Sao Paulo, Brazil
Anna, 23
Music Journalist & PR
see her Sao Paulo city guide

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What are the Sao Paulo spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

Parque do Ibirapuera (our Central Park), Mercadão (the biggest food market in the city), Galeria do Rock (a must for music lovers), Liberdade (our Japanese version from China Town), Beco do Batman (and all the Vila Madalena neighbourhood, since the famous grafittis are there), MASP (our Museum of Art and main post card), Paulista Avenue on a Sunday (it stays closed for cars), Republica's market (where there are people from all over Latin America selling things) and Copan (the most famous building of the town, made by Oscar Niemeyer -- the most well known Brazilian architect).

Do’s and don’ts in Sao Paulo: (Ex: Tipping: yes/ no, public transport tips, safety tips etc.):

Do: use public transport (traffic is always crazy); learn some words in Portuguese (people normally are really friendly but a lot of them don't speak English or any other language); stay at a hostel in Pinheiros/Vila Madalena/Bela Vista and close to a metro; have fun!!!!! Don't: keep your phone or camera in your hands when walking; use taxis (use Uber, Cabify or any other app you like); rent a car (you won't be able to cope with the traffic); stay at a hostel downtown if it's your first time here; walk around downtown at night by yourself; tip (normally tips are included in the bill, so just check it before you tip them twice).

What do you do and why do you do it?

I'm a Music Journalist and work in Music PR. I went for journalism because I've always been crazy about communicating, getting to know new people and discovering new things - the idea of never having anything new in my routine was something I couldn't handle. Apart from that, I always had the dream to work with the thing I love most in the world - music! - but I wasn't sure if I would be able to find something in the industry. Well, I was lucky and found it. In some ways, I guess I can say I'm living my dream.

How much do you spend on an average night out on the town?

It depends a lot on which neighbourhood you're going out in. But we Brazilians normally like to drink before going out so we won't have to pay R$30 for a drink (about US$7), which we think is too expensive. The most I'd normally spend would be R$70 (about US$18), but I'm a heavy drinker, haha!

Which Sao Paulo shops do you hit up when you’re itching for something new?

FARM is a brand that really represents the Brazilian style and that I really like to go to when I look for summer clothes; Luiza Dias 111 is my all time favourite Brazilian jewellery shop; Wishin for shoes and LIVO for glasses (both sunglasses and regular ones).

Your all-time favorite musicians:

That's so difficult because listening to music is my life, so I change my favourite artists frequently. But I guess from Brazil it would be Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Chico Buarque, and a really young one, Tim Bernardes. From other countries, Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Florence Welch, Janis Joplin, Beyoncé and Serge Gainsbourg. I'm definitely forgetting a bunch of them.

Which neighborhood is it best to experience during the day / night?

I'd recommend going downtown during the day, to understand a bit about the history of the city, and everyone should experience Pinheiros during the night. It has a lot of bars, both posh and regular ones - definitely enough for you to choose one (or more).

What’s the area in town you’ll never be caught dead in?


What’s the one place in Sao Paulo you think is underrated?

SESC Pompeia - it's a beautiful cultural center that always has good exhibitions, concerts and all kinds of cheap activities.

Where would you take a date for a romantic night out?

I would take him to have dinner and watch a good jazz concert at Madeleine Jazz Bar.

Drunk and hungry - where do you go in Sao Paulo?

Sujinho, at Consolação Avenue (its open from 12pm to 5am daily). One of the best and cheapest burgers in town.

It's freeeeezing out - what should a visitor do?

Well, it's almost never freezing in São Paulo, but I would see a movie at Cine Sala and have a coffee at King of the Fork (little coffee shop in Pinheiros). If you still wanna spend time somewhere, there's the CCSP (São Paulo Cultural Center) that's huge and always has something going on.

Your go-to brunch spots:

Brunch is kind of a new thing in Brazil, so you'll just find it in the most "trendy" spots which is not bad at all, but keep in mind that it's not going to be a cheap meal. The cheapest one I know is from Urbe Café, one of my favourite coffee shops in SP. If you're English, you can find an English-inspired brunch at Camden House. But my favourite is definitely from Paribar, at Praça Dom José Gaspar.

Your perfect night out in Sao Paulo includes:

A boteco (bar that have tables on the street and cheap drinks), cheap beer (here we buy 1L bottles to share with everyone) and a lot of friends! Seriously, that's the Brazilian way of drinking. Forget about the quality of the beer (I know a lot of people will probably want to die when reading this), the most important thing here is to share <3

Special views that mainstream tourists don't know about:

Mirante 9 de Julho, the view from Balsa terrace, Red Bull Station, Tokyo, Orfeu and Trackers (it's a nightclub). You can't see the whole city from them (as you can do at Terraço Itália, for example), but you can see avenues that are very São Paulo-ish, and I love that, especially at night.

Best place for a cheap bite on-the-go:

Mister Shawarma! Sandwiches are huge, veeeeery tasty and cost R$15 (about US$4) - with veggie (falafel <3) options. If you stay in Pinheiros, you'll find it in the most busy street of the neighbourhood: Teodoro Sampaio.

Tomorrow’s your last day in Sao Paulo. How do you spend it?

I would start the day having coffee at Mirante 9 de Julho, after which I'd go for a walk at Paulista Avenue. For lunch I'd go to Frevo on Rua Augusta, and after that I would take the subway to go to Pinheiros and have an ice cream at Frida e Mina. Would spend the afternoon walking through the calm streets of this neighbourhood, visiting the local thrift shops.

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Bruno Figueiredo