Though Sao Paulo is the capital of the state bearing the same name and the largest city of Brazil, it is often overshadowed by the ultra-glamorous and flamboyant Rio de Janeiro. But the megalopolis has a lot to offer for it has a major cultural, economic and political influence be it nationally or internationally. Sao Paulo is not just a economic powerhouse and financial hub, it is also a city with a bustling night scene packed with numerous samba bars and an exciting culinary scene.
Head over to Sao Paulo Cathedral for it is a popular attraction in the city. It was designed in Neo-Gothic style and possesses a Renaissance-styled dome. This religious shrine is regarded by some to be the 4th biggest Neo-Gothic cathedral in the planet. It can hold as much as 8,000 devotees in one sitting. Another incredible church worth visiting is the incredible Sao Bento Monastery. This twin-towered structure was built in the early 20th century and is home to a huge organ with over 6,000 pipes. Attend the Sunday morning mass as it is a lyrical affair amid a fug of incense and Gregorian chanting.
Head over to Ibirapuera Park and have a lovely time strolling around trees and lakes. This sprawling park is a haven for joggers and cyclists. It houses numerous museums, including the incredible Sao Paulo Museum of Modern Art featuring an exquisite collection of Brazilian modernists. Take a breather from the chaotic jungle and drive down to these thick and green botanical gardens. Walk amongst the midst of luscious tree-lined paths. Around 3,000 different species including 350 natives can be glimpsed. It also a fantastic bird-watching destination. So be sure to bring binoculars just in case you get lucky.
Representing contemporary architecture, do catch a glimpse of Edificio Martinelli, the first skyscraper of Brazil. Be sure to catch breathtaking panoramic vistas of the glittering skyline from the 26th-floor roof terrace of this eye-catching 30-storied building. Some of the museums worth visiting are: Sao Paulo Museum of Art: (showcases old European masters alongside abstract Brazilian artworks) and Football Museum - (soccer fanatics will love visiting; exhibits history of World Cup football).
Sao Paulo is home to a large number of immigrants, particularly from Japan and Italy. This melting pot is aptly represented with the array of cuisines available in restaurants from sushi to pizza to mezze. Don't forget to sip into mouth-watering fiery Caiprinha cocktail, widely available in any of the samba bars spruced around.
When it comes to shopping, the city is packed with luxurious and sprawling shopping complexes and chic boutiques. But at the same time, there are several markets offering local goods and fresh produce at affordable rates such as the colorful indoor market of Mercado Municipal. Be sure to pick up cheeses, meats, spices, chilli and gorge into mortadella sandwiches, cold beer and cheese filled pastels.
The stay options in Sao Paulo are abundant with the best luxury hotels, swanky private apartments and cheap accommodations being available for tourists to decide which kind to select based on their budget and tastes.
Sao Paulo experiences humid sub-tropical climate. The best time to visit is spring and summer between September and March as the temperatures are pleasant during that period.