39 Hours in São Paulo: What I did

São Paulo is no doubt a huge city. São Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport is located about 25 kilometers to the South East of the city. Upon arrival, I thought about trying the new metro system to the city. With the lack of information, I decided to take Uber. It turned out ride-sharing service is the quickest and most convenient way to get to the city.

Saturday morning traffic was usually heavy. It took me a little over an hour to get to the hotel. The trip cost me BRL56, which was around $13. The lobby area is nice, the staff was friendly. It was only 9 a.m., luckily the room is available at check-in.

In this series:

  1. Unplanned Flight Path: Brazil!
  2. My First Impression of São Paulo
  3. United Polaris Business Class 767-300ER Washington to São Paulo
  4. 39 Hours in São Paulo: What I did
  5. Stop! Thief!
  6. Star Alliance Lounge – São Paulo
  7. United Economy 767-300ER São Paulo to Washington

The Room

I booked the Junior Suite Room, which was marginally more expensive than a standard room. The room is spacious enough. It has hardwood flooring and basic amenities.

I don’t care for the bathroom though. It looks dated and plain. It didn’t bother me much, but it’s more like a 3-star hotel as opposed to 4 stars as advertised.

Once I settled, I took a shower and got ready to explore the city. By the time I was ready, I started to feel hungry. So the first thing I did, was to look for a place to eat.

Out and About

Not far from the hotel, there is a local place called Central Restaurante & Lanchonete. It sure looked busy, so that wasn’t a bad sign. They offered a la carte menu as well as a buffet style. I chose the former.

The didn’t have an English menu, fortunately, the menu has some photos. I ordered Bife de contra and a can of Brahma Chopp.

The dish was okay. I think my palate is used to something more spicy and flavorful, but it wasn’t the case.

I also took some photos of the buffet spread. 

After lunch, I headed to the Municipal Theatre of Sãu Paulo, one of the city landmarks. The theatre is also a house of the Municipal Symphonic Orchestra, the Coral Lírico and the City Ballet of São Paulo. If you spend a few nights in the city, I would recommend seeing one of their performances.

There is a park called Praça Ramos De Azevedo right across the street.

Next, the Catedral da Sé de São Paulo, the biggest catholic church in São Paulo. The building is magnificent. It’s a must-visit. Sé is the closest metro station for the L1 and L3 lines if you like to take the metro.

I briefly went inside the church.

A few blocks from the cathedral, I walked by Memorial dos Fundadores da Cidade de São Paulo and Pátio do Colégio.

And then Colégio de São Bento, a little bit to the north side near São Bento. I didn’t go inside but from what I’ve heard, the interior is beautiful with the hand-painted ceiling.

As I continued to walk, the theft attempt happened. It was right across the street from Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Conceição Santa Ifigênia.

I couldn’t help but noticed there is a small cafeteria that sells coxinha, pastéis, and empanadas in every street corner. If I hadn’t had a big lunch, I would’ve tried one of these snacks, because they are tempting!

If you want to take a break from the heat, you can visit the mall. Across the Municipal Theatre of São Paulo, there is a good size shopping center where you can cool off a little bit.

That was exactly what I did – I went there to get an ice cream cone that cost BRL1.00 or roughly a quarter USD.

In my previous post, I explained that I love taking a bus tour when visiting a new place. Not only it will save you time, money, and hassle, but you will also get a chance to see and visit many places. Though I didn’t take advantage of that this time due to timing.

The company is called Circular Turismo São Paulo. You can walk to Praça da República – there is an information booth. It costs BRL40 or roughly $10 for 24 hours, and you can pay cash on the bus.

It’s almost 4 in the afternoon, I decided to go back to the hotel, shower, and take a quick nap. The plan for the evening was to meet a friend for dinner, perhaps, we may check out the scene after.

The Evening

Dinner was set at 7:30 at Bráz Pizzaria, one of the most popular pizza places in Brazil. They have several locations in São Paulo. The one that we went to is about a 25-minute walk from the hotel.

I left the hotel at about half an hour before. I was going to take Uber, but then it cooled off a little bit, so I decided to walk instead because it was nice outside. 

I walked along R. da Consolação and passed by Igreja Nossa Senhora da Consolação.

Along the way, there is an outdoor pub called Esquina do Índio which was packed with people having beers.

We arrived at the restaurant almost at the same time. While not a fine dining establishment, the restaurant looks up-scale as supposed to a local pizzeria. You can ask for an English menu, but since my friend speaks Portuguese, I let him order the food. The way it works is that you can order 3 different kinds of toppings in one pizza.

It didn’t take long for our order to come. It was as delicious as it looked!

After dinner, we agreed to go to a bar. Normally I don’t like going out. In D.C. I probably go out 3-4 times a year at most. But since I’m traveling and exploring a new place, I thought why not.

The bar wasn’t very far – It was about a 10-minute walk from the restaurant. The name is Igrejinha, which means a little church. It’s a very cute and quirky little place. I love how effort they put into decorating the place.

The drinks were good, I had Caipirinha which is Brazil’s national drink. Upstairs there is a dance floor and a patio.

Overall we had a great time there dancing and enjoying the company. We didn’t stay too late as I was getting tired.

The 25th Hour and Beyond

The next morning, I woke up at a decent hour. After a quick shower, I headed to the hotel restaurant for breakfast.

There were quite a few selections, but I didn’t feel like eating much. I only had some eggs, sausage, and a glass of juice.

The night before, my friend recommended a few places to check out in the morning. In São Paulo, Avenida Paulista is closed for traffic on Sunday. The weather was nice that morning, not too hot and not too cold. As you can see, the street was filled with people walking, running, skating, and cycling. The red building pictured below is Museu de Arte de São Paulo.

If you were thirsty or hungry, there were many street vendors to choose from. That’s what I did – I had some fresh coconut water from one of the vendors.

There were also booths selling antiques and handicrafts. One thing I noticed though, out of these many vendors, I hardly saw any who sells souvenir. That’s the only thing I didn’t get from São Paulo.

Depending on where you stay, If you want to check out Avenida Paulista, I would recommend taking the metro. The closest metro station is Consolação – L2 line.

What a fun day! Now back to the hotel and rested a little bit before heading to the airport. The hotel let me have a late check-out, which was quite nice since my flight wouldn’t leave until 9 in the evening. With a few hours to spare, I decided to catch up with some writing before taking Uber back to the airport.

That concludes my 39 hours of adventure in São Paulo. I will review the Star Alliance Lounge in a separate post, and finally my 10-hour sleepless flight back to Washington D.C.

Stay tuned!

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