With a population of 21 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area, Sao Paulo is the largest city in South America. Although it is mainly known as Brazil’s financial center, Sao Paulo also boasts an abundance of cultural attractions, interesting architecture, and a world-class culinary scene. This vibrant multicultural city is packed with exciting activities and places to see and should be a part of every Brazil itinerary.
With just 2 days in Sao Paulo, you’ll only be able to scratch the surface but you’ll still get a feel for what this city is all about.
This is a guest post by Marjut Jogisoo of The Smooth Escape blog.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that should you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission.
Table of Contents
- 1 Two Days in Sao Paulo: Where to Stay.
- 2 How to Spend 2 Days in Sao Paulo, a Detailed Itinerary
- 2.1 Sao Paulo in 2 days: Day One
- 2.2 Sao Paulo in 2 Days: Day Two
- 3 Practical Information for your 2 Day Sao Paulo Itinerary
Two Days in Sao Paulo: Where to Stay.
Hotel Unique: This upscale hotel is known for its impressive architecture and is shaped like a huge ship. The hotel’s rooftop features an elegant restaurant, a pool, and stunning views of the city. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Hotel Blue Tree Premium Faria Lima: Located on one of the main business avenues of Sao Paulo, Hotel Blue Tree Premium in Faria Lima offers rooms with modern decor, a restaurant with contemporary international cuisine, and a heated pool on its rooftop. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Hotel Meliá Paulista: Hotel Melia Paulista has a superb location on Paulista Avenue, one of Sao Paulo’s most famous streets. Guests love the hotel’s indoor pool, fitness center, and excellent breakfast. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
How to Spend 2 Days in Sao Paulo, a Detailed Itinerary
Sao Paulo in 2 days: Day One
Stroll along Paulista Avenue
One of the best things to do in Sao Paulo is to walk along Paulista Avenue. This busy skyscraper-lined avenue is the heart of the city where you’ll find shops, restaurants, live music, street performers, museums, and cultural centers. It’s the perfect place to start your Sao Paulo itinerary.
One of the most famous buildings on this street is the Sao Paulo Museum of Art or MASP, which is globally recognized for its collection of European art. Even if you don’t feel like visiting the museum, it’s worth stopping by to admire the architecture of the building since it’s considered one of the landmarks of Sao Paulo.
For spectacular views of the street and the surrounding areas, head to the observation deck at SESC Avenida Paulista. To learn about Brazil’s colonial history and culture, visit Itau Cultural that holds multiple artistic and historic exhibitions, all free of charge.
Admire street art at Beco do Batman
If you’re into street art and colorful murals, Beco do Batman or ‘Batman Alley’ is a place you’re going to love. This winding pedestrian street in the Vila Madalena neighborhood is essentially an open-air gallery showcasing some of the most impressive graffiti art in the city. It also makes for a great place for some Instagram photos!
This art movement started back in the 1980s when an unknown graffiti artist painted a large portrait of Batman on the facade of a building. Soon after, other artists followed and more and more murals started appearing on the walls.
Since new murals are constantly spray painted on top of the old ones, the art at Beco do Batman is ever-changing and will provide a different experience on every visit.
Visit Ibirapuera Park
Now, it’s time to visit Ibirapuera Park, which is Sao Paulo’s equivalent of New York’s Central Park. With its vast green spaces, lakes and tropical plants, Ibirapuera Park offers a relaxing break from the hectic city. It’s the perfect spot for people-watching and a popular place for locals to exercise, have picnics and walk their dogs.
Kick back and relax with a cup of coffee in one of the outdoor cafes, take a stroll around the lakes to see black swans or visit one of the several museums located in the park.
Enjoy views of the Sao Paulo skyline
Round off day one of your Sao Paulo itinerary by watching the sun set behind the city’s skyline. Although there are many restaurants and bars with amazing views of Sao Paulo, one of the places that stands out from the rest is Restaurant Vista.
Located next to Ibirapuera Park, this restaurant boasts a huge rooftop terrace with 360-degree views of the city that you can enjoy with carefully crafted cocktails and mouth-watering Brazilian food. Make sure to arrive at Restaurant Vista before sunset so you can see the skyline both in daylight and at night.
Sao Paulo in 2 Days: Day Two
Start your day two with a visit to Pinacoteca, one of the most important visual arts museums in Sao Paulo. Founded in 1905, it is the oldest art museum in the city and it showcases works by Brazilian artists from the 19th century until today.
Whether you prefer classical art or more contemporary paintings and sculptures, there’s always a variety of exhibitions to choose from and many of them are free of charge. With so much to see, you can easily spend several hours here.
Once you’re done admiring Brazilian art, you can relax at the museum’s charming outdoor cafe or take a stroll in the neighboring Jardim da Luz Park.
Taste local food at the Municipal Market
After visiting Pinacoteca, head to the Municipal Market or Mercadão which is located just a kilometer from Pinacoteca. This historic market hall is full of colorful stands selling everything from fruit, nuts and spices to freshly prepared local dishes. If you’re a foodie, this place will blow your mind!
As you walk through the aisles, vendors will approach you and offer free samples of their exotic fruit, some of which you’ve probably never seen or even heard of! Make sure to taste some soursop, cupuaçu, guava, acerola and tamarind.
On the second floor of the market hall, there’s a variety of restaurants selling classic Brazilian food. The most popular options are mortadella sandwich (a sandwich stuffed with a large amount of deli meat), bolinho de bacalhau (fried cod cake), and pastel (fried pastry with various savory fillings).
Explore Liberdade neighborhood
If you still have some energy left, make your way to Liberdade, the Japantown of Sao Paulo. This district is the largest Japanese settlement outside of Japan. Walking on its streets will instantly make you feel like you’ve been transported to Asia.
Here you’ll find a huge red Torii gate, oriental lanterns lining the streets and countless restaurants serving authentic Japanese, Korean and Chinese food. If you love sushi or ramen, don’t miss visiting Liberdade!
Practical Information for your 2 Day Sao Paulo Itinerary
When is the best time to visit Sao Paulo?
The best time to visit Sao Paulo is from September to November. This is when the sky is the clearest and the temperatures are 16-27 degrees Celsius (60-80 Fahrenheit). However, since the weather is quite pleasant throughout the year, Sao Paulo is also certainly worth visiting during the rest of the months.
In case you want to see some of the annual carnival-related celebrations, percussion bands and samba dancing, visit Sao Paulo in February or March.
How to get from the airport to the city center
You are most likely going to arrive at Guarulhos Airport, which is located about 25 km from Sao Paulo city center. There are multiple ways to get from the airport to the city.
Taxi/Uber: This is the fastest way to get to the center and the journey takes about 40 minutes. The price for a taxi ride is around 25-35 USD whereas Uber is likely to be significantly cheaper.
Airport shuttle bus: The shuttle buses, which operate under the name Airport Bus Service, connect the Guarulhos Airport to many points in the city. The ticket price is about 8 USD. Contact the information desk for the exact location from where the buses depart.
Private transfer: Booking a private transfer is definitely the most stress-free option but also the most expensive. Prices start from 35 USD.
How to get around the city
Taxi/Uber: Taking a taxi or an Uber is the easiest way to get around Sao Paulo. The prices are affordable but expect to spend some time in traffic jams. Keep in mind that the city is massive, and getting from one place to another can take a significant amount of time.
Metro: Using the metro is the cheapest way to get around but it can get extremely crowded, especially during rush hour. Avoid using the red line since it’s the busiest one and remember to keep a close eye on your belongings whenever you use the metro.
Bio: Marjut Jogisoo is a Denmark-based travel blogger and the author of The Smooth Escape blog. She has visited close to 50 countries all over the world and writes about destinations with unique natural beauty and fascinating cultures. Through her travel tips, itineraries and photography, she aims to inspire others to chase their wildest travel dreams.