If you're in São Paulo during the annual Carnival, a national bank holiday between the end of February and March, you should definitely get tickets to parade in the Sambodromo, near Armenia and Tiete Metro stations (Avenida Olavo Fontoura, 1209, Santana. Tel. +55(11) 6226-0510). This is where the typical Carnival parade takes place, with dancers dressed up in costumes and musicians play samba songs on the top of fancy cars.
If you can afford it, get tickets closest to the "pista" (standing area, close to the parade itself). This will give you a premium view of the parade, and the possibility of comfortably sitting down on benches. Waiters pass to for selling chocolate, chips, beer, soft drinks and booze.
Another option is to visit one of the various samba schools in town, where you can see the rehearsal concerts of musicians and dancers. You can even have the opportunity to join the parade at the time of Carnival holidays by acquiring the costume from a samba school and getting in touch with the people organizing the event in one of the schools.
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Based on a work at Wikitravel.org & Traveldudes.org.