Sao Paulo Sights & Attractions
What to See and Do in São Paulo
The origins of SÃO PAULO CATHEDRAL date back to the 16th century when the city was still a Portuguese colony. It was a modest construction at that time, given a baroque look in the 18th century, only to be demolished and replaced by the current Neo-Gothic building. It is one of the five largest Gothic constructions in the world, only fully completed in the 1960s.
Instituto Tomie Ohtake is devoted to Brazilian artist Tomie Ohtake's work but also to national and international contemporary art. It is one of the city's most interesting cultural spaces, also because of the standout building and temporary exhibitions.
The MASP - São Paulo Museum of Art is housed in a brutalist building and holds South America's best collection of European art. There are works of Rembrandt, Raphael, Van Gogh, Picasso, Hieronymus Bosch, and Degas among other major artists.
Pinacoteca do Estado is São Paulo's picture gallery housed in a 19th century building built in Italian neoclassical style. The Pritzker-winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha was responsible for its renovation in the 1990s, and the entire space is now taken over by Brazilian art of the past two centuries.
The Portuguese Language Museum is housed in a beautifully renovated 19th century station, using interactive and virtual exhibits mixing art and technology to show the origins and evolution of the Portuguese language.
Another modern landmark is the COPAN BUILDING, designed by Oscar Niemeyer and despite being planned to house shops and a hotel, is now an elegant apartment building. Its design stands out from the surrounding skyscrapers, as does the same architect's AUDITORIO IBIRAPUERA in Ibirapuera Park (São Paulo's Central Park). Completed in 2005, it is a white concert hall that attracts even more visitors to the park.
But no other building stands out more than EDIFICIO ITALIA. It is the city's (and also Latin-America's) tallest skyscraper and has an observation deck with a bar ("Terraço"). Another tall landmark in the city's skyline is the ALTINO ARANTES BUILDING (also known as the "Banespa Building"), erected in the 1940s with a clear inspiration from New York's Empire State Building.
Join the chic Paulistas down RUA OSCAR FREIRE for some of the city's most interesting and upmarket shops. The city's main avenue is AVENIDA PAULISTA, lined with towering office blocks, but also the must-see MASP (see above).