São Paulo is the business heart of Brazil and of South America. The economy of the state of São Paulo alone is larger than the economy of any other South American country, so when the business leaders of São Paulo talk, the region listens.
The city is the largest in South America, almost twice the size of Rio, and the fourth largest urban centre in the world. With a population of close to 11 million it is the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere, while the metropolitan area’s population of over 21 million puts it on a par with New York and not far behind the entire population of Australia or the Nordic countries. It covers an area five times that of Paris or equal to Cuba.
In terms of its layout, São Paulo has more in common with Los Angeles than New York. Instead of having one clearly defined centre, or heart, it is a sprawling metropolis with many different centres of activity.
Taking the size of São Paulo into account is very important for any visitor, because if you choose a hotel in the wrong part of town you can get stuck in the traffic for hours as you try to cross the city.
Happily São Paulo offers the best, largest and most diverse selection of hotels in South America, with all the major brands represented and spread across the metropolis.
If visiting on business, check with the people that you will be meeting and visiting as to where they are located. Are they located close to Brooklin Novo or perhaps closer to Cerqueira Cesar? Both are home to many of the city’s better and more interesting hotels.
The Paulistas, as the residents of the city are known, work hard, but they also play hard. They are aware that their city does not have the beauty and charm of neighbouring Rio, but that does not stop them from using their leisure time to the best, especially at night.
The city’s nightlife caters for every taste and budget, as well as every age group and sexual persuasion. Bars and clubs abound. The city is popular with clubbers, yet also offers world-class opera and ballet. It is a key stop on most “world tours”, so on almost any given night it will be possible to see a show involving leading Brazilian and international acts and artists.
São Paulo is a city that prides itself on its gastronomic excellence, offering not only the best of Brazilian cuisine, especially the barbecue houses, but also a truly eclectic mix of restaurants serving dishes from the four corners of the globe. For many food critics, São Paulo now boasts the best selection of top restaurants in the world.
Alex Atalal’s São Paulo restaurant, D.O.M., has been rated as the ninth best in the world by Restaurant Magazine’s list of the world’s top 50 eateries in 2015. Helena Rizzo’s Mani is also rated in the world’s top 50, while Helena herself was voted the world’s best female chef in 2014.
If the nightlife is unrivalled in Latin America, the same can also be said for the shopping. Visitors can choose between traditional and modern shopping centres, such as Iguatemi, Morumbi and Cidade Jardim, or exclusive boutiques, the most famous of which are found in and around Rua Oscar Freire, the city’s Rodeo Drive.
São Paulo also offers world-class museums, art galleries, commercial galleries and sport, including the Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix, a race that more often than not decides the drivers and manufacturers championship.
In 2016 the race is scheduled to take place on Sunday, 13 November, and will be the season’s second last race. For tickets CLICK HERE
As you would expect, São Paulo has a world-class soccer programme – and soccer museum – and is home to many of South America’s most famous and successful clubs, including Corinthians, Palmeiras and São Paulo, as well as Pele’s Santos from the nearby port of the same name. São Paulo host six games during the 2014 World Cup, including the opening match and a semi-final in the newly built Arena de São Paulo.
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Christopher Pickard – Brazil the Guide – Critical Divide
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