São Paulo’s Vibrant Social Scene

São Paulo—Fast-paced financial hub, trendy hot fashions, amazing food, golden beaches, raging nightlife and contemporary art.

Brazil’s two largest, and most famous cities, could not be more different. In Rio de Janiero the office is the beach, in São Paulo, Brazil’s most cosmopolitan city, the office is a religion. The chaotic fast-paced financial epicenter of São Paulo Brazil has something for everyone. The city is full of arts, food, architecture, shopping (amazing fashion week) and friendly people. São Paulo is the 19th richest city in the world, and expected to be the 13th by year 2020. It’s the Manhattan of South America.

São Paulo is 800 square miles shared by more than 16 million people of vast ethnic diversity: Italians, Germans, Portuguese, Africans, and surprising to most, the largest Japanese community outside of Japan. The city is rich in history and has a lot of character. I think São Paulo should be a stop on everyone’s visit to Brazil, even if you’re coming for the sole purpose of white sand beaches, sambas, carnivals and rhinestone covered barely there bikinis, I definitely recommend a few days in the city.

Like New York City, much of São Paulo’s pulsing energy is due to its congestion. São Paulo’s endless streets conform to no clean cut grid, so blocks upon blocks of high-rises, many of them washed in pastels or sprayed with confetti mosaics stand shoulder-to-shoulder. Greenery is not common, but is beautiful and can be found in the 19th-century neighborhood of Higienópolis, in the unmissable gardens of the Fundação Maria Luisa e Oscar Americano (There are said to be 50 species of birds here), or in upper-class areas like Jardins and Morumbi.

There has been a great influx of international restaurants in the city over the last few years. São Paulo has great fresh Sushi imported daily thanks to the large Japanese population, Italian, French, Spanish tapas, and everything in between. The Mercado Municipal, in the city’s center, is a place where international diversity is clear.  You can find Italian-imports of cheese and oils, beer gardens full with Belgium’s best brews, Portuguese olive-oil and salt-cod vendors, and fresh local Amazonian fruit and vegetable stands. The crowd noise is deafening and the colors frenzied, making it an easy place to get lost in the crowds and soak in the authenticity of the city.

For those who are into nightlife, there is plenty to do all night long in São Paulo. Locals work very hard, but they play harder. There are attractions to satisfy all tastes. Check out the local newspaper O Estado de São Paulo, it’s published every Friday and provides the week’s entertainment. Certain neighborhood’s in the city have earned reputations as being the place to be; many of the most popular dance clubs can be found in the Vila Olímpia district, and some of the best venues for live music can be found in Pinheiros and Vila Madalena.

Brazil is famous for it’s beaches, and São Paulo has some of the best. Praia do Encanto Beach (The Portuguese name for this beach actually means ‘charm beach’ in English) is beautiful! Also known as 5th beach, this spot is famous for its quiet nature, tranquility and relaxing. The beach has been kept true to nature by the nearby town of Garapua, and visitors will be able to get here through a hotel transportation service, since it’s a little bit out of the way to reach by taxi. Bring a book and a large towel, and some snacks, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy nature. If you’re looking for a busier, more touristy beach then go down to one of the Caraguatatuba Beaches, located off the North Coast of São Paulo. There are plenty of beach side activities, restaurants and services available to tourists here.

As you can see, São Paulo truly has it all – it’s cosmopolitan with arts, great food, nightlife and great beaches.