As the largest city in Brazil and the southern hemisphere, Sao Paulo's sprawling cityscape is packed with a variety of interesting attractions and engaging activities available to travelers who make their way to the eastern coastline of this South American nation. This shoreline community traces its origins back to the 1500s, when Portuguese colonists and missionaries established the Colégio de São Paulo de Piratininga located atop a steep hill between the Anhangabaú and Tamanduateí rivers.
v The city got off to a rocky start and progress was stale for hundreds of years due to its isolated location, and the poor Portuguese population that inhabited the small village. Sao Paulo experienced a rapid upswing after Brazil gained its independence in 1823 and began constructing universities and other establishments dedicated to higher education, which prompted an influx of students and teachers that led to its growth. Today, the city is recognized as the "finance capital of Brazil," and is home to numerous corporate entities and financial institutions which have established Sao Paulo as an economic powerhouse.
Brazil is set to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and many of the tournament games have been scheduled to take place in the city of Sao Paulo. International soccer fans from around the globe will flock to the country hoping to cheer their national squad to victory in one of the world's most popular sporting contests. Games will be held at the Arena de Sao Paulo, which is currently under construction in the neighborhood of Itaquera, located in the city's eastern quadrant. The area is known to be relatively impoverished compared to the rest of the city; however, Brazilian officials hope that after the stadium is completed it will boost development, securing 6,000 new jobs for local workers.
Museu de Arte de São Paulo
This is an excellent stop for those interested in taking in Latin America's most comprehensive collection of Western artwork. The museum rests above an expansive concrete plaza, and was designed by renowned architect Lina Bo Bardi. It was completed in 1968 and is considered by many to be a classic representation of modernist design. The permanent collections feature impressive work by artists such as Bellini, Raphael, Delacroix, Cézanne, Monet and numerous others who have garnered worldwide acclaim. Many consider pieces that adorn the walls of this establishment to be on?-par with some of the greatest art collections around the world housed in museums such as the Musee d'Orsay, the Metropolitan New York and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Parque do Ibirapuera
This is the largest green space in the city of Sao Paulo, and offers guests a chance to unwind within the confines of a natural sanctuary. Opened in 1954, the Parque do Ibirapuera features expanses of heterogeneous forests, gorgeous gardens and lengthy jogging and biking trails. A wide array of wildlife also shares the grounds with Sao Paulo's local inhabitants, including butterflies, turtles, snakes, pumas and more than 150 avian species. Migratory birds are also known to come through the area in the spring, offering cheerful songs to the passersby who may be meandering through the winding walkways. Parque do Ibirapuera also plays host to numerous musical acts throughout the year at the amphitheater located on the grounds. This area is one of the most popular spots for locals and tourists alike, hoping to enjoy some leisure time away from the jostle of this bustling metropolis.
This covered market was first opened to the public in 1933 and has since become one of the city's most important centers for wholesale and retail commerce. The structure features some absolutely breathtaking facades adorned with expansive stained?-glass windows and eclectic architectural styles. The stained glass depicts various aspects of food production, and were created by Conrad Son Sorgenicht. Once inside, visitors are exposed to a myriad of fruit vendors and other retailers who all sell an assortment of brightly colored fruits, vegetables and other food products. Prices may be a little higher than you expect, but most of the markets vendors are open to negotiations if you're feeling up to some good old-fashioned bartering.
This chic yet rustic restaurant is tauted as one of the best in Brazil, with mouthwatering cuisine that blends the flavors of South America and Europe into dishes that will truly dazzle your taste buds. Mani is owned by a Brazilian-Spanish couple who've spent years traveling the world and working for a number of well established chefs in Michelin-starred restaurants. Together, they combine their superior culinary knowledge to serve patrons with a variety of delicious dishes that include capallini with mushrooms, Sicilian lemon shavings and truffle oil; grilled tuna with quinoa and blackberry chutney or grilled filet mignon with portobello mushroom sauce, white carrot terrine and cheese from the Canastra mountain range.