São Paulo Travel Guide
Introduction to São Paulo
The epitome of the big gritty city, São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil with over 11 million residents that swells to a population of more than 20 million if you include the metropolitan area. Known as Sampa to the locals (called Paulistanos), São Paulo is an underrated gem of a destination somewhat overshadowed by the beauty and beaches of Rio de Janeiro. As the biggest and wealthiest city in South America, this economic powerhouse attracts business travellers from all over the world, however Sampa, where the locals work hard and party even harder, is poised to become a leisure travel destination in its own right .
While outward appearances depict a grey urban jungle of concrete skyscrapers, ugly graffiti and a marked divide between rich and poor, scratch the scrappy surface of São Paulo and you’ll discover pockets of wide green parklands, vibrant music, energy and heaps of surprises.
Also known as the cultural capital of Brazil, Sampa has a sophisticated artistic scene with Modernist architecture, a plethora of interesting and significant museums and art galleries, countless thriving theatres, vibrant festivals, unique street art, world-class sporting events and shopping. The city also hosts a multicultural population as well as the world’s biggest gay pride parade.
Add to that a refined and diverse culinary culture thanks to Portuguese, Japanese, African and Italian influences, a buzzing nightlife and social scene with myriad bars, clubs, restaurants to check out, and you’ve got the ingredients for a cosmopolitan city right there.