Before São Paulo was founded by Jesuit Missionaries in the mid-1500s, it was home to native tribes who have been living there for thousands of years. However, when Europeans set foot in Brazil, many indigenous people died from foreign diseases that were brought from overseas.

For many years after the Jesuits arrived, São Paulo was not governed by the Portuguese Empire. In the latter part of the 17th century, São Paulo became an important city during the Gold boom because it was located near Minas Gerais (where gold was found). In the 18th century, coffee was introduced, making São Paulo the first city to prosper with this commodity. As a result, many Germans, Greeks, Italians, Chinese, Arabs, Koreans, and Japanese came to São Paulo to take part in the coffee boom. In 1822 the country gained its independence from Portugal, and the city began to flourish, becoming one of the richest in the country. Today, it continues to be a significant place in Brazil in terms of business and trade.

Although it may not be the first choice to visit when heading to Brazil, it shouldn’t be overlooked. So if you’ve already explored Rio de Janeiro, then São Paulo may be next on your list. For those heading to this sister city, here are some local favorites to check out.

Feed Foo

Looking for a fun place to grab a bite to eat? Then make your way to Feed Food, a gastropub located behind a shop. This eatery features wood tables and chairs and a garden-like atmosphere. It’s a casual place with great service and some worthy meal options such as the steak tartar and coxinhas. Come with friends or your special someone and you’ll enjoy a nice break away from the busyness of the streets.

Paulista Avenue

If you’re in São Paulo on Sunday, then head over to Paulista Avenue, which the city closes off for the day from traffic, allowing everyone to enjoy strolling, biking, hanging out with friends and family. Locals come here weekly to enjoy the sun, shop and eat. Vendors put up their stalls and line the street, and artists come out to perform or paint. It’s an excellent way to spend a Sunday in the city, especially since there’s no beach nearby.

SESC Pompéia

Brazil has such an interesting culture, which is why the SESC Pompéia is an excellent choice to discover more about the Brazilian people. The SESC Pompéia building is fascinating and unique, and inside you can find a variety of activities such as “tennis court, pool, workshop area, library, living rooms and exhibition”, daily performances, restaurant and a bar. The building spans five floors, so if you’re looking for something to do all day, SESC Pompéia is the answer.

Praça do Por do Sol

What better way to spend an evening than by watching the sunset. Locals love to gather at Praça do Por do Sol (which translates to Square Sunset) before the sun goes down over the city. It’s a spectacular view, so if you have a good camera, it’s the perfect place to capture nature’s beauty.

Ó do Borogodó

If you’re in São Paulo, you have to try dancing the samba at some point, and Ó do Borogodó is the place to do it at. It’s a decent-sized space where bands play live samba music that gets everyone dancing. Many locals love going here and getting their groove on. It’s a casual environment but the atmosphere is lively and entertaining, and will keep you dancing! The place is open from 8pm to 12am on most days; Thursday through Saturday it’s open from 10pm to 3am.

São Paulo may not be the number one choice when visiting Brazil, but the lively city will surprise you. We hope this city guide can help you find some entertainment options to keep you busy on your next stay in the world’s seventh-largest city.

If this or any other destination speaks to you, we’d love to help you get there in comfort and save you up to 70% off. Submit a flight request or contact your agent and we’ll find the best dates to travel there!