Old Town Center

Take a day out to see São Paulo’s Old Town Center. It is an intriguing mix of urban disorder, with a mélange of buildings from the 20’s and modern glass skyscrapers. The narrow streets are occasionally occupied by transient folks, but look beyond the apparent chaos and be awed by the beauty of its old churches, cultural centers and museums. You will find Pátio do Colégio (School Patio), São Paulo’s birthplace, and Sé Cathedral. Also worth visiting is Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil and the Municipal Theatre. Check the program for listings of expos or shows. During your visit, stop for lunch at the Municipal Market, an old building with a parade of colors and tastes, including fruit and juice stalls and a variety of snacks. We recommend the Codfish pastel (deep fried pastry) from Hocca and an ice-cold beer. A little further along you will find the Pinacoteca Gallery, which holds a collection of Brazilian art dating back to the 19th Century to today. Right next door you will find Sala São Paulo, a stunning concert hall re-inaugurated in 1999 for the São Paulo Symphonic Orchestra. Do check the event schedule as the venue has a magnificent interior and one of the best acoustics in the world; we were very lucky to see renowned Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire, who resides in Europe but regularly goes on concert in São Paulo. Another good option whilst visiting the Old Town Center is to make your way to the top of Itália Building. There is a wonderful rooftop area with the most breathtaking views of São Paulo, and if hungry you can enjoy a meal there (the food is edible, but nothing special, especially considering the choices São Paulo has to offer) or perhaps simply enjoy a cocktail at the piano bar, worth it for the views alone.