’s no lack of cultural attractions, top-rate cinemas and starred restaurants. To learn a bit more about the city’s history, take a trip through Centro, with its historic buildings, interactive museums and famous shopping streets like 25 de Março. Vast green spaces are the biggest attraction in the region around Ibirapuera, Moema, Vila Mariana and Vila Nova Conceição, but you can also have a meal in one of the area’s varied restaurants, which range from Middle Eastern food to steakhouses. Vila Madalena, Pinheiros and Butantã are known for shops from trendy fashion designers, jam-packed bars and beautiful bookstores. Sophisticated nightlife is among the biggest attractions in the region comprising Vila Olímpia, Itaim Bibi, Brooklin and Morumbi.
And finally, there are the attractions you’ll find if you’re willing to travel beyond the city’s well-trodden central axis. Artsy neighborhoods, foodie neighborhoods, places where nature takes center stage, and more: it is based on these characteristics that Paulistanos – São Paulo natives – pick their favorite areas and spread out across the city. To make your choice easier, the following pages guide you to spots in the most popular neighborhoods – the ones highlighted in the map below – as well as to some of the more interesting attractions off the beaten path.
Avenida Paulista, Jardins, Consolação and Higienópolis
Weekdays, holidays, Saturdays, Sundays, it doesn’t matter: the crowds walking down the sidewalks of Avenida Paulista are a microcosm of what São Paulo is all about, a city that thrives on growth and offers all the best ways to spend your hard-earned salary. The avenue’s origins date to the end of the 19th century, when the coffee barons established their mansions there. Today it’s a grab bag of corporate workers, locals and tourists in search of nourishment for body and soul – in museums, cinemas, nightclubs and restaurants.
Photo by Wagner Fontoura