ibierapuera parkWalking into a 20-million person city is little intimidating but with our good friend and resident Paulista, Marcelo, as our guide, we saw the sweeter side of South America’s biggest metropolis. With a wild abundance of restaurants (12,500), bars (15,000) museums (110), and the craziest soccer scene, we had our hands full with good times but the day that sums up São Paulo culture and beauty was our day in Ibirapuera Park.

brazilian design

Set in the middle of the traffic-ridden urban sprawl, they call the massive city park "The Green Lung." To celebrate São Paulo's 400th year, the city commissioned Brazilian all-star architect OscarNiemeyer to design the park in 1951.

sao paolo design guide

Sao Paulo doesn't have the charming architecture of the colonial cities like Salvador, but famed Niemeyer still puts the city on the map for a number of stellar spaces. Governor Garcez Pavillion is one of his many buildings in the park and throughout the city.

sao paulo design

Niemeyer's Ibirapuera Auditorium is one of his most recent and magnificent projects (the 105-year old is still kicking). The red tongue-like entrance (top) beckons visitors in and the interior is just as seductive with high gloss floors and a sweeping red ceiling that swirls into a staircase.

brazilian design

The Museu de Arte Moderna (MAM) is the most notable museum in the park (there are about five). The gift shop had some particularly good design finds too.

sao paulo musuems

We didn't necessarily plan on going to the Museu Afro Brasil but with free admission, we couldn't resist popping in. Two hours later we were still roaming its four floors, completely impressed with the quality of the displays and range of topics--from tribal art to soccer memorabilia.

sao paulo design

This art exhibit of early Afro-Brazilians taking on Portuguese dress and culture was stunning.

brazilian design

At the foot of the park under the famed obelisk along the highway, a college drum troop practices some beats. Drumming is so much a part of Brazilian culture, but to see this resounding session set up under the hush of traffic seemed so practical and so São Paulo.

For a little street culture in a park chalk full of museums, go to the hill behind MAM and watch the dozens of skateboarders launching themselves down the road and looping back up for more.

seeingdesign and honeytrek

From the museums to the landscapes to the people watching, Ibirapuera Park is the best place to get bite of Brazil's Big Apple.

  • KimRogers2012


    • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

      oh yeah Kim Sao Paulo was way cooler than we anticipated :)

  • http://heatheromade.blogspot.com/ heather

    loving the pic of you guys in the bubble 😉 or under it…

    • http://twitter.com/SeeingDesign Anne E. Collins

      oh we were IN that bubble. they have shrinking machines in Brazil!

  • http://twitter.com/sallykohn Sally Kohn

    I’ve never wanted to go to Sao Paulo… until now!  Thanks for the great picts!

    • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

      we thought the same thing, it wasn’t high on our list either, but with Marcelo there we decided to visit, and we were SO happy we did. it surprised us at every turn. granted it was expensive, but the culture and the food was amazing. and the people were SO nice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003497620525 Alexander Muniz

    Beautiful city. On my list now. 

    • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

      yeah Sao Paulo gets a bad wrap (is it rap, or wrap?)….and to be perfectly honest the city is a hub of commerce and not all about the beauty (like Rio)….but if you find it on your travel itinerary you will not be disappointed….dig in :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=513806197 Rashaad Jorden

    Did you go to a soccer game in Sao Paulo?

  • http://www.facebook.com/marcelo.continelli Marcelo Continelli

    I had the pleasure to receive this lovely couple at the Football Museum. I see now how fantastic was this journey. You, guys, did something that most part of the brazilian citizens will never be able to: visit so many different parts of the country. Congratulations! This website is awsome!

    • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

      Marcelo, that is SO AMAZING you found our blog, how did you find this blog post? We had such an amazing time at the Football Museum, and you were such a great host. We always tell people how much fun we had at that soccer museum, and I am sure a few have visited because of that. So glad you like our website, thank you so much for the comment, that means so much. if you are interested you can share our FB page with anyone you wish to inspire to travel more http://Facebook.com/HoneyTrek – and thanks again for the wonderful tour of the Football Museum, it was one of our Brazilian highlights!

      • Marcelo Continelli

        Hi Mike!! I came to see your blog once more after so much time I´ve visited it and I am impressed that you are still travelling! I could not let pass the pictures of your journey in São Paulo (just to remember) and accidentally I saw your answer to my message! And I must say I am very glad to know you recommended our Museum for people! Thank you very much! That means a lot to me! I wish to you both good rest in US and I expect to see more pics of the world! Best regards!!

        • http://HoneyTrek.com/ Mike Howard – HoneyTrek.com

          Thanks so much for checking back in on us @facebook-100002087658575:disqus . we had so much fun at the museum. yes, we are STILL on the road. today is day 578 and we just hit Scotland!