Sao Paulo: Metropolis of the Americas

    If you had the impression the most populous city in the Americas was New York or Los Angeles, think again. Sao Paolo, Brazil has 11 million people and another 9 million people in a spectacularly vast metropolitan area. This is the predominant metropolis in the Americas and a great place to explore for tourists from all over the world.

    Image by Wikimedia Commons

    Sao Paolo was formally established by the Portuguese in 1554 and was initially an outpost for Catholic missionaries. In 1711 the city’s designation became official and over time, coffee exports made Sao Paolo’s European landowners fortunes, thanks in no small part to slavery and later, indentured labor.

    The city continued to grow at an alarming rate well into the 20th century as Japanese, Syrian, Lebanese and again, European (mainly Italian and German) immigrants came to start a new life. As a result, Sao Paolo is now Brazil’s most ethnically diverse city, bar none.

    Image by Pedro Angelini

    Start your exploration of Sao Paolo in the dynamic city center – the historic core. The civic spectacle of paulistanos on the go is a marvelous scene and there is much fine architecture to observe as well. The Neo-Gothic Metropolitan Sao Cathedral is a prominent icon and one of the most famous landmarks in Sao Paolo.

    Image by Leandro’s World Tour

    The 35-story-high Banespa tower, otherwise known as the Altino Arantes Building, is a must for free panoramic views. Republica Square is a great example of harmonious architectural styles in one tidy space. Also, a stroll in the neighborhoods of Luz and Estacao da Luz might take you to several of Sao Paulo’s most cultural attractions: Museu de Arte Sacra (museum of religious art), Pinacoteca do Estado de Sao Paulo (museum of Brazilian art), Museu da Língua da Portuguesa (an interactive museum of the Portuguese language).

    Image by Andre Banyai

    Image by Rodrigo_Soldon

    Scenesters, foodies and nightlife lovers should not miss the enclaves of Itaim Bibi, Vila Olímpia, Vila Madalena and Pinheiros. These chic ‘hoods are perfect for strolling, wining, dining, shopping and partying altogether. Paulistanos say that a visit to Sao Paulo without a foray into these districts – all part of Centro Expandido (Expanded Center) – is a tragic loss.

    Image by cassimano

    Paulista Avenue is a vital Sao Paulo artery. The 2.8 km-long thoroughfare is home to some of the most important financial and cultural institutions in the country. One of South America’s most famous art museums, the Sao Paulo Museum of Art (MASP) is here, as well as many archetypes of modernist architecture. Needless to say, Paulista Avenue contains the most expensive real estate on the continent.

    Image by Wagner T. Cassimiro “Aranha”

    Image by D’Amico Rodrigo

    With traffic congestion a major problem, Sao Paulo Metro is the best way to travel within the city. The underground network is perfect for tourists – just try to avoid the early and late rush hours.

    Image by Milton Jung CBNSP

    While Rio de Janeiro and to a certain extent, Salvador, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba and FlorianÓpolis, get a lot of tourist love, Sao Paulo is often thought of as a soulless financial, business and administrative hub – albeit with close to 20 million people. A shame because the gargantuan city offers such a diverse cornucopia of cultural gems and de facto “city within a city” enclaves. So take the time to consider Brazil’s major metropolis and remember, luxury hotels in Sao Paulo rank up there with the very best on the planet.

    Image by jdlasica

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/cassimano/3069312203/

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    2 comments on “Sao Paulo: Metropolis of the Americas”

    1. HotelClub says on October 25, 2010 at 3:51 am:

      São Paulo: Metropolis of the Americas -> http://bit.ly/9sgc1O

    2. Edlaine Silva says on April 14, 2011 at 5:48 pm:

      You are right São Paulo is an Amazing city!!!

    Comments are closed.