For those looking to immerse themselves in culture and the arts on their next getaway, you may want to think about heading to Sao Paulo, Brazil. São Paulo is considered to be the culture capital of Latin America, from its downtown music haven to the diverse array of art galleries and museums on the west side. Additionally, the city has the richest art collection in Brazil and is known as a “city of all peoples” for its wealth of galleries, cultural centers, museums and monuments. To help you plan your trip, here are Epicure & Culture’s itinerary suggestions.
Beloved Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer shaped the look of modern day Brazil, most notably designing the country’s modernist capital, Brasília. His passing recently on Dec. 5th was a sad occasion for Brazilians, but his memory lives on in his buildings like the wave-shaped Copan apartment building and Ibirapuera Auditorium in São Paolo.
While the city is mostly well-known for São Paulo Fashion Week, Virada Cultural is quickly rising up the ranks to become a must-see on the city event roster. The occasion brings 24 hours of art and culture once a year in early May with museums open all night and dance and music performances staged along the city streets.
Os Gemeos; Image via erokism
It is possible to find works of art representing a range of artistic styles, from Modernist to Renaissance, Impressionist to Baroque. Graffiti and street art can be enjoyed through the city with internationally recognized artists such as Os Gemeos, displaying works on the walls of the Cambuci district (São Paulo city center), Rua Guaicurus street in the Lapa district (northwest), and Rua Belmiro Braga street in the Vila Madalena district (west side). The Museum of Contemporary Art located in Ibirapuera Park (city center) houses one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of 20th century Western art in Latin America, with more than 8,000 works. The Ibirapuera Park complex consists of several buildings, most of them designed by Oscar Niemeyer.
Film and Theater
The city has more than 100 theaters featuring a little bit of everything, from Broadway musicals to experimental plays. The alternative circuit, around Roosevelt Square, located in the center of the city, is quickly gaining recognition for its cultural events. The International Documentary Festival and the International Film Festival take place in the months of April and October, respectively. Celebrating its 17th year, the International Documentary Festival “It’s All True” is the leading event exclusively devoted to non-fictional cinema in South America. The festival presents around 100 titles in competitive programs that include Brazilian and International short and features/medium-length documentaries and the Latin American Focus. The International Film Festival also known internationally as Mostra, is an annual film festival established in 1977 and currently presents over 380 international titles.
Image via Bruno Barreto
The area of Avenida Paulista in the city center is the preferred hangout of rockers, clubbers and the LGBT community with an always upbeat scene. While in Vila Madelena visitors can find samba clubs and rock bands. A city home to a distinctive mix of cultures and influences, travelers can find Música Popular Brasileira (MPB), jazz and electronica artists in the south side neighborhoods, specifically in the triangle formed by the Marginal Pinheiros highway and the neighborhoods of Moema and Vila Olímpia.